Ikea Hemnes Dresser Makeover

October 21, 2019

We bought the old ikea hemnes dresser right after we got married and I feel like it didn’t take that long afterward for me to realize it wasn’t what I wanted. BUT THE IKEA ATMOSPHERE IS STRESSFUL AND MAKING ON YOUR FEET DECISIONS ABOUT FURNITURE IS NOT EXEMPLARY. I bought multiple furniture pieces I didn’t love that trip. I shop for furniture way differently now. (Not just going to ikea needing general furniture and picking what seems right. Seriously who was I?)

I think this is the only piece left from the incident, the rest have been sold off. It’s not terrible but it’s an ikea piece that has become so popular that just in my own mind now it screams MASS PRODUCED IKEA. But mainly, in our bedroom I didn’t want a bright white anymore.

So with some simple changes it’s a whole new dresser! An ikea hack, as they say. Also this is how to paint ikea furniture that has that weird slick surface. There’s a wonder primer I use!

David used a 5 and 1/4” baseboard, which was the shortest trim that would still cover the gap between the bottom of the dresser and ground. We needed about 10 feet to trim out the front and sides, leaving the back as is so it could push up to a wall. For the corners, David used a miter saw to cut 45 degree angles on each adjoining piece and attached the baseboards to the dresser with a brad nailer and caulked the seams.

I pretty much never sand to prep when painting furniture. David rolled on two coats of our favorite primer. Then we did two top coats of the wall color in a porch and floor paint, actually. I use latex porch and floor paint for lots of things because it creates such a strong slick surface. He did a light sand in-between coats to get things smooth and because he has a wonderful attention to detail I do not.

Because that primer can be odorous, we let the dresser cure outside for a few days. It’s maybe excessive. But once we brought it in to our bedroom there was no odor.

For the top row small shelves, I was hunting for some good ceramic knobs on etsy, and was ready to buy these, but then found the I think EXACT SAME ones at hobby lobby. They’re $5 each, but hardware at hobby lobby goes on sale every other week for 50% off. I love them and they were only $2.50!

I’m in a mood lately where I really can’t stand shopping online. I’ve never liked it, just the way you feel gross after clicking through 1,000 items across 26 pages of a retail site. So I was just not in the mood to source the bin pulls. I went on home depot and was willing to spend like 10 total minutes on sourcing these. I ordered three types to return the ones I didn’t like. These small ones, these bigger ones, and these other bigger ones.

I ended up keeping these (the third one above). I really like how they turned out. Slightly copper, but feel antique. And a good metal that works well with mixing other metals. Which I do constantly and love.

That’s the story on this hemnes! It is so much better! The transformation turned out even better than I had hoped and it fits the new direction of our master.

My New Cookbook


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  • Chris W.

    This looks so professional ! I love the knobs you settled upon. I also have a very talented husband – aren’t we lucky?

    • Rachel Schultz

      So true!

  • Kelly

    Looks great! I had to laugh at how you described feeling “gross” after shopping online and clicking through 1000’s of items – that is the BEST way to describe it. I can’t stand it either. I don’t really have time to shop in stores but it’s soo much better. I don’t know how so many online influencers can find unique items on the mega warehouse websites – they must be looking for days!

    • Rachel Schultz

      This is truly an unspoken annoyance!

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