More IKEA shelving ideas

I am very happy to say that my new studio is now 99% unpacked and ready to work in!

Outside of the closets (check out the insides here) I have two kinds of shelving – display shelving that I wanted to look good and functional shelving to make the stuff I use everyday easy to access.


Display Shelving

For the display shelving I chose the IKEA ELVARLI system. It is very customizable – and because it was designed for use as clothes storage it has a clothes rail which is perfect for hanging quilts on!

IKEA ELVARLI side units (that look just like ladders!) come in two size options, 15 3/4″ deep and 21 5/8″ deep. Because I wanted for this shelving to serve as a bookcase, I went with the 15 3/4″ deep option. Shelves are available in 15 3/4″ width and 31 1/2″ width, in both white and bamboo finish.

On the 15 3/4″ deep side units, the clothes rail can be placed at the back or the front. The front position is great if you’re going to be hanging clothes. The back position is perfect for hanging a quilt – it makes it possible to use the front of the shelf just below the quilt.


I was contemplating using one of the 21″ wide side units propped against the wall as a quilt display ladder. So far I haven’t figured out how to attach it to the wall to stop it from sliding on the carpet. Got any suggestions? Leave me a comment below if you do 🙂

Functional Shelving

Inside the closets I installed IKEA ALGOT shelving using the wall uprights that screw onto a wall. For some extra functional shelving outside of the closets I decided to go with the same ALGOT shelving, but this time I used posts with feet. The posts with feet combination can be created as a freestanding shelving unit. I’m very happy I made this decision as my original plan had the back of the shelves against the wall, with the side of the shelves coming across the door. When I had the shelves put together and sitting in place it just didn’t look right, so I turned it to face into the room. That left me with a hidey hole behind the shelves for stashing a huge bolt of batting – and a few other things!


Just in case you’re wondering why I have stuff stashed right in front of a door, let me explain! In the original plan for the house, what is now my “super loft” studio space was supposed to be a loft with a bedroom on either side. When I asked the builder if it would be possible to create one big space instead of 3 separate spaces, we elected to keep the doors into the two bedrooms and the pillars that created the entry into the center loft. That way, if I ever decide to move it would be easy for a future owner to rebuild the missing walls to add the bedrooms back in. And… it allows me to hang a curtain across the loft entry way so that I can hide my work space if I want to. Otherwise I would walk straight out of my bedroom and into my studio – and that didn’t feel like a good idea.

How to store all that thread?

In my previous studio I stored my thread in a chest of drawers. That was all very well but it did have some challenges. Any time the drawers were opened or closed, the thread would move around, so any attempt at organization were destined to fail. The drawers didn’t pull out all the way, so the thread spools would gradually make their way to the back of the drawers where it was impossible to see what was in there.

When I was packing up to move, I found some shirt gift boxes that were the perfect size for storing all my thread. At 19″ x 12″ x 3″, they were the perfect size to hold 135 spools of AURIfil Cotton Mako thread. The only problem was that 135 spools of thread is quite heavy, and the bottom of the boxes was not at all sturdy.

Enter IKEA KUGGIS boxes. They come in various sizes, the ones shown below are 10 1/4″ x 13 3/4″ x 3 1/4″ – and they come with a lid. I can fit 70 spools of thread in one box. The only drawback is that the lid doesn’t fit when the thread is in the box. I love that I can now see all of my thread. It remains to be seen if I can keep it nicely organized!

IKEA KUGGIS box with lid


  1. Looks beautiful!

  2. Very nicely organized. Makes me want to see what I can improve at home.

  3. Love the organization of your new sewing studio. One thought on the lids for your thread boxes … did you try turning the lid upside down on the boxes?

    • I did. They slide around a bunch. I’m loving being able to see all the thread without the lids!

      • What I would do with your new dream room! My sewing room is the smallest bedroom & even with built in storage cabinets, it’s bursting at the seams!! I LOVE the shelf units – especially the quilt display rail. Will the thread box lids fit right sided, but not snapped down — just basically act as a dust-cover? I sometimes have to do that with my plastic bin storage — items just a bit too tall, but the lid loosely covers, keeping most of the dust out & easy to move out of the way.

  4. Amazing!

  5. Looks good. Is there any chance exposing the thread to light might fade it over time? Also, I was thinking securing the shelf to the wall might make it less likely to fall forward if a small child tried to climb it similar to the way IKEA tells people to secure a chest of drawers to the wall. This might also solve the problem of the shelf moving around on the carpet. Your studio really is a delight. Must be great to work in!
    Jill Watson
    Lake Wylie, SC

  6. Looks great enjoy working in it! My room is small and messy right now. I have worked on doing one section at a time. Thread is all over I do several types of sewing and embroidery so I have lot of different kinds and sizes of it.

    • Fasten the shelving unit to the wall with screws through the side frames, hopefully into a stud. Should only need a screw on each side.

  7. wow! I love it. It would be wonderful to have that much room.

  8. I love what you have done especially the shelving units. Will you update us with how it looks after you finish a couple of big projects. That is when my clean room looks like I never organized anything.

  9. Looks like your dream is becoming reality. Great job!

  10. I found that IKEA Helmer carts are excellent for thread. I put peg board and spools in each one to keep the thread from moving when the drawer was open. So nice to be organized as thread is like candy to me. I wish I could include a picture for you.

  11. I found that IKEA Helmer carts are excellent for thread. I put peg board and spools in each one to keep the thread from moving when the drawer was open. So nice to be organized as thread is like candy to me. I wish I could include a picture for you.

  12. Your sewing room looks absolutely wonderful. I am so envious. I do have a sewing room but I have to share with the computer and it is no where near the size of yours. Enjoy, and I hope it will give you lots more inspiration

  13. Fantastic. I would love to be so organised. What is the quilt on display in the shelves? I made the Sedona star quilt when it was the block of the month on the quilt show but it is too big to go on my walls, so is on the spare bed. Love all your work. Thanks for sharing your space, I hope you enjoy it.

  14. Looks great, Sarah! Congratulations on your new place. Time to enjoy it.

  15. Wishing you many happy hours of designing and stitching out your beautiful designs.

  16. What a wonderful space. Know you will enjoy it!

  17. it looks like a wonderful space to be creative in.

  18. Sarah do you have any suggestions for IKEA components to hold rolls of batting?

    Enjoy your new space.

    • What about a heavy duty tension rod (like a shower curtain rod), wide enough to reach from one wall to another, depending on what width you’d need — like the end of a closet, turned sideways. Or if you have multiple rolls & can use an entire rod, the length of a normal closet, a regular rod could work — as long as you can lift it up to load the rolls. Just ensure it can support the weight of the rolls or has added supports.

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