Before & After: A $185 DIY Rescues a Failed IKEA Hack

published Jan 16, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Before: Black IKEA Hemnes with blue and yellow drawers in center
Credit: Amy Scarr

Often, IKEA furniture flips start with the furniture retailer’s basic colorways — birch, white, or black — and become more beautiful from there.

It’s when furniture pieces have already been painted over that flips become a little more complicated, as was the case for this IKEA HEMNES that Amy Scarr of @almondrock_home found on Facebook Marketplace. The sideboard “had been half-heartedly upcycled from white to black, yellow, and teal,” she says.

Amy had been on the hunt for a mango-colored wood sideboard “to make a statement” in her space, but didn’t want to splurge on a new one. A seamstress and writer by trade, Amy’s no stranger to DIYs, so she she decided to make her dream sideboard from the existing one she’d found secondhand for £50, or about $66.

“The first hurdle was getting the sideboard in my little hatchback car,” Amy says. She and her husband miscalculated the HEMNES’ measurements and couldn’t get their trunk to shut once the sideboard was loaded in. They “ended up tying it partially closed with [her] husband’s shoelaces hastily pulled out of his sneakers!”

Credit: Amy Scarr

After actually getting the sideboard back to their place, the project went relatively smoothly. Amy sanded and primed the sideboard, which was tricky due to the layers of paint on it already. “I’d say to anyone painting furniture, a good quality primer is worth its weight in gold,” she says. “I love Johnstone’s primer undercoat for wood and metal. Or Zinnser B-I-N for tricky surfaces like coated MDF.”

Credit: Amy Scarr

To add a little extra detail, Amy bought a large sheet of 3-mm laser-cut MDF decorative lattice online and cut it with a jig saw to fit the size of the doors. “I cleaned up any wonky cuts with a small handsaw to get the fit just right,” she says. If you’re looking to upcycle a HEMNES (or any basic piece of furniture of your own), Amy recommends looking at patterned MDF as a quick way to add texture.

Amy affixed her lattice MDF with wood glue and painted the whole thing in Dulux’s Coral Flair. “I absolutely love the color,” she says. “It’s the perfect orangey pink.”

Credit: Amy Scarr

Amy finished off the piece with gold knobs in a modern-meets-vintage conical shape. Her end result is her “dream cabinet,” she says — pretty high praise, especially considering that she only spent £140, or about $185, on it in total.

“I just love that I saw it in my head and made it a reality,” Amy says. “This was such an educational first project and I’ve had some wonderful comments on it. It gave me the confidence to do more furniture projects this year.”

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Colorful $185 DIY Rescues a Poorly-Painted IKEA HEMNES Sideboard