3 Ways to Style and Use Ikea’s Kallax (Expedit) Shelf

Anyone who’s ever wasted an hour (or an entire afternoon) browsing Pinterest has likely seen some version of an Ikea Expedit shelf (recently renamed the Kallax—just to confuse everyone). The cubed-shape shelves are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors making them one of our favorite items from the Swedish manufacturing powerhouse. And most often used.

This Ikea collection has snuck into just about every Everygirl home tour (no surprise when you consider this 4-cubby puppy comes in at a meager $35!) and the best part? How people around the world take this single item and put their own décor twist on it. Different books, home décor accessories and necessities, and placement in a room turn the Kallax (are we calling it that yet?) into something completely unique. We’ve seen it used as a room divider in a studio apartment, a TV stand in a small one-bedroom, and a smart storage solution for this start-up’s office.

We thought we’d put our own spin on styling the Expedit/Kallax using the smallest and most affordable $35, 4-cube shelf. We teamed up with custom framing company Framebridge to demonstrate how this surprisingly chic and practical investment piece can suit a number of your furniture needs: fashionable bar, practical media stand, or dreamy bedside table. All you need? A quick styling change for a completely new purpose!

All of the custom framework for the art in this shoot, from the 5″ custom frames for your Instagram photos (see nightstand styling) to the 30×40″ oversized frame (see media stand styling), was done by Framebridge. Anyone who has ever needed a large piece of art framed can attest that the costs are often astronimical. Even at big box crafting stores with coupons, a frame for an 16×20″ piece of art can run you upwards of $300. We were first-time users to Framebridge and can attest the process and the prices are worth your while. Smaller custom frames start at $39 and the largest frames (up to 40×40″) with a mat only cost $150: that’s a fraction of the price at most custom framing stores! They offer 26 different frames, and prices vary by the size of the art, not the style frame.

All Everygirl readers get 15% off their order at Framebridge for the next two weeks using code THEEVERYGIRL at checkout!


Ikea Kallax as a BAR


The Obvious Ingredients: Booze. All kinds. Your favorite and your regular guests’ favorites. Bonus points if they’re delicious and pretty.

The Less Obvious: Don’t be afraid to use the open shelving to store glassware and serving pieces. We know dust may collect, but nothing a quick rinse or wipe down can’t fix. And if you’re anything like us, use the glasses frequently enough that dust doesn’t have time to collect. Game nights every Friday at our place! Yes, please.


Kallax (formerly Expedit) shelf, Ikea
black and brass legs, Pretty Pegs
mirrored custom frame, Framebridge
pink Paris doors photograph, Anna With Love
gold bamboo custom frame, Framebridge
Le Bicyclete print, Anna With Love
black candlesticks, CB2
camel cocktail napkins, Hattie Sparks
vintage decanter, Dovetail (in Chicago)
gin, whiskey and vodka, Koval Distillery
tray, CB2
champagne flutes and wine glasses, CB2
pink flutes, CB2
gold-rim glassware, vintage
top hat ice bucket, Kate Spade
copper mugs, Wayfair
hide rug, RugsUSA


Ikea Kallax as a NIGHTSTAND


The Obvious Ingredients: A reading lamp, a recommended novel, a scented candle, glasses, and fresh flowers for when you treat yo’self.

The Less Obvious: The bottom shelves can be used to store anything and everything you keep in the bedroom: clothes and accessories, perfume and jewelry, even extra linens. Think creatively about bin use! We recommend a mix and match look for more of an easy, relaxed feel. Baskets, bins, glass boxes, porcelain dishes… the options are endless! Practical and pretty.


Kallax (formerly Expedit) shelf, Ikea
custom Instagram frames, Framebridge
mirror, Birch Lane
lamp, Ikea
magnifying glass, Anthropologie
vase, Jayson Home
candle, Anthropologie
FUN porcelain containers, Jayson Home
gold and glass display box, Birch Lane
footed dish (w/ jewelry), West Elm
square bin, Serena + Lily
basket, Birch Lane
rug, Ikea
linen duvet cover, West Elm
Euro sham, West Elm
tassle throw, Anthropologie



The Obvious Ingredients: A TV. Duh. (Note: this is a teeny tiny screen but larger TVs also fit on the 8-cube Expedit. Er Kallax. We’ll never get used to it.)

The Less Obvious: Media stands should also include other forms of entertainment… you know… things that don’t have a screen for you to stare at. Mix in books, games, magazines, and albums (because you’re super trendy and asked for a record player for Christmas). This way, when you plop down to turn on last week’s Good Wife, one of these other items might distract and even entice you to do something other than zone out on the TV. (Of which we are certainly guilty.)


