IKEA Hack – Litter Box from Byholma Chest

Ikea Cat Litter Box Hack - turn a cheap chest into custom cat box furniture in under an hour. Cool!

byholma litter box hack

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.

Byholma from Ikea

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

MATERIALS:

STEPS:

1. Unfold Byholma chest and set it standing.
Step 1

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.

Step 2

You’ll soon be able to start pulling the rattan out completely.

step 2

Continue pulling the horizontal rattan out until you’ve almost reached the bottom.

step 2

3. Pull out vertical supports.
Once you have enough of the horizontal rattan weaving removed, you can wiggle the vertical support beams out.

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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.

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4. Clean up edges
There will likely be a lot of stray rattan clinging to the frame of the chest.

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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.

step 4

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:

step 5

step 5

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:

ikea byholma litter box

ikea byholma litter box

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!

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Do you have a creative litter box solution? Share in the comments below!

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17 Comments

  • Lesley says:

    Would you be wiling to make the yarn for this blanket? http://nocturnalknits.com/giganto-blanket-faq/ and then selling it?

    • Laura Birek says:

      Hi Lesley – I don’t have the time or resources to make this yarn for sale, sorry! Loopy Mango makes a commercial yarn that’s similar if you’re looking for an alternative.

  • Breanna says:

    This is very, very, very smart. So far everything I had involved using a saw or drill or blah blah blah. All things I don’t have access to. Thank you for posting this, I think this is the solution to my small-house-nowhere-to-hide-the-litterbox issue!!!!

  • Christina says:

    Thank you for this great project. I have been thinking of how to disguise our litter box and this is my perfect solution.

    Just wanted to ask what the inside dimensions of the chest is? Trying to maximize the size of litter box.

    Thanks again for this sharing idea!

    • Laura Birek says:

      Hi Christina — I just went to go measure this ’cause I wasn’t sure, and I opened the top to find my cat using the box πŸ™‚ She was like “can’t I get some privacy around here?” Anywho, after she finished her business, I measured and it’s 18″ wide, 25″ long, and 18″ tall. Hope that helps!

  • Elodie says:

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the idea, so far the easiest and cheapest way to hide a litter box I have seen !
    Trying to find some arguments so that my bf lets me try this hack. He is convinced the box will end up falling appart or something, and that our cat is going to do his claws on it. Does your cat do claws on the chest ?
    Thanks a lot !

    • Laura Birek says:

      The box definitely doesn’t fall apart! I’ve been using it every day since January and it’s still in great shape. And the cats don’t try to scratch it, I think because the rattan is spaced too far apart for them to like it. (And my cats LOVE scratching things, especially the couch!) My little girl cat likes to sit on top of it when it’s closed, but otherwise it just looks like a normal chest sitting in the hallway – most guests have no idea it’s a litter box!

  • Diane says:

    I have a self cleaning litter box that is 27.5″ x 19.5″ do you thing this box will fit inside? The dimensions from IKEA are Width: 28 ΒΌ ” x Depth: 19 ΒΎ “

    • Laura Birek says:

      I don’t think so, Diane — I’ve measured the inside and it’s about 18 x 25″ πŸ™ How do you like that self-cleaning box, though? Does it work?

  • Amy says:

    Hi,

    Thank you!! I, too, have been looking for an affordable cat box solution that isn’t $$ an didn’t require a wood cutter since we received our kitten this Christmas. I read about your Ikea hack this morning, and drove straight there this afternoon. I didn’t have wire cutters, but I used kitchen scissors to cut out a section of the box and set our litter box and liner inside. It is fantastic! Thank you so much for this idea! πŸ™‚

  • Sarita says:

    Laura,

    This is a great idea. I already have a rattan storage chest that currently houses my yarn stash. But I will be moving into a smaller place and would like to convert it into a concealed litter box. Do you think I could follow your tutorial for that? Seems like it would work. I just need to be sure of the measurements, as my Lulamae uses a jumbo pan and is quite a high kicker (litter gets all over my bath room). Anyway, I’ll try it and let you know how/if it worked out.

    Thank you for the how-to,
    Sarita

    • Laura Birek says:

      Hi Sarita – glad you like the tutorial! It’s hard to say if your chest will work without seeing it, but I think one factor to consider is to make sure if you snip off the rattan on one side that it won’t unravel the entire chest. On the Ikea version, each panel is independently woven. Hope that helps!

  • Joanne says:

    What a wonderful idea! I have a condo with no ideal place to put the litter box without it being an eyesore.. I purchased the chest and followed your tutorial, it was so easy and simple thanks to your pictures! I have a covered litter box (about 17 inches tall) and it fits perfectly inside. Thank you for this amazing idea!

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