Ikea Hemnes nightstand hack

These past couple weeks have been non-stop crazy busy-ness for me, but I still had time to squeeze in a quick furniture facelift!

Saturday morning I decided to give our Ikea Hemnes nightstands a makeover.

Here’s one in all its’ factory black-brown glory:

It an effort to make the house light, bright and airy, our dark furniture has to go. Brad said I was not allowed to buy new furniture (boo) so I had to work with what had. I still love the style of the nightstands, so I figured all I needed to be happy was a fresh coat of paint. In white, of course. I didn’t want a stark bright white, so I chose Behr’s “Popped Corn”, which is a soft white. I love this color.

I wanted to do it right this time, so I splurged and paid $14 for a Purdy brush (which is supposedly the best thing out there), and a bottle of floetrol to condition the paint and minimize brush strokes.


And here was the plan:

1. Lightly sand
2. Apply 2-3 coats of primer
3. Apply 1-2 coats of paint + floetrol
4. Apply 1-2 coats of polycrylic to seal the finish

First thing first… I dragged the tables into the garage to examine their condition:

Yikes… that’s what 3 years, a cross country move and a naughty kitten will do for your furniture. So I spackled the scratches and lightly sanded.

Then it was time for primer. I used my brand new Purdy brush for this, and noticed the primer was going on really thick and sticky-like… if that makes sense. The brush strokes were very visible too. Maybe I was doing something wrong…. but I’m not impressed with this brush at all.

I also came across an issue I didn’t even think about… getting the paint on smoothly around the edges. I’m not sure what type of brush you need to do this correctly, but it wasn’t what I was using. The paint would pile up along the edge, and by the time I noticed it, the super fast drying primer was already dry so I was left with paint buildup along all the corners. No fun.

But at least it looks good in pictures, right?


So, here’s what I would have done differently. SPRAY PRIMER. Lesson learned.

After the primer was dry, I began to apply the paint + floetrol. I was hoping the floetrol could even out the existing paint-stroked primer finish, but I guess it doesn’t work like that. I ditched the Purdy brush and used my Home Depot dollar bin special brush to do the job. This worked out much better.

After the paint was dry, I stood back and looked at my creations. Then I decided “these would look super awesome if they were lightly distressed around the edges.” Actually… who am I kidding, I was really thinking “this paint buildup around the edges looks like crap and I’m going to have to sand it off.”

But honestly, it did work out, because I really do like the end result (stay tuned).

So I sanded…

Distressing is always the most exciting part about these projects, I think. Here’s a quick comparison shot of the magic of distressing:

All better!

Doesn’t that look better? I thought so.

I brought the night stands back into the room and set the lamp on them… when I realized that the brushed nickel lamp base wasn’t really vibing with the rest of the room. And there’s only one solution to that: Oil Rubbed Bronze.

Gotta love spontaneous mini-makovers… Anyway, here’s the finished results!

Nightstand #1

Nightstand #2
Closeup of detail:
I actually think the factory knobs were perfect so I left them in. What do you think? Better than the black?
This project was really just a warmup for the big finale…
This will be quite an undertaking, but now that I’ll be able to erase my mistakes with distressing, I’m not quite as worried. If I still haven’t found a dining room table sometime next week, this will be on the agenda for next weekend.
This weekend’s project was brought to you by the installation of this (much needed) AC in the garage…
Brad surprised me with this when I came home from work last week. What a thoughtful hubby, right? But his good deeds didn’t end there. The other night I came home to a pile of lumber in the garage. Brad had enlisted the help of our neighbor to build a work bench… Woo hoo! Music to my ears.
Unfortunately he forgot to take a before pic, but picture a bunch of junk piled up in the corner. Here they are during the construction process:
And now we have this:
It’s purely functional; nothing pretty to look at. But it makes my life So.Much.Easier when I’m in there. He even hooked up a work light so we can work into the night hours. And, someone has been reading my blog and taking notes, cause he used my poly to seal the top (and even remembered to take a picture for the blog)
Maybe I’ll try to make it pretty someday, but right now I’m just thrilled to have it at all.
Finally, I have a pretty big shop announcement…… I opened a second etsy store!
My map collection was getting quite large, so I decided to give them their very own store. I’m looking forward to adding even more and seeing how this new division develops! I’m also going to have a “Map of the Month”, where my customers can nominate a different city each month to go on sale. Should be exciting!
And with that, I’m off to fill orders for the rest of the night (while trying to make some time for dinner and Entourage).
Have a happy week everyone!

16 thoughts on “Ikea Hemnes nightstand hack

  1. How busy of a bee you were! I have learned to live with the brush strokes. Just tell yourself that you saved a ton of money painting your furniture. It looks fab.

  2. The nightstands are beautiful! I cannot wait to see the dresser painted, too. I'm on the same mission as you – lighten up all the dark, heavy furniture in the house. It visually lifts my mood to see brighter things rather than dark dark dark.

  3. I'm planning an Ikea trip tomorrow to buy the same night stand! Is the paint holding up well? It may be something we'll do down the road.

  4. Love the tables…great inspiration! The distressing is fab. It's making me want to grab a paintbrush and take it to some of the IKEA furniture in my house.

  5. You did a great job, the nightstand looks great! 🙂

    I was just wondering where that lamp is from? It's kinda cute.

  6. Did you use an electric sander for this or did you just do it manually with a sanding block? I am going to be doing the same exact thing (going from dark brown to white)! Thanks!

  7. I don't think I owned an electric sander at the time but would never do a project without it again—get the Mouse from black & decker and save yourself a ton of time and headache!

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