Small Entryway Makeover with IKEA Shoe Storage Hack

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Do you have an awkward or narrow entryway like we do? Come see how I gave our small entry a makeover with DIY trim, organization hacks, IKEA shoe storage ideas, and tons of hidden hallway storage.

We built our home 7 years ago, and while we love almost everything about it I wish we would have made our entryway larger. There’s hardly any room between the front door and the stairway, and the entrance flows into a narrow hallway in a somewhat awkward L-shape. The hallway lacked storage solutions, and as a family with a lot of shoes that was a huge issue.

Our entry hallway BEFORE

Oh, I like to keep my before photos NICE and messy. I had a little mirror with a shelf on the West wall, and a photo feature on the East wall.

Shoes and boots always piled up in the hallway, and it drove me NUTS! I knew we needed some better shoe storage for our generous footwear collection, but nothing that was too deep for this narrow hallway.

Our little guest closet on the West wall was a disaster too. No upper shelf or a shoe shelf made it hard to organize our coats, boots and shoes. (Yes, MORE shoes.)

I finally gave our awkward entry hall a much needed makeover with one of my favourite IKEA hacks of all time! Two IKEA STALL shoe cabinets were my jumping off point since I knew they were only 6″ deep and would offer much-needed storage. I painted and trimmed them out to make them look more built in to the wall.

Watch our whole small entry makeover from start to finish here:

How I did this IKEA shoe storage hack

Here’s the quick run-down on how I built this shoe storage unit and made it look buil-in:

  1. I began by mounting two IKEA STALL shoe cabinets beside each other on the wall of my hallway entry. I used wood screws to mount them to studs in my wall. I used some wood filler to fill the crack between the units to make them look like one piece.
  2. Then, I sanded, primed and painted the frames and doors of pieces to match the white colour of the trim and doors in our home. The original colour was much too off-white. I wanted these cabinets to look seamless & built-in.
  3. After the paint had cured, I put the cabinet drawers into the frames.
  4. Finally, I used this technique to create a board & batten look around the shoe cabinet. This makes it look so much more high-end, and I love how it matches the traditional feel of our home.

Our entry hallway NOW:

Oh, I just LOVE it! Even though it was one of those projects that seemed to take forever to complete (hello, caulking and painting for days!), it was all worth it. The shoe cabinets give us so much more storage while not taking up too much space. Best part? All the trim detail matches the traditional bones of our home.

I sanded, primed and painted the Stall cabinets in BEHR Whisper White to match the rest of the trim in our home. I also added DIY board and batten to the shoe cabinet & closet walls for the traditional look I love. You can find my board & batten tutorial right here.

For a sleek look and to help with cleaning under the cabinets, I decided to float them above our baseboards. The STALL cabinets come with legs, but they don’t need to be attached to the cabinets. The top ledge of the Stall cabinets offers just enough space to hold a basket for keys and phones. I like to also decorate it with a few books, plants and a candle. Keeping it simple for such a high-use area is key!

Finishing touches

We were able to fit many pairs of shoes in the cabinets. We even reserved a couple of the pull-out drawers for hats and mittens for Winter.

I find I can store 2 pairs of my husbands larger shoes in one drawer of this IKEA shoe storage solution. Alternatively, I can store 3 of my smaller shoes (like heels & oxford styles), or up to 4 of my kids’ shoes in each drawer. Each of the drawer compartments has a plastic, ventilated backing so they’re easy to clean.

The gigantic 36″ wide mirror above the cabinets is my favourite piece here! I mounted it to the top molding piece for stability. It’s such a lovely scale for this wall, and it’s also practical for checking makeup and hair as we rush out the door. 

You can find this large mirror here from Wayfair. I bought the 36″ size. It has a simple shape that would work well in both modern and traditional spaces!

The distressed looking turqouise runner is from Wayfair too (find it right here). I think the long length is perfect for our long & narrow hall.

