before & after: a tale of 2 ikea hacks

today’s first before & afters are all about ikea hacks- that popular pastime of changing inexpensive and basic ikea furniture into something customized and completely different.

first up is eric teng, creative director at dmd insight. eric decided to turn his ikea bedside tables into chic mid-century nightstands using a little bit of paint, a can of stain and some great new handles. he documented the entire process right here, but the pictures above speak for themselves. it’s always so great to see generic pieces turned into something that looks stylish and custom-made. great work, eric!

CLICK HERE to see ashley’s ikea table-to-ottoman hack after the jump!

our second ikea hack comes from ashley pace of the november workshop. in order to prevent her toddler daughter from bonking her head on the coffee table, ashley decided to turn her $30 ikea table into a stylish upholstered ottoman. using a piece of foam and anni albers fabric from knoll, ashley created a piece that matched the clean lines of the rest of the house, but was safe enough for the whole family to enjoy. great work, ashley!



The nightstand transformation is incredible! It seems almost insulting to call it a hack — the results are amazing!


The finishing work on the Ikea nightstand is incredible. I would not have believed it was possible to get IKEA to look like that. Nicely done, thanks for sharing.


What gorgeous IKEA hacks! I like the dresser/nightstand a lot! I think the handles totally make it.

stacey ilyse

Wow, I love these, I saved the entry so that I can do them myself!!!

I absolutely love your blog, and read it every day!!!

the best!


I wish we had seen the first hack before my boyfriend built us a set of nightstands from scratch. Those are exactly what we were looking for. I can’t wait to try something similar.

Brandi Powell

Fantastic! I actually just finished restoring an 1897 letterpress – it feels so good to bring life back into something! Job well done!


Love this. I love that these are a substantantially sized nightstands, not puny like you usually see. I’m inspired!

I just started a blog of all my favorite before & afters, please come check it out!



your comments are coming through- but we moderate comments here (to filter out spam, profanity, promotional comments) so it may take a moment or two to go through ;)



Wow, both are great especially since they are so do-able. But I love the nightstand idea.


I did the exact same thing for our nightstands. The same idea was featured a few months ago in Style at Home Magazine up here in Canada!


Is there a step by step link to the Ikea table to ottoman transformation?


i love both hacks! but i think i’ve found the solution for my friend’s need for a ottoman. i will be making this for her soon!


this is fantastic! I just started following this blog and it really jogs the imagination. keep up the makeovers!! I love them!! xoxo


That ottoman is awesome, ill have to try that.
i agree with Heidi where did you get those pillow covers. Love them!


I was just curious if you don’t have an ikea anywhere near you (like even in my state) and the product above is not available to order from the site, where would be another place to get unfinished furniture?



i’d check your local yellow pages for an unfinished furniture company- most cities have companies that sell unfinished work for a lower price. i’d try craigslist, too :)



What I love about both of these projects are that they are utterly doable even if you’re more of a DIY-wannabe (like I am) than an actual DIYer. I especially love how well-executed the faux mid-century look of the dresser is.


the IKEA bedside drawers are fabulous. now they look straight mid-century! i’d like to have that sort of vision…


luv me sum hacks! well done on this one. amazing what a paint job and new hardware an do!


Love these! Would love to see Ikea Makeovers on a more regular basis. :)

Caroline in NC

NC now has an IKEA in Charlotte and I will be making a beeline to it soon! Love the transformations! Before & After is my favorite section og d*s!


The side table transformation is super sweet! I love the white on wood. I believe Crate & Barrel/CB2 has a couple of the two-tone styles. This much cheaper and more customizable version is definitely worth a try!

november workshop

For Tara-
The black chair is a vintage find from my husband’s grandmother. It doesn’t have a make on it. I suggest yardsales!
Good luck!


I love both hacks. Is it possible to post the tutorial for the ottoman?


The first thing I thought of after seeing the first hack was “wow that’s classy”. Very nice job!


Looking at the fabric on the table/ottoman leads me to ask all-
where can i find great upholstery fabric online (without being an interior designer)?

Laurel J

That makes me want to transform my coffee table, too! There aren’t any toddlers in my apartment, but I’m clumsy enough to need that kind of padding.


ok i wasn’t sold on the last hack of that same dresser, but this has officially convinced me it’s worth it! so great :O)


I have an Ikea coffee table similar to that one and two little ones… and now I want to make an ottoman too!


Uma beleza! Loved the nightstands, so very elegant. Ottoman: fabric pattern is superb.


Wow-wow-wow! It’s unbelievable that such an elegant looking nightstand came of that dull dresser. Eric, thank you for sharing this fantastic work with us. You gave me lovely ideas on the verge of decorating a new dressing room.


I have been wanting to turn my coffee table into an ottoman for quite some time. I would greatly appreciate a step by step on the transformation shown here.
Thanks in advance!
God bless

Porsche Design Watches

The minute I saw this ikea hack on Design*Sponge, I knew I was going to tackle it. This is the first apartment we’ve had with room for a nightstand on each side of the bed, so we were on the lookout for some, and this was such a cheaper and a way cooler looking alternative to everything that was out there.


The link to the nightstand hack isn’t working anymore…any idea if there are step by step instructions elsewhere? Thanks!