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20 Excellent IKEA Hacks You Should Try

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Make sure your home doesn't look like everyone else's by using some DIY know-how and hacks like these—and even more at IKEAhackers.net.

1. Coffee Table Hack

Want to buy a mid-century style table? Be prepared to shell out lots of dough—unless you’re willing to go the DIY route. To pull off this easy hack from Triple Max Tons, all you need is a LACK coffee table and tapered legs from eBay (if the legs don’t come with top plates, you can buy straight or angled—as they are in this hack—at Loews). Unscrew the old legs, install the tapered legs and top plates about an inch from the corners, and voila! Charming, fancy looking table at a reasonable price.

2. Bar Cart Hack

Bar carts are all the rage at the moment, and, like a nice mid-century coffee table, they can be really expensive. But all this hack from Blush and Jelly of the BYGEL utility cart (a mere $24.99) requires is some gold spray paint. Assemble the frame; spray it gold, waiting about 20 minutes between coats; let dry overnight, and add the remaining pieces. If you want to get even fancier, you can add a stemware rack, like this one from Bed Bath and Beyond.

3. Dresser Upgrade

Upgrading IKEA’s TARVA dresser is as easy as adding a few coats of paint and swapping out the hardware. Refinery29 has a tutorial.

4. Storage to Litter Box

Let’s face it: Litter boxes are gross, even if they have covers on them. This elegant hack of IKEA’s EXPEDIT shelving serves both as storage and as a hiding spot where kitty can do his business. A little mat in the entryway keeps litter from getting tracked on the floor.

5. DIY Standing Desk

Virginia Woolf did it. Ernest Hemingway did it. Now you, too, can have a standing desk without breaking the bank. (And if those celebrity endorsements aren’t enough for you, consider this: Science says sitting too much is bad for you.) This hack requires an EXPEDIT storage system, CAPITA legs, and a VIKA AMON table top.

6. Window Herb Garden

So what if you don’t have a backyard, or you’re too lazy for a real garden! You can still grow fresh herbs by employing this elegant solution. All you need is IKEA’s ORE shower curtain rod, FINTORP pots, GRUNDTAL S hooks, and some spray paint.

7. Side Table

Transform IKEA’s $30 PS2012 side table into a classy-looking statement piece by following this tutorial.

8. Lamp Hack

Get beachy by tying driftwood around IKEA’s HEMMA or JANUARI lamp bases. To make the base blend in, you can paint it beige-gray.

9. Mini Cork Board

Turn IKEA’s plain HEAT pot stands into fabric covered cork boards by breaking out your hot glue gun and following this simple tutorial.

10. Arcade

This ambitious DIYer used a BILLY bookshelf (with substantial additions) to build an IKEA arcade game. Based on the tutorial, it wasn’t easy—but it is awesome.

11. Bookshelf

To make this fun little shelf, you’ll need to buy an IKEA STATLIG board, an EKBY BJARNUM shelf holder, and some paracord and steel washers.

12. Doggy Food Bar

Is your dog a slob? Consider building this food station out of a FAKTUM kitchen cabinet, HARLIG door, and PATRULL cabinet lock. It serves as both a mess-proof eating station and a storage area for the pooch’s stuff.

13. Rast Hack

One super-hackable IKEA item is the RAST dresser. This hacker combined two RASTs into one big dresser, then painted it and added new hardware for a truly custom finish.

14. Rast

This hack—made three RAST dressers (two for the piece itself, and one for extra parts)—uses metallic paint and a stainless steel sheet for an industrial look.

15. Wall-Mounted Charging Station

To charge your gadgets in one place, follow this hack, which cleverly uses three FORHOJA boxes to create a wall-mounted charging station that isn’t an eyesore.

16. Ice Chest

It’s just about garden party weather—so it’s the perfect time to look into doing this hack, which turns IKEA’s TARVA dresser into a cool looking cooler, for yourself.

17. Another Bar

Where the bar cart hack was simple, this BESTA hack (which also uses an Inreda mirrored glass shelf insert and Inreda shelves) is more complex—and pretty impressive.

18. Cocktail Ottoman

This hacker used fabric, batting, and spray paint to transform a VITTSJO nesting table into a beautiful ottoman.

19. Hamster Home

There are a number of ways to hack IKEA furniture for your pets—some of which we've already featured—but few are as cool as this elaborate hamster habitat made out of the 5x5 EXPEDIT.

20. Hidden Bookcase Door

Take the idea of a fort one step further by creating your very own hidden door. This hacker used two BILLY bookcases to get the job done.

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats 'Blep'?
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As pet owners are well aware, cats are inscrutable creatures. They hiss at bare walls. They invite petting and then answer with scratching ingratitude. Their eyes are wandering globes of murky motivations.

Sometimes, you may catch your cat staring off into the abyss with his or her tongue lolling out of their mouth. This cartoonish expression, which is atypical of a cat’s normally regal air, has been identified as a “blep” by internet cat photo connoisseurs. An example:

Cunning as they are, cats probably don’t have the self-awareness to realize how charming this is. So why do cats really blep?

In a piece for Inverse, cat consultant Amy Shojai expressed the belief that a blep could be associated with the Flehmen response, which describes the act of a cat “smelling” their environment with their tongue. As a cat pants with his or her mouth open, pheromones are collected and passed along to the vomeronasal organ on the roof of their mouth. This typically happens when cats want to learn more about other cats or intriguing scents, like your dirty socks.

While the Flehmen response might precede a blep, it is not precisely a blep. That involves the cat’s mouth being closed while the tongue hangs out listlessly.

Ingrid Johnson, a certified cat behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the owner of Fundamentally Feline, tells Mental Floss that cat bleps may have several other plausible explanations. “It’s likely they don’t feel it or even realize they’re doing it,” she says. “One reason for that might be that they’re on medication that causes relaxation. Something for anxiety or stress or a muscle relaxer would do it.”

A photo of a cat sticking its tongue out
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If the cat isn’t sedated and unfurling their tongue because they’re high, then it’s possible that an anatomic cause is behind a blep: Johnson says she’s seen several cats display their tongues after having teeth extracted for health reasons. “Canine teeth help keep the tongue in place, so this would be a more common behavior for cats missing teeth, particularly on the bottom.”

A blep might even be breed-specific. Persians, which have been bred to have flat faces, might dangle their tongues because they lack the real estate to store it. “I see it a lot with Persians because there’s just no room to tuck it back in,” Johnson says. A cat may also simply have a Gene Simmons-sized tongue that gets caught on their incisors during a grooming session, leading to repeated bleps.

Whatever the origin, bleps are generally no cause for concern unless they’re doing it on a regular basis. That could be sign of an oral problem with their gums or teeth, prompting an evaluation by a veterinarian. Otherwise, a blep can either be admired—or retracted with a gentle prod of the tongue (provided your cat puts up with that kind of nonsense). “They might put up with touching their tongue, or they may bite or swipe at you,” Johnson says. “It depends on the temperament of the cat.” Considering the possible wrath involved, it may be best to let them blep in peace.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

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