IKEA Hack: Hemnes 3-drawer chest

Once upon a time (really about 5 years ago), Dan and I went on a field trip to IKEA and came home with a RED 3-Drawer Hemnes chest of drawers. It was for storage in the living room. At that time it matched my inherited-from-the-previous-owner living room decor that included two horizontal red stripes that were painted around the top of all four walls in the room. It was dreadful. Color-coordinated, but dreadful. The red stripes and wall colors were dreadful. Not the chest of drawers. Just red. Very red. Take a look:
ikea hack before_createandbabble.com

The living room walls no longer have the red stripes (it has since been painted), so the red chest (with the bottom piece installed wrong side out – you noticed that didn’t you?) went up in my bedroom. My orange bedroom. Yes, a red chest in my orange bedroom. Lovely, huh? Until now. Meet my IKEA Hack!

ikea hack after_createandbabble.com

Quite a difference, right???

Here are the steps I took to hack my IKEA chest of drawers:

  • After removing the drawers, removing the knobs and taping up the ends of the drawer sliders, I gave it three or four coats of white latex primer
  • Then I distressed the edges with a sanding sponge. I wanted the white primer, red stain and bare wood to be exposed in different areas of the chest
  • I mixed up a batch of homemade chalkpaint (dissolve baking soda with warm water and stir in the paint) using the leftover Benjamin Moore Jamaican Aqua. That quart of paint has gone a long way. I used it here, here, here and here! I think I got my money’s worth from that can of paint!
  • After a couple of coats of the chalkpaint, I gave it a light sanding to smooth out the finish and expose the distressed areas
  • Finished up with a light coat of wax and a good buffing.

idea hack chest painted drawer knob_createandbabble.com
I almost forgot about the drawer knobs. I used the same ones. I just gave them a quick coat of white spray paint and roughed them up a bit with a sanding sponge.
IKEA hack chest_createandbabble.com
Here’s the best part about painting this chest. I am now embracing the orange walls in my bedroom. I never thought I’d say that! Once I saw how the aqua looks against the orange walls, I fell in love with it! I immediately (no, really, immediately) headed over to Pinterest and searched “orange and aqua bedrooms”! Look at what I found:

bedroom color inspiration

source, source, source

 It’s funny because from the moment I saw the orange bedroom when I first looked at this house before I bought it, I thought: “what were they thinking?” I thought surely it must have been an “oops”! I have had “painting the master bedroom” on my to-do list since I bought the house. I’m so glad now that it was at the bottom of that list! I am embracing the orange! I’m sure there will be lots of posts around decorating my bedroom.

IKEA hack_createandbabble.com

One more photo ; )
IKEA HACK chest createandbabble.com
How about you, do you like orange in home decor? I asked this on my Facebook page earlier and was pleasantly surprised by how many do like orange!

ikea hack createandbabble

Linking up to these great parties!

The Humble Brag Supporting Habitat for Humanity


  1. 5

    JudeB says

    Love what you’ve done with the chest. Would you mind if I ask a question? How much baking soda do you add to make your version of chalk paint?

    Judi in the UK

    • 8

      Jeanie says

      Thank you so much! I need to go back, too! I wish there was one closer…sigh, but maybe it’s a good thing that it’s not too convenient!

    • 10

      Jeanie says

      Thanks Ellya! I was really happy with how it turned out and even more thrilled that I don’t have to reprint the bedroom!

  2. 11


    Hey Jeanie, LOVE LOVE LOVE this! What a great job! Thanks so much for linking up with OPC and Remodelaholic to support Habitat. Featuring you on the blog tomorrow and will be sharing on FB too. :)

  3. 12


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  5. 15

    Trudy says

    I love, love, love color in a home but never thought of using orange. I have to say I love it! Currently I have yellow in my dining room, family room and living room. Cream and a light leaf green with flamingo pink trim in the kitchen, two tone brown in one bath and two tone gray in another with a dark kind of pine-y green in the master bedroom with a pale sage green sponge painted over it. Yes, I do like color. Trying to figure out where to use the orange ’cause I do love it.


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