Cute Ikea Ivar Shelf makeover, How To Paint Ikea Ivar?

I am having loads of fun putting my greenhouse together, and one thing I needed to add was shelving and storage. In this post, let me share how to paint the Ikea Ivar cabinets and how I gave them a unique makeover for my greenhouse. 

When looking for storage options online, I found loads of metal and plastic shelving for greenhouses. While I wanted something practical, I also wanted something pretty too.

So, I had a peek at the Ikea website for shelving Ideas and liked the look of the Ikea Ivar system. I loved that the Ivar system is interchangeable and customisable, so I went with the two-tiered option with cabinets.

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How to paint the Ikea Ivar shelves and cabinets. Painted ikea shelf in sage green.
Cottage greenhouse, pots of flowers with sage green Ikea shelf.

Is the Ikea Ivar good quality? 

The Ikea Ivar contains softwood, and while assembling the Ivar shelves, I found them wobbly. However, when I drilled in the brace to the back, this made it sturdy. 

However, the Ikea Ivar cabinets are more solid and come with thick pieces of wood for the doors and frame. Even the shelves are nice and thick. 

The screws that came with the Ivar shelf were small and weak. So I decided to use my own. 

The brackets that come are also small. I have the cabinets at the bottom of my shelf system, but I have seen configurations where the cabinets are up high. I don’t think the shelf system can support the weight of having a cabinet up high, and I think it would be a topple risk.

However, head to your Ikea showroom to look at the product in person and give it a good aul shake test. See how they have configured it and how they have secured it. 

Ikea Ivar softwood shelf. Is Ikea Ivar good quality?
Cottage greenhouse, pots of flowers with sage green Ikea shelf.

Are the Ivar shelves easy to assemble?

No, the Ikea Ivar shelves gave me the ultimate Ikea rage. To assemble the Ivar shelves, they recommend two people, which aside from my cat helping me wasn’t an option. 

While I did contemplate calling my brothers to help halfway through, I managed to get the shelves up. 

The Ivar shelves are not hard to get your head around. However, when you start clicking the shelves in, the unit feels unbalanced and unsecured. Only when you add the back brace does it feel secure. 

It is also worth noting that the Ivar system needs to be secured to the wall behind it as it is a topple risk. While the shelves are sturdy and made from thick wood, the frame is more flimsy, and if a child climbed on them, I think the wood could snap.

While Ikea didn’t make these with the intent of kids climbing them, I have a nephew, and I know appealing this could be for a climbing expedition. 

Sage green shelf in greenhouse.

How to paint the Ikea Ivar Shelves and Cabinet?

If you want to read more about how to paint Ikea furniture, then click here. However, I will give you a simple breakdown below. 

The Ikea Ivar system is softwood, so it drinks up that paint! However, adding a coat of primer to bare wood will stop it from absorbing too much paint product.

  • Prep. Lightly sand the wood to key the wood to give the paint a surface to adhere to, then clean with a degreaser. 
  •  Prime. The Ikea Ivar has knots in the wood, and these can bleed over time. Prime these knots with a stain-blocking primer before painting your topcoat. With the Ivar, I recommend one coat of primer applied all over, as it will stop it from drinking all your paint. 
  • Paint. Apply two coats of your chosen topcoat. If using chalk paint, ensure to seal with wax or varnish afterwards. However, this is not necessary with satin/eggshell finishes. 

Now, I cheated with my paint job. I used Autetntico Versante Matt in the shade Kiwi. This paint has a built-in primer and is self-sealing. However, I did follow the prep steps above by cleaning and sanding. 

This paint has a matt finish and feels similar to the wood. If you want a silkier finish, you could use the Autetnico eggshell, but you will have to use a separate primer when using the Autetnico eggshell. 

As you can see in this YouTube video, I painted my Ikea Ivar units unassembled. When doing this, make sure you leave enough drying time, as the paint is more likely to chip when it’s curing. Decide what works best for you. 

Overall it took me 6 hours to paint the shelves and cabinets, not including drying time. My Ikea makeover project took me a weekend to complete start to finish, including adding the floral furniture transfers and assembly. 

Autentico Versante Matt paint in the shade Kiwi.
Ikea Ivar makeover, garden greenhouse shelves in Ireland.
Cottage greenhouse, pots of flowers with sage green Ikea shelf.
Harvest basket, in cottage greenhouse.
Re design by prima, floral transfers on furniture. Cottage greenhouse, pots of flowers with sage green Ikea shelf.

Decor transfers, where to get Re Design by Prima floral transfers for furniture? 

I purchased my Re Design by Prima floral transfers from Ireland here. However, I have noticed that they are now out of stock. 

Click this link to find a list of stockists near you, as I noticed it is mainly independent craft shops that stock and sell the Prima furniture transfer range. 

Also, try Etsy, as I was able to find some online from Etsy. Click here to see more floral furniture transfers. I feel like they really added detail to my Ikea Ivar makeover, and made it unique.

Re Design by Prima floral decor furniture transfer Ireland.
Re Design by Prima floral decor furniture transfer Ireland.
Re Design by Prima floral decor furniture transfer Ireland.

Are the Prima floral furniture transfers easy to apply?

Yes! I had contemplated using my Cricut to create vinyl flowers, but the thoughts of all that weeding on a large area, nope! Another option could have been to decoupage the bottom. Click here if you want to read about decoupage. 

So, I stumbled across these floral furniture transfers, and I loved how they looked hand-painted. There is a lot of detail in the flowers that I wouldn’t have achieved with my Cricut or decoupage. 

You get a lot in one packet, and I was able to do the whole front of the Ivar cabinets with one pack of floral transfers. 

The furniture transfers come with a backing sheet and a top transfer sheet. Also included is a handy scraping tool. 

You position your floral transfer on the piece of furniture and use the scraping tool to apply the transfer to the surface. I used firm pressure, but for any transfer that lifted off, I put the tape back down and scraped the transfer, and it applied to the surface. 

Sage green and brick floor greenhouse Ireland.
Floral furniture transfer. Redesign by prima floral decor transfer. Ikea Ivar makeover.
Sage green and brick floor greenhouse Ireland. Ikea Ivar makeover.

Click here to see my Ikea Ivar makeover video!

Do you prefer to watch over reading, then I got you. Click here to watch my YouTube video to get a closer look at how I gave the Ikea Ivar a makeover. 

I hope you got some inspiration from this weeks post and YouTube video. Let me know if you found it helpful, and if you have any further questions or need advice, please comment below in the comments section. 

Thanks for reading, Chat soon, Catherine. 


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