The adorable mess header

The adorable mess header

Sunday, July 19, 2015

DIY Ikea Kallax Storage Bench

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I have to admit, I can no longer walk into a store and just purchase an item for my house without thinking "could I make this myself?"  crossing my mind.  Thank you, Pinterest.  With that being said, I have thoroughly enjoyed researching how to personalize our home and to do so in a way that satisfies my husbands request that the things in our house be  :)  Which is what led me to our Ikea storage bench.

We're renting a town home that has this cute little window cut out.  As soon as I saw it, I knew that it would be a perfect spot for a storage bench/window seat in our living room.  After a tedious trip to Ikea and trying to explain my vision to my husband, we ended up purchasing and putting together the Kallax storage unit.  I have to admit, it sat in our living room for weeks before I finally decided on colors and baskets.

Today I'm going to share with you how we put ours together and provide links and information, in the event that you decide to make your own.


  • Kallax Shelving Unit $59.99 (see current price here)
  • Particle Board cut to 57 7/8" by 15 3/8" ($9.00 for a huge sheet.  I purchased mine at Lowe's and they cut it to size for me for free!)
  • 3" foam pieces (I used 3- 15"x17" sheets and then 1 sheet cut to15" by 7 7/8")
  • Fabric of choice
  • Quilt batting
  • Staples
  • Staple Gun
  • Baskets (mine: here, other options: herehere and here)
I have to confess, I was initially very overwhelmed by this project.  The original shelving seen in many of the posts on Pinterest was no longer available, the price of foam seemed through the roof at Joann's and it was so difficult to find baskets that weren't from Ikea that would fit the look and style that I wanted for my project. 

Thankfully, a very kind gentleman at Lowe's helped navigate me through some of my pitfalls.  

I began having my husband put together the Kallax Shelving Unit and I took measurements of the length and width of the bench.  I had originally read that MDF was a great option to use for upholstery, by I couldn't find it at a reasonable price for the size that I needed.  So, the kind gentleman at Lowe's suggest the particle board, which they cut to size for me.  He also suggested a basic staple gun and staples which cost me around $10.  

That part felt overwhelming enough, so it took me a bit longer to get to the fabric and the foam.  After pricing items on the internet and in store, I actually decided to purchase my foam and fabric from Hobby Lobby.  I waited until their foam was on sale for 30% off and then used my 40% off one item coupon for my fabric.  

To upholster:

To cover my particle board, I used 3 full sheets of foam and about half of the fourth sheet of foam.  I wanted to lay them out on top of the particle board to make sure that I had enough foam before I began upholstering.  

First, I laid down my quilt batting, making sure it was tight and smooth.  Next came the foam pieces, which I placed end to end.  I made sure that they were placed together as tightly as possible so that there were no spaces or gaps once the fabric was stapled down. 

Then, I laid down my particle board on top of the foam pieces and made sure everything is centered. Carefully pulling the batting so that it was tight and smooth, I worked around the perimeter of the bench, adding staples to secure the foam to the particle board.   Hint: Try not to bulk up the corners of the batting.  If it is too bulky, it will make it difficult to staple down your fabric.  

Finally, take your newly created bench and lay if face down on top of your fabric.  Staple along the length of the bench top and then work on folding the corners in and stapling the width of the bench.  

For tips on upholstering the corners see my step by step pictures below: 

1. Pinch the corner of the fabric and pull snugly.  

2. Pull up on the fabric so that it is perpendicular to the bench.

 3.  Pull it towards the middle of the bench center to create a fold. (Imagine you are wrapping a present.)

4. Staple it down.

5. Fold excess fabric over top and staple down. 

After I had finished with my bench top, I carefully laid it on top of the the Kallax shelving unit and added the baskets and some decorative pillows.  I was quite pleased with the way it pulled our living room together. 


  1. Is it saying enough for 2-3 adults at a time?

  2. That's my question too. Do you have people sitting on it regularly or is it just for show? Has it held up?

  3. People have sat on it. I think we've had two grown men on it at once and it held up. I wish I would have done one piece of foam because the foam pieces have each worn unevenly.