Organizing the hallway closet

As for the closet, I grabbed a 16″ deep shelf from The Home Depot. Then, I cut it to size and installed it over the clothing rod. Some large baskets from Walmart sit on the shelf and are the perfect place to store seasonal items. I placed a small IKEA shoe rack in the bottom of the closet to store seasonal shoes and taller boots.

Between the better organized closet and new shoe cabinets, we were able to organize and store all of our family’s footwear in our hallway area. Such a win! I think IKEA has the best shoe storage ideas, and it was so fun to incorporate the STALL cabinet.

To the left of the closet, I hung a couple of little butterfly prints – a purchase from The Crown Prints. I love how framing them in simple white Ikea frames adds a little more texture to this wall. I’m trying hard to remember that not ever wall needs to be busy!

Overall, I’m absolutely ecstatic with how this space turned out. It’s so much more functional for our family, and it’s beautiful too! Our favorite shoes are neatly tucked away, and our hallway looks so much more stylish.

It’s a great reminder that with better organization and a little DIY, even an awkward space can be improved!

2023 Update

It’s been over 3 years since I’ve hacked the two IKEA shoe cabinet units into this built-in look hallway solution. It’s still one of my most favourite IKEA shoe storage ideas EVER. How has it held up, you ask?!

Well, I’m happy to report that I’m still in love with this DIY, and it still looks great. There’s hardly any wear-and-tear minus a little bit of cracking where the two units meet. Because I used a satin sheen paint, the IKEA cabinets are easy to clean and maintain.

Watch my video to see how this hallway has held up:

Now if only there was a hack to make my kids pick up their shoes and put them in the drawers every time, right?


How has the paint held up?

The paint has held up almost perfectly. There’s a little wear where the two units meet and on the handles. The trick to painting MDF IKEA furniture is to ensure you do a scuff sanding and use a good bonding primer before painting.

What is the width of your hallway?

My hallway measures 42 inches wide, so with the 6 inch deep IKEA shoe cabinets there’s now a 36 inch width as a walkway.

Did you paint the STALL handles?

Yes, I primed and painted right over the shoe cabinet handles.

Now tell me: What do you think of our small entryway makeover?

Want more IKEA shoe storage ideas?

IKEA actually has some more clever ideas for storing footwear right on their site. Click here for more budget friendly inspo!


    1. I love this so much and you totally inspired me. Our entryway is essentially the same width with the same closet on the opposite side…so, I completely copied you (except I painted mine in BM Chantilly Lace to match all our trim). Thanks so much for the idea and inspiration to actually do it. My husband was not convinced but is now loving it…and it wasn’t actually that hard! It looks amazing and we now have storage in our tiny entryway – win win!

      1. Amazing! If you have time to tag Christina on instagram or Facebook, @thediymommy – she’d love to see it!

        1. I love the size of these cabinets but don’t need them for shoes. Would cans of vegetables roll down into them?

    2. I love your hallway! I’ve just bought the stall cabinets but they look so yellow compared to everything else which is bright white. What was the name or type of primer you used on the cabinets after sanding please?

  1. What a beautiful space you have created in an area we so easily take for granted! We, too, have a narrow hallway still under renovation, and you have given me some great new fodder for design ideas! One quick question: how big is your mirror? I see that it comes in various sizes, so I’d like to get a sense of perspective of your space, compared to ours. Thanks!

    1. Hi. Just found this, looks great! We are in NZ with a narrow hallway entry but no ikea, so these units are only available via importers at $169 NZD each. Before I click buy, can you please let me know, do they have visible screw holes on the sides? Or did you fill and paint those? You mention sanding and painting so assume it’s not a laminate finish? And lastly, your cupboard cutouts looks great! Did you paint/spray them too? The ones I can find in NZ look like they’ve got a grey/metallic edging to them.

  2. The makeover is very stylish. I like the fresh white look. We have some Ikea shoe storage drawers in our garage. They are great!

  3. Love this! I have selected this post as a feature this week for the #HomeMattersParty. Mostly because I also need to recreate something like this for myself and you have inspired me to try it out. Thanks for sharing with us this week.

