You'll Be Inspired by This DIY IKEA Dresser Makeover

It took only a few supplies and an hour to complete. Read on to see the before-and-after photos and easy instructions you can follow at home.

Everybody loves an IKEA makeover, amirite? Most of us have at some point screwed together an a la carte desk from the beloved Swedish meatball warehouse (made more tolerable with a few glasses of wine and a “hand me that screw” partner). Then, about three years of use later, the in-a-pinch piece starts to wear on you, and it’s either time to post it on LetGo, or give it a #freshlook. For example, I took this simple little chest-of-drawers from this:

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IKEA dresser before

Photo by Caroline Mullen

Photo by Caroline Mullen

IKEA dresser before the makeover

To this:

IKEA dresser after upcyling

Photo by Caroline Mullen

Photo by Caroline Mullen

IKEA dresser after the makeover

While I happened to find this dresser on my street (and yes, I promise I gave it a good disinfecting before I brought it inside), it’s still ridiculously cheap at IKEA. $39.99 is the cost of about three lunches, so yeah, it’s a pretty good deal. I scoured the annals of Pinterest for inspiration before settling on this combination, and I’m super happy with how it came out. Read on for the how anyone can do the same.

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ikea dresser makeover supplies

Photos courtesy of IKEA, Behr, Wayfair, and Varathane

Photos courtesy of IKEA, Behr, Wayfair, and Varathane

Left to right: IKEA dresser, Behr paint swatch, Wayfor knob, and Varathane wood stain. These supplies cost only $63!


  • IKEA Rast Dresser,, $39.99
  • Sample of Behr Boreal in eggshell, $3.94
  • Bar knobs, $15 for 10
  • wood stain, $4.98
  • drop cloth/tarp 
  • sandpaper 
  • gloves
  • foam brush
  • paper towels/old rag
  • 2” paint brush


1. Remove all drawers from the dresser and remove the wooden knobs from the drawer-fronts, both with a screwdriver. 

2. Lay down your drop cloth or tarp to save your floor or patio from inevitable drip-page. If you’re working inside, make sure to open the windows, because that stain will stink. Give the whole dresser a good sanding to ensure the paint will stick and the stain will penetrate.

3. Put your gloves on (wood stain just happens to stain fingers, too) and use a foam brush to coat the outside of the dresser with stain. Wipe off excess using paper towels or an old rag, otherwise you’ll be waiting forever for it to dry and it will be darker than the example swatch on the can. 

4. While the stain dries, give the drawer-fronts two thin coats of paint with the 2” brush, letting them dry completely between coats. I’ll reiterate: Let. The. Paint. Dry. Between. Coats. This is the biggest mistake I have made when painting. If you’re impatient, it comes out bumpy and takes about seven years to fully dry.

IKEA dresser drawer in process of upcycling

Photo by Caroline Mullen

Photo by Caroline Mullen

Painting the drawers

5. Once the dresser is completely dry, add the fancy brass knobs (with a screwdriver if need be) and put the drawers back in.