Before and After: An IKEA HEMNES Gets the Look of Expensive Bone Inlay for $43

published Oct 3, 2023
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The IKEA shoe cabinet choices are great because they offer slender shoe storage, but they’re also great because they’re so DIY-friendly. This black fluted HEMNES, this glam white STALL, and this black and tan one all make for stunning entryway pieces. 

A fourth IKEA shoe cabinet facelift to add to the list is Claire Champion’s (@charnwoodtowers), which has a faux bone inlay look thanks to paint and stencils. 

“This cabinet from IKEA was perfect, size-wise, but too plain for our decor,” Claire says. It’s a HEMNES shoe cabinet, which goes for about $170 if you’re buying it new, but Claire already owned hers.

Paint and stencils were the key to creating a high-end look.

She eyed this stencil online and thought it would be a good opportunity to try out a bone inlay look — which she loves, but the real deal is often out of her budget — on the cabinet. Her stencil is from Dizzy Ducks Designs, and she used mount adhesive to keep it in place on top of her HEMNES. 

Before painting the design on, Claire prepped extensively. “This was my first stenciling project, so I watched a few videos on how to stencil before starting,” she says. Then, she took the cabinet doors off and cleaned everything down with soap, following with a coat of Zinsser’s 123 Primer. 

“Once dry, I painted the cabinet in two coats of furniture paint which I had color-matched to Farrow and Ball’s Railings,” Claire says. Then she rolled on white paint (a chalky Rustoleum choice) over the top of the stencil to create the design. “The key thing was to use a roller and apply the tiniest amount of paint, building up in thin layers until it reached the desired opacity,” she says, adding that once she got into a rhythm, it was easier than expected. She recommends other DIYers taking on a similar project practice blotting the design on a piece of paper first so they know the right amount of pressure to apply to get the right paint thickness.

Fresh hardware completes the cabinet’s custom style.

To finish her global-inspired look, Claire added six hex-shaped brass pulls from Amazon. “The whole thing was budget friendly,” Claire says. By doing it myself I got the look of a bone inlay piece with a much smaller price tag … I’m so pleased with the result. It’s made what could have been an ordinary piece of furniture into something unique that fits so much better into our home aesthetic.”

Claire’s DIY advice for the road? Take your time. “The hardest part was ensuring the stenciling remained sharp and the paint didn’t bleed through the stencil,” she says. “This meant cleaning the stencil regularly and taking my time with the paint application. It wasn’t a difficult thing to do, just time consuming to get a good finish.”  

Slow and steady certainly won the race in this entryway. What a beauty — and all for about £35, or $43 USD. 

Inspired? Submit your own project here.