Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

How to customize Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame Sonos speakers

Ikea’s Symfonisk Picture Frame speaker is a cool concept, with one really obvious drawback: Despite being called a “picture frame” speaker, it doesn’t actually work as a picture frame at all — unless you consider Ikea’s limited number of pre-printed graphic speaker grilles to be pictures. There’s no way to place your own art on the front of the speaker, and even if you could, it would ruin the speaker’s acoustics unless it were printed on the same kind of acoustically-transparent fabric that Ikea uses for its own covers. Thankfully, Dutch startup Unisk Design has developed a solution.

Unisk can custom-print new fabric covers for the Symfonisk Picture Frame using any image at all, and has devised a system that lets you quickly and easily install the new cover on top of your existing grille frame. The installation leaves the original Ikea art intact, and you can remove and replace (or just remove) the new cover just as easily. Each custom-printed cover costs 69 euros (about $79 USD, plus shipping if you’re outside of the EU). If you buy one, be prepared for a longer wait than you’re probably used to — each cover currently is made by hand, and shipping can take up to five weeks from the time you submit your order.

A custom Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame speaker cover from Unisk hanging on a wall.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

I was eager to see what the results look like, and Unisk was kind enough to provide Digital Trends with a sample so we could check it out. The ordering process is a snap. Simply go to the Unisk website, choose whether you have your speaker in portrait or landscape orientation, and then upload any image that meets the recommended specs of 4000 x 3000 pixels, in either PNG or JPG formats. You get an instant preview of how that image will look when installed on a Symfonisk Picture Frame speaker, either in black or white versions. Enter your shipping and payment info and you’re done.

I suppose I could have used a photo of my family or our cats, or even used an image from one of the great royalty-free sites that Unisk recommends, but given that the Symfonisk Picture Frame is a speaker, I decided to use a pulp-fiction-music-mashup poster for the song Mad World by Tears For Fears, from RecombinantCulture. You can buy select Unisk covers directly from RecombinantCulture for $121. [Full disclosure: RecombinantCulture is run by a friend of mine.] When my cover finally arrived — a full 44 days after I ordered it — it came packaged in a thick, untreated cardboard envelope, along with a printed instruction sheet.

Installation is easy. You can pop the existing cover frame out of the Symfonisk speaker by pushing on it through the oval-shaped holes in the back of the speaker cabinet. After you spread out the new cover upside-down on a flat surface, drop the frame on top, being careful to center it on the new print. The Unisk cover comes with cardboard tabs that have been laminated to the edges, and all you need to do is slip each tab over the corresponding plastic posts on the back of the frame — first with the corners, then with each side, shorter sides first. If it’s not completely straight, the fabric can be nudged a little bit in each direction.

Close-up of the corner of a custom-printed cover on an Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame speaker.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

There’s only one small caveat: Ikea’s covers are glued to the very edges of their plastic frames, which lets the frame sit almost perfectly flush to the Symfonisk speaker’s cabinet. But the Unisk cover wraps around the edges of the frame, and I found that even after assiduously pressing the frame back into the speaker, the cover remained a bit proud of the cabinet.

So how does it look? Like it came from Ikea this way. But more importantly, I think it looks better in real life than in the Unisk preview image, which is really all that matters. The material itself is matte-finished and once printed there’s a very slight sheen to it, but I doubt you’ll be able to see it in most indoor lighting conditions. The Mad World poster doesn’t let me judge how good a professionally-taken portrait might look, but it’s definitely accurate from a color and detail point of view to the source image I uploaded.

Frankly, Ikea should be offering this service for customers, and if it did so, I imagine it would cost less than what Unisk charges. But until that happens, Unisk provides the only way to customize a Symfonisk Picture Frame speaker, and the quality is excellent. Own a Symfonisk Bookshelf speaker? Unisk makes wooden and fabric covers for that speaker too.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
IKEA reveals new photos of its Symfonisk Sonos speakers
ikea symfonisk sonos speakers new photos 2

As part of a news release celebrating IKEA's Red-Dot Design Award accomplishments for 2019, the Swedish furniture designer has published two new photos of its upcoming Symfonisk speaker, a whole-home Wi-Fi speaker built by Sonos. The photos give us yet another glimpse at what IKEA has promised will be a speaker that's priced to make it accessible to many.

The official unveiling of the Symfonisk is slated for April 9, 2019, in Milan. The new photos don't add much to what we know about Symfonisk, but given that there are only days until the unveiling, it's clear that what we're seeing is indeed the final product -- or extremely close to it -- and that earlier photos were also very representative of what we can expect in-store.

Read more
You can get a peek at Ikea’s Symfonisk Sonos speakers next month
Ikea Sonos Symfonisk concept shelf

Prototype models of the Symfonisk Sonos

There is a video from Ikea that's been making the rounds over the past few months that says the Swedish furniture company's speaker collaboration with Sonos, known as Symfonisk, will be arriving in stores in August. The video, initially discovered by Variety, runs three minutes and 17 seconds. It alternates between shots of a live orchestra playing in front of a large video screen, and shots of Ikea and Sonos product people speaking earnestly about what music means to them on the screen itself. What the video lacked, surprisingly, are any shots of the actual Symfonisk products.

Read more
Best 70-inch TV deals: Get a big screen for sports for $450
The Samsung 70-inch Class 7 Series 4K TV in a living room.

Big screen TVs are as affordable as ever, particularly when you consider that even the best TVs are regular candidates for a discount. 70-inch TVs make a good size for watching sports, and since most TVs nowadays are smart TVs, they’re also a good option if you’re interested in the best new movies to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Max, and more. There are a lot of intriguing 70-inch TV deals taking place right now, and we’ve rounded up the best available. These TVs include brands like LG and Samsung, and they’re ready to take center stage in your home theater.
Insignia 70-inch F30 Series LED 4K TV — $450, was $600

Whether upgrading your home theater or building one from scratch, the Insignia F30 4K TV has everything on the stat sheet. It presents all of your favorite content in breathtaking 4K resolution, and HDR technology provides a wide range of color details and sharper contrast, making movies more immersive and things like sports more impactful. Versatile connectivity ports make it easy to connect home theater peripherals. This TV also offers smart features like Alexa voice control, DTS Studio Sound, and Apple AirPlay. The Insignia 70-inch F30 4K TV is also a Fire TV, which gets you instant access to over 500,000 streaming movies and TV episodes, and access to thousands of channels and apps, including Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, Prime Video, and more.

Read more