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project sb update: contact paper is your friend

Let me just say first, I love IKEA. I do. I really do. More often than not, they have the solution I’ve been looking for and at the right price. However, sometimes their finishes aren’t always ideal. However, the great thing about IKEA is that you can usually “hack” them for a more custom transformation. So, thanks to some fabulous inexpensive walnut woodgrain contact paper, that’s exactly what I did.

Project #1: ye ol’ classic ENETRI shelving unit. Do any of you have/remember this?

I loved it when it came out and it was such a versatile piece. Anyway- I actually bought two (in the light “oak?” wood veneer) and used them in a former office location. Since then, I’ve moved offices and they have been collecting dust in the garage. I really needed shelving so I figured, why not re-use them and give them a happy new home.

But for the look I’m going for here, the wood finish I got would work, but it needed to go a bit darker. Also, the metal frame would best be suited in black (as opposed to that cheapie looking wanna-be-chrome-but-is-not-so-it-just-looks-that-weird-IKEA-silver). So… out came the spray paint bandits and after a little contact paper madness- voila! Instant mid century modern inspired makeover!

Here’s how it looks with lots of pretty tchochkes on it:

So since I was already in contact paper mania, I decided to give another IKEA piece a little faux walnut sexy-ness: behold the MICKE.

I love the minimal drawers and the gloss white top. I bought it in the “birch effect” (love that description! lol)

Anyway- contact paper madness again ensued on those drawers and bam!…

I feel like the walnut finish just gives it such a different look. Subtle, but so much better no? Also the walnut color matches the vintage chair I have and looks quite nice with the painting. Subtle changes make all the difference right? Now I’m looking around to see what else I can contact paper!… my furniture be warned…



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  1. Igor Reply
    I absolutely share your stance on Ikea, Jon! Great work!
  2. Jody Reply
    love it! I recently bought a "birch effect" expedit bookcase even though I'm sooo over that color, so maybe I'll try this! where did you find the contact paper?
  3. Jon Reply
    Hey Jody- I found it at Home Depot- strangely no other stores i went to carried it- but Home Depot had it in two sizes (small roll and large roll) let me know if you try it!
  4. Jessica Reply
    Love how you transformed these pieces! It changed the look completely, how amazing! I've actually been looking for shelves like that all over craigslist but can't find anything i like. Does Ikea still sell them?
  5. Jon Reply
    Hey Jessica- unfortunately I haven't seen those shelves at IKEA in a few years. I'm pretty sure they discontinued them. I'd continue to keep an eye out on craigslist, or perhaps IKEA will release something comparable soon!
  6. Tina Ramchandani Reply
    What a fantastic idea! I 'be only ever thought of painting, never contact paper!
  7. ModFruGal Reply
    Love what you've done! I've been considering buying a MICKE and you may have sealed the deal with your fancyness.
  8. Stacy Reply
    Where do you find the contact paper? I have wanted to to a coffee table and was looking at a wood veneer but this may be better if not easier.
  9. Jon Reply
    Hey Stacy, you can find wood grain contact paper at most hardware stores. I found the walnut color at Home Depot.
  10. Mabel and Zora Reply
    Hi! I love this! And am totally doing it, I've wanted the Parker desk from West Elm for years and have never been able to splurge that much for it, so the $69 Ikea with contact paper version is much more in my price range! Quick question, I noticed your laptop on the desk had that clock screen saver I've seen several places, where do I go online to find that screen saver? I love it & don't know how to get it. Thanks!
    • Jon Reply
      hi MabelandZora- you can get the flip clock here http://9031.com/goodies/#fliqlo
  11. Shannon Reply
    Brilliant! I have a white Enetri shelf that doesn't go so well with my new apartment, but I love it too much to get rid of it. I'm totally going to use this idea! Thank you!! The Expedit is next...
  12. Traci Reply
    I love what you've done and I must know more about the whale and the polar bear right underneath it.
  13. Nicole Rene Reply
    Love them both! Now if only there were an Ikea near by! Maybe I'll do this with my blah & boring Target shelves!!!! Hmm... Thanks for the inspiration!!!
  14. Ennay Reply
    Hi, Love what you've done here. I did something similar a while back with these cheopo IKEA picture frames. I bought them in black and later decided to cover them with white wood-grained contact paper to coordinate with the rest of my toddler's room. I should put it in my blog :) Was really happy with the results.
    • Jon Reply
      hey ennay- that white wood-grained contact paper sounds great! i've been looking for something like that for awhile- you should definitely blog it! thanks for stopping by
  15. meso Reply
    where did you get that whale on the wall? i need it!
    • Jon Reply
      i actually picked up the whale at Home Goods!
  16. Pingback: Hack them with contact paper « Ikea « Cool Internet Projects

  17. Tarsier Reply
    Loving your work so much! <3 Do you know where that vintage chair is from? I think Ill go hunting for one haha~ :]
  18. kate Reply
    Great job! They both turned out so well!
  19. natnum Reply
    where did you get that contact paper?
  20. Kaycee Reply
    Hi Jonathan, Just wondering if you have ever tried removing the contact paper and if it has left any damage to the original furniture?
    • Jonathan Lo Reply
      hi Kaycee- I've only ever put it on Ikea type pieces where it's just laminted particle board, and haven't had any problems. There sometimes is some residue but you can use a sticky remover solution like Goof off or something similar to clear it. I don't know how it would react to other surfaces. might be best to test a small piece in a small area if you are concerned?

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