Secondary Storage

Published on November 17th, 2009 | by Jules Yap


Philip and Cat’s home: An Ikea shoe room and more

The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts, as we’ll see in Phil’s series of hacks for his new home with his fiancée, Cat. Great use of simple Ikea hacks.

1. The Shoe Room
“I thought I might share the shoe room I built for my fiancée seeing as it drew a lot of interest when I first put photos of it up on Facebook.

shoe roomWe moved to our new house about a year ago and have since been giving it a complete makeover (involving a lot of trips to Ikea and a lot of swedish meatballs in my stomach). A few months after moving in I decided to surprise my girlfriend with a shoe room. I picked up a couple of Billy book shelves with height extensions and a new light (A triple halogen that I can’t seem to find online right now) to put into the small walk-in wardrobe room that was next to our bedroom. It was a waste of space before hand, consisting of nothing but two boring hanging rails and a simple hanging light bulb.
shoe roomshoe room
shoe roomshoe room

While she was over the moon at having a room dedicated to her many shoes and boots, six months or so later and after we got engaged, I decided that she deserved better. So off to Ikea I went again. A few meatballs, a splash of paint and some wiring later and I’d upgraded her shoe room with lots of downlighters (Grundtal spotlights), glass shelves (Billy), a belt rail (I can’t find the name) and a bag rail on the back of the door (Grundtal hanger).

While there’s not really that much hacking going on here other than the tenuous hack link of using book shelves as shoe shelves, I figured it may be of interest to others and may inspire some other men to follow suit and in the process get an exorbitant number of brownie points with one’s other half.”

2. Bedroom Mirror
“My fiancée wanted to have a greenish theme to our bedroom and got a bed throw and some cushion covers to start things off. She wanted a big mirror to go over the bed’s headboard but wanted it to have a hint of green and didn’t really want it looking too modern. The rest of our house is very modern so she wanted something a bit ‘older’ looking for the bedroom. We got a Hemnes mirror from our favourite meatball suppliers and then modified it a little.

She painted the inner edge with some light green paint and then used some ‘antiquing’ paint on stuff that makes the paint under it crackle a little to give it the finish she wanted. It was very simple but we think it looks really nice now.”

3. Hall Mirror 
“For some reason the builders of our house thought the perfect place for a big ugly doorbell and the house’s thermostat would be right in the middle of a big long corridor wall. In order to hide it, we bought two Molger mirrors (although we only needed one piece from the second pack). I simply mounted the mirror backwards in the frame and used the base piece from the second pack as a replacement top piece (since Ikea have it designed that you slide the mirror in from the top afterward so for our needs the top lip would have been missing).


I bought some hefty cupboard hinges from a local hardware store and a little metal L-bracket and mounted mounted the mirror to the wall. The hinges are more than strong enough to hold the mirror but I use the L bracket to hook the mirror on when closed so as to make sure that it is level. So now it just looks like a chunky mirror yet we can open it up to change the thermostat when we need to.”

4. Under Stairs Storage
“Nothing groundbreaking here but since it involved using a dremel to cut metal it may be ‘hackworthy’. Our house has a cupboard under the stairs on the ground floor. It didn’t have any shelves in and had no lighting. Basically, it was an utter mess. Ikea didn’t have anything that fit our needs. The Broder system was the closest match since it had shelves big enough but even in its shortest form, it was too tall. We bought a couple of shelves, three posts and a height extension rod and I cut the post lengths down to size so that we could fit in one long Broder deep shelf and one short one. I also added some faithful Grundtal spot lights which I wired in to the main lighting for the hallway. The end result is a far better use of space and is much cleaner looking than before.”

5. Kitchen Storage
“This was by far the most work of the lot but definitely worth it in my opinion. The space above our fridge freezer had become a rather unsightly dumping ground for random bottles and general stuff. I wanted something far tidier looking and far more practical.

