How To Use an IKEA Dresser As Chic Nightstand on a Budget

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Sleeping is one of my favorite things to do.  Some people might think it’s unhealthy, but I’m pretty sure in a past life I was a cat and it’s just a holdover from that, so, you know.  Anyway, we finally upgraded to a king size bed.  Apparently, I’m an awful bedhog, so a king size was much needed.  One of my sisters refuses to share a bed with me because I “flop like a fish”.  More like she’s a super light sleeper, but whatever.

I found a super awesome four-poster king size bed for a great deal on Joss & Main.  I searched other sites, and the prices couldn’t even come close to comparing.  My inspiration for our master bedroom is a modern Bohemian-chic vibe.  It’s a solid wood four poster bed that I scored for only $755!  Can you believe that price?!?!  Sure, there were others that may have matched my vision a little better, but nothing could beat that price.  Not to mention, it really is solid wood.  No particle board to be found.

Cordevalle Santa Rosa Four Poster Bed

Now, this bed is substantial.  It is definitely a statement piece.  Therefore, I encountered a dilemma.  What to do for a bedside table/nightstand?  My first problem was height.  All the nightstands in my budget were in the 20″ range when I needed closer to 30″.  My second problem was that I didn’t want the nightstands to look like a puny afterthought next to the substantial bed, but I also did not want them to compete for attention.  I needed something large, but with clean lines.  I decided a campaign chest style would look great!  It would give my bedroom the eclectic world traveler look.  Except, have you seen the price of a campaign chest???  Especially a large, lacquered one like I wanted.  That option went out the window.  I searched and searched until I decided it was time for a DIY.  Specifically, an IKEA-hack, as the cool kids like to say.  I purchased two IKEA Tarva 3-drawer chests.  I got them on sale for less than $90 a piece (I try really hard to not buy anything full price, even if it’s just 5-10% off).

Ikea TARVA 3-Drawer Chest
IKEA TARVA 3-Drawer Chest

As you can see, they are plain, unfinished pine.  This is the perfect collection for furniture customization.  You can stain it, paint it, or leave it as it.  I don’t know if y’all have heard of “Millenial Pink”, but I thought that would be a great color to incorporate into my chic, world traveler boudoir.  I went to Lowe’s, picked out a coral-pink color, and got to work.  I painted both chests, except for the legs.  Those, I stained with some leftover Minwax stain from a different project.  Then, I coated the whole thing with polyurethane to protect them.

Except, guess what.  I made a mistake.  Everything was a mistake.  The color was AWFUL.  It was too bright and saturated.  I knew it from the moment I started painting, but couldn’t admit it to myself.  It was anxiety-inducing.  More of a Taco Cabana room than a restful respite.

Taco Cabana reference for all the non-Texans out there.

Not to mention, the brush I used for the polyurethane had somehow disintegrated into the top coat, so I wasn’t left with a smooth finish.  It was the same kind of brush I’d used a thousand times before.  I’m not sure if it was because I was putting it on top of a latex paint, or if that brush was a dud or what.  But it was bad.  But, in the words of the eternal Aaliya (may she rest in peace) if at first you don’t succeed, then dust yourself off and try again (try again).

So, I stuck them in my garage for a while and moped about my wasted time.  My neighbors questioned me about the “cute” pink dressers I was storing.  I’m pretty sure it was their way of asking if we were expecting.  But no, I was just too stubborn to accept I had made a mistake.  When the sting of my failure subsided, I decided to sand them down and start over.  I suppose I could have used a paint stripper and saved myself some elbow grease, but it was a now or never moment and I didn’t have any paint stripper.  This time, I had a plan that I knew would be perfect.

I had some leftover milk paint from painting our kitchen cabinets.  Milk paint is some pretty cool and durable stuff.  I used General Finishes Queenstown Gray that I bought on Amazon to paint the body of the dressers (except the legs).  Then I sealed it with the General Finishes High Performance Top Coat.

Again, I used leftover Minwax Walnut stain to stain not only the legs but also each drawer face.  Then entered the piece-de-resistance.  My stencil.  I bought one Tribal Batik Furniture Stencil from Royal Design Studio for $32.95.  My first drawer face took the longest.  I was determined not to screw up again, so I was using a small foam stencil brush.  Oh my gawd, it took forever.  At that rate, it would take me years to finish the 6 drawer faces I had.  For the next drawer face, I lined up the stencil, took a deep breath, and used a roller.  SUCCESS!


Isn’t it lovely?


The key to using the stencil is DO NOT oversaturate your brush or roller.  You can always add more paint if you need to.  But, if you add too much to begin with, the paint will squish under the lines of the stencil.  You will have a mess instead of sharp lines.  I was apprehensive about paying so much money for a stencil.  I mean, it’s basically a piece of plastic with holes in it.  But, this stencil was great quality.  The lines were cut super sharply and it was so easy to use.  Be sure to clean it right after use though.  That way you can re-use it on as many projects as you like.  You can’t beat the visual impact the stencil gives.  I used white paint over the walnut stain.  Then I covered them with the General Finishes Top Coat.  The last step was to find some knobs.  I found some gold geometric nuggets at Hobby Lobby that I liked, but alas, they only had one.  Why?  Why Hobby Lobby?  Why would you only put out ONE knob?  Just to get my hopes up?  Well, turns out it was a blessing in disguise because I found the same knobs ON CLEARANCE from the shop Knobpologie on Etsy.  So, are you ready for the big reveal? Drum roll please………..

Final Product

I haven’t even told you the best part yet.  I posted this picture to my personal Instagram account and tagged Royal Design Studio.  I’ve joined their mailing list not only to be aware of sales but also for inspiration.  Well, one day, I check my email and see a usual marketing email from Royal Design Studio.  They had featured my picture along with just a couple others.  I had to do a double take, because I was like “Whoa, wait a second, that’s MY bedroom!”  Anyway, it made me feel like a celebrity for about 10 minutes while I showed everyone I could.  They all tried very hard to feign excitement for me, but you know what, I was excited for myself, so there!

I still have a little way to go before our master bedroom is complete.  I feel it’s lacking cohesion at the moment, but I’m working on it.  This room is a little out of my usual style comfort zone.  I’m trying to incorporate more colors and make it feel like I’m on vacation when I’m in there.  I may have to just admit defeat and let some items go.  But for now, I’m happy with the way my bedside tables worked out.  They provide a lot of storage.  My top drawer is full of books at the moment.  It’s very convenient for keeping the clutter out of sight.

What do you think of the final product?  Any questions?  Have you had any projects you accidentally turned into disasters?  Luckily this one was salvageable and I love the way it turned out.  It fits my world traveler theme to a “T”!  What are some other great ideas to make your master bedroom feel like an oasis?  I’d love to hear from you, comment below!


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