Ikea Hack – Tarva Dresser for Nursery


Ikea Hack. If you’ve been around Pinterest for awhile, you’ll see this term thrown around A LOT. Want West Elm, Pottery Barn, or Restoration Hardware style for a fraction of the price? Transform a basic piece from Ikea into something pretty custom. I can’t tell you how many of these “hack” ideas I’ve pinned onto my home inspiration board over the past several years with the intention of actually doing them, but I never do.

Also, the “hacks” I’ve done in the past usually just mean spray painting something or staining it and adding different hardware. I think a true hack is a little more involved and transforms the basic element into a completely different style, and I finally got around to doing one.

For new baby’s room, I knew I wanted to put an actual dresser in the space. P’s room didn’t/doesn’t have one and the whole clothing storage system was incredibly limited. Whatever… trial and error. This time I knew it was a must.

As much as I love the Hemnes style dresser that a lot of people use in nurseries (it’s awesome because of all the drawers, and it comes in some great color options), we already had one in our master bedroom and I figured we could do something different so the idea of hacking a different style dresser to fit our needs came to mind.


I decided on one of their most basic models, the Tarva. Awhile ago I saw someone do something similar to one of their taller dressers but nothing in the 6-drawer style so I can’t claim that my idea is completely original. I love the look of mid-century modern dressers so that was my main goal. I also wasn’t sure if it was a girl or a boy when I took on this hack so I wanted something neutral.

This is seriously the simplest hack of all time. It literally is compiled of 6 steps.

  1. Stain all the wood in your favorite stain. I started by applying wood conditioner. I’m addicted to wood conditioner. I honestly think it makes a major difference in how the stain looks. As for the stain, I picked Miniwax’s Special Walnut. It’s freaking gorgeous and was perfect for the room. I love that it sort of reflected elements of grey and complimented our crib. Since this was going to be home to lots of diaper spills and cleaning, I knew I needed to protect the dresser with some sort of poly finish. I used a satin but a nice matte stain would have looked nice as well. I just happened to have some satin on hand and didn’t want to spend more than I needed to on this project.
  2. Assemble pretty much all the dresser. I’m an Ikea furniture nut. I love putting together furniture so this process is fun for me. For others, I’m sorry. Have your husband help you, or not. I prefer not because Erin makes me crazy when we put furniture together.

    Step 13 (placing the middle bracket) will need to be put in after you assemble the entire dresser. You have to make some adjustments first. I wish I had the actual cut dimensions but I’m a complete bonehead and miscut the first time so everything is completely off. You basically just cut off 2-3 off the bottom so that it’s flush with the new base.

    You’ll skip steps 15-23 in the actual instructions guide.

  3. Attach a 14.5″ x 59″ x .75″ board to the base of the dresser. This was relatively inexpensive. I don’t think they had something exact but I bought one of the standard size common boards and had them cut it to size. Then I bought basic wood screws and screwed all around until I was sure it wouldn’t fall apart. Again, I’m not a technical carpenter or anything so there isn’t a specific method to my madness.
  4. Secure the new tapered legs to the four corners using a heavy duty top plate. I considered securing a 5th leg to the center of the dresser but ultimately decided it would be fine without it. I picked up my tapered legs from Home Depot (ship to store option). Home Depot has so many awesome leg styles to choose from online so explore away! The Waddell 8″ Wood Round Taper Table Leg stole my heart and matches the sort of “West Elm” feel I wanted and at less than $3 a piece, it’s kind of a steal. The heavy duty top plate is also less than $3 each.
  5. Finish the look with new knobs or pulls. I like knobs. They don’t get stuck on your pockets like some long pulls do and I think they are cute. I searched a bunch of places and ultimately ended up buying the Attest style from Ikea. They reminded me of the new legs so I thought it was a perfect match.

    If you are looking for sure cute pulls though, I would check out Target. I was there recently and they added all these adorable pulls. I was sort of kicking myself for not getting the feather ones but I had already committed to these so what’s done is done.

  6. Voila! You’re done!Β Enjoy your new Ikea Hack. πŸ™‚

This dresser provides plenty of space for changing table necessities, plus baby clothes that you don’t want to deal with hanging up (in my case, that is a lot). The top is a little narrow but fits my standard changing table just fine. I currently have the changing pad strapped to the table using a non-skid runner and straps through the first drawer. I plan on changing this up a bit and just using the little button snaps. I just need to find where to get the snaps that I can drill into the dresser.


Oh and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE secure your furniture to the walls! I used the Safety First Furniture Straps. There have been so many unnecessary child/toddler deaths caused by people not securing their dressers to the wall. Especially with the changes made to this dresser, it’s important that it’s secure to the wall so when curious bodies start pulling out drawers, it doesn’t come crashing down on them. We loaded up our drawers and tested it out to make sure it will be safe when tipped over and I am relieved to see that our security measures held up! It’s a relatively minor baby-proofing thing to do that will totally protect your little one.

So that’s my first official Ikea hack and I love it! Hope this inspires you to try your own “hack” project in the future. πŸ™‚



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