The answer came in the Pax shelf we had left over, lying in the garage left over from and from the many many plain white Billy shelves we’ve now got after I upgraded the better half’s shoe room with glass shelves. After a lot of measuring I worked out that I could fit four Hutten wine racks on one side of the Pax shelf and I could use cut down Billy shelves on the other side to create some shelving. After putting it all together with some metal brackets from a local hardware store, I painted the wine racks, added a Grundtal countertop light (the same as throughout the rest of the kitchen) and bolted it to the walls with three very large heavy duty brackets.

One edge of the Pax shelf had MDF showing as did one of the inner edges of the Billy shelves. I used some white edging strips left over from when we redid the rest of the kitchen to cover these up and they fit perfectly. I’m really happy with the result and love the way the light works through all the different colours of bottles. Our cat, Molly, obviously helped me build the thing. She was obsessed with the sawdust for some bizarre reason.

I hope some of these may be able to inspire others. When you start to think about how you can hack things, walking around Ikea becomes even more fun. You start to see so many more uses for things than originally intended!”

More hacks on

Ikea multi lamp design
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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

45 Responses to Philip and Cat’s home: An Ikea shoe room and more

  1. Anonymous says:

    ROut out a vent hole in the top and bottom of the mirror frame. Problem solved.

  2. wow, all these ideas are so creative. i really like ikea furniture and sometimes decorate them myself. with wallpaper :)
    pictures in my blog

  3. thinkpink says:

    love the shoe room! what is the ideal size of billy bookcase to use for shoe rack? thanks

  4. Nick Austin says:

    Love the wine store, love the shoe room. Very inventive. My wife could do with a whole wing for shoes. She still only has two feet though..

  5. smallcool says:

    I really like the wine storage with white backlight…
    just cool………

  6. Phil says:

    Anonymous, I only just saw your post, sorry I didn’t reply sooner.

    140 pairs of shoes, sounds familiar! Is it shoes or boots? Shoes are certainly a lot easier to deal with since they’re so much smaller! If you’ve got any spare wall space available then maybe you could use a few Benno type DVD/CD storage solutions. Using Benno as an example, you could store 140 pairs of shoes in about 2.5m worth of units assuming just one pair ‘box’ area. Or you could use Billys but have more shelves (this would probably involve drilling extra holes for the shelve mounts though, I don’t know why they leave such big gaps).

    F, I’m a one woman man I’m afraid! :-P What kind of space are you dealing with? To make the most of space I’d probably start with a bunk bed or bed-over-desk type thing and modify it from there to make it fit just right. The MYDAl thing could be a good base to start with since it’s unpainted wood if you modified the bottom bunk for other uses such as a desk space instead. The MÖRRUM and STORÅ loft bed frames also look very interesting.


  7. Derrick Smith says:

    That story about the Icelandic couple who installed a cheap Ikea kitchen in their million dollar apartment in New York cracked me up.. Rich people are so funny!

  8. F says:

    First of all does your wife lend you out? LOL Trying to convert an area of dead space into a sleeping and living area for a pre-teen grandson. Got any good ideas?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have a serious problem… My girlfriend owns 140 pairs of shoes (yeah, srsly) and I try to figure out a good way to stash ‘em as most them are never worn. Anybody got an idea? Space is the limiting factor.

  10. dez says:

    Love the overfridge storage. That would have been handy in past homes, but our current kitchen has a lovely overhead cabinet with vertical dividers which is ideal for storing cookie sheets, muffin tins and a pizza stone and a large open spot perfect for less often used small appliances like waffle iron and slow cooker.
    I am thinking our liquor situations could be handled with a hack for the several expedits we have. We need a wine rack and a scotch storage space. Wine glass storage would be good too. Have seen a couple of posts that might be helpful already!

  11. Phil says:

    Hi sma11cat!

