Confession, I have a love-hate relationship with the IKEA Expedit line. I purchased one in 2012 because it worked like a dream as a room divider, or more accurately as a “messy bed hiding area,” in my old studio apartment. However in the new apartment it stuck out like a sore thumb. It was just so “square.” It made the apartment appear shorter and looked out of place with the rest of the living room. I wanted to elongate the unit without losing all the storage space. Inspiration hit! I had a Lack shelving unit hanging around that I hadn’t yet installed in the apartment. I decided to combine both units to change the bulky “square-ness” my Expedit into a “step-up.”
Warning! One thing that you cannot see clearly from the pictures is that the Lack shelves are not the same width as the depth of the Expedit unit. This means the Expedit unit will overhang by about 8 cm. I personally love the overhang because I’ve secured the Expedit unit against the wall and the pushed out Lack shelves are surrounded in light from the window. However if you do not want to incorporate the Lack unit, I’ve included the corrected measurements to just modify the Expedit unit italicized in brackets.
Over the years, IKEA has modified the dimensions of its Expedit and now has changed the line entirely into Kallax. Please use my measurements only as a rough guide. Double check that my measurements will suit the dimensions of your unit. Please hit me up in the comments if you have any questions and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP!
You will need:
one 4X4 Expedit unit
one Lack shelving unit (If just modifying Expedit, do not include this)
one 1X1 Expedit unit
Hand saw (or table saw, you lucky lucky lad)
White contact paper
eight 2″ L-brackets (or the brackets provided to secure Expedit to the wall, make sure to keep at least one to secure the unit to the wall)
To clarify which pieces to cut, I’ll be referring to each segment as outlined in the following picture.
The “top” is the double sided coated piece with the overhangs that screw into the two “side” pieces, while the “bottom” is the one sided coated piece that runs parallel to the top. Then for the thinner panels, “1” is closest to the bottom while “3” is closest to the top. Also, I’ll use “rough end” to refer to the side of the thicker panels where you’ve cut and “finished end” for the untouched white-coated end.
1) Cut the following pieces. I used a hand saw, but if you have access to a table saw it will make your life much much easier for this project. The white coating fractures very easily when cut. To prevent this, I applied masking tape to either side of the area I was about to cut which largely kept the white coating from flaking off. It’s important to note that thicker panels are NOT solid wood. They’re basically 5 cm of particle board on either end with corrugation (like cardboard between these):
Anyways! Cut the following pieces:
Bottom = Cut off 5 cm (Leave bottom uncut if not attaching to Lack shelf)
Top = 71.9 cm (76.9 cm if not attaching Lack shelf) and 42 cm, make sure to measure from each end to keep the finished overhangs
Side = 68.8 cm
Top from 1X1 Expedit = 40.3 cm
Sides from 1X1 Expedit = 30.2 cm (you will have two of these)
3 = 67.4 cm
2 = 102.4 cm
For the 42 cm and 40.3 cm pieces cover the rough edges in matching white contact paper.
2) Drill holes in the Lack shelf to allow pieces 1, 2 and 3 to connect via the dowels. Drill two holes spaced 1.9 cm and 5.1 cm from the front edge of the Lack shelf at 2.5 cm, 39.4 cm, 64.6 cm and 109.6 cm. These holes should be at the exact spacing of the inside of the Expedit Side piece, with the additional 2.5 cm holes for attaching the Bottom piece, (make your life easier by using the existing side piece as a guide).
3) Lay the shelving unit on its side and attach the Lack shelf to one side of the Bottom and the 68.8cm Side panel to the other. The Lack shelf is attached via two dowels and the Side panel by two dowels and two screws. Secure the lack shelf by two L-brackets.
4) Assemble panels 1 and 2 as if it was a regular Expedit unit, but with the Lack shelf is your side panel.
5) Drill eight holes 2.5 cm from the rough end into the 42 cm piece. These will be used to connect this piece with the lower upright thin panel and thicker upright 30.2 cm side panel. On both sides, drill four 1/4″ holes (the two outer holes must go through the particle board) for the dowels from the thinner piece to enter. Use the dowels as guides by coating the tips of them in marker. Place your piece down firmly where it will be attached and lift. The marker will have transferred onto the piece to be drilled, providing guides for where you will need to drill.
6) Attach the 42 cm piece by four dowels to the thin upright panel and secure it by two screws to the thick side panel, (use the long screws provided in the Expedit unit). Further secure the unit by attaching two L-brackets to the front and back interior of the thinner upright panel to reinforce the joint between the 42 cm panel and panel 2. Then attach the 30.2 cm panel by the four dowels.
7) Ok! You’re a third of the way there! For addition of the 40.3 cm panel repeat steps 5) and 6).
8) Last piece! Drill four 1/4″ holes for the dowels, 2.5cm from the finished end of the 71.9 cm piece to connect it to the top 30.2 cm side piece. On the rough end, drill four 1/4″ holes, (two per a side) through the particle board. Use the dowel guide trick from step 5 to drill four matching holes in the Lack shelving unit.
9) Attach the 71.9 cm piece to the 30.2 cm side panel and Lack shelving unit by eight dowels. Secure the top panel by attaching two L-brackets to the front and back of interior of the Lack shelving unit to reinforce the joint between the new top panel and the shelving unit.
Congratulations on your new de-squared Expedit!!!
Thanks for sticking with me through this longwinded tutorial. If any parts of the instructions are unclear, please leave me a message in the comments and I’ll respond to you as soon as I can. I would love to know your experiences with IKEA hacking. Have you ever modified your Expedit?