How to Make IKEA Furniture Any Color You Want

When I was setting up my new office, I had this image of the IKEA Expedit (the one with the cubby holes) in red against my wall. I really really wanted a red Expedit, but I knew this wasn’t going to happen. Since IKEA furniture is made of particleboard, it’s not very easy to stain or paint without a lot of prep work, and even then sometimes it doesn’t work out.

For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to cover every piece of the Expedit in contact paper before I built it. In theory, this was a great idea because it looked good once I was finished. In actuality, the cost and time might not be worth it for some people.

Warning: This project got expensive and took upwards of 8 hours. It may not be worth it to most people, but I was following a dream.

I ended up buying two rolls of 18″ x 49.5′ red contact paper from They have tons of really cool papers, but I really just wanted red. Once it came in the mail, I spent hours and hours covering each piece of my 4×4 Expedit with contact paper. I got really good at the smoothing technique, and it ended up looking really nice. Jon helped me put the piece together, and now I have a red Expedit in my office.

I did use over a roll, but I still had about 2/3s left of the second roll. I proceeded to cover the “pantry” aka media center we got off of Craigslist in the same color. It has a nice, wipeable surface that hasn’t scratched up at all in the year since I took on this crazy project.

Added a great pop of color in the kitchen


  • This is brilliant. Curious to know how much it cost. But I love the Expedit and have always thought that its one fatal flaw is the limited color range. So yes, it would almost certainly be worth it.

    • Christy

      Thanks, Shahnaz! So, I was a little embarrassed about how much I spent on it, but I’ll indulge anyway. The rolls of contact paper were $65 each, and I bought 2. And seeing as the Expedit retails at $129… I spent more on the contact paper than the Expedit itself 😉 Just last week, I used the last of the contact paper on desk drawers of a desk that’s in the same room of the Expedit, so I’m happy to stretch it a bit farther!

  • Tomate Farcie

    This is brilliant!! Well done!!! I agree with you, a red Expedit would be awesome. Thanks for the idea :)

  • vannah

    hi,i think your ideas are remarkable! The decorations and home furnishing is awesome the colors i came up with was cool and you really helped me!everyone asks where i bought a piece in my kitchen lol, i totally said nothing.

  • Newavenger

    They just brought out a shiny red expedit…

    • Christy

      Hooray! I love the new gloss red and gloss gray Expedits! I definitely would have bought one of those instead of going through this painstaking project. However, if you still want a color like blue or yellow, contact paper is the way to go.

  • I am curious has the contact paper lasted? I am thinking about doing the same with one of the IKEA beds..specifically the underbed drawers.

    • Christy

      Hi Dina! Yes, I’ve had both of these pieces for 2.5 years now, and they’re still looking good! Neither of them encounter too much friction, though. The Expedit has the cloth boxes in it, and I don’t really slide things across the pantry. They have been very easy to clean, though, and if they were to get scratched up, I imagine I’d just place a new piece of contact paper over it =)

Leave a Reply to vannah