Before and After: 2 IKEA BESTAS Become a Beautiful Blue Desk (for $450 Total!)

published Jun 20, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: pink chair at a small desk

Moving to a new apartment or house is often exciting (hello, fresh white paint and fresh starts), but it can also be bittersweet if you’re saying goodbye to a community you love or a home where you’ve put in a lot of TLC.

When Rachel Mae Smith (@thecraftedlife on TikTok) and her husband moved into their new apartment, they didn’t bring their mounted desk setup (previously featured on AT) with them. Instead, it was time for something new: A custom, colorful desk.

For about six months, they had a small desk (one that Rachel found for free on the curb) and a bookcase in the room. “I used what I had for a bit,” she says. “But the bookcase and the desk felt so disconnected in the space.”

She also says the bookcase felt too tall for the space and even looked a bit slanted. “Our floors are from 1846, so they’re not level,” she says. “Bringing the storage low feels so much better!”

Rachel executed her low and modern silhouette with two IKEA BESTAS (one double unit and one single unit), textured BJÖRKÖVIKEN doors, eight NANNARP legs, and an eight-foot x 20-inch slab of wood for the desktop.

Because Rachel also bought some storage bins for inside the desk, her project total was about $450.

“It took me almost six months to finish, but that was just because I was waiting for items to come back in stock at IKEA,” Rachel says. The bulk of the project revolved around painting the IKEA pieces and the wood slab. She sanded with 80- and 120-grit wallpaper, primed with BIN primer, and painted with a sample can of Behr’s Ultra “Pure White” on the top and “Deep River” on the base. Her color palette was inspired by her wedding colors.

“It feels special,” Rachel says. “I love how vibrant the blue is in the space and the contrast of the different color legs!” (Yes, that’s right! if you didn’t notice, Rachel actually spray painted each leg a different color, from light blue to yellow to pink to red — a subtle but unexpected way to maximize color in a space.)

Rachel’s best advice for painting IKEA furniture? A quality primer is of the utmost importance. “If you aren’t priming your IKEA surfaces, they will chip immediately,” she says. “The more time you give the project, the better the results will be.”

Rachel is thrilled with her custom, colorful result — and now, she’s thinking about ways to up the color in the space even more. “I’m currently renting and deciding if removable wallpaper is worth the investment because I think pattern would also look great in this space,” she says. “I’m [also] considering adding a few wall shelves on the right side of the desk.”

The existing white walls certainly make the vibrant blue pop, but the color possibilities are limitless. Stay tuned on Rachel’s TikTok to see how it all comes together.