Official IKEA “Hack” Kits Will Let You Pretend To Get Creative With Your Furniture

While IKEA products are intended by the company to only be assembled in the way their designers prescribe, that hasn’t stopped countless individuals from modifying and repurposing IKEA furniture to create something more useful, attractive, or idiosyncratic. Finally realizing that its designs aren’t sacrosanct — and that there is a lot of money to be made in their customization — IKEA is working on official “Hack” kits so that millions of customers can all make the same company-approved tweaks to their fiberboard furniture.

Gizmodo’s Adam Clark Estes was at the recent IKEA Democratic Design Day event at IKEA HQ in Sweden, where the company unveiled its idea of cashing in on customers’ desire to have more individualized furnishings without having to look around on the Internet for suggestions.

It’s a pretty simple idea. Say you buy a FROSTA barstool from IKEA. There are an awful lot of things you can do with the parts for this item, from fashioning them into a bedside table to a coat rack to a tree swing.

But rather than have you go online — perhaps to a website that IKEA tried to shut down — and get these ideas or dream one up yourself, IKEA wants to sell you a Hack kit that includes some extra parts for you to modify the FROSTA into a FROSTA with a canvas seat back.

It’s a good idea, from a business standpoint, as much of what the company would put into these kits are just going to be parts that it already has made. In addition to advertising on the showroom floor which products have Hack kits, IKEA will have a website featuring Hack concepts — and of course selling kits — in the hopes of getting people with IKEA furniture already in their homes to spend a little more to change things up.

But is this kit really a “hack”? To us, the idea of a furniture hack is to see new possibilities in a pile of laminate wood pieces and plastic-baggied bolts. While it’s nice to see IKEA encouraging customers to go beyond the drawing on the side of the box, the kit idea may just be giving them another set of diagrams and instructions to follow to assemble an IKEA-approved product.