I’m slowly progressing on Kate’s new playroom, and my big purchase for the space was an IKEA 16-cube Expedit shelving unit, seen below when I first set it up:
I absolutely love the IKEA Expedit and highly recommend it to anyone interested in additional storage for their space. It’s relatively inexpensive, easy to assemble, study and great quality. I had previously purchased some different cube shelving for our living room toy storage, but the IKEA Expedit series is such better quality I wish I had gone with it in our living room, too. My only complaint with this unit in Kate’s playroom, however, is that she has so many little things needing storage – crayons, beads, stamps, etc. – that would be ridiculously frustrating difficult to find if I tossed them into a 13×13″ bin to fit the cube.
The whole point of a shelving system like this is to improve your organization – not create 16 separate bins of chaos!
I realized what I really wanted was the ability to use multiple smaller-sized bins in each cube without having to stack them (because stacking is the enemy of organization!) – and if that was going to happen, I needed to split some of these cubes up. I decided adding additional shelves to my Expedit was the plan and attempted to google my way to a solution, with no luck. Any tutorials I found were ridiculously complex, expensive, and/or required power tools we don’t own.
I knew I could do better.
One trip to Home Depot with a browse through the hardware aisle, and I had my plan. Best of all – all the supplies I needed to add 4 extra shelves to my Expedit only cost me $20!
3/4″ Corner Braces (4 per shelf)
#6 x 1/2″ screws
Here’s what the corner braces and screws look like that you will need:
The corner braces are what you’ll use to hold your shelf up, and keep in mind that you’ll need four of them (2 per side) for each shelf you’re installing.
I purchased inexpensive white laminate shelving (Rubbermaid’s Multipurpose Shelving) that was 8″ deep and long enough to make four 13″ shelves. IKEA Expedits are 15.25″ deep, but I didn’t want the newly inserted shelves to show because I knew the whites wouldn’t quite match up, so I opted to go with shelving that was only 8″ deep. Now that we’ve been using it for awhile I notice that the bins sometimes tip if you slide them in too far, so I’d recommend going with shelving that’s 10″ or 12″ deep for your project.
Lucky you – learning from my mistake!
To start, decide on the bins you’d like to use (make sure they all fit!) and then measure where your shelf needs to land, making two marks with your pencil (and using a level, if needed) on each side of the inside of the Expedit cube.
Consider the placement of each of your brackets and make sure they’re slightly different for the left side versus the right side to prevent drilling screws from each side into the same place. (That wouldn’t be good.) For example, I screwed all my front brackets on the left inside side of the cube 5″ from the front, and on the right side I placed them 5.5″ from the front.
Once you’ve screwed all four brackets in, this is what it’s going to look like:
IKEA Expedit cubes are 13.25″ wide, but you’ll need to cut your shelves just shy of 13″ so they fit width-wise, accounting for the space the brackets take up on the insides. G cut our shelves, but if you don’t have a power saw you can ask the friendly folks where you purchase your shelving if they’ll do it for you – I’ve done this a few times and it’s always been an option!
Once your shelves are cut, you can just slide them into place! They’ll sit securely on the brackets, but if you’d like extra holding power you can drill screws into the shelf through the bottom of the brackets for added staying power (I didn’t feel the need to do this, but it is an option).
Here’s a look at the depth of our shelves. I used an 8″ deep shelving board, but as I mentioned above, you can easily get away with (and I would recommend) something a little wider. In fact, I plan to buy a wider board the next time I’m at Home Depot to change ours out, but this gives you an idea of what to expect:
We still have lots to do in this space, but it certainly doesn’t stop Kate from enjoying it already!
Love this playroom! You always do such beautiful decorating for her!
Thank you so much, Ida! Having Kate has certainly gotten me out of comfort zone of neutrals and in to loving color!
Where did you get those baskets? Ikea? I know those polkadots hail Target!
