We’ve had an IKEA Kallax shelving unit for a few years now. (Doesn’t everyone have an IKEA Kallax? I love these things.) It first held toy bins in our main level playroom, and then we moved it to the basement where it plays a similar role. I recently decided to turn it on its side, and then figured I’d make it into a bench to add some extra seating for the kids or adults, which is especially useful when we have play dates with multiple kids and families in our basement.
Well, I consulted my dear friend Google in an attempt to find a sturdy, Kallax-sized cushion, and guess what? Oh yes, they are available on Etsy…..for anywhere from $150 to $200.
I decided there had to be an easy way for me to make one for a fraction of the cost.
And I’m excited to tell you that I did make my own cushion, and it was so, so simple. My version cost me about $50, a trip to the fabric and hardware stores, and about 30 minutes of time.
Much better than the alternative, right?! The best part is that there was no sewing required! (I can barely sew a button on a shirt, so this was excellent news.)
Here are the super easy instructions to make your own bench cushion for the IKEA Kallax.
Oh, and if you want to check out our basement playroom and TV room that features my finished IKEA hack, you can read that post and see lots of photos of the space right over here!
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Ready? Here’s what you’ll need:
- One piece of MDF board, cut to the size of your Kallax (in our case, I purchased one board, cut it, and then glued the pieces together so that the board was the appropriate size and then reinforced that with duct tape)
- One piece of 3″ multi-purpose foam (this is what I purchased from Home Depot — you’ll cut this to size later)
- About 3 yards of good quality fabric of your choice (make sure it has some weight to it; otherwise, you’ll be disappointed with the finished product — in other words, don’t buy the cheap stuff just because it’s a good deal)
- Fabric scissors
- A serrated kitchen knife (I know this sounds odd, but just stay with me here)
- A heavy duty staple gun
If you want to shop most of the items used in this project, just scroll to the bottom of this post for a handy list of the supplies, links included!
- Before heading to the hardware store, measure your Kallax. This will ensure that you select the right size MDF board for this project.
- Once you’re home, cut your MDF board to size. My husband did this for me, but I highly recommend you ask the lovely folks at your local hardware store to do this for you. Sadly, the cutting machine at my local Home Depot wasn’t working the day I purchased my MDF board, so we took care of this at home.
- Place your foam on the floor, and put your cut MDF board over it, lining up the corners of the foam and MDF board.
- Cut your foam to size using a serrated kitchen knife. (Yes, it works quite well!) Don’t worry if you have some jagged edges. You won’t be able to see those after you cover the foam and MDF board with fabric.
- Place your fabric face down on the floor. Then set your foam on top of that, and place the MDF board on top of the foam. If you’re using a patterned fabric, make sure your fabric is placed accordingly. You’ll be folding the fabric over the edges of the foam and MDF board, so go ahead and trim any excess fabric if needed.
- Pull your fabric and begin stapling it to the MDF board. (Hint: If you have a partner or friend nearby, have them help you with this step. It’s nice to have a second set of hands as you’re pulling and stretching your fabric!) You want to make sure you pull the fabric tightly so that the foam nor the MDF board shift underneath.
- Pull your fabric over one of the two longer sides of your cushion, and staple that to the MDF board. Do the same on the other side. Then staple the ends, leaving space around your corners. (You’ll tackle those last.)
- For the corners, I recommend watching the first 30 seconds of this video so that you can see exactly how to tuck and then staple the fabric in each corner. It’s much easier to understand the technique used by watching this video versus trying to read a laundry list of directions.
That’s it — you’re done! Easy, right?
My assistant made sure to inspect my work:
He approved, so here’s our finished bench cushion on our IKEA Kallax unit:
If you’re wondering how I attached the cushion to the shelving unit, I used large 3M Command Strips to attach my bench cushion to the Kallax. (I love Command Strips and use them for just about everything.)
There you go! I love DIY projects that don’t require any sewing, are quick to complete, and are inexpensive — and this one definitely checks all those boxes.
You’ll need to visit your local home improvement store for the MDF board — sadly, I couldn’t find a large enough size online to share with you in the list above!
Wanna see our entire basement playroom and TV room makeover, which features this project? You can check out the post and see loads of photos right here.