Studio to Home #4: IKEA KALLAX Room Divider

IKEA Kallax Room Divider


Not to long ago, I started my Studio to Home series where I document how I have been decorating my new studio apartment. I’m really excited by this and a few people even told me that they’ve been checking my blog to see what I do next. You haven’t seen many updates but that’s for two reasons 1) I’m on a budget and 2) I have been pretty indecisive in regards to what I want to buy. I have a lot of things on my wish list, but I can’t commit to them just yet. But I’ll be sure to update as soon as I make up my mind.




Living in a studio can be hard especially since your living space, dining space, and bedroom are all mixed together. It’s perfect for someone living on their own, but what about when you have guests over? I love my studio but I knew I needed to have dividers because I didn’t want my bed to be the focus of the room.

If you browse the internet & Pinterest, you’ll see that most people have done something with IKEA shelving, curtains, or wall dividers. Personally I am not a fan of the trifold wall dividers and the thought of assembling curtain rods and hanging curtains seemed pretty daunting. I wanted something that separated my space, but didn’t make the room appear smaller and still let natural light in. Ultimately I ended up going with the IKEA Kallax Shelves (formerly known as the IKEA Expedit).

These shelves come in various sizes and I knew I needed a shelving unit with 16 cubes (4×4) for the space I was putting it in. When I got to the store, my mom noticed that the 2×4 units were $65 each and the 4×4 units were $169 each. Getting two of the 2×4 units would give me the same storage space as the 4×4 unit (16 cubes) but it saved me $39.

I chose the cheaper option for two reasons:

  1. It was cheaper… Saving $$$ is always a plus
  2. Getting multiple smaller units is more versatile than getting one large one. I can turn them on their side and repurpose them for something like a TV stand in the future. It is much harder to repurpose the larger units
  3. Living in LA I am worried about earthquakes, and I felt that smaller units would be less dangerous than one massive unit

IKEA Kallax Room Divider


It was a pain to put together the shelves twice, but after assembling the first one myself, the second one was relatively easy. If you don’t have someone to give you a helping hand, then perhaps you may want to get multiple smaller shelves since the pieces are heavy and I don’t think I could have assembled a larger unit on my own.

Where to place the Kallax shelves as a divider…

The foot of my bed is right next to the front door and I wanted to create a mini “entryway” and block guests from instantly seeing my bed when they entered. Currently my shelves are at the foot of my bed and they are working pretty well for me here. I have the LEIRVIK bed frame and the footboard is pretty high, so in the case that there’s an earthquake, it’s very unlikely that the shelves will fall on my body, which is something I was concerned about.

You can place the shelves wherever. I contemplated putting them in the middle of my living space to divide my bed & living room but I realized that since my bed is right next to the front door, I rather block my bed when you enter, than to create a separating “wall” between my living room and bedroom.

It’s totally up to you where you place your Kallax. They are heavy and can potentially tip so be mindful and smart about where you put them.


IKEA Kallax Room Divider



IKEA Kallax Room Divider



When deciding where to place your Kallax,  please keep in mind that these are SUPPOSED TO BE SHELVES not wall dividers. These are HEAVY shelves and if you live someplace like Southern California where earthquakes are not uncommon, then please be mindful of where you place these. You don’t want them or any of the items inside falling on your head during an earthquake. Be sure to check the manufacture’s instructions for securing and mounting large furniture pieces to the wall if needed.

How to fill & decorate your Kallax shelves

My Kallax are the first things I see when I enter my apartment. As you can see from the pictures they really form an “entry way” when you walk in. I keep my keys on there on a cute gold plate I got from TJ Maxx for $2. I really hate clutter so I only have a few trinkets and decor items. Also please ignore the random picture frame in the picture below… I’ve been really lazy with picking up my prints so most of my frames are still empty!


IKEA Kallax Room Divider


Mostly I use storage cubes in my Kallax units. I have 6 in total. My cubes are tan and look similar to these from Target but I got cheaper ones at Big Lots for like $4-5. Big Lots has less of a selection so if you want patterns and more options then try Target but if you’re looking for something cheap in a basic color then go to Big Lots. I didn’t fill all of the slots because I still wanted to be able to peak through the shelves.

You can also get IKEA drawers and cabinet doors for your Kallax but they’re pretty pricey and I don’t think they’re removable. I’m so indecisive, that I need cheap items that I can swap out easily if needed.

IKEA Kallax Alternatives…

So you like the Kallax but it’s a bit big for you… Or perhaps you want it but can’t commit to the price… Or maybe you don’t have an IKEA located near you. Have no fear!  Target has some awesome alternatives that are similar and they come in different shapes. I actually really love this stepladder cube shelving unit and I’m considering getting it to put near the head of my bed. See the widget below for more shelving options from Target.

If you don’t want to use shelving units at all, you can hang curtains or put up dividers. If you have a smaller space, but want curtain dividers, I suggest that you get this bed frame from IKEA. It comes with a built in bar attached to the headboard, which you can use to hang a curtain or fabric, thus hiding your bed without the use of extra materials or rods. This would be a good option for someone who likes the curtain option but doesn’t want to hang curtains or put holes in the wall. I like this idea because you could get cheap fabric to go with your decor. I’m obsessed with twinkle lights so I would probably hang those behind a partially shear white fabric panel.

I hope this post helped anyone who is looking for room divider options. As you can see my bed is technically exposed to my living room but I actually like it like this. I’m considering putting up more shelves but I’m worried it will be too bulky looking and make the space smaller. Let me know what you think and if you have room dividing tips for small spaces & studio apartments let me know in the comments below!


Interested in decorating your bedroom like mine? Feel free to shop the widget below. All items listed are the exact same or very similar to what you saw in the pictures of my room above!




**Disclaimer: Some links used in this post are affiliate links, which mean that if you click them I will earn a small commission (I’m talking cents here… but hey every little bit counts right?).**



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