Hide Your Ugly Electrical Panel With This Ikea Hack


The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

Every home has an eyesore. For many, it's an in-your-face breaker box smack in the middle of the entryway wall or main living space.

Sure, moving it out of sight would be ideal, but it's a pricey endeavor. So instead of living with the big ugly, it's best to disguise it. After two failed attempts at hiding a breaker box, one homeowner finally found the right fix on the third try. She had an "aha!" moment while strolling through her local Ikea store where a simple cabinet inspired her solution. A small hack offered significant impact in making her entryway an inviting spot in her home.

  • 01 of 14

    First Failed Option: Artwork

    Ugly Breaker Box

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    You may think it's easier to hang a framed print over the typically utilitarian gray door. Sometimes that's the best solution to hide an eyesore, especially in a small or narrow entryway where every square inch counts. But you need just the right size and depth of a framed piece to make it work well. Here, the homeowner did not have the perfect piece to hang over the offending door, even after trying to move the doorbell box over an inch or two.

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  • 02 of 14

    Second Failed Option: Contact Paper

    DIY FAIL Contact Paper Breaker Box

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    Camouflaging a panel door may make matters worse, as it did with this faux leather contact paper solution. For the homeowner, it was a total misfire that made the door even more conspicuous. Getting the contact paper to lay flat was also difficult because of the panel's rounded edges.

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  • 03 of 14

    The Perfect Ikea Hack

    IKEA Brimnes Red Cabinet


    This Ikea wall-mounted display case is just the right size to cover common a 14-inch by 12-inch panel. This cabinet came from Ikea's BRIMNES series and measures 15 inches by 15 inches. Ikea has other cabinet styles in similar sizes you can use for the same purpose.

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  • 04 of 14

    Measuring for Clearance

    Cut Cabinet Depth Ikea Hack

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    When installing a cabinet (or any item) over an electrical box, keep the door in place, but make sure it can swing open once the cabinet is mounted. Measure carefully to confirm that the door will fully open without being hindered by the cabinet.

    In addition, the cabinet of your choice may be too deep. It's okay to cut the cabinet depth down. The homeowner who installed this cabinet made cuts to the board before assembling the cabinet. She cut it down from a depth of 9 inches to a depth of 4 inches. Cutting the depth of the cabinet makes it easier to access the door to the electrical box and to clearly see the circuit breakers.

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  • 05 of 14

    Avoiding Damaged Melamine

    how to cut particle board
    Courtesy of New England Woodworking

    Many Ikea items, including the BRIMNES wall cabinet, are made of melamine-coated particleboard. Melamine is a plastic coating that's easy to clean and maintain. But, cutting melamine is tricky. Sawing through it in one pass will chip and splinter the material as shown on the top board. A dull saw blade will also chip melamine.

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  • 06 of 14

    Part One: Cutting Melamine

    how to cut melamine board

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    Before assembling the cabinet, the homeowner cut any extra material off the exposed ends of the red boards that made up the frame (but not the door). She did so by drawing a line with a pencil that indicated where to cut off the extra material. She then set the blade on her table saw to cut halfway through the board, as indicated in the photo above.

    Cutting the melamine is generally a process that involves scoring the boards. The homeowner varied the process here by cutting partially through the excess parts that needed to be eliminated. But to greatly reduce any chipping on melamine, you can't make your cuts all at once.

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  • 07 of 14

    Part Two: Cutting Melamine

    Score Melamine With Saw Blade

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    The second step involves setting the blade to a scoring height on the other side of your board that you haven't yet cut. A scored board should look like the photo above. After scoring, the third step is to reset your blade for a full cut, flip over your board, and cut all the way through your first incision.

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  • 08 of 14

    Hanging the Cabinet

    Ikea Cabinet Hack L Brackets

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    After cutting the four boards and assembling the frame and door hinges, the homeowner added four large L brackets for mounting the cabinet on the wall. But, she didn't want to drill any more holes in her wall to mount the cabinet. So she used a specific method, shown next, to perfectly place the two brackets on the top and two on the bottom of the frame so she wouldn't have to add any more holes in her wall.

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  • 09 of 14

    Using Existing Holes to Mount the Cabinet

    Ikea Cab Hack Trick for Hanging

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    Carefully attach the brackets, making sure that the holes of the hardware match exactly up to the existing holes in your electrical panel's gray door that attaches the unit to the wall. To install, you first simply need to remove the top two screws on the metal cover, align the holes with the cabinet's brackets, and attach the cabinet. Do the same with the lower two screws and brackets to complete the mounting of your cabinet over the electrical box.

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  • 10 of 14

    Leveling the Wall Cabinet

    Ikea cabinet hack level when hanging

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    Make sure your cabinet is mounted straight on your wall by placing a level on top of the cabinet. Gently adjust each screw until the display case is level. Leveling a cabinet on a wall is an easy step that makes a big difference. The last thing you want to see is a crooked cabinet.

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  • 11 of 14

    Using Decorative Film on Glass

    Ikea cabinet-hack window film supplies

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    If you have a cabinet with a glass front, chances are, you'll still be able to spot the ugly electrical panel. A sheet of decorative translucent window film will easily fix the problem.

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  • 12 of 14

    Choosing Self-Adhesive Window Film

    Ikea Cabinet Hack Window Film

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    The homeowner used a self-adhesive film in an elegant rice paper pattern to cover the glass in the cabinet door. Unlike static cling window films, the self-sticking stuff doesn't involve a messy spray solution. Look for a kit with a trimming tool and a squeegee to help with the application of the film.

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  • 13 of 14

    Installing the Hinges

    Ikea Cabinet Door Hinge

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    After applying the window film, you can then install the cabinet door (or doors) onto the hinges that are already in place on the frame

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  • 14 of 14

    The Beautiful End Result

    Ikea Cabinet Hack Hero

    The Spruce / Deirdre Sullivan

    The eyesore breaker box is now beautifully concealed and yet easy to access. The homeowner mounted shoe cabinets to the wall below the cabinet in about the same depth as the red cabinet to create a finished destination spot in her entryway.