IKEA Storage Units: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ikea bookcase storage

If you’re looking for home storage options, IKEA storage units are the way to go. Each shelf, each box, is the perfect blend of Swedish practicality and American affordability. Plus the solid color palette matches any room.

Thomas Pychon had this to say about IKEA. “Look at this. A barstool, named Sven? Some old Swedish custom, the winter kicks in, weather gets harsh, after a while you find yourself relating to the furniture in ways you didn’t expect?”

I got these Winter blues this week, so I took a trip to IKEA to check out the options. There are a wide variety of IKEA storage units to choose from. If, like Mr. Pychon and myself, the winter weather has you drawn to furniture, this guide to IKEA storage units should satisfy your craving.

There are two types of IKEA storage units to consider: shelving and boxes. As you’d expect, many of the boxes fit well with the shelves. I’ve ranked each shelf and box based on looks, sturdiness, and space. Then, you can go to the store or online and pick out the storage that works best for you.

IKEA Storage Units: Shelving

The Kallax

Let’s start with a classic IKEA storage shelf: the Kallax. The Kallax is a cube shaped storage unit that comes in a 2×2, 4×4 or even 5×5. It can also come in 2×4, 1×4 and a few other variations. You can find them in a blackish brown color or in all white.

The Kallax is one of the more functional IKEA storage units. It’s a pretty solid design, though like most IKEA furniture, the wood exterior could chip. The design is simple and doesn’t stand out. When you get up close, it’s surprising how much actually fits inside each cube. The cubes are wide and tall but also deep.

Another handy feature is the tubs and totes IKEA makes to fit perfectly inside. I’ll review those later. This shelf is perfect for the organization expert. If you’re a Neighbor host, this is a great option for organizing multiple renters at once without compromising on looks.

How does the Kallax stack up?

  • Looks: 3.5/5
  • Sturdiness: 4.5/5
  • Space: 5/5

3×3 Price: $79.99

The Billy

The next IKEA storage unit is the Billy  bookcase with glass (who knew Billy is a Swedish name?). This was the best looking bookshelf in the store. The Billy comes in several different options without glass. Still, the glass made this bookcase a little more elegant. It also made it look less like a bookcase, meaning you can get away with storing more than books inside.

One of the best parts of the glass bookcase is the color options. While the normal bookcases either come in black or white, the glass option came in beige, dark blue, or dark red. The muted colors fit with a lot of different room styles.

Glass is a great option as it masks the contents of the shelf a little. Sometimes glass means you have to be more neat, but on the Billy, it has the opposite effect. It also keeps out the dust. The Billy bookcases is stable, sitting flat on the ground instead of using little legs like the Hemnes bookcases.

How does the Billy Bookcase with glass rank?

  • Looks: 5/5
  • Sturdiness: 4/5
  • Space: 3.5/5

Price: $169.00

The Galant

The next IKEA storage unit isn’t as easy on the eyes. Still, what it lacks in looks it makes up in space and security. I’m talking about the Galant cabinet with sliding doors. You won’t find the Galant in the home storage at IKEA. It’s in the office furniture.

The Galant is around four feet tall, five feet wide, and nearly 18 inches deep. Instead of wood like the home furniture, it’s made of plastic and light metal. The Galant also has a 10 year warranty on it.

One of the best features of the Galant is its lock. For Neighbor hosts, this can help your renters have extra security and privacy when they store with you. The Galant also comes in different models with extra storage shelves on top. It’s great for an office, basement, or even a garage.

How does the Galant check in?

  • Looks: 2.5/5
  • Sturdiness: 4.5/5
  • Space: 5/5

Price: $699.00

IKEA Storage Units: Boxes

That’s it for the shelves. Now let’s talk about boxes, baskets, and tubs. I’ll start with those that fit easily into the Kallax cubes.

The Drona

A popular IKEA storage unit box is the Drona. You’ve probably seen these around. They’re a square box with a fabric exterior. The top has an extra fold of fabric giving it the impression of a lid. If you slide your fingers under the fabric, you can pull or lift the box.

