A basic shelving unit can increase your style and storage potential in any room.

Put it to work as a dining room sideboard, a potting station, a room divider, a mudroom organizer/bench, or a music center.

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When you find a piece of furniture that inspires ideas for using it in multiple ways, like IKEA’s affordable Kallax unit, you know you’ve hit on a must-have item.



A quick way to divvy up an open plan space is with a freestanding room divider. We used a double-row shelving unit to create a sheltered reading nook in a family room. Loaded with books and a few prized objects, it’s an attractive addition that adds personality and organization.


A room divider is an ideal spot to display your passions with a grouping of a favorite collection such as these vintage globes.


The Kallax shelf makes an adaptable alternative to the traditional dining room sideboard when modified with eight door compartments. Inside, there’s plenty of room for dinnerware, serving pieces, candles, and other supplies. A set of casters makes it easy to move the piece when desired.
Easy-to-apply Panyl decals, which are sized to fit exactly, give greater presence to the simple lines of the Kallax unit. The Moroccan motif and vivid hue combine in a contemporary take on timeless design.


The dining room piece would look equally at home near the front door. Just top it with a key tray and a framed mirror and use the compartments to organize your entry. Or opt for the one-row shelf unit as we did here, creating a storage bench for a mudroom or entry hall. Add a colorful cushion and cheery patterned pillows for comfort. Tuck baskets or trays into the cubbies to store outerwear or shoes.

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The Kallax unit is available in various sizes and finishes and accommodates add-on components that up the flexibility and storage ante.


The birch effect on this sturdy shelving is right at home as a potting bench in a sunroom, on a back porch, or in a covered garden shed. Two drawer inserts give us four roomy drawers to hold hand tools, twine, and other small items. Open cubbies provide room for larger items. Wire and woven baskets tuck away hoses, soil additives, and with a lining could also hold soil and mulch.
We topped the unit with a vintage metal garden gate to keep seeds, tools, and information handy.


The open cubbies are just the right size to hold a library of vintage LPs and pop culture books. Top it off with a turntable and a graphic London bus blind and you’ve got a music center that will draw in friends and family alike. Baskets hide components such as headphones, jacks, CDs, and CD player. Even old 45 records have a home in this cabinet. Inside the drawers, holders were made with 45-adapter-size dowels drilled into wood bases.
The unit gets a midcentury vibe with 8-inch wood round taper table legs from Home Depot. To get this look, use angled leg mounting plates available at the hardware store. Mark the placement of the plates and screw holes, drill pilot holes in the wood for the screws and attach the plates. Then, screw in the tapered legs and, voila, a style refresh.


This thrifty purchase will offer lots of service possibilities in any room of your home, while the clean and simple lines will grace any decorating style. We have a long list of other ways to use the Kallax piece—we’d love to hear your ideas, too, so feel free to include them in your comments.


Photography by Chris Hennessey


© Caruth Studio

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