Before and After: An IKEA Entryway Piece Loses Its “Office File Cabinet Vibes” with a Quick DIY

published Mar 24, 2022
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8 drawer cabinet

It’s official: Pole wrap is the key to turning basic big box pieces into totally stunning furniture, as evidenced by Michelle McRae’s dresser rescue, Bailey Powell’s shoe cabinet IKEA hack, and now a third project — also made from an IKEA shoe cabinet base.

Renter Alanna Hurley (@alannahurley1) was “desperate” for some shoe storage in her apartment entryway, but “like many Chicago apartments,” she explains, “the first thing you walk into when you enter is a long narrow hallway.”

To not take up too much space in the hallway, the cabinet could only be about six inches deep, “which is nearly impossible to come by,” Alanna says. “The only affordable option I could find was of course IKEA, which gave me the function I needed but was giving very office file cabinet vibes.”

Her two blackish brown IKEA STÄLLs, with their square compartments and basic pulls were very corporate-looking, so she decided to bring in some lighter, more natural-looking texture to match her apartment’s aesthetic, which she describes as “organic mid-century modern.”

At first, Alanna considered using trim and rattan or raffia cloth to get the neutral texture she was going for, but “that would have be significantly more work,” she explains. Her cabinets were about $100 each, so she didn’t want to spend too much money — or time — making changes.

“I walked across the street to Home Depot and looked for inspiration when I came across the oak pole wrap,” Alanna says. “It was truly the perfect solution that was quick and easy but would also bring in interest and that natural element I was looking for.”

She purchased two rolls of the 96” x 16” pole covering (about $70 per roll) and got to work. Her project total, including the cabinets, was about $350. She cut the pole wrap down to the length of each cabinet and removed any excess by following the grove in the wrap with a razor.

Alanna’s favorite part of the project? She had exactly enough pole wrap to cover her drawer fronts. Talk about efficiency! Alanna says she loves “how perfectly all the pieces fell into place” and that in all, it “was such an easy and satisfying project.”

She says it’s possible to do the project without power tools, but a circular saw will make the cutting process more precise. With the pole wrap measured and cut, she adhered it to the front of the cabinets with Gorilla wood glue, let them dry, and then added sleek black Amazon hardware.

She’s able to stylishly store about three pairs of sneakers in one compartment, and her boyfriend can fit two pairs in a compartment. “I had put so much time and effort into each and every detail of our apartment never expecting to have to stare at piles of dirty shoes staggered about everyday,” Alanna says, and now, she has the perfect solution, which she completed in a day.

She also has ideas for how DIYers could iterate on this project in the future: Painted pole wrap, anyone? “You can make it fit any design style or room,” she says.