Hacking IKEA’s FÖRHÖJA Kitchen Cart
I was re-arranging the furniture in my apartment and realized I could use a nice kitchen island to add for the extra counter space in the kitchen. I spent some time looking up temporary kitchen islands at online furniture stores but most of them seemed to be priced way more than I was willing to spend or were too big/wide for my needs.
So I went the DIY way and decided to repurpose one of my existing pieces of kitchen furniture, IKEA’s FÖRHÖJA Kitchen cart I was using for my microwave, coffee-maker.
After poring online for IKEA hacks, I realized that this kitchen cart was already hacked by a lot of folks online in many creative ways. But two of the hacks caught my eye as the most ingenious and beautiful. I loved the colors used in this hack, while the idea of adding a drop-leaf extension in this one seemed like a great idea to extend my kitchen island to be an extensible breakfast bar.
Shopping for Parts
To get the desired look and function from my inspiration hacks, I made a list of things I needed and went shopping!
For the new look, I needed to repaint the cart and re-stain the top, I needed:
- Paint color — Behr’s Sweet Rhapsody (nice turquoise blue)
- Dark Walnut Stain (get the smallest can available).
- Paint Brushes
- Sand Paper (220 Grit)
For setting up the drop leaf.
- IKEA’s EKBY TRYGGVE shelf (I had it sawed down to match the length of the table top)
- Three 1/12" hinges.
- Two drop-leaf hinge supports (one left and one right)
- Scrap wood to compensate for the difference between the table-top and the shelf (when attaching the hinges.)
Getting down to work
First, I detached the table top from the rest of the cart and sanded everything down with 220 grit sand paper. I had some left-over primer which I used to prime the cart frame and left it to dry for 3–4 hours.
While the primer dried, I took the table top and added the first coat of dark walnut stain on it. Now, this is the tricky part (if you haven’t stained before) after you stain your piece of wood, you need to wait for a few minutes (5–8 minutes) to let the wood absorb the stain and then wipe off all excess stain with a dry rag. I cannot emphasize how important this is, as I failed to do this properly the first time and after almost a day of drying, my table top surface was still sticky with the stain residue on top of it. I had to re-stain it to get it right — once done, it looked pretty nice.
I stained both the drawers and the drop-leaf shelf well similarly.
Now with the primer dried, it was time to paint the cart baby blue. This is how it looked like after the first coat (the color actually deepened after drying up for a while).
The left the table top and the cart to dry overnight.
After everything was all dried up, now came the interesting part of attaching the shelf I got from Ikea as a drop-leaf extension. First, I nailed the scrap wood onto the shelf to bring it to the same thickness as the table-top
Then I used an electric drill to drill 5/64" holes to attach the shelf to the table top with three hinges.
Finally, I had to measure and attach the drop-leaf hinge supports. I had to first attach the table top back on the cart before I did this since on side of the support hinge needed to be attached the table leg. Also, this was best done with table flipped upside down.
That’s it! Now the table was up and ready for use. Here are is how it looked extended.
That’s it! It was all done and ready for use. The extension and the table top did take a different color when stained probably because of the type of wood used in both cases was a little different, but I wasn’t going to fuss too much about it. It looks pretty nice and functional as-is. All I need is a couple of cheap bar stools off CL and we have a breakast bar / kitchen island hacked out of a $40 kitchen cart!