Ikea Tarva Hack into 1 Shaker Style-ish Dresser with Leather Pulls

Ikea tarva hack leather pulls

First things first, this is NOT a proper photo heavy tutorial, I was so project focused, I didn’t take enough pictures to make a proper tutorial, but I’ll walk you through what I did.

When we moved into our 1928 Seattle bungalow, our room, true to the era is quite small.  We wanted a King size bed and that left little space for dressers. I could not find any store bought dressers that had the width and depth to maximize our wall space, or that fit in with the bed I just made.  So I decided to hack some Ikea solid wood furniture as it had the exact depth, and 3 of them had the width to maximize our wall space. Crap if I could make a bed from lumber, I should be able to hack something from Ikea right :) . My thinking is, if I’m going to build it, then it’s going to be real wood, enter the Ikea Tarva Dresser, solid pine construction!

I love the shaker style kitchen cabinets and so the inspiration was drawn from that, to make the drawer fronts look similar to the cabinets that I love from our home. The Dresser’s overall style isn’t traditional shaker furniture, but the drawer fronts are inspired by shaker style in cabinetry :) Here are some examples of shaker style cabinet fronts:

shakerwhiteshaker cabinets 1shaker3

The biggest challenge for me, was figuring out how to take the plane jane Tarva dresser and make it look like it matched our new bed.

Here’s my paper drawing of what I envisioned:

ikea tarva hack plans

The price was sweet as well,  the Ikea Tarva dresser was  $99 price tag for each one, for 3 it was $297! I spent another $115 on the pine wood for the top, the 4×4 legs, the hardware and leather scraps for the pulls. Total cost for this project was roughly $415 buckaroos.

I’ll make a tutorial shortly to show you how to do the leather pulls, those really added a nice touch to remove any semblance of Ikea from the dressers.

Here’s what I did:

  • Used a chop saw to cut off the bottom of the skinny 2×2 legs (before assembling dresser) and replaced them with 4×4’s cut to 4″ high.
  • Filled the dresser handle holds with wood filler and sanded to remove essentially the existing hole from the drawer fronts
  • Used firring strips to frame out the front of each drawer to make it look “shaker” style. I installed them using wood glue and a brad nailer,
  • Used a 1×2 piece of pine to connect the dressers in the front & back, attached them with a brad nailer.
  • Built a top that went the length of the 3 dressers so that it made them one unit.
  • Filled all nail holes with wood filler and lightly sanded with 120 grit.
  • Used Minwax Dark walnut stain to stain everything but the drawers and sealed it with a satin polyurethane.
  • Made a cardboard template (tutorial for leather drawer pulls coming soon) and drilled holes for new leather pulls.
  • Painted the drawer fronts all white.
  • Installed leather pulls with carriage bolts and wing nuts
  • Unpacked all my clothes and put them in my new fancy pants dresser!

I love how these turned out, we couldn’t have bought a better solution for our room and I saved a TON of time using the Ikea dresser as the base. I now look at Ikea furniture so differently, what can I do to make it into something else! :0

here’s some more pictures :)

Ikea tarva hack into 3 dressers Ikea tarva hack into 3 dressers Ikea tarva hack into 3 dressers

Let me know if you want any different pictures or have questions :)

Happy DIY’ing!


4 Responses to Ikea Tarva Hack into 1 Shaker Style-ish Dresser with Leather Pulls

  1. I have the same size predicament in the house we just moved into. I bought 3 dressers with the intention of assembling and combining them, then maybe gluing on a new top on at the end (clearly, optimistic). However, after unpacking them to prepare to paint, I now realize the top is an integral and early step in getting each dresser to stay together. How do I go about assembling them with a different top? Also, the hardware store I go to apparently doesn’t have lumber that width and length. Where did you get your new solid top?

    • Hi! I built the top right over the existing top. Basically used some 1x8x12 and like a 1x2x12 cut to length (1×2 was the middle piece) I nail gunned the wood to be exposing top of the dresser then used firing strips to frame the new top 😉 it’s too long to get a piece of plywood to fit so you’ll need to go with some longer lumber pieces and cut to size 😉 let me know if this doesn’t make sense and I’ll post some pictures of the top for you

  2. What was the width on your firring strips?

Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear!