We’ve had an Ikea Pello chair for a while, and really when you think about it, who hasn’t? The Poang and Pello chairs are some of the most recognizable IKEA chairs. They’re affordable, durable and SO comfortable. It may be due to all these qualities, but they have become ubiquitous – and quite frankly, lost their appeal. When you see something everywhere, the hype quickly morphs into boredom. So we turn to hacks and makeovers to bring a personal touch to our furniture – and this Ikea chair hack promises to bring loads of personality!
We got bored of our Pello chair a while back – to the point, we decided we would get rid of it. I was torn because I genuinely loved the slight rocking motion and the fact that it’s wide enough to sit on it cross-legged. So I had to come up with a plan to make it interesting again! I knew just changing the cushion cover or painting it wouldn’t do so I stood there, circular saw at the ready, thinking I might have to cut it up. Turns out you don’t need to do that.
All it takes is a bit of flat rattan and some gel stain, making this a super cheap makeover! Rattan is easily findable on Amazon (I use this one, Commonwealth Basket is my go-to supplier) and you can do so many cool DIYs with it. Check out the Rattan page to find all my DIY projects to use the rest of that rattan roll.
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For this IKEA Chair Hack, you’ll need…
Step 1: Wrap the armrests with rattan
To start off, remove a few reeds of rattan from your roll. Depending on the thickness of your reeds, you might have to soak them to make them more pliable. I didn’t have to do that as mine were quite thin and I could bend them without soaking.
Back of the armrests
First off, we’ll wrap the back of the armrests. On either the Poang or Pello chairs, there will be a point where the armrests meet the back of the chair so you cannot wrap rattan around because of this obstruction. On this portion of the armrest, we’ll wrap the reed on 3 sides instead of all the way around.
Start by cutting a handful of rattan reeds long enough to be wrapped around the armrest. Glue them to the top of the armrest and carefully bend them, one by one, around. Glue them to the underside of the armrest.
Next, pick a long reed from the roll and glue in place, next to the reeds already glued on the armrest. Start wrapping this rattan reed around the armrest. Apply a dot of glue with every wrap to make sure the reed stays flat against the wood. I wrapped until I had covered about 5 or 6″ (12 to 15cm) with rattan – but it’s more of a personal preference so continue until you’re happy with the result!
Repeat these steps for the other side of the chair, making sure you wrap the same length of each side for the sake of symmetry!
Front of the armrests
Finally, move on to the curve of the armrest, the place where your hands might rest. Start wrapping a new rattan reed around until you cover the entire curve. The method remains the same: wrap and apply a few dots of glue under the reed before every wrap. When you’re finished, glue the last end of the reed to the underside of the armrest.
Step 2: Wrap the IKEA chair legs
Moving on to the legs, we’ll be wrapping both horizontally and vertically on the front stretcher (that’s the central support between the 2 legs). Because the stretcher meets the legs, it will prevent you from wrapping the rattan reed all the way around the leg on that portion. We’ll have to use the same method as we did on the back of the armrest and wrap only on 3 sides. So that’s where you should start.
Cut a small bunch of rattan reeds long enough to go around the legs and glue them to the front of the IKEA chair leg, like in the first picture above. Take each reed, bend towards the back of the leg, and glue in place. Repeat for all the other reeds.
Once that’s done, grab a long reed from your rattan roll and glue the end to the back of the leg. Start wrapping it around the leg, gluing it as you go along to make sure it remains flat against the leg.
To finish, glue a reed at the back of the stretcher and start wrapping from the side toward the center for about 5″ (13cm), like in the pictures above.
Step 3: Decorate the legs
To push the boho rattan chair look to the maximum, I added “God’s Eye” knots to the sides and on the stretcher. These cross-shaped embellishments are typical of cane furniture, where they’re usually used to hold the rattan canes together. On this IKEA chair hack, they’re purely decorative – and don’t worry, they’re much easier to create than they look!
To add a God’s Eye to the legs, start by turning the chair over onto its side. This way, one leg will rest against the floor while the leg you’re working on will be horizontal and much easier to work with.
First, glue the end of a rattan reed to the back of the chair. Bring it to the front and to the right of the stretcher. Next, pull it to the back and up. From this position, bring it to the front and to the left of the stretcher. This motion will create an inverted V shape like in the picture above. Repeat this pattern 4 or 5 times before securing the reed at the back of the leg with some hot glue.
Once you’re done, turn the chair over to create a God’s Eye on the other chair leg.
Step 4: Decorate the front stretcher
For the front stretcher, create a larger God’s Eye.
When you start, measure the stretcher to find the center and start creating the V shape. Make sure the center of the V is aligned with the center of the stretcher. Start weaving with the same pattern as the previous God’s Eye you created on the legs.
Since this knot is larger and takes up the entire width of the stretcher, you’ll need to repeat the weaving motion 7 or 8 times until the God’s Eye is full and you can’t weave any longer.
Step 5: Stain the IKEA Chair
Finally, apply a couple coats of gel stain in a light or golden oak color to complete the rattan chair look. Let the stain dry well between coats.
And voila, Ikea Chair hack complete! All you need to perfect the boho look is to change the cushion cover. You could buy one online or make your own. I opted for making my own but can’t find the fabric I used. Here are some similar ones I would have loved: