Hacking IKEA to create a new TV cabinet

When I moved to Singapore around 5 years ago I created my first Ikea hack by combined two Lack TV Benches and the sides from a Lack TV Side Table to create a larger tv unit: https://www.ikeahackers.net/2014/01/lack-double-becker-tv-bench.html. Having recently moved into a new apartment it was time for a new tv cabinet. I looked at several options in Singapore but could not find anything that was just what I was looking for in terms of size, design and price.

Therefore, I decided to create another Ikea hack. Initially I was planning to combine four fridge top cabinets similar to the hack posted by Med Venlig Hilsen: https://www.ikeahackers.net/2016/02/fridge-top-cabinets-hacked-into-tv-console.html. However, after further research of the Ikea catalogue I decided to use a single METOD high kitchen cabinet placed on its side rather than joining four fridge top cabinets together. Before starting the project I put together a quick 3D sketch to help me visualize the finished cabinet.

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Sketch of final design

Parts list

  • IKEA METOD High cabinet 200cm
  • IKEA KUNGSBACKA Door 140x40cm
  • IKEA KUNGSBACKA Door 60x40cm
  • IKEA UTRUSTA Shelf 40x60cm (Pair) x3
  • IKEA UTRUSTA Ventilated Shelf 60x60cm
  • IKEA UTRUSTA large hinge for horizontal door in black (Pair) x2
  • IKEA UTBY stainless steel legs (Pair) x4
  • IKEA BLANKETT Handles 595mm (Pair)
  • SO-TECH Cable Pass-Through Table Duct (200 x 70 mm)

Tools & Fixings

Base Preparation

Once assembled this TV cabinet was going to be a sizable and heavy piece of furniture. Therefore, I tried to build it as close to the final location in my living room as possible so as to minimize the number of times that I would need to turn it or move it. As a result I started building the cabinet from the ground up. The first task was to drill a hole in the base for cable entry. I drilled a 64mm diameter hole in the center of the base with the IKEA FIXA hole saw set. This 64mm hole is large enough that a stranded UK three pin plug can pass through it. If your country has more compact power plugs you could drill a smaller diameter hole. I drilled the hole through from both sides to minimize any break outs. I then pained the cut edge with black paint for a more pleasing aesthetic finish.

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Base template

Leg Installation

The next task was turn the base over and to install the four IKEA UTBY stainless steel legs at the corners of the cabinet base. As I would be placing a significant amount of equipment inside the cabinet and a large 60" television on top of it I also installed four additional IKEA UTBY stainless steel legs in the middle. The front legs are set back so that they would be hidden and the finished cabinet would have a clean and sleek appearance. However, these additional legs provide the required strength to support the weight to be placed inside and on top of the cabinet and are positioned directly under the columns that would support the top.

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Leg template
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Legs installed on the base

Shelf Preparation

I started by opening all of the IKEA UTRUSTA shelves and laying them out the six pieces on the floor. I then used a post-it notes to label the inside face and front/top edge of each panel for easy reference. In order to ensure that I drilled the holes in these six shelves correctly I created a table and diagram to document which shelf required each set of holes.

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Shelf reference table

I then created a template showing where all of the different holes should be drilled so as to ensure consistent alignment across all of the shelves. The light grey box in the upper left hand corner represents the UTRUSTA hinge. There was just enough space above the hinge for the corner block to be installed.

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Shelf template

Part 1: Cable Holes

In order the provide additional strength to the cabinet and support the weight of the TV I used pairs of IKEA UTRUSTA shelves located around 60cm in from the left and right end of the cabinet. To enable cables to pass between the three compartments I drilled a 64mm hole in the lower part of each shelf. I then used back paint to cover the inner edges of the holes.

Part 2: Equipment Shelf

For most of the cabinet I would use the full height due to the size of my equipment and the requirement for good cooling in the warm climate of Singapore. However, I decided to install one horizontal shelf on the right hand side to maximize internal storage for slimmer equipment. For this I used the IKEA UTRUSTA Ventilated Shelf as this had a gap at the back allowing me to route cables between the upper and lower sections without making modifications to another full depth shelf. This shelf would be supported on four black corner blocks.

