before & after: elien’s desk + ikea hack table

this pair of makeovers comes from talented d*s reader elien popelier in bruges, belgium. elien found this first piece, an adorable wooden desk, at a local thrift store, and gave it a fresh new look with tape! after taping a line pattern onto the surface, she painted the remainder to create a wooden-stripe look. great work, elien! elien also turned ikea boxes into a fantastic coffee table with storage, so be sure to check that out after the jump!

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]

CLICK HERE for elien’s ikea hack table after the jump!

elien used a set of ikea trissa boxes (about $7 each) to create this large coffee table that matches her living room sofa. after attaching the boxes together, elien added wheels, a fresh coat of paint, and some funky wallpaper for the interiors and voila! a brand new table. great work, elien!

  1. Tara says:

    I really, really, really love this desk! Awesome job! Can you tell me if you had to sand or prime it first? Did you use an oil based paint?

    My brain is spinning with ideas right now. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  2. Erin says:

    I LOVE both of those!

  3. That coffee table is seriously genius.

  4. Nicole says:

    I love both of pieces! Can you tell me what she used for the top of the coffee table – is it just a plain board?

  5. Laura says:

    Love both of them. The idea with the boxes is just fantastic.

  6. Shones says:

    Both of these creations are hot. That table is sweet! Like Tara, I’m wondering about whether the desk was sanded/primed?

  7. She is clever! I love the coffee table! The wallpaper really makes it fab!

  8. elle says:

    i dont think ive ever been so inspired to go DIY some furniture – amazing how stylish and high end the results are!

  9. Samantha says:

    me too! thedesk is fab! i could do with something just like that.

  10. Sarah says:

    love that coffee table! i never ever would’ve thought of that! amazing

  11. Annie says:

    I love the desk and the table. Where is the desk chair from? Also, where did you get the bottom and top for the coffee table and how did you secure the boxes together?

  12. Shriya says:

    Amazing!!..Love them both but the coffee table is just screaming to be made. Im a newbie to this world of DIYing so some amateurish questions:

    What is the wood piece used for the top and bottom?
    How are the boxes attached? Are they stapled? or was a nail gun used or…???

    And are there any similar boxes to be found in US in Ikea or elsewhere?


  13. Michelle says:

    That coffee table is genius!!!

  14. patricia says:

    They’re both great but that desk looks so striking.

  15. Kristan says:

    LOVE them both! Oh man. She should make those coffee tables to sell. I would so buy one. I’d also buy the first table, but I think that’s more of a one-of-a-kind thing.

  16. kenda says:

    i am in awe of that coffee table. i want to try it.

  17. rebecca says:

    love the desk! great idea.

  18. Circa1972 says:

    What is the “funky wallpaper” Elien used for her coffee table? It is beautiful. Both great before and afters!

  19. Katie says:

    What a great idea! So cute!

  20. sarah b. says:

    WOW! Fantastic projects. I’m especially in love with that desk!

  21. Marianne says:

    This is a great coffee table, love the wallpaper idea, that gives it a lot more depth and oomph!

  22. Elien Popelier says:

    just saw the post, thanx for all the compliments! So for all people wondering: i used 2 sheets of MDF (1,5 cm), i had them cut to size in the DIY store, first i screwed alle the boxes on the bottom piece and then screwed the other piece on top (from inside the boxes).
    About the desk, after i attached the tape i sanded it lightly in between the tape, i used a white laquer.

  23. Beautiful coffee table!! Love the innovation.

  24. hena tayeb says:

    the desk is cute.. i had thought about doing that to our very small narrow hallway.. ended up doing regular horizontal stripes instead.

    Love the coffee table idea. that is ingenious.

  25. Isabella says:

    This site is inspiring. :)
    One of my favorite before&after! Love the desk!

    Now, can anyone tell why it’s better to paint than spray paint furniture. I heard some time ago, but the person didn’t explain why. Thanks!

  26. MsChilePepper says:

    I think the coffee table is great! LoveloveLOVE the wallpaper, too! Although I think I’d either omit the middle boxes that are facing inward, because there’s no functionality to them with their openings facing in, and it should be fine structurally without them.

    That, or I’d make the top removable or hinged, so there’s hidden, super-secret storage inside. Every home needs a hidey-hole for valuables!

  27. eva says:

    To shirya: the boxes are from Ikea model Trissa. and yes I adore both hacks too…

  28. Maria says:

    nice use of that masking tape!

  29. Awesome work.

    P.S. Is that a giant mural of Audrey Hepburn I spy in the background? Do tell!


  30. Tanya says:

    That is the coolest table ever

  31. Elodie says:

    if only I had space to make this table!!

  32. I love the coffee table idea!

  33. troy says:

    coffee table = brilliance

    well done!!

  34. Tracey says:

    Love, love, love both of these pieces! What creative ideas. For those who asked, I think the top of the table is MDF (med. density fiberboard). It looks like it in the before pic. I love the wallpaper on the inside of the table.

  35. Michelle says:

    Love the coffee table! I did something simlar with those boxes from ikea to create my super cool mega craft station: I stacked a layer of the boxes on top of my flat file then placed a flat piece of wood on top of the boxes. It’s a perfect height table with storage in the sides!

  36. Shriya says:

    @Eva – Thanks a lot for replying. I could not find that model in the US Ikea website. Probably I dint look around keenly enough. Will search some more.

    And thanks a lot Eileen for providing such detailed answer to the queries.

  37. Mymsie says:

    ♥ that coffee table!! I searched online and apparently the trissa boxes have been discontinued. I couldn’t even find them on eBay. I checked Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes for something similar but didn’t see anything exactly right. Any idea where I might find some simple wooden crates?

    1. grace says:


      did you try the container store?


  38. Mymsie says:

    @grace: Good idea but I didn’t see anything. :(

    1. grace says:


      so sorry- perhaps ikea has something in-store that’s not online? it seems like they should. i’ll keep my eyes peeled :)


  39. bridget says:

    the desk is so impressive! great work…

  40. I love LOVE that coffee table! It looks so professional!

  41. Linda says:

    Try doing a google search for “stackable wooden crates”.

    And thank you for this inspiration. I love the desk.

  42. Lesley says:

    Great table! Really looks amazing! Can you tell me what size the boxes have?
    Really beautiful!

  43. Fercha says:

    beautiful!! Where can I get the tutorial and can I make smaller?


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