IKEA Benno gives more head

When I have a look at my site statistics (and to be quite honest, I rarely do that), I notice that my short description of using the IKEA Ivar system to store my CDs is by far the most popular post. Of course, people often reach this site trying to find assembly instructions, which I don’t offer, or a “free IVAR system”(?), which I certainly don’t have either, but a whole bunch of those accidental tourists actually decided to subscribe to the site’s RSS feed, so why not pull in the other half of the earth’s population as well, the one that goes for the other outrageously cheap IKEA system, the Benno CD/DVD/Video unit (and no, I did not forget the “Billy” fans … they’ll be served next week)?

I am a fan of cool designs, expensive storage systems and classy shelf units, but my budget is eaten up by what I actually put on the shelves or into the units, so until I win a million in the lottery, IKEA it is for me, and many others like me.

In comparison to IKEA’s rather bland IVAR system, Benno actually falls into the “cooler” category. It’s as simple as it is practical and neat, and it comes in several different colors as well – although the powers that be have gotten rid of the silver-metallic look, which some of my units wear proudly.

What you get is a simple 20cm wide, 17cm deep and 202cm tall shelf unit that can hold 180 CDs or 88 DVDs (or 40 videos, for those of you still into archaic formats).

Even physically-challenged people can assemble one unit in 10 to 15 minutes (my best time was 7 minutes, but I’ve got experience) and, for all those arriving here looking for instructions to set it up, I’m happy to inform you that looking at the parts for a few minutes is all that you need to assemble it. If you still have problems after that, ask me via a comment on this page.

Now, if you have tons of stuff to house, you can set up impressive walls at a negligible expense, and although I’ve placed my units along different walls, when I redo my storage units upon having reached or exceeded their limits, I have been known to set them up along one longer wall in the hallway to gloat over the coolness of having all 12 standing next to each other. Hell, I’ve also filled them once just to see if the setup gave more head (and it did), only to take it all apart again to set it up elsewhere.

The pitfalls? Not many. A tiny bit of the space is wasted because you can only shift the shelves above and below the center one according to the pre-drilled holes (drill your own if dissatisfied), very rarely are some of the single shelves a tiny bit shakey because one hole is a bit off (fill the shelf, problem solved), the veneer layer is a bit touchy because it is paper-thin (ALWAYS check all sides for scratches upon arrival and return the shelves if they have the slightest defect), the colors have shifted a tiny bit since the inception of this series, and if your floors are even, you will have to attach the units to the wall to make sure they don’t tip over (especially if you have kids in the house … or if you often reach for CDs or DVDs in an intoxicated state). My floors actually tilt a bit towards the walls, so everything is rock-solid (the architect must have been a music collector).

Prices? Here in Germany, 19,95 Euro for white and dark-gray and 20 Euro more (!) for the wood veneer ones, which will set you back by 39,95 Euro. Save lots of money by going white or dark-gray or, even better, mixing the two in innovative and maybe even asymmetrical ways. The latter two have even gotten cheaper since I bought my first one. How cool (and rare an occurrence) is that?!

My summary: This is by far the cheapest good-looking and functional shelf system on the market. Unless you’re good at making these kinds of things yourself, they simply don’t come cheaper.

Make sure you buy some in advance if you hear about IKEA discontinuing a color, or do it like me: inventively mix what you have to up the coolness factor.

Have a limited budget?
Get Benno!
No other choice.

External link:
Note: Because the regional IKEAs offer differing product lines, no direct links were provided. You can reach your IKEA, which hopefully carries the full Benno range, via ikea.com.

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

  1. Have you ever checked out the Expedit bookcase?  I’m picking one up next weekend, it’s the perfect size for records.  I know a lot of vinyl enthusiasts use them.


  2. Hi Beth,

    I’m away at the moment, so sorry for the late response. I don’t have the Expedit bookcases, but I’m sure they give more head too. 😉 P.S.: I’ll present them here soon … I know several collectors who swear by them.


  3. Have Benno shelves but no instructions….any ideas?


  4. Sarah,

    I’m away until August 20th, or so. If you can wait that long, I could scan them in for you then.


  5. hi there, do these cd towers lock into each other when placed side by side?




  6. Hi Pete,

    I was away on holidays for a few weeks, hence the late reply.

    No, these towers do not really lock into each other. Each one comes with a small metal connector to at least link it to the next one, but it’s not a stable affair.

    BUT, when these babies are full, they are certainly heavy enough to stand solidly next to each other. There might be tiny gaps though, really only depending on how level the floor is that the towers are standing on.

    Hope this info could help. If not, shoot me a mail.


  7. Hey, my Benno CD Tower also came without instructions… could you e-mail them to me?


  8. I think my Benno shelves are wrong – aren’t they suppose to have 4 notches to rest on the pegs?  All of mine have 1 groove along the back and no other notches/holes.  Help?


  9. Hi Leti,

    I think depending on where you live, those darn shelves are all different.

    I have some with four notches (earlier ones bought) and some with nothing up front and two notches in the back.

    Once you fill the shelves, both ways work fine for me. Try it. I think it will work and look fine with yours as well.



  10. Thanks for the advice!  Could you email me the instructions as well?  I didn’t get them either… thanks again!


  11. Leti,

    I’m sorry, but I have been told explicitly by IKEA Germany that I’m not allowed to do that. In an age of seize and desist letters with large sums of lawyer fees attached, I have decided to comply, especially since also IKEA has begun to notice that my site pops up on top of certain Google searches

    I just have too many readers to risk having this site shut down. I also don’t have enough money to pay IKEA for any of my missteps.

    I hope you understand.

    Of course, that IKEA policy is not customer-friendly, to say the least. Maybe I’ll post about it here in more detail one day.


  12. One more:

    I’m also not allowed to publish my own description of how to assemble any of IKEA’s furniture. Strange as that sounds, that was what I was told by IKEA service Germany. It’s about as dense as you can get but, again, I just have enough money to run this site and certainly not enough to hire 15 lawyers to defend myself.


  13. Hej can’t figure out IKEA’s reluctance re assembly instructions. On their US site they publish them in pdf format.
    Hope this helps!

    Maybe 18months late but hey… 🙂



  14. @Skatebambi

    Thanks! Better late than never. 🙂
    And, yes, the world turns differently in Germany.


  15. Any tips on securing these to the wall, our concern is the backing isn’t strong enough to take the screw and it may split.


    1. Hi Sarah,
      sorry for the late reply.
      I was away on holidays.

      I don’t have my Benno CD shelves affixed to the wall (all of mine are filled to the top with CDs). I don’t have any kids who could pull on them which would certainly make the shelves topple over. In my household, they have been rock-solid ever since I put them up.

      I cannot recall if the shelves came with any screws/bolts to affix them to the wall but, usually, IKEA has something like that in the packages.

      Sorry that I couldn’t be of more help.



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