Ikea Tarva Hack – my new night stands

We have been in the market for some new night stands for, well, ever.  We had been using the same mismatched hand me down pair from my parents that I have repainted no less than 36 times since we we got married.  I woke up this past weekend and just couldn’t handle it for one more minute!  Luckily we were headed to the east side of the state to visit friends so I talked the Mr. into swinging by Ikea – just to look around (bah ha ha ha insert my evil laugh here…)

Unfortunately we weren’t finding any night stands we liked so we decided to cruise the rest of the furniture just for fun, when we happened upon the Tarva dresser (you can find it here on Ikea).


Did you guys see the fun contest that BHG just ran with some of my favorite bloggers where they had them makeover a Tarva dresser?  They had such fun ideas and I loved the way they turned out.  I pointed them out to the Mr. and told him all about the contest.  I thought his eyes were glazing over with all the decor talk, but apparently he was actually listening because he said

“why don’t you just cut the legs off and make them into nightstands for us?”

Wait, what? Did the Mr. just suggest a DIY project?! I know, I’m rubbing off on him :)

IKEA Hack - Tarva Dresser into coastal night stands

We took a closer look, measured, and realized we wouldn’t need to actually cut off the legs, we could just leave them off along with about a 2 inch apron on the front.  That brought it down to the perfect size for night stands and I could hardly wait to get these things home and figure out what I wanted to do to them.

Ikea Tarva Hack - DIY coastal night stands

I decided I wanted to keep some of the natural wood showing, so I applied a coat of wood conditioner.  Then  I stained the drawers, first with a coat of Weathered Grey stain by Rustoleum and then went over them again with Early American by Minwax (I just had both these stains on hand).  This gave me the perfect beachy driftwood color I was going for.

Ikea Tarva Hack - DIY coastal night stands

Next I glued white moulding around the edge of each drawer and painted the top and sides Silent White by Clark+Kensington. I picked up some half off hardware at Hobby Lobby and was good to go!

Until I realized that our heating vents were now trapped underneath the new nightstands…yeah, I pretty much made a warming drawer for my underwear and the rest of the bedroom was freezing…

Ikea Tarva Hack - DIY coastal night stands

So I headed to the hardware store and picked up a couple sets of wheels.  I sprayed painted them oil rubbed bronze and screwed them on the bottom.  Perfect, that lifted the night stands just enough to let the air pass under, but not too high to make them look weird with our bed.

Speaking of bed, you may notice a sneak peek at our new (to us) bed in here.  It was in the downstairs guest room and I swapped out my DIY Upholstered Bed with this one for a change.  And yes, I’ve been hiding the fact that I have a guest room, because basically it’s just a dumping ground for all my unwanted decor and throw pillow collection… I’m not showing the full reveal yet, because I’m building a headboard for it as we speak…

IKEA Hack - Tarva Dresser into coastal night stands

and now you are thinking wait a minute, aren’t you supposed to be sharing your living room redo sometime soon? And weren’t you in the middle of redoing your daughter’s room too? Yes, and yes…sigh still waiting on the tile guy to come finish my fireplace so I can show you the living room.  And I’m still working on finding the perfect finishing touches for my girlie’s room, so naturally it’s an excellent time to overhaul the master bedroom too…

Am I driving you nuts yet?  I’m hoping to get the decorating ADD under control soon and reveal all the new rooms, which basically at this point is my whole house!  So stay tuned…

In the mean time I’m excited about the changes in our room and I think the night stands go perfect with my chalk painted lamps.  Oh and there are 2, I made one for the Mr.  too but his isn’t done yet because Hobby Lobby ran out of the hardware I used…

Ikea Tarva Hack - DIY coastal night stands

I hope all you mom’s out there have a great Mother’s Day weekend, and if you missed my post yesterday – check it out and give yourself a pat on the back :)


  1. says

    Beautiful! I love how the stain turned out!
    This totally makes me want to pick one (or two) up for my boys’ bedrooms.
    An IKEA trip is in order… they need to get one on this side of the state STAT.

  2. says

    Those night stands look amazing! Such an awesome hack. Your decorating ADD reminds me of…well…me. I always have a million projects on the brain at one time.

    • says

      Hey Brandi, I picked them up at HomeGoods! I’ve seen them there a few times so hopefully you have luck finding something similar.

  3. says

    Beautiful job Kelly! They look SO perfect for you room! I quite enjoy your decorating ADD. Makes me feel more normal. :) Happy Mother’s Day weekend cutie!


