There was a time where my ratio of Ikea furniture to non-Ikea furniture was close to 9-1. And there’s a good reason why: furniture is expensive as hell, and when you need to furnish a new apartment or house quickly, every dollar counts.

I started buying Ikea furniture when I moved to Atlanta in 2008. Ten years, two apartments and two houses later, and I’ve slowly reversed that ratio. But there are a few key pieces that I’ve held onto, either because they just work, or because they would be expensive to replace.

That last reason is why I still have the Kallax media center, which has followed me since that first apartment in Atlanta. While it formerly housed my TV in all of my prior living spaces, it now stands proudly in the sitting area of my master bedroom.

 

Though I’m still not willing to fork over money to replace the Kallax, I have finally grown tired enough of those plastic drawers to do something about them. Because the master (and actually house in general) is slim on storage space, that piece is currently holding 9 drawers, with the other squares being used as shelves.

To replace those nine with options from Ikea would be either around $120 on the low end for plain white plastic drawers, identical in everything but color to what I have now, all the way up to $225 for the matching inserts with doors.

And since this project landed squarely in the “skimp” category of the Master Bedroom Redesign, I had to decide what to do with those drawers. They’re some shade of clear-ish purple, made darker by the black foam board inserts I created long ago because I didn’t like seeing through the drawers.To transform this piece, I opted to front the drawers with grey-stained wood and add drawer pulls to them. The total cost of this project turned out to be just $40, with the breakout below:

Project Costs:Wood: $9.00, Gorilla Glue: $6.00, Stain: $5.00, 9 Drawer pulls: $18, Washers: $2.00

Materials Needed:

Wood (enough to cover the number of drawers you have)
Sandpaper
Wood Stain
Brush/rag
Drill with bits
Drawer pulls
Washers (large)
13” x 13” paper for guide
Glue that bonds plastic to wood (check labels)
Pencil

Here’s How I Did It (Picture Tutorial Below):

  1. Cut wood into 13” x 13” squares. If you don’t have a table saw (we don’t), you can get Home Depot to cut them for you. Sometimes they charge after a certain number of cuts, but I was nice to the guy, and he didn’t charge me.
  2. Outline square on paper or poster board (whatever you have around – I used a paper grocery bag).
  3. Fold paper in half, and then in half again. Cut small piece of the inner corner (so you’ll have a hole in the middle)
  4. Place guide on each square and mark the middle with a pencil.
  5. With the right size drill bit for your drawer pulls, drill a single hole on each marking for all boards.
  6. Sand wood (front, backs, sides and holes), if needed. Wipe any excess saw dust. 
  7. Apply stain, following directions on container.
  8. Glue squares to plastic drawers, following setting and dry times for the glue you use. (I put heavy objects on top of mine to help with the adhesion)
  9. Insert drawer pulls, using large washers on the inside to make up for the large square holes in the original drawers
  10. Enjoy!

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