Kallax shelf, Ikea
wooden legs, Pretty Pegs
custom frame, Framebridge
“Keep Not Settling” oversized print, The Everygirl
wall sconce, Serena + Lily
x bench, Ballard Designs
record player, Amazon
floor planter, Gather (in Chicago)
candle, Gather
small planter, Gather
matches, Design Darling
triangle, Gather
vase, Gather
wall planter, Gather
wire baskets, Container Store
rug, Dash and Albert

How to Style a Desk 3 Ways: for the Student, the Post-grad & the Career Woman

How to Style the West Elm Parsons Desk
How to Style an Entryway
How to Style a Nightstand
How to Style a Coffee Table


This post was sponsored by Framebridge but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

  • Loved this post! This is one of my favourite IKEA products; so versatile! I need to get some of those Pretty Legs to update the look!

  • That gold bamboo frame is so cute! And obviously I’d advocate for using it as a bar set up…


    Ladies at the Bar

  • Making it into a bar is brilliant!! Another date night to Ikea is in order… 😉

    26 and Not Counting

  • great post, I have been looking for nightstands now for sometime for my two teens ….this would work prefect for them both

    • Angelina

      This would be amazing for me to have a change to my life

  • I absolutely LOVE this! I have been wanting to update my nightstand (they’re too traditional for my more modern home) and this may do the trick!

    xo Jessica


  • Erin Mavian

    Love this! Curious to know in Option #3 Media Stand where the wall sconce / light is from?

  • Lauren

    The product itself is very versatile, and I like the styling, but the legs are more expensive than the piece of furniture! It would be nice to have some cheaper alternatives.

  • lwh13

    I love this as a night stand so much – I also just went to make a purchase on Framebridge with the coupon code and it says it’s expired!

    Warm Regards,

    • Framebridge

      Hi Alexandra! Thanks for the heads up about the promo code. It has been updated and should work now. <3

  • Biana Perez

    I made mine into a bar cart and it couldn’t have turned out more perfect!! xo, Biana – BlovedBoston

  • Wow, love the styling! I really like the legs, I think it’s a great update. Frankly I am a bit over the no legs look of the expedite/kallax shelf.
    Sara http://aloveforgrey.blogspot.pt

  • Well, this piece will always be Expedit to me but I love it just the same. These are all great ideas. I’ve only had the big 4×4 shelf, but the small one really is quite versatile. It is always nice to buy a piece of furniture that will grow with you, even if you don’t know exactly how you’ll use it next!

  • Jess

    YES! Framebridge, you’re the answer to my prayers!

  • Becca

    which pegs did you use for the Kallax? The M8 or the universal plates? I’d like to recreate it but not sure which ones to buy! Thanks for your help!

  • Molly

    would love to know details on the framed photo on the ballard bench!

  • Emily Marie

    I bought two of these this weekend and used them as media displays/book cases. I LOVE them! So easy to put together and incredibly sturdy. I am going to buy a third to make the bar cart. I’m adding rolling wheels instead of the pegs (wheels are cheaper than the pegs shown). GREAT POST!!

  • Larissa

    I’d love for you to do a post on house plants. Where to find them, the names/kinds of individual plants, etc.

  • Diane

    Those pegs….Perfection! Cant wait to see what I can update in my home….xo http://www.dioratdawn.com

  • hheh

    I’m kicking myself for not thinking to use this shelf as a night stand. I recently bought some basic night stands from IKEA but they don’t have enough storage. This would have helped! Damn.

  • Loved the crisp, clear photographs! The idea about using the shelves as a nightstand is pure brilliant tbh!

  • Jess

    Where can I find this ceramic pink bowl?? West Elm doesn’t have it 🙁

  • Stella Niicole

    Love this! I want to use this as a night stand. Are the ones In these pictures glossy or non glossy? Which do you recommend?

  • NotMadeInChina Finds

    I LOVE LOVE having a bar in my home. I am a collector of 50s 60s dinnerware and just love all the bar ware from that period. So I am putting together this funky bar in my living room. I have a nice chrome bar that I found for a steal its got some scratches had some adventures but it looks awesome. Let the drinks flow! Thanks for the inspiration EveryGril!

  • Kailey

    Can you link me to the actual hanging rope mirror pictured? I found a lot of similar styles, but can not seem to find that exact mirror! I’d appreciate your earliest response, before Black Friday deals are gone! Thank you!

    • Hi Kailey! The original mirror was from Birch Lane, but unfortunately it is sold out. This is another great option: https://bit.ly/2P7yyy4