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?
No other choice.
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.