Suck it West Elm, you’ve been hacked! Okay, whoa, whoa, maybe I’m coming in a little hot! Let’s rewind for a sec… and I can give you some back story on these West Elm inspired nightstands. So I’ve been obsessed with DIY for as long as I can remember. I remember watching the OG Trading Spaces religiously back in the day and wanting to be on the show SO bad. Thank God I never was though because watching those old 90’s re-runs is scary stuff. Like the Hildy circus tent episode? What the what? Um. No. Fast forward a decade and the obsession continues. I’m either binge watching HGTV or True Crime shows. I know, weird.
Anywho, we are currently renting a 2 bedroom, 1 bath condo. It was built in like 1975ish and NOTHING has been updated since then except maybe the appliances, a few coats of paint and some carpet. We’ve been saving up to buy a house and if you know anything about home prices in Southern California then you know buying a house is easier said than done. So we sat down, looked at our financials and decided to hold off and save up for another 3-4 years. We currently pay dirt cheap rent (because the place hasn’t been fixed up and my husband has lived there since like 2001) so it makes more sense to stay and save than being house poor right now.
I kind of had a come to Jesus moment and decided that if we were going to live here for another 3-4 years then I HAD to do something to spruce the place up. Even if that meant using my own money. I would just have to find a way to fix things up on the super cheap. So in other words, welcome to the world of DIY. Luckily my husband is super handy and I’ve been on a mission to become more handy myself, so I’m making him teach me stuff along the way. I want to be like those badass chicks on HGTV that are renovating houses themselves! I think it’s the coolest and if I was better at measuring things (I don’t math) I think being a carpenter would be such a cool job. Also, it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do. We’ve been using paint, which is relatively inexpensive, to completely transform our space.
So far we’ve done A LOT to the condo. We’ve covered up the linoleum floors with luxury vinyl planks from Cali Bamboo in both the kitchen and bathroom ($200 and worth every penny of my sanity! Have you seen 70’s linoleum? I rest my case). We’ve painted the kitchen and kitchen cabinets, and even painted the 90’s refrigerator (yes, you read that right! Appliance epoxy for the win.) We added hardware to the kitchen cabinets and drawers. We painted an accent wall in the reading nook (area underneath the stairs) and painted one in the bedroom to match. We also updated the sink and vanity in the bathroom (used another epoxy paint by Rust-Oleum). We’ve also made some DIY shelves and moved the curtain rods closer to the ceiling to make the rooms appear bigger. You can find pics of all of these in my Instagram profile, in the DIY Stories tab.
So what’s left? Well, we are updating the spare bedroom and turning it into an Office/Guest Room/Mancave. We start work on that this weekend and I will be IKEA hacking some more furniture. After that we’re done! As part of this DIY remodel, I’ve bought a LOT of IKEA stuff and transformed it into not IKEA stuff. This was one of our easier projects that came out great. The response I got on social media was overwhelming and I promised I’d blog about it and give you guys the “recipe” if you will, so you can do the same thing! Please forgive me, all of these pictures were taken with my iPhone, not my legit Canon camera. I will probably go room by room and project by project to photograph those and do another DIY blog post with nicer pictures. Also, please forgive my messy garage, I didn’t know I’d be sharing these pictures with anyone….ever. I firmly believe you can change your space to one that makes you happier, and do it on a budget. It just takes a little elbow grease and a lot of will. I refuse to use the term ‘sweat equity’ because I hate it. I don’t know why, it’s an unjustified hate for sure. I think it just sounds douchey.
- (2) IKEA RAST Dressers ($34.99 ea.)
- (1) 1×4 @ 21.25″ piece of wood
- (1) 3/8″ Plywood @ 21.25″ X 3.5″ (to use on the back of the 1×4 as a filler so that the front 1×4 is as flush as possible with the front of the nightstand.You can probably find this for free from a business who has scrap wood.)
- (1) 1×3 @ 21.25″ piece of scrap wood (to use on the bottom of the dressers to secure the leg posts. You can probably also find this for free from a business who has scrap wood.)
- (6) 12 5/8 European Style Brass Pulls ($5.10 ea.)
- (8) 3.5-in. Wood Round Taper Table Legs ($2.48 ea.)
- (8) Waddell Heavy Duty Top Plate ($2.65 ea.)
- (1) can Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint ($4 ea.)
- (2) 1/2 pints of Minwax Wood Finish Stain in Golden Oak ($4.98 ea.)
- (1) 1/2 pint of Minwax Wood Finish Stain in Puritan Pine ($4.98 ea.)
- (1) 1/2 pint of Minwax Wood Finish Stain in Gunstock ($4.98 ea.)
- (1) 1 quart Minwax Satin Polyurethane ($10.99 ea.)
