APT: Washington Heights

Little shelf in the kitchen.


I just put this little shelf up in the kitchen in our city apartment, and it’s made such a huge difference in how I store things. So much cabinet space has been freed up, and my cooking oils are right by the stove now. It comes from IKEA, of course—it’s the 55″ MOLGER wall shelf, and though it’s intended for bathroom use, I really think it’s the perfect thing for storing smaller items in the kitchen without taking up much space. And it’s only $12.99! It comes in a couple of shorter lengths, too.

The glass jars on the shelf are also from IKEA. They’re SLOM jars, and they fit perfectly on the shelf. It’s almost like they were made for each other. Just so you know.

kitchen shelf 2

Dig the dovetail finger joints! So cute. Also, it’s worth noting that I didn’t bother trying to use the invisible “keyhole” style hanging system on the black of the shelf. It’s like trying to hang three clocks simultaneously, and I’m just not that coordinated. Instead, I just drilled straight through the back and set the screws into wall anchors. It’s not like the screws show once the shelf has a bunch of stuff on it, anyway.


I don’t think I ever posted a photo of the BEKVÄM stool after I painted its legs, did I? Well, here he is. I get so much use out of this little guy.

Ah, and the ubiquitous SIGNE rug! There is nothing these rugs can’t do. Did you see the article in Living a couple of months ago where they made them into giant pillows? Brilliant.

And before you ask, yes, the clock is from IKEA. The wood countertop/shelving unit is from IKEA. So is the pepper mill. And the cabinet knobs. Oh, and the bowl that the bananas are sitting in. (I take it back—the bowl is from CB2.)

By the way, I love that IKEA’s “Automated Online Assistant” is named Anna. It’s just so fitting. I wish they’d give her black hair and a more stylish shirt, though.

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  • Reply Heather Moore October 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Jealous of your easy IKEA access! Someone just sent me the UK catalogue in the mail, and there’s some seriously nice stuff there. Will have to cross the pond with a big bag again some day. Your kitchen looks fab.

  • Reply Debbie October 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Gotta love Ikea! That peppermill is sweet. How ’bout those bunny plates? Those are cute.

    • Anna @ D16 October 26, 2010 at 11:43 am

      The bunny plates are from West Elm! We bought about 20 (!) of them a couple of years ago on clearance, and I can’t tell you how great it is to have that many little plates. They come in handy every time we have people over.

  • Reply Joani October 26, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Excellent job making a cute and very usable kitchen. How nice to have your most-used items so accessible while maintaining an uncluttered space. And I love Ikea…just love it.

  • Reply Dan October 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

    It all looks great! I love the stool– I have the same one but haven’t done anything to it since I’m not sure it’s sticking around, it’s just so big.

    I totally always figured Anna was named after you. She’s actually surprisingly helpful!

  • Reply christina October 26, 2010 at 11:59 am

    looks great!
    those jars are adorable
    i like when spices & etc are displayed rather than hidden in some dark cabinet somewhere

  • Reply Mariela Ramos October 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Looks very nice.

  • Reply Meghan October 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I have that little shelf in my bathroom and LOVE it. It fit perfectly in a little space we had.

  • Reply Bekka October 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Dang! Your kitchen looks so nice! Mine has gotten so cluttered, looks like I will be spending Halloween weekend cleaning up so I can get half as clear as yours! I love that little shelf, it’s a brilliant solution for keeping those jars off of the counter.

  • Reply Linny October 26, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I thought the exact same thing, and have two of the shelves hanging in my kitchen too! I then decided that the matching molger shelving unit would work well as a pot rack (and it does) – I heart Ikea!

  • Reply erin@designcrisis October 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    LOVE it!

  • Reply Laura F. October 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I just saw those at IKEA today! I was actually thinking they might be the right depth to hold a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. Is that weird?

  • Reply Vanessa October 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I really like what you did with your BEKVÄM. I have one as a little bedside table, but haven’t yet painted it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Paul October 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    You’ve made that apartment kitchen so amazing. It reminds me of the utilitarian kitchens you see in European real estate listings.
    I’ve loved all your posts lately.

  • Reply Monica October 26, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Love (again)! The shelf, pepper mill, rug, stool, all of it. Hmmm, in Germany “Anna” is blond, but has the same yellow shirt. All that design talent and nothing left for the uniforms.

  • Reply Lindsay Jewell October 26, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Hehe, <3 Ikea. I think we need that stool…

  • Reply maria October 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    everything looks great!
    second the bunny plates love.

    “By the way, I love that IKEA’s “Automated Online Assistant” is named Anna. It’s just so fitting.”

    this was my exact thought 2 days ago when I was on their site. 🙂

  • Reply Jules October 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Every time someone mocks me for my IKEA love I point them in your direction. The kitchen looks serene and functional. I love it.

  • Reply melissa October 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I just bought some SLOMs and another SIGNE last night! I live 1 mile away from IKEA and it’s my vice! On some stressful days, I’ll go there just to walk through the showroom and pretend that, yes, if I had a perfectly laid out 300 square feet like the models in IKEA, I could totally live in that little space without tearing my hair out.

    Now your post is encouraging me to go back and pick up a MOLGER shelf for my SLOMs and my spices!

  • Reply Sa October 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Did you do anything else to your bekvam stool other than paint the legs? I use one as my nightstand and it looks remarkably different!

    • Anna @ D16 October 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm

      Nope, all I did was paint the legs! I didn’t even put poly on the steps, I just left them bare. In what way does yours look different? I don’t think they’ve ever changed the design, though I do think they may have changed the wood type from birch to beech somewhere along the way.

