12 ways to close up the back of the KALLAX

12 ways to close up the back of the KALLAX

An interesting question popped up on our FB group. Stacy asked, “Has anyone put a back on their KALLAX shelving unit? What did you use?”

Well, glad you asked.

The KALLAX shelving unit comes with open cubes, which is why it makes such an awesome room divider.

But there are times we need a back panel for the KALLAX. Such as when we use it as a media console. Closing up the back of the KALLAX immediately hides the ugly wires and power sockets.

Or when used as storage and we don’t want stuff to fall behind the cubes.

What are our ideas for a KALLAX back panel?

Let’s take a look at these 12 unique options.

#1 Cardboard

It’s the cheapest, most available and easiest option for a KALLAX back panel. This IKEA hacker use the cardboard box the KALLAX drawers and inserts came in.

It’s as simple as cutting and folding the cardboard to the right size.


Then slot them into the cubes. A strip of double sided tape will help keep them in place. Make a few holes in the cardboard for wires to go through. Decorate the cardboard if you don’t like them plain.

KALLAX cardboard back panel
#2 Fabric

This can turn out nicely, depending on the fabric you choose. And so very easy to do. All you need is enough fabric to cover the back of the KALLAX and Velcro.

KALLAX with fabric back

Put the soft side and crunchy side of Velcro tabs together, peel the backing off one side. Tape down the Velcro on the back of the KALLAX, pressing firmly for adhesion. Repeat in as many sections of the KALLAX back as needed.

Lay the fabric out on top of the KALLAX, good side down with 2 edges as close to lined up as possible. Peel the backing off 1 corner Velcro and firmly press the fabric to it. Pull the fabric taut and repeat till the whole piece of fabric is secured. Trim off excess if any.

See the full tutorial.

#3 Burlap

Cane webbing is expensive. Whilst, burlap which has a similar look, is more affordable. For the back of the shelving unit, it’s perfect.

It’s pretty simple to do. Cut the burlap to size and staple it to the back of the KALLAX.

Posh Pennies used it to create a set of doors of the KALLAX. It looks fab and will look just as good behind the cubes.

#4 Wallpaper

How to cover up the back of the IKEA KALLAX? Lay it down on its face. Spread the wallpaper across the cubes. Pin with tacks or staple the wallpaper to the frame and middle dividers. Bam! Totally transformed.

KALLAX wallpaper back panel

If you’re using the KALLAX inserts, you can also wallpaper the backs. Like so:

EXPEDIT wallpaper on inserts
#5 Acrylic sheets

Acrylic sheets in gold can give the KALLAX a luxurious update, especially if you’re thinking of using it as a bar. You can get the sheets cut to a custom size at a plastic shop. Stick them on with double sided mounting tape.

acrylic sheets
Photo: Plastic Sheets Shop UK
#6 Shiplap

If you’re going for the farmhouse vibe, this is it.

Becky bought thin pieces of lumber and laid them down across the back of the shelf. Then, used a drill and some screws to secure them into place. 

shiplap for the back of KALLAX unit
Photo: Homestead128
#7 Plywood

The crowd favourite – plywood.

And with good reason. It’s affordable and it can be painted or stained. Emmeline suggests 1/4″ plywood, cut to size and nailed to the back of the cubbies. Nothing’s going to fall behind the bookcase, ever.

plywood for the back of KALLAX unit
Photo: Petal and Ply
#8 Chicken wire

That’s right. For an industrial style, staple chicken wire to the back of the KALLAX.

Spray paint the wire for a classy finish, like how Rebecca did.

chicken wire in gold

She framed up the wires as doors for the KALLAX. This step would be optional for the back of the KALLAX. See her hack on Livingetc.

chicken wire doors
#9 Pole wrap

Fluted panels are all the rage now. There are various ways to achieve the look: wood dowels, MDF even foam. But for the back of the shelving unit, a pole wrap is the easier way to go.

pole wrap
Photo: Home Depot

A pole wrap is strips of wood veneer stuck to a flexible backing. It’s a fluted panel, ready made.

Best thing is, it can be stained or protected with polyurethane to bring out the natural wood beauty.

To make it fit your KALLAX, cut the plastic backing to size with a box cutter. Then use a miter or table saw to run through the veneer strips. A fine blade is recommended.

Use construction adhesive to stick the veneer side to the back of the KALLAX. Clamp down and let it cure. The beautiful fluted panel will show through the cubes.

#10 Beadboard

Jen shows beadboard works really well too. Cut the beadboard to fit and paint them. Then use Liquid Nails to stick them to the back. That’s it! See the full tutorial.

beadboard for the back of KALLAX unit
Photo: The Creative Cubby
#11 Ready made panels

There are panels ready made for the KALLAX, sold by this Etsy seller, if you rather leave the hacking to the experts. The veneer panels come with special fastening elements and screws. They are screwed into an existing KALLAX compartment without the need to pre-drill.

ready made
Photo: New Swedish Design
#12 Pegboard

IKEA offered a KALLAX-SKÅDIS door, which led me to think a pegboard would work for the back too. This idea will be most useful for a KALLAX unit that isn’t pushed against a wall. Then, the pegboard in the cubby and at the back of the unit will be accessible.

Photo: IKEA.com

You can use the SKÅDIS pegboards but you’ll need to trim them down a bit to fit the KALLAX size. Any regular pegboard will work as well.

Pegboards on all three sides of the KALLAX if you so wish, for maximum storage.

SKADIS pegboard
Photo: Jennifer Maker

And there goes my 12 ideas for a KALLAX back panel.

Hope you get some ideas here, Stacy. Let us know how it goes. We’ll love to see what you do with yours.

Happy hacking,


Hacking may compromise the structural integrity of the item, so please be aware of the risks involved before modifying or altering any IKEA product. Alterations and modifications will also void any warranties or return policies you may have received from IKEA. IKEAhackers.net is not liable for any product failure, injury or damage resulting from the application of suggestions, ideas and hacks featured on this site.

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