Drona box in different colorsA big plus of the Drona is the variety of colors and patterns. This is especially fun if you’re storing the Drona boxes in the Kallax shelf. The boxes fill them the entire cube and look like a solid block of color.

One downside to the Drona is the fabric gets dirty easy. Some were even dirty from being in the store. You may not want to store anything too heavy in the bin, otherwise you’ll have to carry it from the bottom. If you don’t mind this, the price is incredible so you could replace them regularly.

How does the Drona score?

  • Looks: 4.5/5
  • Sturdiness: 3/5
  • Space 4.5/5

Price: $3.99-4.99

The Bullig

The other IKEA storage unit box that fits will in the Kallax is the Bullig. The Bullig is a nice looking bamboo box with a smooth exterior and felt bottom. It’s the same size as the Droga, so you can count on it to hold a lot and fill up your Kallax shelf.

The Bullig is sturdy and held together by several screws. It can hold more weight then the Droga and has handhold cutouts for easier lifting. When I lifted the Bullig, I found the handholds to be a little uncomfortable. They may cut into your hands if you’re lifting a lot of weight or carrying it very far.

How did I rate the Bullig?

  • Looks: 4/5
  • Sturdiness: 4.5/5
  • Space: 4.5/5

Price: $16.99

The Byholma

Now that we’ve covered the Kallax-ready storage boxes, let’s get into some other IKEA storage units. One basket that fits well on the Billy bookcase is the Byholma woven basket. The Byholma is dark grey with a little tan mixed in. IKEA says that it’s handwoven.

The Byholma is wider than it is tall or deep. It’s great for holding smaller items. The box looks more crafty and cute than some of the bigger boxes on this list. It’s also much more versatile and goes well on shelves, in bedrooms, or on an end table.

How does the Byholma check in?

  • Looks: 4.5/5
  • Sturdiness: 3/5
  • Space: 3.5/5

Price: $9.99

The Knagglig

The final “living room” box you’ll find at IKEA is the Knagglig. This box more rugged than the others – it’s made entirely of slats and might have as many outdoor uses as indoor uses. Unlike the other boxes, this one requires a little DIY to build.

You can use the Knagglig as a garden box, a bottle holder, and tool box. When used inside, it’s great for giving your room a woodsy, rustic look. It could hold pillows, blankets, or games, to name a few. One bonus to an all wood box is that you can paint or decorate it however you like.

How does the Knagglig rank?

  • Looks: 4/5
  • Sturdiness: 4/5
  • Space: 4/5

Price: $9.99

The Sockerbit

These last two tubs aren’t something you’d want in your living room, but they are great for storing seasonal items, hand me downs, or craft supplies. The first is the Sockerbit. Besides having the best name of all the IKEA storage units, the Sockerbit actually looks kinda cute.

Horizontal lines break up the white space every few inches, and the bottom corner has a place to write the name of the items inside. This can help you keep track of others renters goods if they’re using your space via Neighbor. The lid clamps onto the longer edge of the box. It’s secure enough, but not as tight as a tub with latching clamps.

How does the Sockerbit come in?

  • Looks: 4/5
  • Sturdiness: 3.5/5
  • Space: 4.5/5

Price: $9.99

The Samla

The final IKEA storage unit boxes were made for stacking. These are the Samla boxes. They come in different sizes and depths, but all are great for storing items like the Sockerbit. The lid functions the same as well, locking in on the long edge.

Sometimes clear boxes can be a pain because they can scuff or become dirty easily. Lucky for us, the Samla isn’t 100% transparent. The boxes are all a little foggy, letting you see enough of the contents without trying to keep the box perfectly clean. Plus, the price is hard to beat.


How do the Samla’s stack up?

  • Looks: 3.5/5
  • Sturdiness: 3.5/5
  • Space: 5/5

Price: $1.50-14.99

If you’re looking for affordable storage, be sure to check out IKEA. You’ll find the right balance between functionality and can make your home more practical and organized.

If you want to try renting some space on Neighbor, consider buying some shelves and tubs to start. You can house your friends goods and make passive income one the side.

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