Step 1

Choose your dresser to hack—preferably an all-wood dresser or chest of drawers. We purchased the IKEA FJELL last spring, and it's the perfect candidate for a hack.


If you're buying the FJELL or any other Ikea dresser new, some assembly is required. But this is a great chance to scour local estate sales and Craigslist classifieds and give new life to a vintage or antique piece of furniture.

Step 2

Use a drop cloth because stain does what it's supposed to do... it stains. Next, remove the drawers and tape the parts of the dresser you don't want to stain.

fjell dresser hack

Step 3

Stain the dresser. If your dresser is unfinished, you might not need sandpaper or an orbital sander—we didn't. If you do need to sand the surface, go in the direction of the grain and sand until smooth to the touch. (If your dresser is already stained or painted, you'll definitely need to go through the additional step of sanding.)

We used a water-based Miniwax primer and stain combo. Use a rag, a soft sponge, or a brush to apply the stain. Move with the grain, not against it. The longer you leave the stain on, the darker the finish. I applied a single coat, as I didn't want the side tables to look too dark.

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Step 4

Spray paint the drawer fronts. I removed the hardware and taped off the sides of the drawers. I applied two even coats of spray paint, as per the directions, allowing time to dry in between.

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Step 5

Spray your hardware according the directions on the can.

dresser hardware ikea

Step 6

Reassemble your dresser and add hardware as necessary. The FJELL dresser has its own hardware, so we didn't need to replace it - we removed it, however, during the painting steps.

IKEA dresser hack

Tip: Be sure to check an architectural salvage for vintage hardware. Places like Anthropologie also carry unique pieces.