DIYdiy projectskate pruitt

diy project: ikea bedside chair

by Grace Bonney

when we decided to move our bedroom to a different room in the house, we no longer had the space for our old bedside tables. i decided to use an old chair because it was narrow enough and it looked pretty good. unfortunately, i lost two important things in the switch: a place for private things (my ‘goody’ drawer, so to speak, although mine just has a journal and some nail clippers…saucy!!) and surface space – even with a smaller bedside lamp i didn’t have much room. i loved the quirkiness of using a chair (i’ve seen in many home tours and it is always very charming), but i needed these problems solved. ikea to the rescue!!

i am majorly inspired by “odd” furniture designs, like this “tamp and lable” by florian kallus, so i decided to work over a simple pine chair to create a multi-purpose bedside table, complete with a drawer and swivel lamp! i splurged a bit on the new trål wall sconce ($16.99) because it looked so good with the chair, and i like that it rotates so i can change the angle when i am reading in bed. if you aren’t into the industrial look of this piece (my boyfriend called this franken-furniture, which i love), i hope you will at least take away the knowledge that adding a drawer to a chair (or anything) is remarkably easy, and cheap! the great thing about this design is that you can still use the chair for seating if you need to, you can even have a little light over your shoulder! i hope you like this one, i had a lot of fun making it. have fun!! kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

1. ikea ivar chair
2. ikea trål sconce
3. ikea snodd knobs (or any knob you like)
3. wood box or crate or old drawer (must be 12″ wide and under 12″ long. i used this wood craft boxfrom michael’s craft store)
4. drill (with a 3/8″ thick drill bit)
5. drawer slides 10″ long (these come in packs of two and are available at most hardware stores. they come in many lengths)
6. 1″ wood screws (x2)

ikea materials: $41
wood crate, box: free on hand, or $5 (at craft store)
drawer slides: $5

2-3 hours

1. take the chair out of the box and connect the two side pieces with the back slats of the chair, according to the instructions. lay the seat on top, but do not attach.

2. take your drawer/box and slide under the seat in front to check the fit. the box from michael’s fit perfectly with the 12″ side as the front of the drawer.

3. take the drawer slides apart and attach the slides to the drawer according to the instructions that come with the drawer slides. you should have small screws included with the drawer slides that you can use. it’s okay if your drawer does not go the full length of the slides (my box was just 8″ wide, so 2″ of slide were extending on the back of the drawer). make the drawer slides flush with the front of your drawer, and screw in a couple places on each side to secure. you might want to add a piece of wood to the back for weight. i used the extra front panel piece of the chair that was left over.

4. now that your drawer has the slides attached, take the seat off the chair so the interior of the sides of the chair are exposed. attach the other two pieces of the drawer slides to the left and right side of the chair. make them flush with the top edge of the sides, so that they seat will be right on top of them and the drawer. you can put your drawer in while holding the sides to make sure you have them in the right place. a second person is useful here for this purpose.

5. screw the front of the drawer slides into the chair legs with one screw on each side. then screw in the back of each drawer slide with the 1″ screws (to account for the gap between the slide and the wood of the chair).

6. now that your drawer slides are in, your drawer should slide into them easily. you will notice that the front of the chair is adjustable in width, because the  seat hasn’t been attached yet. adjust their width so that the drawer is sliding in without any friction.

7. when you have the drawer in the right place and sliding properly, put the seat back on and screw in place using the screws that came with the chair. make sure the drawer still slides nicely when the seat is put in place.

8. drill a hole in the center of the front of the drawer and add the snodd knob. super cute! slide drawer back in place.

9. unwrap the sconce and read the directions for installation. it’s WAY too easy.

10. take the metal piece that attaches to the “wall” and screw it into the back of the top of the chair on the left side (or right, depending on which side of the bed your chair is going on)

11. slide the sconce piece onto the metal piece and add the pin to secure. add light bulb. if you want, you can staple the cord down the back of the chair to keep it neat, but it’s pretty easy to hide and tuck away also.

12. put next the bed and plug it in. hide goodies in drawer.


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  • This is awesome! Thanks for sharing. Hope you don’t mind a copycat! (Imitations is the sincerest form of flattery, right?)

  • Beautiful! The addition of the attached lamp is what does it for me as a night stand; I love it! Now I’m also imagining all the possibilities of drawers on chairs EVERYWHERE. Dinner table, desk; extra hiding spaces are always good to have when you’re a squirrel like me!

  • I love using chairs as nightstands… but I use a basket under the seat. The drawer idea is so much better, never knew you could do that.
    Like Ophelia I might start putting drawers everywhere now.

  • I definitely used chairs as a bedside table for quite a while, they matched and didn’t match anything else in my apartment! However, they have a circular seat so I might have to go for the basket version instead since I would never have a seamless fit.

  • I have a tiny one BR apartment with little storage, and this is a creative way to even make dining seating a storage secret!

    And as a bedside table? Just adorable!

  • This is a perfect idea to do on kids chairs. They can hold their treasures or art supplies in there!

  • Such a clever idea!! Definitely one to tuck away in my “clever ideas” file! Okay… I’m teasing about having a file called “clever ideas” specifically, but I’m sooo not teasing about saving your franken-furniture (love that too) idea for that perfect, future application. Thanks!

  • I love chairs as nightstands, they add so much more character to the room. Myself, I would also add some kind of basket underneath to give me some extra storage (I’m always in dire need of storage around here)!

  • This is very cool. This would be so great for at an eating table too! you could store napkins and things in the drawers.

  • Oh I LOOOOVE this!!!!!!!! this is the best idea I’ve seen in ages, I wish I’d done it for my bed and ooh your could have storage in all your lounge chairs! INGENIUS!!!



