Poul Cadovius-style shelving at a fraction of the cost: Ikea’s new Svalnas modular shelving

All-new: Ikea’s modular Svalnas Scandinavian-modern style shelving. This is sure to be a big hit: It’s very much in the style of famed Poul Cadovius Royal System / Cado modular shelving — but at a fraction of the cost.

The Idea Svalnas shelves and standards are bamboo; the Cados still made today in Denmark have veneer on the MDF shelves, and solid walnut or oak standards. The Svalnas brackets are powder-coated steel, which sounds good to me. I’m not gonna try to assess quality differences.

One of my dream jobs: Professional Ikea Hacker. I got on Ikea Hackers once with this project. *so proud*. 


  1. Pam Kueber says:

    I don’t see why the dowels won’t dislodge with a careful bop by a rubber mallet. We’ll see…

  2. Laura says:

    Looks like to me those are bamboo-veneered pressboard for the shelves. I wonder if you could use the standards and the shelf supports, then buy some nice wood and custom cut and stain the shelves yourself? I’m feeling highly tempted to find out 🙂

  3. Jeanne says:

    Aha, the Billy Bookcases were redesigned…that explains a lot! I have three bookcases that I took with me when we moved last fall (had them several years). I bought a couple glass doors for them right before we moved. When I was setting up my “library” alcove, I tried to put the glass doors on one of the bookcases and the screws wouldn’t fit. I tried to explain to customer service and they sent me more brackets with screws that were the same (and didn’t fit). I’ve since ordered two more Billys and the glass doors fit the new ones!

  4. Jeanne says:

    Love these! Speaking of IKEA hacks, I’m in the middle of hacking a turquoise KARIT bedspread that I’ve had for a number of years, into a box bedspread, with piping/cording trim and binding the edges with a contrasting fabric (black & grey). I’m using a Singer Sewing booklet from 1960 entitled “How to make a Bedspread.” A fun retirement project!

  5. Lisa Compo says:

    If you make the call or the attempt to customize it, will you please post a follow up on what you learn?

    I would appreciate the input. I know we aren’t a DIY advice site, and it’s frowned upon, but I think pasing on just a little information might be OK. Just something basic like I got new wood to fit without trouble or it’s impossible to take the prefab apart. I can take it from there.

    Pam, I hope this isn’t in the zone of what we shouldn’t discuss. If so, I apologize and can try to give it a whirl myself. 😉 Don’t want to get in trouble here, I enjoy it too much.

  6. la573 says:

    The kitchen cabinets are American because we (and Canada) are the only country that wants cabinets sized in inches rather than centimeters. When Ikea first started selling kitchen cabinets in the US (through the late ’90s if I recall correctly) they used the metric sizes used everywhere else, and it drove people crazy because American 24″ wide appliances wouldn’t quite fit in a 60cm cabinet. So they began selling different cabinets here sized in inches, and continued to do so when they redesigned their kitchen cabinets a few years back. The irony is that in the time since they went to US sized cabinets, the American appliance market has largely been taken over by Samsung, LG, Bosch, Electrolux (which also owns Frigidaire) and Haier, the Chinese company that bought out GE’s appliance business recently, so many new appliances are metric-sized now anyway.

    Ikea’s bathroom cabinet and sinktop line is metric sized even in the US. They give the dimensions in inches here, but the fractional sizes in inches all correspond to nice round metric measurements like 100cm.

  7. la573 says:

    The 2018 Ikea catalog is online now, either on their website or as a mobile app (at least for Apple devices, I assume for Android too).

  8. la573 says:

    When I moved recently, I just threw everything big I didn’t want to move on Craigslist for cheap or free. Free decent-condition Ikea furniture will be gone within a day. Keeps it out of the landfill.

    There’s also the option of disassembling it and moving it, something you don’t have with most other furniture.

  9. Rachael says:

    I am a long-time American IKEA customer for 30 years. I have found that as someone has previously mentioned, their quality varies quite a bit. I only buy pieces that are of a very high standard, and you can do that at IKEA if you shop with a critical eye for quality. On my most recent trip there a couple weeks ago, I was delighted to find EXTREMELY high quality MADE IN ITALY storage bins so I bought several of them and will buy several more soon. I still have gorgeous glass kitchen storage containers that were made in Spain and bought at IKEA about 30 years. I use them constantly and they have stood the test of decades. I have been dismayed at the number of items made in Asia in the last several years, but you can still find things made in Europe or North America if you take the time to find them.

  10. Katie says:

    The difference between IKEA and most furniture stores is that at IKEA, cost is usually a decent guide to quality. The trick is that we’re used to design being factored into the price. At IKEA, the idea is that everyone should be able to afford attractive, functional pieces. So if you only have $20 to spend on a table, you can buy one at IKEA, if you have $2,000 to spend on a table and chairs for your dining room, IKEA has that as well. Both tables will be functional, and attractive, the difference is that your grandchildren won’t be fighting over the $20 table in 50 years.

    And yes, this means that some people will buy cheap furniture and toss it out instead of selling it, donating it or moving it. But it also means that someone who has limited means can afford something decent, and won’t be charged more than it is worth.

  11. Chelsea says:

    I just wish it came in white or a medium wood grain color. Dislike the bamboo bc it looks cheaper to me.

Leave a Reply

Commenting: Information

All comments are moderated, generally within 24 hours. By using this website you are agreeing to the site's >> Terms of Service, << which include commenting policies, and our >> Privacy Notice. << Before participating, read them in full.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.