    Get yourself a dremel (either order online buy from most hardware stores). You can get them for about £30 in the UK, $45 in the US etc and they’re perfect for hacking things up like this. Mark up the broder post with a pencil to the height you want to cut to on all four sides and then use the cutting disks (you’ll use a fair few, I used about 3 disks per broder piece if I remember correctly) that come with the Dremel to gradually cut through. It takes a little while and will cause a lot of dust (probably best to wear some glasses and an air mask just in case) but it gets the job done. The cuts are pretty clean this way but if you wanted to round off the edges you can always use one of the other Dremel accessories to do so. :)


  12. sma11cat says:

    Hello! I am trying to cut the broder post as well and am wondering if you could offer any tips on how to cut, what tool to use, how to round off the edges at the end, etc. :)

  13. Anonymous says:

    beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration

  14. mls GTA says:

    Inspiring indeed. I love your house. You have an incredibly good taste and combine everything so well. Wow, your bedroom is sooo nice. And your closet is a dream of any woman. Seriously, your house is fab.


  15. Anonymous says:

    Awesome job!

  16. Anonymous says:

    w-o-w…cat is a super lucky lady!

  17. i really like the ideas, thanks for the nice article, ikea!

  18. Phil says:

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

    Thanks DJinny, I think I might just do that and add an extra hook rack in the middle of the door under the other one. I might also do the same under the belt rail on the left of the room. I found another stash of handbags in the spare room after taking those photos so could do with the extra space!

    AJ, it’s a Samsung fridge, the model number is RSH1DBRS although that was a year and a bit ago so there are probably newer ones now. We love it, just bear in mind that you’ll have to run a thin water pipe to the back of the fridge so as to supply the ice machine and water water chiller.

    Mr Magic, the wallpaper was from Focus, a DIY store that I’d never heard of before. They’ve got a great selection of wallpaper and stores all over the place. Here’s the wallpaper we got: I’m afraid we don’t have a virtual tour of the house although I’m very flattered that you asked! The rest is still a work in progress – plenty more trips to IKEA needed!

  19. Merche says:

    Wow! Can I get a boyffriend like you in an IKEa store? it would come very handy! lol! you impressed me quite a lot!

  20. Mr Magic says:

    Really like the wallpaper in the bedroom… where did you get it from? (I’m UK too…)

    Do you have a house tour set of pics somewhere, like flickr or picasa?

    Very cool hacks…

  21. Marry the man instantly CAT! :) I posted this to my girlfriends and that is what they said.. and the omg the shoe collection is gorgeous was the other :)

    great job!! Hubby isnt a handyman :D

  22. AJ says:

    Phil – that’s awesome. What brand of fridge do you have? I’ll be shopping for one soon.

  23. Caroline says:

    I love the above fridge storage – I have the same problem and the same fridge so will be trying that one out thanks.
    Great shoe room – if I didn’t already have 2 full pax shoe drawers I’d do that one too!

  24. Game Trainer says:

    My girl friend would love the Shoe Room. Nice decoration.

  25. Pinay Flip says:

    You so creative and it loks so awesome

  26. Jules says:

    Hey Caitlin, thanks for catching the typo. Corrected.

  27. DJinny says:

    something i do so my purses dont all clogged up like that is that i put another hook rack about at the middle of the door… that way i have two rows, and i put the longer ones in the bottom… i can close the door properly, and in your case, when you want to go in the closet!!

    very good ideas, of course that shoe room is dreamy!

    For the thermostat problem, you can drill little holes arround the mirrors, or something like that…

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. a Cagey Bee says:

    Amazing! I have a feeling Phil would be getting marriage proposals left & right if he weren’t already engaged. Awesome job.

    And no, I don’t think she has too many pairs of shoes. Different outfits, different styles…I’m sure some of the boots are comfy ones she can wear all day & some are for going out where she knows she won’t have to walk very far (and of course those are always the hottest ones!). :)

  29. Jen says:

    OMG how many pairs of boots and purses does that woman have?!

