This IKEA TARVA dresser hack project has been a long time coming. I started working on it over the summer and then it got put on the back burner for way too long, but I finally finished it!
I’ve been slowly making over my two older boys’ shared bedroom for quite some time, and while their existing dresser was super cute (it was a Craigslist find I painted a few years ago), the drawers were old and the slides were damaged, and the storage configuration just wasn’t working well for us. Plus, we wanted to go in another direction aesthetically. So, enter the IKEA TARVA.
A company called O’verlays was kind enough to provide the overlays for the drawer fronts, and I’ll tell you more about those in a minute. See below for the full tutorial, product list, and details on everything I used. (Source list for decor items can be found at the end of the post.)
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Project Supply List:
- IKEA TARVA large dresser
- Mid-Century style furniture legs from Pretty Pegs
- Paintable Wood Filler
- Primer (I used Zinsser.)
- BEHR Marquee Interior Satin paint in “Elephant Skin”
- Minwax Polycrylic in Satin finish
- O’verlays in the Danika pattern (1/4″ thickness)
- Sanding Block
- Paintbrush or roller
- Saw (I used a miter saw, but any will do.)
- Loctite Construction Adhesive
- Rubber Gloves
- Brass finger pulls (x6)
- Small chisel (optional)
- Dremel Micro (optional)
IKEA TARVA DRESSER HACK TUTORIAL
First, I assembled the IKEA TARVA dresser, which of course was the most tedious part of the entire project. Ha! While I absolutely love IKEA furniture, I don’t love putting it together.
Pro tip: It helps if you have a cute assistant.
I used wood filler to cover any knots in the wood in order to prevent bleed through, then I sanded them smooth. I also puttied over the hardware holes since I planned on using different handles. (I forgot to do this before I painted, so went back and did it after and then touched up the paint.)
I primed the dresser with a coat of Zinsser primer, and then painted it with BEHR Marquee paint in satin finish, in the color “Elephant Skin.” (You might find my furniture painting tutorial helpful, which you can find here.) I sealed it with Minwax Polycrylic in a satin finish.
After the dresser had been painted, I used a pencil to mark where each leg meets the base of the dresser, then I laid the dresser on its back and removed the legs. I used my miter saw to cut the legs down to the line I had marked, leaving me with cube-shaped segments which I then reattached to the dresser.
These leg segments were now flush with the base, creating a flat surface to attach the new legs to. (You can attach the new legs before painting if you’d prefer, but mine hadn’t arrived in the mail yet and I wanted to work ahead.)
I removed the drawers and attached the overlays to the drawer fronts using Loctite construction adhesive. I applied painter’s tape to hold each overlay in place while they dried.
These overlays are such a fun way to add pattern to a piece of furniture. These came from O’verlays (they provided them for the project, so thanks O’verlays!), and it’s the Danika pattern in 1/4″ thickness. They offer a variety of different patterns in different dimensions, so check them out.
I attached the new Mid-Century style legs using the metal plates that they came with. I ordered them from Pretty Pegs and used the “Carl 120” legs in Ash natural, which I painted to match the dresser.
IKEA dressers come with a fifth leg in the middle for added support, and since the legs I used were a tad shorter than the original legs, I had to cut the middle support leg to the proper length using my miter saw.
Finally, I attached the new hardware.
I debated for a long time about what type of hardware to use. I waffled between using something simple or maybe even making Star Wars knobs out of concrete or resin (an idea which I still love and will probably use for something else). Ultimately though, I wanted something simple and modern that wouldn’t compete with the pattern of the overlays or distract from it.
I went with these modern brass finger pulls. They are the Mercer Collection Europa tab pulls in “Honey Bronze,” in a 6 inch length.
I ran into a little snag when installing the hardware. Since they overlap the top of each drawer, there wasn’t enough space for them to close all the way. I used a small chisel and my Dremel Micro to create a little notch in the bottom of the drawers (the bottom two drawers on each side) to allow for the drawer below it to close flush with the handle installed. These were the tools I had handy, but there are a variety of ways you could resolve this issue.
A regular multi-tool like a Dremel would have worked well, but I couldn’t find mine so just used what I had easily accessible.
Update: I replicated this project for my YouTube channel and used a router to create the notches for the drawer pulls.
I absolutely love how this dresser turned out, and it has really helped pull the whole room together. We just have a few more things to add and then the room makeover will be complete!
Here is the YouTube video tutorial:
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