    • Sa October 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      I guess remarkably is a bit of an exaggeration, haha. Mine looks really dry and sad, where as the wood on yours looks smooth and a little deeper colored. Whatever the case is, the legs look so good painted I just might have to try it myself.

    • Anna @ D16 October 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      I would try sanding yours down a bit and giving it an oil treatment. (Well, only oil the areas you’re not painting!)

  • Reply Sue October 26, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    You make the simplest things look so cool. I’ve always wondered where you got those rabbit plates from…..and now they are long gone 🙁

    I’d love to see what you’ve done with your ampersand, if its hung yet. I purchased one when they we’re on sale, but I never thought of hanging it.

    • Anna @ D16 October 26, 2010 at 8:19 pm

      Nope, I haven’t hung it up yet. I keep changing my mind about where to put it!

  • Reply Helen October 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    ohhhh I like your little shelf very much. I’ll be keeping that shelf in mind for future projects for sure.

  • Reply lyd October 26, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I really love your use of black, white, wood and ikea gear.
    Though I think that joint is really a finger joint (or comb, or box.. only because the ‘fingers’ aren’t angled). Totally cute.

    • Anna @ D16 October 27, 2010 at 8:35 am

      Thank you! I like to know things like that…making the correction now. 😉

  • Reply Cheryl October 27, 2010 at 9:44 am

    We bought those rugs in black/green for our kitchen and I love them.

  • Reply Tilda B. Hervé October 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

    so fun! i bought this wooden shelves today in ikea for my office stuff, looks really organized!

  • Reply Kotilo October 27, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Nice! I just finished spraying my Bekväm black 🙂 There’s a clever guy as you mentioned!

  • Reply Grumble Girl October 27, 2010 at 11:32 am

    It’s all so, SO good! And Ikea really is the shizz… love it.

  • Reply Lena October 27, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Somebody should start a petition (maybe on facebook?) to have the look of the Ikea Anna redesigned- after your image of course.
    Kitchen looks really lovely, impressiv.

    • Anna @ D16 October 27, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      Haha, please don’t!!

  • Reply ehalvey October 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Are those plates next the the paper towels the peacock plates from Anthropologie?

    • Anna @ D16 October 27, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      No, they’re rabbit plates from West Elm from a few years ago. 🙂

    • ehalvey October 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      Oops, I saw that after I commented. Still really super cute!

      I love how simple and beautiful everything is! It really inspires me to make a better effort in our next place.

  • Reply BODIE and FOU October 27, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    the shelf looks perfect! so simple and minimalist I like that.
    And I like what you did with the stool (I have the same in our holidays home in France), did you varnish the steps too?


    • Anna @ D16 October 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      Nope, just bare wood!

  • Reply Shawn C October 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Beautiful shelf! I recently took a trip to IKEA to get some pieces for a desk. I’m still slapping my self for not picking up one of those SINGE rugs, I had one right in my hands 🙁

  • Reply Izzy October 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Ah, I wish Ikea in Germany sold those Signe rugs, they would be perfect for a few spots in my apartment (it seems some products differ from country to country). But it does now sell the Bekvam stool step in black, so I didn’t need to paint mine :o)

  • Reply Bethany Joy October 27, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    oh man I love this. your posts make me feel better about 90% of our house stuff being from Ikea. I reallllly want their Mandal furniture set (love the bed), but now I want this shelf too!

  • Reply mari October 27, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    whoa, this is giving me ideas for how to store some of my pet stuff when i redecorate. right now everything’s in a rattan basket that mumble keeps nibbling on. he’s managed to chew a hole through it that’s the size of half his body.

    ps – how funny, i always think of you when i see ikea.com’s “anna.” 🙂

  • Reply Miri October 28, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I like how you painted the legs of Bekväm stool – I have 3 of them because I’m quite short and I think one of them will look like yours soon – if you don’t mind. 🙂

    Best wishes, Miri

  • Reply Amnesia October 29, 2010 at 9:11 am

    That’s an Ikea sideboard aswell? Underneath the shelf.

    • Anna @ D16 October 29, 2010 at 9:56 am

      Yep, it’s from the VARDE line.

  • Reply lisa @ fix it yourself October 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I’m inspired to make the hour trek to my Ikea. I love that little shelf and there are a million places in my house that I could use it. I mentioned you on my blog today.

  • Reply Lisa November 12, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Love to see when people use stuff somewhere else than intended! Also love IKEA, but since I’m Swedish that’s no surprise. My middle name is actually Signe, and I totally get your delight in the assistant Anna. I think it’s great that IKEA keeps the Swedish names abroad as well, partly because it’s so funny hearing my friends trying to pronounce them, tihi.

    My best “repurposing” of an IKEA item is using a small Bestå cupboard for storage under the bathroom sink. I cut out a piece of the top with a jig saw, and made holes in the shelves and bottom for where the pipe goes through. Because the cupboard has adjustable legs, I could get it just the right height, so now my sink looks like it’s resting on the cupboard, like one of those fancier bowl sinks.

  • Reply fiona January 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Just bought the little stool last night at Ikea – I saw it and remembered your transformation. I’m going to try painting the legs on mine too – haven’t decided between spray and brush, but hope it comes out looking as nice as yours! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply Tania February 11, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I like the shelf (& the jars) but really like the stool, I keep stools everywhere because I’m only 5’1″, very few things I can reach on my own.

  • Reply ch July 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Your shelf is so lovely, and I had just decided to make some alterations to my apartment. But it appears they’ve discontinued the Molger shelf. Sob.

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