Before & After: A Basic IKEA Cabinet Gets A Stylish New Look


The act of retrofitting and adapting IKEA furniture for new uses, otherwise known as the “IKEA hack,” has achieved massive popularity in recent years. This popularity, however, does not come without its own kind of notoriety: as with many a craft endeavor, the universe of IKEA hacking has become diluted with the novel, the impractical and the overly-disposable. For every few misguided hacks, though, there is one absolutely brilliant one—a beautiful combination of economy, ingenuity and creativity. One like the fabulous repurposing of an IKEA Rast cabinet by Ferren Gipson. Discouraged by the lack of wallet-friendly, mid-century nightstands on the market, Ferren took matters into her own hands (quite literally!) and transformed two of IKEA’s most basic pieces into a pair of stunning and eye-catching nightstands—not bad for a final budget of £80! Check out all of the photos, plus Ferren’s design notes after the jump! —Max


“My husband and I wanted to replace our beside tables,” Ferren says, “which were a ghastly abandoned DIY project from years ago. I was on the hunt for mid-century tables, but they were proving expensive and hard to find. In the end we decided to makeover two Ikea Rast dressers.”

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“We assembled the dressers, leaving out the drawers. I filled in the pre-drilled holes for the knobs, and gave the front of the drawers a coat of black. Then I gave the main cabinet two coats of the teak stain (about 30 minutes between each coat). Two coats gave them a nice, reddish tone without covering up the grain too much, so I decided to stop there. The longest part of the process was waiting a day between coats for the glossy black paint. The paint I bought took ages to dry, but it went on thick, with great coverage. I only did two coats of the black because I didn’t want to cover over the wood’s texture (and I was tired of waiting). After the drawers were dry, I glued the leather straps in a loop, then glued them to the tops of the drawers. I followed that up by nailing them in as well. I glued the straps first to help prevent them from rubbing when we open and close the drawers.”

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“I’d not seen an example of anyone painting their Rast in a similar color combination, so I was a little nervous about how it would turn out. In the end, I thought it looked beautiful! The leather straps turned out to be a similar shade to the teak stain, which was serendipitous, as it was leftover from a previous DIY.”

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  1. Summer says:

    Fab Fab Fab! Can’t read her handwriting though- how much did it cost- Looks like 180 pounds?

  2. Vanessa says:

    Very nicely done! I think she has written 80 lbs for two of them.

  3. Tomiko says:

    The leather straps look great! How are they at opening the drawers? And are you happy with the size of the loop (are they easy to grab?).

  4. wow this looks so nice! I love the leather part too!

  5. Lulu says:

    Great work & super good idea. Love the mix. Thanks for sharing with us. Yes indeed, she wrote “About £80 for two”.

  6. Debbie says:


  7. Agatha says:

    £80 for two.
    I love it!

  8. Yes, it’s £80. Great idea with the leather straps. Simple but so effective.

  9. Ferren says:

    Yes, it’s £80. Sorry for the writing!

    The handles work wonderfully. I’ve been very happy with how they turned out :)

  10. Enrica says:

    Wow .. what a great idea Ferren … Thank you for sharing !!!
    I’ve just got one of them, right now is a sort of shabby chic blue but I will re-do it and the leather straps are a great idea to transform it in something really modern and new.

  11. Monnaie says:

    Nice! Good effort…

  12. The leather straps are the highlight of the cabinet. Definitely good idea to make it black! Looking very nice. :)

  13. Julia says:

    What a great way to add your own style and flair to a plain piece. Painting and altering store bought furniture is a great way to customize a boring item more to your tastes. This is perfect for neutral pallets, but with a few different colors, the piece can easily become eclectic and festive.

  14. WOW! This is an extreme before and after! Super modern and cute!

  15. Tawni says:

    Beautiful! I really want to do this! Do you remember the name/kind of stain and paint you used? Also, do you know the length of the leather strap?


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