IKEA GORM Shelving Unit Project

Poey Chin and I decided a couple of weeks back, that it was time to get some new shelves to reduce the clutter in our condo.

We went to IKEA to take a look at some GORM shelves. I came home, made some measurements and we decided to go ahead with the purchase.

Last Tuesday night I went over to IKEA and brought these home.

ikea gorm from the store

Two sets of GORM Shelving Unit 78 x 55, with two sets of extra shelves. Total was around RM350.

Be careful to select wood that isn’t cracked or chipped.

ikea gorm untreated wood

We planned to use the shelves in the kitchen so I wanted to protect the wood from grease and make it easier to clean.

I wanted to get the paint from IKEA, but they were sold at RM25 per 375 ml. I decided to get Nippon Timber Finish at RM30 per 1 litre.

I bought 2 litres so I could give my new shelves multiple coats of paint.

ikea gorm with nippon timber finish

After the kids went to bed on Wednesday night, I dragged everything out to my condo balcony and started work.

It took me 3 hours to finish putting the first coat of paint on everything (in semi-darkness).

It was 11:30 pm when I finished, so I just left everything to dry outside. Here’s a photo I took the next morning.

ikea gorm after first coat of paint

I was on leave, so after breakfast I spent another 3 hours putting on the 2nd coat of timber finish. I missed a few spots from the night before because it was too dark.

After I finished the 2nd coat, I used up the rest of the paint putting a 3rd coat on the main surfaces.

Here are the results.

ikea gorm after final painting

I left them out on the balcony to dry (in the shade) for 4 hours, then I brought them inside.

You can see all the components just waiting for assembly. I didn’t want to start assembly right away because the kids were around.

My RM350 Lego set.

ikea gorm waiting for assembly

Here’s a comparison of the wood before and after painting.

Not very scientific of me, because I took photos of different pieces of wood and the lighting was different.

The difference is a deeper colour, and they surface is glossy. It feels kind of waterproof.

ikea gorm before and after painting

We waited until the kids were asleep on Thursday night, and began putting the pieces together.

Tip if you want to try this at home: get some power tools!

ikea gorm assembly

I had to use my small screwdriver attached to a socket thing, and it was such hard work putting in all the screws.

If I had a powered screwdriver I would have been done in minutes. But it took me (and Poey Chin) 2 hours to put one of the shelves together.

It was so tiring we had to finish the second shelf on the next night.

ikea gorm completed

Our kitchen went from this:

ikea gorm kitchen before

To this.

ikea gorm kitchen after

Still not perfectly organized but hey, we were so tired after all the hard work.

The next night we used 1.5 hours to put up the second shelf and put it near our washing / storage area.

It went from this:

ikea gorm washing before

To this:

ikea gorm washing after

The re-organizing is still a work in progress. I’ll whip out my electric label machine and assign proper zones for everything.

I’m so happy we have some extra shelves to store things properly, instead of piling them on the floor or stuffing our store room.

It took me and Poey Chin 10 hours to get everything done, in the span of 3 nights.

I’m so happy with the results that I’ve forgotten the pain.

We’re thinking of another IKEA project soon. Saw some shelving units that would be great for organizing the toys and children books!



New, Old Light

Before we moved in to our condo, we installed these set of lights in our kitchen.

old lights

Like any modern homeowner, we installed energy saving bulbs or CFLs.

CFLs would save energy and save us money in the long term right?


We must have gone through more than ten light bulbs in the last four years.

Maybe the lights were not wired properly. Maybe there were power surges and spikes.

The bulbs couldn’t last more than a few months before they would burn out.

I don’t think we’ve been cycling the lights on and off too often. I even tried installing regular light bulbs but they wouldn’t survive either.

Last month two light bulbs failed.

So I had enough. I didn’t want to spend any more money on expensive light bulbs, so we replaced it with this fluorescent light.

new fluorescent light

No-frills, bright and economical. Now we have a new set of old (fashioned) lights.

Hope we don’t have any problems from now on.

My living room lights are giving me the same problem. The CFLs don’t last more than a year.

I suspect low quality light fixtures or low quality installation could be a factor.

I’ve been buying Phillips CFLs so I don’t think the light bulbs were an issue. I even tried buying some GE brand imported light bulbs but those died too.

Anyone have any idea what could be wrong?

In the future I would be careful about buying low-quality light fixtures. I guess our focus was mainly on the design and the price.

But how am I supposed to know which are good quality or not?

I would probably stay with fluorescent lights.

Condo Renovation Photos

Earlier this year I wrote about the progress of my condo renovations:

Condo Renovation Progress – Part 1
Condo Renovation Progress – Part 2

Here’s the final outcome 🙂


It took a lot of sweeping and mopping to get it to look this way

Second bedroom.

I think I need a bigger kitchen.

The things you see in this photo costs more
than 10K

Our bedroom

Our bathroom.

Part of my hall. My TV is too small.

That’s the end of the tour 🙂