  • This is so ridiculously cool, I can’t believe it! My house is full of IKEA stuff, but I have not yet hacked any of it. Gotta put this one into my favourites, as I just fell in Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve!

  • How amazing…. I love the way you let yourself be inspired by the ever so clever and talented Florian K. BUT of course this DIY level is already far too sophisticated for many amongst us. WHAT A GREAT IDEA and sublime execution. Love your boyfriend’s name for it!!! :) Thank You for letting us participate

    • kiki

      i actually don’t think this level of diy project is above most people reading. installing a drawer is a lot easier than you think ;)


  • This is a great piece! I love adapting furniture to the current need. Who says it has to be “traditional?” And the idea of adding a drawer underneath? Smart thinkin’!

    Stan Horst

  • Love it! If I tried it I would add a board over the two stretchers (is that what the two pieces connecting the back and front legs are called?) under the seat for an extra storage space!

  • Great idea! I never saw the view from the back, but I imagine there is a way to make that look nice if it doesn’t…and it would be a great idea to do for all the chairs at a table in a small apartment!! Could store all the placemats and napkins….wow!

  • wow i do love this for a dining table. I also have a small apt. Maybe I can put napkins, votive candles, flowers and accessories for a center piece. I mot a fan of wood, but i do love this!!!

  • Came back to this post. I love it so much. I have no need for chairs but I definitely see a trip to Ikea for the supplies in my future. Thank you. Thank you.

  • franken furniture indeed! bleepin’ brilliant! hats off to you and your clever, space saving, awesome ikea hack. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  • I, too, am drawn to quirky furniture. Usually, it comes with a huge price. This is brilliant and thanks for concise directions.

  • Love this idea Kate! Some people use chairs for hanging their clothes but it’s a real bonus to have the drawer and rotating lamp.

  • The front of the drawer, is that the piece of the chair that u havent used? Cause it looks much lower than on the orignal ikea chair. Or am I missing something???

  • meindert Peters:
    yes, you are right. you do not put the front panel of the chair on because you are replacing it with the drawer. the piece of wood you see is the front of the drawer that i added on.

  • This is a really smart and well-executed idea. I like that you left the natural wood, yet the design gives people the option of painting, stenciling or vinyl decals if they want.

    I’m wondering if this will work on other styles of chairs that have cylindrical legs–can you attach the drawer slides under the chair’s seat? Also, were the slides the same depth as the chair or did they stick out in back and then you cut them off? I have some windsor chairs I would like to try this on.

  • OK. I don’t understand “the piece of wood you see is the front of the drawer that i added on.” Is this an additional piece of wood that you purchased? Is it actually a piece of a drawer that you already owned? A piece of the Michael’s box that you featured? Is it a piece of the chair? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Hey all! Here are some answers to the most recent questions:
    1. Rebecca E – the drawer slides I purchased require you to attach the slides to the side of the chair (they do not have screw holes on the top of the metal bars, only on the side). BUT, you could probably drill some small holes in the metal to allow you to attach upward to the underside of the seat. I definitely recommend trying it out. Most seats should be at least 10 or 12″ deep (to accommodate adult butts!), so the slides do not need to be cut, they fit under the seat perfectly. If you do have a shorter seat, look for 8″ slides online. I don’t think you can cut the slides because the roll mechanisms at both ends are required.

    2. EBrown – Sorry if I was unclear. I attached a 3″ x 12″ piece of pine to the front of my box because my box wood finish didn’t quite match my chair. i left the step out because it may not be necessary for everyone and it seemed to make the directions more confusing. If you do purchase the michael’s box i used, you might want to get a piece of pine from a hardware store that is 3″ x 12″ (and .5″-1″ thick) and attach it to the front. It doesn’t change how you mount the drawer slides at all – you still mount them so the front of the slides are flush with the front of the box (w/o the wood). You just add the piece of wood to the front of the box after the slides are attached.

  • I have been scouring the intertoobs for this type of design and this is the first I’ve found. Thank you! I’ve been wanting to add drawers to my dining chairs and table in order to store stuff in the spot closest to where it will be used.

  • I have an IKEA chair that was discontinued. They put in the drawer & the back has fabric velcroed around each slat to form 2 slings for books that hang behind the chair. BUT the light!! Great idea — I have been stressing about moving my bed around and putting more holes in the walls for my lights. It never occured to me to attach the lights to the chair, brilliant!

  • This is fantastic! I also never knew that a creating a drawer could be so easy. Definitely going to try that out!

  • I’ve been wanting to make this since I saw it and I’m gathering materials! Very exciting!

    Anyways, I was just looking at the chair and, since the front wood panel is no longer used, I was wondering if the chair is still sit-on-able?

  • This looks adorable! I’m trying to get a hold of an unfinished wooden box, but can’t find one anywhere (not at craft or home improvements stores, offline AND online).

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to get a wooden box like this, short of making one?

  • I love this idea! It turned out so very fantastic, and I can see me using the back-of-the-chair rungs to hang my necklaces. Could keep them seperated by either notching the rung, or putting little pegs in the rung. Oh my oh my! Whoohoo

  • I love this, however, how did you get the front piece of the drawer?

    It is obviously not from the chair, and that craft box you linked to doesn’t have that bigger piece either.

    How do you get that bigger front piece?

  • I also haven’t been able to find a drawer like the one used here – either in stores, or online. Does anyone have insight in to where to get one?

  • i found this idea after already assembling the chair together and was just wondering if you could further explain step 5. the front of the chair is a smaller width (because of the chair legs) than inside the frame of the chair, so how would the drawer be able to slide out if i attatched the sliders to the sides of the chair? i understand this is pretty late considering the latest comment was in 2012 but any help would be appreciated.