MISC. STUFF YOU’LL NEED:
- Old Rags
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Disposable Gloves
- Finishing Nails (Brad nailer or a hammer will work)
- Old Cup or Small Bucket (to mix stain)
- Wooden Paint Stick (to stir stain)
- Fine grit sandpaper (optional)
1.) First things first, build those IKEA RAST dressers! They are pretty easy to assemble, each one should take about 30 minutes. Pro-Tip: since you will be staining them, I recommend not screwing in the plastic pieces that keep the drawers from sliding out. Install those as a last step to this project.
2.) Take the 3/8″ Plywood and cut it @ 21.25″ long by 3″ wide and place it behind your 1×4 cut to 21.25″ long. Then put them in the bottom nook of the assembled dresser to make sure they fit, you may need to cut a little bit here or there off the sides to have a snug fit, but for the most part these should fit pretty well. Brad nail them into the dresser bottom on each side and in the middle. Voila! At this time I would also fit the extra 1×3 piece of scrap wood cut to 21.25″ long to the bottom back of each dresser that you will need to attach the leg plates to. (See pic below) No need to attach the plates or the legs yet, you want to stain first. You can attach this piece of wood a few ways, you can get fancy and use a metal jig (allows you to screw something in at an angle so it’s flush and looks nice) or you can just nail/screw it into place, or even use a metal bracket. It’s going to be in the back bottom part of the dresser, so it really doesn’t need to look pretty because no one will be able to see it, you just need it as a support system for the legs because there is nothing there.
3.) Take the assembled dressers to a well ventilated area because it’s time to stain! I LOVE staining. It’s so relaxing to me. Confession: sometimes I look for things to stain around the house. Do you need to sand? I think you’re fine either way. Sanding will make the wood feel nicer to the touch and make it look a little more high end, but if you decide to skip it, you’ll still be fine. I ended up just sanding the face of each drawer. Pro-Tip 1: wear gloves unless you want stain colored and smelling hands. Pro-Tip 2: before applying stain, rub a cloth or a sponge that is pretty damp with water and evenly coat the wood surface. Water opens up the wood grain and allows the stain color to sink in, making it easier to coat and making the color a little deeper. Be careful though because if you miss a spot it may be noticeable since the rest of the piece will be richer in color.
4.) Mix your stain to create this custom color! Okay, second confession: I didn’t know I’d be blogging this so I didn’t really accurately measure my stain color. Luckily stain is pretty forgiving for the most part and you’ll get a very similar color even if you don’t have the exact ratio measured to the drop. I started by pouring the entire 1/2 pint of Golden Oak stain into a small paint bucket. Then I added about 1/2 of a 1/2 pint of Puritan Pine stain, then maybe an 1/8 of a 1/2 pint of Gunstock stain. So if I was a ratio, I’d be this: 1:2:8. Is that even right?! You guys, I have no idea. I told you I don’t math! So 1:2 of Golden Oak and Puritan Pine, then you want just a dash of Gunstock. Gunstock comes out REALLY red, but you really do need it to get that mid-century modern wood color. Use a wooden paint stick to stir everything together and you can get an idea of what the color will look like on your paint stick. Test a small portion on the back of your dresser, see if you like it and add from there. So why do I have (2) 1/2 pints of Golden Oak stain listed in the Supplies? Because it’s always better to have too much stain than not enough! You can create two batches of this stain mixture, one for each dresser. Pro-Tip: I recommend evenly measuring out two batches of stain so they are exactly the same and you don’t get one dresser lighter or darker than the other. You may have enough stain left over in one batch to stain both, but better safe than sorry. Or write down exactly how much you added to the first batch so you can make a second batch if needed. Either way don’t add it all willy nilly.
5.) Once you have your stain color ready, put on some tunes and stain away! I prefer to use rags when I stain, but some people prefer brushes. All the staining on these was done with rags. Minwax recommends you let the stain dry for 24-hours before you poly. Lame, but okay. While you’re waiting for the stain to dry, start working on the legs. The legs come unfinished and with chrome bottoms instead of brass. I wanted brass to match the handles though, so what I did was stain the legs with the same custom stain mix, let them dry to the touch, then I put painters tape around the wood part and used gold spray paint to paint them! Since the legs have a screw top, I put them in an electric drill, then slowly ran the drill as I hit the spray paint nozzle. The drill did all the work and I got a nice even coat. I’m so fancy. Do you have to be fancy? No, just paint that ish and get on with your life. Let everything dry overnight.
6.) Now all you need to do is apply a coat or two of satin finish poly and let it dry! I did mine in the early morning and it was dry by late afternoon. Last but not least, attach the brass pulls and screw in the legs. I also put some drawer liners in my drawers that I found at Home Depot, but that’s totally optional. I think all in I spent about $175 total on this project. Winning! I have two other West Elm IKEA hack projects to share with you too! I just need to take better pictures though amiright? I hope you enjoy these little DIY tutorials. I know it’s so different than clean dessert recipes! If you have any questions just leave them in the comments or hit me up on Instagram and I’d be happy to answer them!