Hack Extra Counter Space with This $20 IKEA Shelf

No island? No problem. Get a kitchen counter perfect for pull-up stools with this $20 Ikea hack.

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Hadley Keller

If you know me, you may know my thoughts on open floor plans. Full rant here, but TLDR: They're not for me. So, suffice it to say I was thrilled when my roommates and I found a Brooklyn apartment with a spacious kitchen that was in its own room. The one catch? As avid cooks, we loved to hang in the kitchen, cooking together—and when guests are over, they often do the same—but, without the standard island divider with trusty barstools, our kitchen lacked any seating space to hang out while meal prepping. At the suggestion of one roommate, though, we soon found a solution—and all it took was a basic Ikea shelf.

That's right: A $20 Ikea shelf, with the right planning, = a DIY kitchen counter. Follow along for the (insanely easy) tutorial.

1.Measure Your Space

    As with any responsible DIY, you'll first want to measure the space where you'd like extra countertop. Consider the width and depth for shelf size and style, and also the height, depending on what you'll use the counter for. Standing to chop? Sipping wine on a barstool? Mark the wall with your desired height ahead of time.

    BERGSHULT / PERSHULT Wall shelf
    IKEA ikea.com
    $19.99

    2. Select Your Shelf

    My roommates and I opted for an older Ikea shelf that's no longer available, but the Bergshult and accompanying Granhult brackets are fairly similar. Select the color option from Ikea or, if you want to take the personalization one step further, paint the shelf (and let it dry!) before moving onto the next step.

    3. Bracket It

    Using your height mark and the measurements of the shelf as a guide, drill one bracket into place; insert the shelf, cap it with the second bracket, and drill that one into place, too. You'll want to use a level here to ensure the shelf is even.

    4. Add More Brackets if Needed

    If you're planning to use your shelf for light storage or as an eating area, you're probably fine to leave the shelf as-is. If you plan to do more heavy-duty prep work, there, though, you may want to add some additional support brackets underneath. Opt for a simple, small option and you won't even see them.

    5. Style It

    The more integrated into your kitchen the shelf is, the more it will look like a real countertop. In our kitchen, we set it under our pot rack, then arranged cutting boards and utensils on the wall behind it in a kind of functional gallery wall.

    DALFRED Bar stool
    IKEA ikea.com
    $39.99

    6. Add Stools

    Looking to sit at your newfound counter? Add a few bar stools. Ours are—you guessed it—Ikea, but here's a selection of stools of all styles.

    7. Enjoy!

      Make the most of your newfound countertop! Use it as a prep station, resting place, or organizing area when cooking large meals, or have guests sit at a stool and sip wine while you're cooking.

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          The finished counter, complete with some post-project wine. Oh, and that incredibly realistic flower is actually faux (!) by Diane James, the design world’s best-kept secret.
          Hadley Keller

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