Part 3: Supporting Columns

Shelves 2 & 3 and 4 & 5 were fixed together using wood glue to create strong columns capable of supporting the weight of the television to be placed on top of the finished cabinet. I would also add an extra vertical shelf to each end of the cabinet for greater strength that would be attached during the assembly using wood glue.

Part 4: Hinge Holes

For my design I wanted to the doors to open upwards rather than sideways, therefore I needed to use the IKEA UTRUSTA large hinge for horizontal doors. However, as the high cabinet was design to have regular hinges installed on the sides (now top and bottom) I needed to mount these hinges to the vertical IKEA UTRUSTA shelves. I had previously purchased a IKEA METOD fridge top cabinet so I used this as a template to measure the location of the required mounting holes.

Preparing the End Panels

Unfortunately, the end panels of the cabinet have a number of holes drilled in them that would in the original vertical orientation have had adjustable legs attached to them. This would look ugly if left exposed on the ends of my TV cabinet. Therefore, I reversed the panels so that these holes would be on the inside of the cabinet. The outside was clean with the exception of a vertical recess that the back panel would normally slot into. I pained this recess with black paint so it would be almost invisible once installed in the finished cabinet.

Installing the Shelves (aka Columns)

I worked from right to left adding the shelves. I used the horizontal ventilated shelf to correctly position the right hand column. An additional shelf was placed inside the right-hand end panel to ensure the correct positioning. The horizontal shelf would be installed later after the top had been installed to provide better access. Then the left-hand column was installed. Each column was installed using 4 black plastic corner blocks.

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Base with legs and shelves installed

Top Preparation

You could feed the cables to your TV through the back of the cabinet. However, I want the finished cabinet to sit flush against the wall so this was not an option. Therefore, it was necessary to make holes in the top of the cabinet. I purchased a black metal cable outlet from eBay in Germany: SO-TECH Cable Pass-Through Table Duct (200 x 70 mm). After drilling a series of holes using a 4mm drill around the outside of the cutout I used a fret saw to remove the wood between the holes and some sandpaper to smooth off any edges. There was only a 5mm overlap on the cable outlet so I had to be careful not to make the hole too large. Then I used some black paint to hide the inner edges of the hole.

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Cable outlet in the top

Installing the Back Panel

As I had reversed the end panels to hide the holes the recess that the back panel would normally slot into is now on the outside of the cabinet. Therefore, I had to reduce the width of the back panel so that it would fit. With the intention to have my cabinet positioned flush against the wall I needed to make some extra holes in the back panels to accommodate the plug sockets and in particular my bulky power line network extender. I marked up the back panel and drilled a 10mm hole in the corners. I then used a fret saw to cut out the sections to be removed. The back panel was installed using a combination of the supplied nails and wood glue to provide additional strength to the cabinet.

Top and Horizontal Shelf Installation

The cabinet top panel was installed using the standard parts. Then an additional shelf was glued inside each end panel to provide greater strength and to cover up the leg holes in the end panels. The two supporting columns were also attached to the top using more black plastic corner blocks. The IKEA UTRUSTA Ventilated Shelf was installed using a single screw in the front corner blocks to prevent it being pulled out if I needed to remove any of my equipment. At this point I had a good view of how the final cabinet would look.

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Top installed

Putting everything together

The doors were attached to the UTRUSTA large hinge for horizontal door with the black covers fitted. The hinges supporting the longer door on the right of the cabinet required the tension to be increased so that they could support the weight of the door.

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Hinges installed without covers

To improve the visual appearance of the cabinet doors I added the BLANKETT metal handles to the bottom edges of the doors. I went for the longest versions that would fit my smaller cabinet door (595mm) to emphasize the long and low design of my TV unit. The final step was to install all of my equipment and to place my TV on the top.

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Finished TV unit

Written by

Singapore based writer, snowboarder, gym goer, digital artist and aspiring racing driver

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