  4. says

    Don’t worry I have the same condition – ADD decorating! Right now I have a double dresser right in the middle of the living room that I’m painting in chalk paint. Other projects in the basement and office and still haven’t finished the sunroom – painting and floor…. Anyway, LOVE these little nightstands. Beachy and chic. Yay!

  5. Candace says

    Wow, it looks so good!! We just redid the large 6-drawer tarva for my boys room (stained front, navy frame, brushed nickel cup pulls) and I can’t get over how good it looks. I love looking at tarva hacks — it’s an amazing and versatile piece of furniture. Yours looks so beautiful, we may do the same for our night stands as well!!

    • says

      Hi Candace, love the sounds of your tarva hack! It’s kind of addicting to redo them right? I’m still dreaming of ideas for more :)

  6. says

    Gah!! I have lazily been surfing around Pinterest tonight, and I just found THIS AH-MAZING DRESSER there… and I tracked it back to your blog… and now I’m not getting a dadgum thing done at my house, because listen: I have taken your house tour… I’ve read all about you… I’ve looked at numerous posts you’ve put up… and all of that makes me sound like I might be a crazy blog stalker, but that’s just simply NOT the case. I have a teenage boy and a two-year-old boy, and between driving the thirteen-year-old everywhere and cleaning up the toddler’s messes, I just don’t have time to be a crazy blog stalker! But I will tell you this: Jesus did NOT give me the spiritual gift of decorating… and I LOVE and also ADORE your decorating style… so I’ve decided that I should just invite you over for coffee some morning. And when we’re done sitting at my dining room table, sipping hot beverages, you can just tell me, “Do you know what? Let’s redecorate YOUR house! I want you to throw THIS rug away… and I want you buy THIS rug instead, and it’s all going to look fantastic together, because I’m a professional and I know what I’m doing!” And then I would take ALL of your advice, because sweet mercy! Your house is darling! Happy Mother’s Day!

    • says

      Ok first – Jedi Mama = best name ever, 2nd – yes we should def be friends or mutual crazy blog stalkers? Just read your blog and was giggling like a crazy person…3rd – after reading about your little dude and his toilet adventures we need to keep our kids away from each other because they could probably rob a bank together if left to their own devices…4th – I’m not sure we would ever get to redecorating your house because we would be too busy laughing :)

      • says

        Well… I guess it’s settled then. We’ll just be new BFFs, and our toddlers will corrupt one another. On the plus side, the dollars they steal from the bank together can totally be put toward Pottery Barn rugs and all-things-Target!!

  7. says

    It looks amazing Kelly!! I love that you kept some of the wood tones. I don’t know how you manage to have so many projects on the go but you always manage to pull it off! xo

  8. says

    Oh my gosh Kelly! This is so beautiful! EVERYTHING is amazing in your room and I love your bed! I wish I had ADD décor problems. I WISH I had your energy!!! Your blog is definitely one of my top favorites. Your style is AMAZING! I’m in love with that dresser you made over (the knobs and the wood stain and trip) and the rope mirror, and your bed linens….and EVERYTHING. I might just have to copy everything! hehehe.

  9. says

    I love the way this turned out! Kelly can you please share what kind of molding you used for the nightstands and the process for attaching it? We’re looking for a dresser for our master bedroom and I might try this on the 6 drawer tarva. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Bridget, it’s just one inch primed thin white wood, not sure what to call it exactly. Found it in the trim section at Lowes. As far as attaching it I just used liquid nails and clamped them in place, but you could probably just use some heavy books to weigh them down too until they have dried. Hope that helps!

  10. says

    Love your night stands! And oh too funny…I have DIY/decorating ADD too. You sound exactly like me!! ;) Too many projects (but I seem to still find a way to start another..and another…and so on!)

  11. Elie says

    Love the makeover! I’ve been eyeing the Tarvas for my bedroom as well, but worry that they would be too tall…without the legs how tall did your end up being?

  12. Sam M. says

    Hi! How exactly did you go about using two stains on the nightstand? I love the color and want to replicate for my Tarva furniture, but want to make sure I execute correctly!

    • says

      Hi Sam,

      I actually first tried a mix of them half and half together in a cup but wasn’t really getting the result I wanted. I then brushed the grey back over it and it was perfect. Just do one coat then wipe it off, do a a coat of the gray over top and wipe it off. Does that make sense?

