Ikea Hemnes Dresser Hack

For years we have had one medium sized dresser that Aaron and I not only share for our clothes, but also all of our linens. With no other place to keep towels, sheets, blankets and the like, that dresser was packed. Sometimes it was difficult just to get the drawers closed. Socks were neighbors with pillowcases, undies were getting cozy with the hand towels. You get the picture. We also needed two nightstands – Aaron gets the alarm and sound machine on his side of the bed, and I get the glass of water and Kindle. Why not kill two mosquitoes with one paper towel?! We saved up our funds and purchased two Hemnes 3 Drawer Chests from Ikea to keep clothes in and work as nightstands.

Ikea 3 Drawer Hemnes Hack

Turning A Dresser Into A Nightstand

The dressers were too tall to be nightstands and would look pretty silly next to the bed. So Aaron cut the legs off, leaving just under a half inch for feet. This lowered them enough to be passable as nightstands. I had ordered them in the ‘white stain’ which is supposed to be a white-washed wood where you can see the wood grain, thinking it would be easier to sand and paint a different color as I didn’t want white. Uh, yeah, no. They were solid thick white with a plastic-like coating. The only parts that looked like stained wood were the insides.

So I sanded them. And sanded. And sanded some more. I tried paint on one of the sanded pieces, and the paint still wouldn’t stick to it. So out came the Gripper primer by Glidden. That stuff will adhere to just about anything!

After priming, I painted the outsides Adirondack Green by Benjamin Moore. I don’t have an ‘in between’ photo of the outside paint job, so I’ll move on to the drawers….

Faux Bois Painting On Drawers

Each drawer took a turn on my work desk, getting faux painted. I started with a base color, then layered with other colors and a matte varnish in between, highlighting and sealing in each layer, and creating a hard surface.

I then went back and did detail work, painting in grain lines. I was going for a spalted wood look with wear around the pull knob areas.



It was only after all the work did I even try to fit the dressers into place. I mean I measured the space before purchase, but as I have come to realize, the measurements online are not always quite true. We did have to make an adjustment to a shelf that it was supposed to easily fit under but didn’t. This is how my dresser turned out:

Our bedroom is very, very sparse. We are living on painted subfloor, no rug, no curtains, and not much in the way of decor. This room is going to be one of the last that gets remodeled so I didn’t want to waste money on fixing it up when we’re just going to tear everything out anyway. But I did make two runners for each dresser. And we’re eventually going to change the knobs to some amazing railroad spike pulls crafted by CP Ironworks (I’ll post updated photos once I install them). This is how Aaron’s dresser turned out:

We love them. And they hold A LOT of clothes! Yay! The one problem with them is now I want to change our upholstered bed frame to a wood one to match the dressers. Aaron keeps saying no though. *sigh*