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A Hard-Core IKEA Hack for a Rental Bathroom Makeover

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: IKEA)

IKEA’s IVAR collection is a very versatile system, with different ways to configure storage, and made of unfinished wood that’s a virtual blank slate for paint. But, in a recent makeover project, the big question became: could it become the centerpiece of an inexpensive rental bathroom makeover?

Erika’s bathroom suffered from a distinct lack of style, so I wanted to start with a great vanity in a fun color. One of my first thoughts, when on a strict budget, is usually IKEA. But their lower priced vanities are all pretty small (and aren’t dramatically different from what she already had) and their larger versions cost between $300-500 (not including the faucet), which is already pretty steep for a budget rental makeover. So, after wandering the aisles, and measuring everything in sight, this is the plan I came up with.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

The IVAR 3 Drawer Chest was the right dimensions for the space, and, for $95, was a good solid start. It’s unfinished and therefore easily paintable. The only challenge would be hacking it to accommodate the sink and the plumbing below. Having seen others do this, I knew it was just a matter of figuring it out.

I topped it with a YDINNGEN Sink, which cost $100, and nestled perfectly on top.

I took a risk and ordered an inexpensive single handle faucet from Amazon for $33. That’s half the price of one from IKEA and —when you see it — the dark finish really makes a huge different in the overall design. Chrome just wouldn’t have looked the same, and there weren’t a lot of other affordable black options out there. It worked just fine, and — as you’ll soon see —looks really great.

Originally I wasn’t going to use the hairpin legs, but I was a little worried about hanging the unit on the wall, when I wasn’t sure what was back there; it was just a little added stress I didn’t want to deal with. So I ordered some 6″ hairpin legs from Amazon Prime for $30 and slept a lot better that night, knowing the sink wouldn’t fall off the wall in the middle of the night. Well worth the money.

So, with that late addition, the entire vanity, with legs and faucet, now totaled $270.74 — which was a large percentage of my budget, but much cheaper than anything I could have purchased off the shelf. I was confident that, when it all came together, it would look good.

If you’re interested in the whole process, here’s what I did.

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First, decide where you want the cabinet position, taking into account the existing plumbing’s location. (Image credit: Dabney Frake)