I know a bunch of you have probably already seen this, but look! – the Ikea Hacks, a completely excellent set of projects*. There are Mac Mini stands made out of Trunna lights; Menorahs out of candle holders; and speakers out of Blanda salad bowls. The picture above is a pendant lamp made from 15 Bastis catfood bowls
Ikea furniture lends itself beautifully to meddling. It’s self-assembly, so already exists as pre-designed parts of a toolkit rather than untouched raw materials. It’s also comparatively cheap for furniture, so there’s less guilt and expense in turning a table, bunkbed and desk into a multiroom superstructure. You’ll need some knowledge to fiddle with Ikea stuff (and not take your arm off with a saw in the process), but you really don’t need to be either an expert designer or carpenter. So: although the design space is more limited and predetermined than starting from scratch, this also results in the barriers to entry being much lower both in terms of know-how and money. (Also the cafe is far superior to anything at either B&Q/Wickes, or Habitat/Heals).
The fantastic hacks around Ikea furnishings encapsulate many of the problems of smart home designs in a low-tech way. Rather than moulding life and behaviour in a predefined way around objects designed for specific purposes in the home, you get to hack the furniture into what you want it to be for your life; or just because you can.
Of course, if you do want to rig up Ikea’s finest to a bunch of Arduinos and similar, these are some rather lovely tech hacks:
Do you have any more lovely Ikea hacks for us?
*This is also partly gratuitous as I’ll be up in Ikea Edmonton on Saturday, picking up a Hemnes daybed and going facedown in one of the herring platters.