Sunday, May 31, 2009

How To Make: Repainting Your IKEA Furniture

By request, I am about to give you the play-by-play on how to repaint that IKEA furniture that you thought you loved until you brought it home. I swear they have special lighting in there to make things look so rich and pretty. Then you put it all together and think "Is this really what I picked out? Was I high?"

IKEA is a enchanting place. A place where everything is so perfectly coordinated and shiny. I want to live in IKEA. I want my house to be everything IKEA is and has inside. I want my house to look just like it. And you think "Oh sure, I can totally use this neon green polka-dot pillow even though it doesn't match anything. I'll make it work!" But unfortunately, most of my house isn't even in the same contemporary decor style that is IKEA.

You see where I am going with this.

We purchased the MALM series about a year and a half ago. It's very boxy and Euro and I loved it in the store. But as you can see, we really didn't do much with it.

So today, I am going to walk you, step-by-step, on how to repaint the IKEA furniture that you never really loved.

First, you're going to head to either Lowe's or Home Depot. I visited Lowe's. After talking to the very knowledgeable Howard the paint man, he told me exactly what to do.

Here are the item's you'll need {with comments}:

- Oil Based Primer {I used ZAP Oil Based Primer. Howard was nice enough to add some of my paint to tint it so I didn't have to use as much paint}
- Latex paint of your choice {I used Fired Earth by Valspar}
*note: This color was only available in Satin and Semigloss. But somehow I sweet talked him into mixing it in flat. So it can be done!*
- Minwax Water Based Polycrylic

I'd like to mention something I learned the hard way and want to pass along. If you want a more smooth finish, you'll want to stick strictly to brushes. If you'd like a more textured finish {think the texture of a regular counter top} then use rollers. Rollers are quicker tho.


- A cabinet/door roller. These guys are small. And while you're at it get a extra pack of just the foam rollers. You'll need extras.
- A few cheapy brushes {about 2 inch, maybe a angled one too for corners} you can throw away and won't cry about. You'll be using oil based primer and unless you've got some mineral spirits chilling somewhere, you'll just want to pitch the brushes when you're finished.
- A good brush that you can keep and cherish forever. I picked up one of these short handled brushes and completely love it.
- A stain brush. Now this is one of the most important purchases for this project. Get one that has the finest bristles you can find. You need them soft and flexible and fine. Brush it against the back of your hand and if it feels like luxurious bunny fur, that's the one!
- 2 Drop cloths. Either plastic or canvas will do. You'll need one for under the piece and one to drag around with you as you paint.
- 60 grit sandpaper
- tack cloth
- Masking tape. Not that blue crap, get real masking tape.

OK, you ready? You can totally do this! Key to this is to take your time.

Take apart as much of the furniture as you can. Don't disassemble, just take the drawers out of the dressers or take the headboard off of the bed. Go ahead and tape off the faces of the drawers {where the faces attach to the box part of the drawer} and bolts or metal pieces that you don't want to mess with painting.


Take your sandpaper and give it a good roughin' up. The reason you sand stuff like this is to give the primer something to hang on to. If you don't, then the finished product is more likely to scratch off.


Take you tack cloth and and rub over the surfaces you sanded to get all of the tiny specs off.



Time to prime! Oil based primer is super stinky.


As you can see, I did this part in my bathroom {great place right?} Open as many windows as you can. Get some fans going. I used the foam roller on this part and a cheapy chip brush for the corners.


It dries in about a hour and I did two coats, letting it rest overnight.

The next morning I started on painting. I also used a foam roller and chip brush for the corners. It turned out by the time I finished painting the last piece, the first ones were dry and I started all over {I did two dressers, two night stands, bed frame/headboard and 16 drawers} This is probably the best part, seeing the transformation. I did a total of 2 coats of the paint.


Now comes the tricky part. The Polycrylic. This stuff is great and tough as nails! It is a clear coat that protects all of your precious work and prevents damage to your furniture when you accidentally hit the corner with the laundry basket or drop the remote on it. You know how it goes.

Take that handy stir stick they gave you and gently stir. You don't want to whip it up and create a bunch of bubbles. Bubbles transfer onto the surface. Now this is the step where I went wrong. I used a foam roller for this when I should have used the stain brush. With the foam roller it transferred onto the surface like a orange peel because it creates bubbles. Horrible and white. It dries clear but left a funky texture. Who knew? {Not me, obviously}

Don't glop it on but get a good amount on your brush and paint it on. Pay attention to your brush strokes too because they will show in the end. After your first coat is completely dry, take your sandpaper and gently {I mean light enough to knock the hairs off} run the sandpaper over the surface.


Once dry, slap on another coat and let your beautiful piece of furniture breathe.

I used this same method on that 'ole Goodwill table top too.

So? How did it turn out?

*I received a email from Tatiana today asking me to walk her through, step-by-step on how to repaint her IKEA furniture. Tatiana, this is for you!*

kristina Sig copy


Averill said...

I COMPLETELY know what you mean about IKEA. I go in and am always like "this is all so nice AND CHEAP" and then I get whatever crap I loaded into my cart home and start thinking "this looks". Ah well....

Liz said...

OMG, great minds think alike!! I have a painting tutorial on my blog today, too. :) It's awesome to see how great your Ikea furniture turned out - I definitely have a few pieces that could benefit from a little "customizing"!

~ Liz

Aparna Inguva said...

Thank you so much!! We bought a dlaselv thinking minimal, no fuss finish. But want to realy brighten it up. Your step by step instruction are a blessing!
-A and S

Monster of the said...

Thanks for the tutorial, we're going to repaint our 3 year old Ikea nightstands to match our newwer dark furniture so will follow your ideas.

Paint store here we come.

ndestael said...

You are a godsend!!!! Thank you.

Kristina at The Purple Pea said...

I am *so* glad this post was helpful! And if you have any questions or get stuck, email me. I mean it!

Steffanie Walsh said...

Ikea stuff does NOT look cheap if you decorate properly... and zome of tbeir pieces are totally not cheap and very well built! Yes they have some cheaper options but most of it is very well constructed. I'd rather pay 300 bucks for a hemnes bookcase and reapint if I need to rathen than spend 900 at pottery barn for the same piece.

Steffanie Walsh said...

Ikea stuff does NOT look cheap if you decorate properly... and zome of tbeir pieces are totally not cheap and very well built! Yes they have some cheaper options but most of it is very well constructed. I'd rather pay 300 bucks for a hemnes bookcase and reapint if I need to rathen than spend 900 at pottery barn for the same piece.