Published on February 25th, 2012 | by Jules Yap


Expedit: the bench, bookcase & Bass speaker version

Expedit: the bench, bookcase & Bass speaker version

Expedit 5×5 (1), Expedit 1×5 (6), Inreda shelf (2), Lack coffee table (1), Lack 1×4 shelving unit (1), plastic shelf supports, acoustical cloth, table saw, drill, glue

Description: Our family room is quite long, but not wide enough to accommodate additional chairs without the room becoming too overcrowded. Our wish list for this room was extensive: a place to permanently house the TV components, stereo, hide the TV wiring, book shelf for storage/display and additional seating for larger family gatherings. The impossible dream …. could one piece of furniture meet all these needs, and of course, not break the bank. We already had th e Expedit 5×5 shelving unit, and during a visit to a friend’s place, noticed the Expedit 1×5 shelving unit placed horizontally on the floor was the same height as a stool. This was the AHA moment….. an Ikea hack of Expedit units to fulfill all our needs!

Step 1: We began scouring websites & ‘As Is’ sections for used 1×5 Expedit units

Step 2: Two additional power outlets were installed, one behind the television and another outlet 24 inches above floor level to power all the TV components and speakers. Then we installed 2 low voltage cabling boxes at approximately the same heights to feed cables, etc between the TV and it’s components.

Step 3: We disassembled 3 of the 1×5 Expedit shelving units to remove one of the vertical supports from each unit. This gave us the space to house the wider TV components and bass speaker.

OK, now step back and figure out how we’re going to assemble this Mega-Expedit unit. A picture is worth a thousand words!

With plan in hand, onwards to manoeuvre the 3 shelving units into place (vertical supports removed). Unit #1 sits on the floor under the TV, flat against the wall. Unit #2 also sits on the floor pushed up against unit #1, and unit #3 is stacked on top of unit #1. The Bass speaker is deeper than the Expedit and removal of the vertical support allowed us to push it further back and achieve a flush look at the front. I also wanted a built-in speaker look, so stapled acoustical cloth around a wooden frame and pushed it into place. Friction prevents it from falling out. Then we cut the Lack coffee table lower shelf down to size. It became the shelf that separates the TV & stereo components, allowing for air circulation. Simply drilled 4 holes on the sides and pressed in dark brown shelf supports purchased from a big box store. So far I’m liking the look!

Next we placed shelving unit #4 on the floor (just the regular Expedit 1×5 with all it’s vertical supports) and pushed it beside unit #1. Stacked the 5×5 on top, and placed the last regular Expedit 1×5 in front of that. At this point we were pretty amazed nobody was crushed or injured and still had all 10 fingers and toes. The 5×5 shelving unit has been secured to the wall, in the event someone using the bench seat leans back. A bit disconcerting to feel something that large moving!

The hazards of an older home are that the walls are no longer square or plumb and the more you tried to push/pull shelving units together, the larger the gaps became. We decided to deal with gaps in one place, closet to the wall — easier to hide with casings or baseboards. The Lack coffee table’s top portion would be used for this. Two pieces were cut to the same size as the Expedit end piece. One was placed on the floor by the speaker area, and the second was siliconed (glued) to the unit that housed the TV components. It also gave the overall unit a more symmetrical look, as you see 2 thicker pieces where the units are pushed against each other.

I was inspired by many other built-in bookcase hack ideas, and wanted this mega unit to have that built-in look as well. Often there’s a portion (or both sides) of a bookcase that is less deep, and since we still had a bit of space on the right hand side of the room it was time to cut down the last Expedit 1×5. Using a table saw, we ripped the top, bottom and 1 side piece to 9.5 inches wide. The same depth as extra Inreda shelving we had from a different project. Re-assembled the top, bottom and side and bolted it to the wall. Only lightweight, decorative items will be placed on the recessed shelving but it’s still bolted to the wall studs. Oh, and yes the top, bottom and side pieces are hollow, but we saves the particle board pieces and glued them back into place to add stability. The Inreda shelves were cut to length, holes drilled into side supports, and and inserted more dark brown shelf supports.

The finishing touch …. crown molding. The old 1×4 Lack shelving unit is slightly longer than the newer Expedit 1×5. Easy …. a few more table saw rips and just lay it on the top of the entire bookcase. Am still hunting for the perfect dentile molding or something to give it a more dressed up appearance, and same can be said for baseboards along the bottom of the bench. The cushion needs final touches on the sewing machine, shelves need to be stylized, but overall we are VERY pleased with the outcome.

Now if I can only find 3 more of those discontinued baskets!!

~ Marika, Vancouver

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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".

5 Responses to Expedit: the bench, bookcase & Bass speaker version

  1. Arjuna says:

    Love your work! I just moved into a new apartment and inspired by this site, I hacked the 1×5 expedit by leaving out one of the vertical supports for TV components, PS3 etc. just as you did and stood it on the tapered wooden besta legs, which make it look far nicer than the standard options…

    I thought it would be a cinch to install a shelf (and perhaps a drawer for the bottom half) in the wider section, believing that surely others have done this before as well, and Ikea probably have just such a piece in its inventory cut to the right dimensions. Well, seems like this isn’t the case unless you wish to purchase the 2×2 expedit just for one of the longer dividers. So, I was wondering (in the hope that I’m wrong) if installing the shelf for your TV components was a relatively straight forward affair using pre-fab bits from Ikea, or did you have to go the totally customised route?

    When I’m done with this and some other little hacks around the apartment, I might submit them! Pretty proud of my very modest hacking achievements so far, this is my first venture into DIY home making :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds great Arjuna! I think I found a free Lack coffee table on Craigslist, and utilized the bottom shelf to hold the AV/TV components. The Lack black/brown finish matches the Expedit finish which was fortunate, and we cut the bottom shelf down to the dimensions we needed. Otherwise I can’t recall if perhaps an Inreda shelf could also work. I often wander around Ikea to check out which furniture/office desk finishes match which bookcases.

      Then we drilled 2 holes on each side & inserted the shelf supports we purchased from a big box home improvement store.

      Hope that helps!

  2. toylytoy says:

    I’m like it and very good idea

  3. Fatcat says:

    I like this! What a great solution.

  4. Keira says:

    Looks fantastic and very multi-purpose. Great job!

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