How to turn a $35 IKEA dresser into a high-end vintage nightstand

Nightstand with hardwareOak House Design Co.The RAST dresser turns into a faux vintage dresser.

With a little elbow grease and a set of proper tools, it’s easy to make over an inexpensive piece of furniture into a beautiful, customised one.

Melanie Brown, owner of Oak House Design Co., hacked her cheap IKEA tarva dresser ($79) into an antique-looking night stand. By staining the unfinished wood furnishing with paint and changing the handles of the chest, Brown upgraded the simple storage unit into a luxurious-looking chest for her bedroom.

Similar dressers from Wayfair or Ethan Allen cost at least $600.

Here’s how you can dramatically change a simple IKEA dresser into one that looks high-end.

Step one: Buy an IKEA Rast chest

While Brown used an IKEA Tarva dresser for her project, this product is no longer available on the company’s website. As a nearly identical alternative, you can purchase the IKEA RAST chest.

The two dressers are both 3-drawer dressers with an unfinished wood furnish and minimalistic knobs. Fortunately, the RAST is significantly cheaper at $35 a piece, and the chest does not have legs that would otherwise need to have been dismounted.

Step two: Glue on lattice trims to the drawers.

As an affordable way to add detail to the dresser, Brown used decorative lattice trim she bought from Home Depot. At $6.64 for 8 feet of lattice moulding, she was able to trim each of the 1/4 inch thick plywood so that the dimensions matched the outline of the drawers.

Even though Brown glued the trims around the front side of each drawer, she also used 3/4 inch brad nails to secure the boards in place as an extra safety measure.

Step three: Add a decorative liner inside each shelf.

While this step is technically optional, Brown recommends lining each drawer’s bottom with decorative fabric so the whole piece comes together.

She found the neutral pattern she used at Lowe’s, but she suggests finding shelf liner of your choice on Amazon or any other retailer.

Cut the fabric slightly larger than the area of the drawers and attach it to the base of each one. Once that is finished, trim the excess off with an exacto knife or box cutter.

Step four: Sand and stain the drawers.

Before painting on the stain, Brown sanded each piece of wood with a 220 grit sand paper. This not only ensures even coating, but also brings out a truer colour of the stain.

Brown used Minwax’s Wood Finish in Provincial to create the aged, multi-toned look for her dresser. After mixing 1-part cream paint with 4-parts glaze, Brown stained each section of wood.

Once dry, Brown assembled the chest to its final form. She then sealed the stained wood with a matte polyurethane from Varathane, which is water-based and thus has longer-lasting protection.

Step five: Add decorative handles

By this point, the dresser was in the homestretch. The paint and protective seal dried, creating a beautiful weathered, wooden look to the dresser.

Brown added the final touches to the nightstand by replacing the standard knob handles with three, $3.47 cup pulls she found at Lowes.

The end result was a faux vintage nightstand that is truly unique.

However, the biggest payoff arguably was the total cost of the project — around $100 (excluding the cost of nails and tools), or around 1/6th of the price you would pay for one at a home design store.

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