Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

April 7, 2014

Artful Expedit Hack, 2.0


My artful Expedit hack - canvases (with abstract paintings) hung on small hooks to act as "doors" - has been one of my most popular DIY projects.  It's been exciting to see so many people try this project for themselves (see here and here for examples).  Now it's my turn to tackle a simplified, and less artful, version.


For my second version of the same hack, I just painted some canvases the same turquoise as the office nook.  So easy!  I hung them in an orderly row on the bottom, which is a change for me.  To underscore the orderliness, for the next row up we will be building 15 magazine holders that will perfectly fit the cubbies and house our burgeoning magazine collections. 



If you're curious about what's lurking behind the swinging doors:


You might have noticed that I have a new Ikea Expedit - my fifth.  I've always wanted a white Expedit but the floor models always look so beat up - more so than the dark brown, which is what I always end up buying.


The first two Expedits I bought stayed in my childhood home and my parents now use them in the store they own.  When my Dad said he wouldn't mind taking the two brown ones from the townhouse as well (seems he's as keen on them as I am), I figured it was finally time to buy a white one.  It's creamier than I thought it would be, and nicks and dents do show up more than on the dark finish, but I love it.  The dark one took up so much visual space and was really imposing.  The white doesn't close in the room as much, even though it's just as large and just as packed with books.  I wish I'd trusted my gut years ago and chosen white.



You already caught a peek of the colourful books.  We pared down our books a lot before moving because we knew we'd be collapsing two bookcases into one.  We keep most novels elsewhere because we typically read those and pass them on.  This bookcase largely houses reference books, cookbooks, and novels we read again and again.  I used to organize my books by colour but in recent years I felt pressured to organize them by theme to be more "scholarly," but a) we have so few books that I find them in seconds, no matter how they're organized and b) I now have a PhD so I no longer feel the need to conform to ideals of scholarliness (I also reserve the right to make up words) (and overuse brackets).  The new system - a rainbow of books, tightly confined to two rows - is strangely soothing to my frenetic brain.  Ahhhhhh . . .



My colour-blind Dad was visiting recently and spent a long time looking at the books.  Eventually he looked at me, totally confused and sounding kind of helpless, and asked, "how are your books arranged?".  I looked at him, then at the books, then at him and then realized - of course - it must look like total chaos to him! 


The top row of cubbies has been reserved for breakables; Szuka's swishing tail makes most surfaces dangerous for anything more delicate than a rock.

Onward with office progress.  In the meantime, has anyone else tried my Expedit hack

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13 comments

  1. Love this Tanya! I can't believe how much more organized and polished it feels with the bottom row covered up!

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    1. Thanks!! That bottom row was driving me insane and then I thought, "heyyyyy, I know what I can do". I'm a one-trick pony, lol.

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  2. Version 2.0 definitely looks orderly...just my type of bookshelf. I arranged my books by colour throughout my PhD and people looked at me like I was crazy. C'est la vie.

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    1. I'm weak, I caved, so I admire that you stuck to it! I have no idea why people care how other people arrange their books, but they do. Seriously, there are much bigger problems in the world!

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  3. Due to a Craigslist snafu I missed out on a free top/bottom cabinet combination for my workshop. It was heartbreaking. But after seeing this, and realizing we're getting an IKEA in less than a month in my city, I'm over it. This is exactly what I need and infinitely more beautiful. Thanks -- love it!

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    1. Oh no, that's terrible!! I've missed out on some sweet finds too. I'm happy this idea might suit your needs - I'd love to see your Expedit hack. The Expedit has been discontinued for a slimmer model bookcase, I've heard, so hopefully your new Ikea will still have some hopefully on sale!).

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  4. I have this shelf in my girls bedroom and bought the various drawers and containers but it is so cluttered still. When I move them into the bigger bedroom, the expedit will be their room divider and these "doors" will be wonderful! I might add a small knob to the bottom of each too. Thanks for sharing your win.

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  5. LMAO!!! "I used to organize my books by colour but in recent years I felt pressured to organize them by theme to be more "scholarly," but a) we have so few books that I find them in seconds..." this whole paragraph is exactly how I feel. I've organized my books by color for years and love it so :) Much love, kindred spirit! I needed that good laugh :)

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  6. I used your tutorial and posted about it here - http://herochder.blogspot.com/2015/07/ikea-kallax-hack.html Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for sharing - I just checked your post and it looks great! I'm happy that the inside dimensions of the kallax make this tutorial still possible. I do miss the expedit, but your kallax units look so nice!

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  7. Hiya, I was just curious, we haven't gotten our
    KALLAX shelving yet, but having a baby in the house I want to do this with the bottom 2 rows and wondered what we're the size of your canvases please. Thanks!

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    1. The canvases are 12 x 12 but this is an Expedit. I don't know if the interior dimensions of the Kallax are the same, so just double check. I found my canvases at Michael's in a pack for a good deal :)

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