• Sara AM

IKEA Dresser hack: Transforming a typical dresser into a special piece over a weekend

Inspired by Sarah Sherman Samuels and Kristina Lynnes IKEA dresser hacks, I bought the Tarva dresser 2 years ago....and never got to it. In 2020, while the rest of the world seems to be crumbling down, I got to work on this baby and I am so pleased.

While Sarah Sherman tackled her dresser by sanding, priming then spray painting it, I took the easy route of painting it with chalk paint immediately and spraying with a protective top coat. Chalk paint gives of a really matt finish, so if you prefer the glossy stuff, this is not for you. Since I did not prime the dresser, the pattern on the wood (wood grain) still shows through the paint, which I think looks lovely and adds to the piece. Enough talk, lets get doing.

What you need (all purchased from Ace Hardware store):

  • IKEA Tarva dresser

  • IKEA Leather handles (4 packs)

  • Rustoleum Linen White Chalk Paint

  • Rustoleum Top Coat spray

  • Saw

  • Wood stain

  • Any painting brush

  • Small foam roller


  1. Assemble the dresser, except for the drawer knobs. Leave the drawers outside the unit.

  2. Taper off the legs with an electric saw. I did this roughly - got a 15cm ruler, held it to the top corner of the legs and drew a diagonal line that ends in the mid section of the leg bottom (see picture below). I drew an X mark on the side to be cut in order to avoid confusion. I'm clueless with power tools so I asked for help from our compounds maintenance team.

  3. With a paint brush apply a thin layer of wood stain. Make sure you have newspapers or a plastic bag under the dresser to protect your flooring. The smell is terrible so do it outside. This will dry within an hour or so.

  4. With a small foam roller, apply chalk paint. I probably used half a can. You will need 3 - 4 coats to get great coverage. Each coat takes around 90 minutes to dry. Try to keep your strokes one directional to avoid seeing strokes on the final product. Stand up the drawers so that the face with the knob is pointing to the sky, for ease with painting. I didn't paint the interiors of the dresser and drawers. Leave 24 hours to dry.

  5. Spray with 2 coats of top coat to protect the dresser from scratches and heavy items. The top coat in the picture says Glossy but the one I had was Flat so I got a matt finish. Leave 24 hours.

  6. Assemble new drawer handles and enjoy a beautiful dresser :)

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