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Simple DIY Projects: Upcycling Furniture for Sustainability

Updated: Apr 1, 2020


Most furniture shoppers know this struggle: looking for an item in mind that seems impossible to find or buy at a reasonable price. This is where ‘up cycling’ or ‘hacking’ is a life saver. You save the cost of buying the item new, and you can personalize it exactly how you imagine. Not to mention the sustainability aspect, since lord knows there are enough Ikea remnants in land fill sites around the world. This blog will focus on one of the easiest DIY projects – repainting.

Project # 1 - Ikea’s ‘Hemnes’ nightstand hack

This bedside table is a super popular item at Ikea, which means that it is also pretty easy to find second hand. The 2 drawer chest retails for about $100 at Ikea (in Canada), however I picked one in good condition up for $30 flat (on Kijiji – the Canadian version of Craigslist). The black-brown finish was a bit faded, but who cares! We are painting it anyways.

Tip: You don’t need to sand off the old paint. Ikea uses some pretty hardcore primer which is difficult to get off – and if you do, you will notice some pretty funky patterns in your coats of paint from the low quality grain underneath. I would recommend just giving it a light sanding to remove any loose paint and to smooth it out.

Once you have removed any dust, you are ready to paint. I chose chalk paint to give the bedside table a more rustic / vintage look. The color I chose was ‘Aged Grey’ (Rust-oleum Chalked Spray Paint) – and coincidentally there was a picture of a nightstand on the can.

Next steps:

1. I removed the drawers and taped plastic bags around the ‘inside’ part of the drawer to leave it it’s natural color.