  13. Priti says

    I love it!!! Are you able to tell me what the heigh of the night stand came out to without the legs? I want to try and do this, but the Ikea is about 2 hrs away so I just want to make sure the height will work with my bed before i make the drive out there! Thanks!

  14. Inbetween says

    Hi Kelly,
    Great job. Thinking of doing something similar. Would love to know the dimensions of the dresser without the legs on it.

  15. Sara says

    Love this color, the turned out adorable! I used the weathered grey stain on two adirondack chairs and just love that stain. But for the tarva dresser I want it more of a grey/brown, came across your post and it’s perfect.

    So to clarify on how you did the color, you’d recommend mixing the two for the first coat, then go over it another time with just the grey? Or go over first with the brown only (no mixing), then grey only? TIA!!

    • Sara says

      Oh and do you happen to have a picture of the dresser from before you put the moulding on? Would be awesome to see the entire dresser with the stain color since that’s how I’d do it. (I’d be doing the bigger tarva dresser for a nursery).

  16. Jacqueline Mariani says

    This project is exactly what I’ve been looking for!!!! I just moved into a new apartment that is partially furnished. I have a bed, but no dresser (the huge armoire does have a bit of drawer space) or nightstands. I don’t want to spend money on 3 pieces of furniture so I have been thinking about larger nightstands with drawers. This is perfect for me in so many ways: drawer space, larger nightstands (I don’t like small ones), and a project (which I love) all wrapped into one. I’m heading directly to IKEA! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  17. Lia says

    Hi Kelly!
    Absolutely love the result! And beach style warms heart on a cold fall evening. I have a question – what is the wooden thing with shells and deer? It’s soo adorable!

  18. Brenna says

    Hello! I love the stain on these night stands and am trying to replicate it for a coffee table. In the post you said you did the gray and then the early american over top, but I saw a comment where you said you did the opposite. Can you just clarify which order you did the stains! Thanks so much.

  19. Leeann Causby says

    I love your ideas for the dresser. Did you add plywood or anything to the bottom before adding the rollers? Or did you just add them directly to the bottom.

  20. Alyssa says

    Thank you thank you!! I just picked up a new (to us) wardrobe type thing to re-do for the daughters room. She had one of these dressers in there that I’m trying to think of where to move to in the house. Just so happens we have been looking for night stands for our room FOREVER as well so this would be a great idea!! Now to see if the husband likes the idea…

  21. Aubrey says

    We just bought two of these to makeover and I came across your post! Wondering how you trimmed the bottom without having to cut the legs??? Did you just cut all the way around to make it even on the bottom? I can’t figure out how you did it without having to put the legs on at all! Gorgeous makeover.

  22. Annmarie Merena says

    I love these and would never have believed they were from Ikea for such a reasonable price! Coincidentally, I’ve been looking at a chest of drawers that are white with wood stained front drawers that I love, but it was $677.00! I may just try this….the only part I was’t clear about was the trim you put on the drawer front…..was that nailed on? I am clueless and my husband is worse, but at that price, I’m willing to give it a try! Any pointers on the trim you can offer?

    You are mighty talented. And I do love your taste….thank you!


    • says

      Hi Annmarie, I just used liquid nails and some clamps. You could probably use heavy books resting on the drawers over night if you don’t have clamps.

  23. Teri says

    I know you posted this quite a while ago but I was wondering if you could tell me the dimensions of the molding that she used on the front of the dresser

  24. Lori says

    I just want to tell you THANK YOU for sharing this great idea! I made these several months ago and still love them so much I wanted to thank you personally. I used the same hardware from Hobby Lobby, but instead of putting wheels on I just used the wood drawer pulls that came with the dresser, painted them and used wood glue to attach them (wide side up) to each corner on the bottom of the dresser so the bottom drawer wouldn’t drag against the carpet. With the carpet, you can’t even see them. Like you, I just used stain that I had on hand for the drawer fronts…I used Minwax Dark Walnut and then whitewashed it with some watered down white paint. They are just the perfect touch in our bedroom and look like we spent so much more on them. Plus, I feel pretty darn proud of myself for making them! Thank you!!!

  25. says

    Don’t know if I missed it but didn’t see a path to the instructions. Please let me know where to find them.

    Beautiful work. I have the Ikea Rast and will be replicating your look this weekend.

    Keep sharing your beautiful work. Thanks for sharing.


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