Before and After: A $100 IKEA HEMNES Dresser Hack has the Perfect Amount of Whimsy

published Mar 8, 2021
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Before: IKEA HEMNES 8-drawer dresser in white
Credit: IKEA

When it comes to the most hackable IKEA products, it’s hard to beat the HEMNES line. The pieces are all made of solid wood, which means not only that the construction is sturdy, but also that you have a lot of options for making it your own, from staining to painting to chopping it up or cutting it down.

That’s why when Jennifer Laura, who blogs at Jennifer Laura Living, was redoing her son’s bedroom, she reached for a HEMNES dresser. “I knew I wanted to do something special with it but wasn’t sure what,” Jennifer says. “I wanted this dresser to feel like a special piece and not just a plain IKEA dresser.”

Armed with some inspirational photos — and a soothing color palette — Jennifer got to work planning something that would feel right at home in her 3-year-old’s first “big boy room.”

Jennifer chose three colors for the project, all shades of blue: Valspar’s Lighthouse Shadows, Silver Fox, and Cornflower Blue. Before applying, she primed the drawer fronts — a crucial step for getting the paint to stick. “The HEMNES has slick drawers and you want that paint to adhere nicely!” Jennifer says.

Then, she used a roller to paint the bottom drawers the darkest blue, the middle drawers the mid-toned blue, and the top drawers in the lightest blue.

For the whimsical animal figurine hardware, Jennifer took inspiration from an Apartment Therapy tutorial. After choosing her collection of plastic animals, Jennifer drilled holes in the back before gluing in threaded rods. She once again primed with a spray primer to ensure the best adherence, then painted the animals to match the ombre tone of the drawers. Once dry, she attached them to the matching sections and the dresser was complete.

Jennifer spent a total of about $100 on supplies for the upgrade that included all the paint, primer, hardware, and of course, the animal figurines (which she says cost about $50 alone). The results make this once-plain dresser into a kid’s dream — but with a touch of sophistication that can grow with him, too.

“I love the subtle tone-on-tone look,” Jennifer says. “I love that the animal detail is subtle, but still adds a lot or interest and fun to this fun dresser for my 3-year-old toddler son!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.