Published on July 30th, 2010 | by Jules Yap


Expedit random shelving hack

Materials: Expedit

Description: When my wife and I walked into a swanky expensive design shop here in Lund, Sweden there was a shelving unit that had random heights for each shelf. Very cool but way out of the reach of our budget. See pic on left.

(By the way, this was a year or so ago and only yesterday after the hack was done did a friend of mine take a look and tell me Ikea now do something similar! You can imagine my sigh but at least ours is ‘bespoke’!).

Anyway, first off I always thought our original 5 unit Expedit just dominated the living room and so the seed of either replacing or chopping it up has been there for a long time.

In my opinion they look great if left in a room with lots of space not butted up against a wall in a small space.
So the main problem was all our picture albums were the wrong size for the original spaces and the various bits of cool items to display just invariably get stuff piled in with them.

Clutter, clutter,clutter! Unless you have some kind of design OCD. Essentially, not very practical.

So, I measured the size of the items I wanted to display, then disassembled the Expedit. I moved the whole lot outside and started cutting the horizontal sections- first with a circular saw then I switched to a jigsaw as the plastic on the shelves would chip and crack too much with the circular blade.

As with the inspiration picture I wanted something that felt random but still in some way structured.

These are the steps I did – sorry for the lack of pictures. It was a blinding hot day and I couldn’t find the camera till late in the day…

1. The full final width was only 90cm to fit the chosen space in our living room, so this was the first cut on the top and bottom pieces.
2. I divided up the horizontal shelves into 5 piles and cut each pile in different widths. Some at 7cm, 9.5cm and others at 22.5cm and 25cm.
3. I laid the side section of the Expedit down flat on two stands attached the base section to form an L shape.
4. Then I started drilling holes for the dowling rods in the newly cut shelves and also in the side section.
5. Generous application of wood glue then set the vertical 9.5cm shelves in place. Though when finished will be horizontal.
6. Placed the long (once again will be vertical in the end) section on top of the shelves with wood glue and nailed each shelf in place.
7. Continued with the next level of shelves – this time the 25cm, followed by the 7cm and so on.
8. When the 5 levels were complete I put on the other large side piece and then the top section.
9. I screwed in some L brackets on the main inner corners to strengthen the whole frame.
10. Done and then with the help of my father-in-law, rotated the whole thing 90 degrees upright and voila! Job done and then lifted it into the front room.

My wife came home and was well happy!

~ JC, Lund, Sweden

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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".

7 Responses to Expedit random shelving hack

  1. Eric says:

    great changes on the furniture, I am myself handyman and worked at IKEA, I find your blog really great idea!!!
    I occasionally make furnitures like IKEA this is a great hobby after a hard day’s work.

    see you…

  2. Anonymous says:

    such a beautiful job!

  3. i just love your blog! what a cool idea! we have of course lots of ikea furniture, and almost everybody i know. but it gets a little bland to have what everybody has. i am constantly trying to spritz up ikea furniture. thank you for inspiration! by the way: norway says hi! check out my blog!

  4. Mymac4ever says:

    Very cool and whats even cooler is that it in true Ikea fashion probably works as well lying down as standing up. I love this place, lots of good ideas for current and future homes

  5. JC says:

    Hej everyone! We did consider having it lying down and putting our flatscreen tv on top. However, that will be another hack I feel as the sections were measured out for picture folders etc.

    Best of all was we got two of these Expedit’s for almost nothing from a friend of ours who owns a shop and wanted these removed.

    I do love this blog!

    Toodle pip! J :)

  6. This is very pretty and useful furniture! This is best for those small homes.

  7. Katie says:

    OMG. LOVE IT!!!! It kinda reminds me of tetris

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