I just moved to a new apartment, and while the new place is spacious and has plenty of storage, there was just no good place to put the litter box. The idea of putting it in the living room or bedroom seemed quite unsavory, and there wasn’t enough room in the bathrooms. We quickly decided the best place for it would be the upstairs hallway, but even there the box was a little too in your face, if you know what I mean. It was a bit unsightly.
Obviously, my adorable little fluffballs needed a place to do their business. I thought about buying some pre-made catbox furniture, like this one from Amazon or this one, or this smaller, bathroom-focused one, but none of them seemed right. They were either too small for my cats (Magnus is nearly 16 pounds… he needs to go on a New Year’s diet, but that’s another post), or way more money than I wanted to pay for what was a glorified sandbox.
I already had a Litter Genie to trap the cat litter smell, which I can’t reccomend highly enough — the thing is awesome. But that didn’t solve the problem of the litter box being a total eyesore!
Being crafty, I looked into DIY solutions, but most involved putting pet doors in the side of cabinets. I don’t own a saw and didn’t feel like buying one. So I ventured out to Ikea to see if there was anything I could turn into a litter box.
And there it was: Byholma! It almost sounds like “eureka!” Which is how I felt when I saw it.
It’s a rattan chest and each side is woven independently, so that meant I could take out the rattan on one side and the rest wouldn’t unravel. Perfect! And at $60, it was a lot cheaper than any other litter box furniture I had seen.
So here’s how I did it! It only took about an hour, but you could do it in less time if you don’t line the box. I’ll include instructions on how to line the box, but it’s not totally necessary. Also, the color I got was the “brown,” but it looks a lot darker in real life than on the Ikea site, just FYI. My pictures seem more true to color, but I imagine the stain may vary from chest to chest.
Tutorial – How to turn a Byholma Chest into a Litter Box
- Byholma Chest from Ikea ($59)
- Wire Cutters
- Jumbo Litter Pan
- Clear Shelf Liner (optional)
- Glue Gun (optional)
- Safety Goggles (optional, though the rattan can snap or whip out easily, so I highly recommend these!)
- Work Gloves (optional, but the rattan can be sharp or cause splinters, so I recommend these, too!)
1. Unfold Byholma chest and set it standing.
2. Cut through rattan on one side.
Decide which side you’d like to leave open. Then start snipping the rattan with the wire cutters close to the edge, working top top bottom.
You’ll soon be able to start pulling the rattan out completely.
Continue pulling the horizontal rattan out until you’ve almost reached the bottom.
3. Pull out vertical supports.
Once you have enough of the horizontal rattan weaving removed, you can wiggle the vertical support beams out.
They should remove fairly easily by twisting and pushing inwards. If they don’t move easily, remove more rattan before attempting. Pull out all vertical supports in the center of the panel.
4. Clean up edges
There will likely be a lot of stray rattan clinging to the frame of the chest.
Snip or pull to remove them to leave a smooth edge. Make sure to inspect and look for any staples poking out as well. You want to make sure the frame is clean and clear of anything that might scratch your cat.
If you’re not going to line the box, you’re done! Just put the base into the bottom and set up the litter box.
5. Line the box
I used clear shelf liner and some hot glue to line the box. My cats are slobs, and have a tendency to throw litter all over the place. They also occasionally miss the litter box completely (whoops!), so I thought lining it with something easy to clean would be important. I don’t want to know what cat-pee-soaked rattan smells like, I don’t know about you… Anywho, this was pretty simple – I just fit it in as well as I could and trimmed:
I tacked the sides down with dots of glue so they would stay upright.
Then just drop in your litter pan (a jumbo-sized one worked great in this) and you’re done. Here’s the final product:
I left the top open for a day or two so the cats could get used to it. They’ve been using it like champs so far, and it looks so much better than a normal litter box. In fact, most visitors haven’t even known that’s what it is!
Do you have a creative litter box solution? Share in the comments below!