  4. Hi! This looks great! This cabinet is the perfect size for my space but the silver fixtures on the door pulls put me off. I can’t see them on your cabinet – did you manage to pry them off, or did you just paint over them?

    1. I can figure out the ones shelves but how did you build the pull out drawers. I presume they tilt a out so you can slide in shoes?

  5. Hi Christina! This is incredible! In the pictures I can’t tell at all that you used two IKEA pieces. Did You also use wood putty to blend them together? Or add your own extra board to the top? Thanks!

  6. Hi I love your entry hallway make over you just gave me an idea on what I can do for my hallway and my shoes issue thanks I also love your coveralls I’ve been searching for something like those i know it doest have nothing to do with the diy but could you email me the maker or company

  7. That setup looks awesome! How tall were the feet you didn’t use? or how tall is the unit without feet?

  8. I absolutely love your makeover! It looks so functional and pretty. We have a very similar entryway and it drives me crazy! Would you mind telling me how wide your hallway is so I have an idea of whether this could work for us? Thx

  9. I love this!! Did you use a brush or a sprayer to paint the shoe cabinets? Also, have you noticed any stinky shoe smells? I hade a 13 year old boy ?

  10. wow! This is so impressive. you did such a great job and I’m inspired!! Thanks so much for documenting your process and sharing.

  11. This looks amazing! I’m in the process of installing the STALL cabinets and want to float them like you did. What type/size screws did you use to anchor them to the wall/stud?

  12. I love this! Was wondering what extra steps were required to float this on the wall… (I assume the backing is the normal cardboard Ikea backing…) I want to do this in my hallway and I think it looks so much better without the legs!

  13. I was looking for makeovers with IKEA show storage and this looks great! but, I would really love to know where you got that fabulous leopard sweater?

  14. Hi! This is beautiful and similar to what we’d like to do in our apartment entryway. We have high baseboards and been hesitant about getting the Stall cabinet. We are not handy.. but it seems we can simply skip the step of adding the feet? Will we be able to make it float just by following usual instructions provided (minus feet?) thank you!

  15. Hi! Doing this now in our hallway! Did you add an extra piece of wood in the back to screw into the studs? And what lengths screws did you use to screw into the stud? THANKS!!!!

  16. I absolutely love everything about this entryway makeover! The mirror, the shelves and especially the shoe rack inside the closet. This will be a summer diy project for sure!

  17. Loved this idea! I’ve been looking at the Hemnes shoe cabinet to help with our small hallway space. How did you find storing the toques and mitts in them? Were damp wet mitts, etc able to dry? We live in Sk and have the same issues with winter storage.

  18. I am totally and completely in love with your ideas!!!! Thanks a million for sharing! I am going to give it a GO! 🙂

  19. I absolute love this idea! Do you have post for doing the accent wall? Also, Wayfair has so many round mirrors. Do you have the link for yours? Or ones that are similar?

      1. Looks awesome! Considering trying something like this in my entryway. Could you please share what the height of the ikea cabinets are after the legs are removed?

  20. Hi Christina,
    This hallway makeover is fabulous!!!! Can you please tell me how wide your hallway is? Would LOVE to do this but I think my hallway may be narrower than yours.
    Thank you

  21. wow! This is so impressive. you did such a great job and I’m inspired!! Thanks so much for documenting your process and sharing

  22. Hi, how do you think it would have looked without painting it? I’m so lazy … trying to see if I could get the same effect by doing less!

  23. I just did this same makeover yesterday!! The two Stall cabinets were easy to put together, and I suspended mine on the wall also (O chose not to use the front feet they provided).

    It looks BEAUTIFUL, holds A LOT of gear! I use the bottom doors for shoes, and the upper ones for keys/sunblock/wallet/dog leashes and stuff that needs to go OUT of the house (ie, library books, a serving dish to return to a friend, etc).

    THANK YOU FOR INSPIRING ME with this job…….I absolutely love it, and will browse your other ideas.

  24. Love everything about this! Can you share what paint colour you have used on your walls – the off white colour, grey near front door and front door colour?

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