Yep, the baskets are from IKEA, and the only thing I was willing to commit to for the cubes at the time I bought it. I’m glad I didn’t go cube bin crazy because it turns out that wasn’t going to be very functional for us!
LOVE this idea, Dusty! You can never ever have too many baskets in a playroom for storage, and this Ikea hack looks awesome. Sharing it on my facebook page this am and pinning, too!
You are awesome – thanks for the compliment and the shares, girl!!
looooooooooooooooove. you’re a genius to recess them.
Thank you so much, M!
Looking good – it’s coming together so perfectly! I think Target is phasing out those polkadot bins, makes me sad!
Thanks Allison! I figured those “polka pot” bins weren’t going to stick around forever – I’m glad I snagged ours while I had the chance!
Good idea, those big cubes from Ikea always seemed too deep! (BTW, I’m the random, awkward gal who stopped you at Target the other week, lol!)
Hi Kate! You weren’t awkward AT ALL! You totally made my night! I hope we run into each other again sometime!
That’s very possible… I’m pretty much a Target addict! I stop on my way home from work a lot less than I used to now that I have a baby waiting at home, but end up needing to stop for something or other every week or so. Hope to see you again!
That is great! I cannot wait until the IKEA opens up here. I have much organizing and decorating to do.
Ooh, I’m so jealous you have one opening near you. Our nearest one is 2 1/2 hours (and 54 kabillion highway tolls) away. Boo!
So cute! We have the same shelf and bins : ) Where did you get the adorable rug from?q
Hi Ella – the rug is Mohawk Home brand. You can find it at Target.com and other Mohawk retailers. Just search for “mixed chevron.”
Love this room and the rug!!! Where did you find it?
Thank you, Casey! The rug is Mohawk Home brand. You can find it at Target.com and other Mohawk retailers. Just search for “mixed chevron.”
Found this while searching for a way to make my own shelves. I love my Expedits but it can be hard to decorate or fill each entire cubbie. Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure, Angela! I’m so glad you found this post to be helpful!
Squeal. This room is fantastic. I love it. I have been eyeing that rug. What a beautiful place to place and dream. And the shelves. . .genius!
Thank you so much, Courtney! The rug is comfy and gorgeous – I would definitely recommend it. It was so nice meeting you at Haven! Thank you for stopping by to say hello!
Great idea…I’m going to use your idea for shoes and put my expedit in the entryway. I originally purchased 2 for my daughters’s play room. It didn’t work for me. I purchased Ikea’s trofast toy storage and I love it. You can use 4 different size bins, I use the small ones for kids movies. And the larger ones are good for barbie(s) and her car.
Sounds like an excellent solution, Kelly! I hope it works out well for you!
Great looking toy storage…. Can you tell me where you got the polka dot bins and the size of each.. Thanks
Thanks Suni! The bins are from Target – their ITSO brand. The larger bins I used are actually their size “medium” and the small bins that are 2/row are their “small” size.
Love the room! Where did you get the wall tree decal?
Thanks, Amanda! The tree decal is from Homeslicks.com but I added the colorful leaves. You can see more about it at this post:http://www.allthingsgd.com/2010/02/kates-nursery-part-2/
Hi, love your walls too. What’s the name of the paint color?
Where dd u buy the bookshelf?? I love!
Thank you, Courtney! The bookshelf is from IKEA.
Hello! I just had a quick question about the awesome table. I love the roll of paper on it ready for art at any time! Did you guys build this table? Or is it something you added to an existing table? If you don’t mind sharing!
Hi Shonna, the table is from Land of Nod and comes with this roller as an option.
Thank you! Much appreciated!
Hi, So i absolutely love this idea and have made the shelves but cant find boxes to fit anywhere. I love the ITSO exploding Floral that is available at target at the moment but they wont ship to AUS. have you got any ideas on getting boxes that would fit?
brilliant! thank you – just ready to start filling mine up and was wondering the best way to add shelves very happy girl today!
I’m so happy to hear it, Nancy! Thank you so much for your comment and good luck with your new shelving system!
That looks great! I want to do something similar but with only a 1×1 cube Expedit – have you had any problems with the screws going into the end boards (i.e. not the solid verticals)? I know there is not much to drill into there except hardboard.
Hi Alistair! I used the 3/4″ corner braces and #6 x 1/2″ screws for the thicker outer walls, too, and they work great. Good luck with your project!
I’m about a year late, but I love all the shelves. I too was wondering how you went drilling into the fatter outer walls? We’re putting shelves into a 2×4 and so each shelf will have one edge on the outside, and I don’t want to the weight of the shelf to tear a hole in the wall.
Thank you, Louisa! I used the 3/4″ corner braces and #6 x 1/2″ screws for the thicker outer walls, too, and they work great. Good luck with your shelves!
beautiful playroom. where is this rug from ??
Thank you! The rug is the Mixed Chevrons rug from Mohawk Flooring – we love it! (See more here:
You are BRILLIANT! Thanks for the great idea! Going to convince hubby to do this for my craft room. Now, off to target to find similar baskets!
Thank you so much, Esther! Good luck with your search!
Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure, Vic!
what size are your smaller bins?? Wanting to use this for my clinic but having trouble figuring out what you used…thanks!!
They’re the Itso bins from Target and the smaller ones are a size small. I’m not sure if Target still carries them, but maybe you’ll have some luck on ebay or Craigslist.
Hi, I absolutely love the color you chose for the room. What is the name of that color?
Thank you! The color is Raspberry Pudding by Behr. You can see more here: Kate’s Nursery: Part 2
The Expedit is no more. I will never finish my craft wall, which needs a few more units and inserts. SOB!
Keep an eye out on your local Craigslist – you never know when someone has one up for grabs!
Looks like the Kallax series may have replaced the Expedit series. They show the same baskets would fit in Kallax, so they are at least similar.
I haven’t checked out the Kallax yet, but it looks like a great alternative!
This is a great idea, but I think I’ll use black brackets, and put them upside down (or from the top, I can’t decide) so the shelves don’t have to be cut down.
(BTW, the Kallax is a fine alternative; I barely notice a difference between them and my Expedit.)
Sounds great, Nana! Also glad to hear that about the Kallax.
Super cute playroom! Where did you get the banner that’s hanging above the Ikea Expedit with Kate’s name on it? Did you make it or buy it somewhere?
Where is your rug from?? It is sooo cute!! I would love one like it for my classroom!
Thank you, Brittany! The rug is Mohawk Home in their “Mixed Chevrons” pattern. I believe it’s available online at Target.com.
Hi, i love your decorating style and iam wondering which material these cute little polka dots boxes are made of? I am lacking space in my expedit and looking quite a while now for storage. I would love these boxes, but i dont a target shop around here ( living in good old Germany).
Thanks for your help
Hi Kristin, thank you so much for the compliment! I’m not exactly sure what kind of material these polka dot bins are made of, but they feel like a sturdy/heavy duty cardboard with a heavy duty twill-like fabric over them. I hope that helps! Good luck to you on your search!
This idea is the best! I’m using an Expedit in my art studio/sewing room. The addition of shelves will make storage much more efficient and organized. Great tutorial, and a really cute room, too!
Thank you so much, Val! So happy to hear you found this tutorial helpful. Good luck to you as you tweak your art studio space!
Hi. This is wonderful but target site says itso are 6.5 tall so should not fit in half an expedit shelf. Did the dimensions change? We are trying to implement this but calculating that bin height needs to be 6 in max. ??
Hi Di, I just measured our Itso bins and they are 5.75″ tall so either the dimensions did change or the website is wrong (which I’ve seen happen before). If returns aren’t a hassle for you I’d suggest ordering them (or even just one) and seeing how it fits. I hope they still work!