IKEA tea and spice shelving

tea chest intro

I’m just gonna say it: I like IKEA and they like me, or at least my wallet. Going there is always a bit of a special occasion, since it literally only happens when we’re on vacation. I’m less interested in their furniture, but they do have a lot of useful bits and pieces that can go elsewhere in the house.

Now, IKEA isn’t within easy driving distance of anywhere in Tassie, since you’d have to take an overnight ferry to Melbourne, and until recently IKEA wouldn’t ship to Tasmania. So a lady in Melbourne started up a service for forwarding IKEA goods to Tasmanian buyers and made a mint on it, judging by its popularity. (It was called “Need for Swede.” Perfect.) Needless to say, IKEA now accepts online orders and delivers to Tasmanians themselves.

Still, I like to visit the big blue-and-yellow box when I’m in Melbourne or Sydney, bringing home things that fit into suitcases.

blank moppe

Part 1: the tea chest

This time I brought back a large-sized MOPPE, a blank wooden box with little drawers. People decorate them in myriad ways, which is the general idea. There’s tutorials on how to make these mini drawers look like faux-vintage card catalogs and the like. I knew exactly what mine would turn into: a tea chest.

Jamie is a tea drinker, as well as most people we’ve ever met out in the country. It’s funny how there’s this perception — at least in America — of hot tea being an effeminate drink, because Jamie’s old man is tough as boots and he loves sitting down with a hot cuppa. Me, I still prefer iced tea most of the time, but nothing beats a steaming mug of tea on a cold day.

Anyway, the always-growing tea pile in our kitchen made me feel twitchy at times. I don’t have a photo of the ‘before’, but yeah. I’d tidy it up and then we’d get even more tea that I couldn’t slot in neatly. It always looked cluttered, and it was easy to forget which types of tea we had on hand.

tea chest 1

And yep, here’s how the chest looks now, fitting right in under the sassafras shelves. Apparently I like garish ‘60s beach house colours. It certainly draws attention to itself.

hot sauce tray

(The shelf directly above it is where our hot sauces go. Important things.)

tea chest 3

The colour scheme loosely correlates to types of tea. Black and green teas, of course, and then burnt orange is red tea, blue-green is herbal, pink is floral/fruit, and the big blue drawer holds looseleaf teas.

tea chest 4

I like it! These IKEA drawers are very useful already, and I hope it looks charming rather than just cheap.

I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by giving a detailed tutorial on how to paint unfinished wood, but I will mention some details:

  • I flipped around the drawers to hide their notches, since I found them visually distracting. The knobs are just cheap 1-inchers in raw pine from Mitre 10.
  • I used craft paint to mix and paint my colours, since I already had it and I couldn’t be bothered buying $35 worth of paint samples. Then each drawer got a clear coat of water-based satin Estapol all over.
  • The outer shell is painted in the same semi-gloss white enamel as the kitchen cabinets. Again, I already had it.

old spice rack

Part 2: updated spice racks

First, there was nothing. My old, sad, freestanding spice rack wasn’t cutting it. I hung up a couple of BEKVAM racks, which did the job for a few months, but they really did just look like, you know, IKEA racks bolted onto the wall. I wanted to expand and use the nice jars that I’d been stockpiling.

ikea spice rack

So on our trip last month, I brought back RIBBA picture ledges to use in place of the small racks. They fit these glass jars perfectly, which I like because of their size and screw-tops. (NB: Kmart has been selling a knock-off version that look near-identical and sit at the same price point, so if you like them and can’t get to IKEA, that’s an option.)

ikea spice rack 3

I’ve got more spices in the cabinet, but these are the ones I tend to use a lot and buy in bulk.

I considered a few ideas for labels, including printed labels and chalkboard paint. I might do printed labels in the future if I can print them onto clear backing, no traditional paper labels. For now, though, I just wrote on them with permanent marker, which is easy to scrub off.

ikea spice rack 4

The kitchen is definitely feeling like ‘my’ space now, which is nice. I’m slowly tweaking it to make it more functional and stylish. It’s all the little details that make a space feel like it’s coming together.

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19 thoughts on “IKEA tea and spice shelving

  1. Very industrious. I particularly like the spice rack. I have the same spice jars and have hidden labels on their bottoms years ago. They fell off with a few washes, so then my husband and I just took it as a challenge to know every spice by sight and/or smell. However, I think your black marker labels look fabulous. Only problem is that I can’t draw! Not even a cinnamon stick. (Maybe a little sideline business for you…)

    1. Haha thanks! I tried doing the mystery-powders challenge at first (because I couldn’t be bothered with labels) but then Jamie kept calling out to me, asking which spice was which. Maybe I’ll set up an Etsy shop of pre-printed labels that look like permanent marker drawings. 😉

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