  30. Phil says:

    Caitlin, you’re right – egg on my face. :(

  31. Really nice!! I really love the look of the wine bottle storage!

    Though Phil, since you mention “she”, you have a fiancée, not a fiancé. A fiancé is a male that is engaged to be married (in this case, you) while a fiancée is a female that is engaged to be married.

  32. Can you get prices for these walkin wardrobes and where can i get wlkin wardrobes like on this web site

  33. Phil says:

    AJ, I checked the temperatures up there before I built the thing. The fridge freezer is only a year old and is pretty darned energy efficient. I’ve put my hand in the gap behind the fridge and above it and there’s no heat there. In fact, if anything, the top face of the fridge (which is aluminium) is actually cooler than the rest of the room. I wouldn’t have done this with the fride we had in our old house though, it was as hot as a radiator on the back.

  34. Fanny says:

    Great work !!!
    Thanks for sharing

  35. AJ says:

    Very nice hacks! Love the shoe room – may do something for my GF when we move into our new place.

    I am slightly concerned about putting the bottle rack above the fridge though…after all, that is where the heat from the coils on the back of the fridge rises to (and it can get QUITE warm up there, especially if boxed in – I’ve had loaves of bread go moldy in just a day because of that)), and frankly that heat will ruin any decent wine. Not sure about the heat stability of liquors, spirits etc, but I can’t think it’s very good for them, either.

  36. Jennifer says:

    this is awesome. cat is a very lucky girl.

  37. Phil says:

    Thanks everyone! I’m really happy with how all the hacks turned out, I really hope these can inspire people to do similar things. I know a lot of people have small cupboard type walk in rooms for storage in their houses – the shoe room idea would work in pretty much all of them and is pretty simple (albeit time consuming) to do. The trickiest part of the shoe room build was getting the double width billy shelves through the door – I had to half assemble it in the room whilst upright. :-S

    Justin and Barb, I know the thermostat won’t work quite as well. However, it’s never been that accurate anyway and a 5 degree change won’t make much of a difference to it. Our house is pretty warm already and we hardly ever have the heating on. When we do use it it tends to be a case of being on for an hour at max and then off again. The thermostat never really had a chance before to detect the change in temperature in time. We haven’t noticed any problems so far. If, for some reason, it does end up playing up then I’ll drill a line of holes in the bottom and top of the mirror casing so as to allow the air to circulate more.

    Anonymous 1, trust me, I’m the lucky one to be marrying her, she’s definitely the better half in my opinion!

    Anonymous 2, she doesn’t own *that* many….. well ok maybe she does. None of them are ridiculously expensive though, not high end designer expensive. Most of them are pretty cheap – she just likes having them. In comparison, I have two pairs of shoes that I alternate between. There’s a similar ratio going on in terms of clothes. I get one single width Pax wardrobe half filled with drawers. She gets a double width Pax wardrobe, a six drawer Malm chest and a fair amount of spillover space in the spare bedroom’s wardrobe. :-D Then again, the ratio is inverted when it comes to gadgets and macs. The garage, attic and my office are full of all sorts of electronics!

  38. Anonymous says:

    Cat owns ways too many shoes.

  39. Barb says:

    What Justin said.

    Thermostats contain sensors that measure the air temperature surrounding them, and judge whether your heat (or a/c) should be activated according to that temperature. It’s particularly important if you have a setback thermostat.

    Lovely hacks, overall. The shoe closet is a joy to behold.

  40. Justin says:

    Your thermostat won’t work correctly if it isn’t ventilated properly. It probably thinks the room is 5 degrees hotter than it actually is.

  41. Justin says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. I love all these “hacks”. Wish my handyman hubby had some time to do some around our house.

  43. Anonymous says:

    cat – marry him now, like today

  44. Those are incredibly inspiring!

    Especially that shoe room. If it’s one thing I own a lot of, it’s shoes and clothes.. :D

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