Stylish tool storage from an IKEA Rast dresser

Having no garage is a problem for multiple reasons. One of the most annoying is trying to find a place to store tools. I needed some kind of tool storage and I want it to be pretty. I bought the Rast dresser on an IKEA trip without a solid plan. The dresser is solid wood so I knew it’d be a good choice for storing heavy things. I measured the unused corner in our dining room and Rast fit perfectly. Plus the $35 price point sounded fantastic! I figured there were so many tutorials out there I’d be able to come up with something that worked.

We were both drawn the faux apothecary chests we’d seen other hackers do. The trimmed out drawers matched the cabinet doors on the built-ins in our dining room. The tutorials seemed easy enough but I still wanted something a little different. Over my brainstorming time I decided that the drawers weren’t super convenient for easy access to our most-used tools. That’s when I noticed the notch at the back for attaching the dresser to the wall. I knew that for tool storage, I’d like it to be portable, i.e. on casters. So I wouldn’t be attaching it to the wall. That little notch would make a great finger/thumb hole if I made the top of the dresser into a hinged lid! {Insert happy dance here.}

IKEA Rast top cutout

I followed the IKEA instructions all to assemble the frame, except I skipped the part where the top of the dresser gets attached. I also left off the top set of drawer rails.

Original IKEA Rast frame assembled.jpg

I only assembled two of the three drawers. I added a 1×4 to the front and attached it with wood glue and screws so the bottom rail didn’t look recessed. I also added another 1×4 across the back of the dresser to add stability to the frame since I didn’t attach the top. This helped to keep the correct spacing across the top. To mark the bottom of the shelf I’d need to create for the faux drawer front, I inserted the middle drawer and marked a line just above it.

Rast hack - add fixed drawer

I used scrap wood to create supports for the MDF shelf I cut to fit in the space.
I used the drawer front from the un-assembled third drawer and glued it to the supports to create a faux drawer front. Once everything was set I used small nails to attach ¼ inch plywood to make a back for the dresser.

Next, I tackled the hinged lid. We have bead-board wainscoting in our dining room and living room. I decided to go for a cohesive look and add bead-board to the top of the lid. The IKEA designs have the top of the dresser secured in between the two side panels. In order to make a lid that would sit on top of the dresser and not fall in between the two sides, I cut tongue and groove bead-board the size of the dresser top plus ½ inch overhang on each side.

IKEA Rast frame drawer

I used cheap lattice strips to create the trim for the faux apothecary look. The trim was thin enough that I attached them with wood glue and used my staple gun and small brad nails to keep them secure while the glue dried. I trimmed out the drawers and drilled new holes for the nine drawer pulls. Everything got two coats of primer and two coats of white paint in semi-gloss. The lid got three coats of dark wood stain and two coats of poly. Drawer pulls and casters got attached after everything was dry.

With all the pieces assembled and painted it was time to attach the lid. I used gate hinges for a slightly decorative look. I taped the hinges in place and pre-drilled holes.

The hinges allowed the lid to open all the way back. I needed some way to control the hinge so it didn’t fall open and split the wood on the lid. I screwed a small eye hook into the frame and the lid. A length of chain holds the lid open at a slight angle. Not elegant but it’s worked pretty well so far!

IKEA Rast hack install hinges

At the very last minute before calling this project finished I stumbled over our big orange extension cord. So I pulled out the cordless drill again and installed two hooks to the back. I had them on hand and they matched the finish on the hinges. Works great for organizing (and hiding) the extension cords.

Tool storage Rast lid notch

Rast hack extension cord storage

The dresser sits in the dining room now and you’d never know there were tools inside!

Tool storage IKEA Rast.jpg IKEA Rast hack tool storage.jpg

See full tutorial here.

~ by Liz Sheffield

Jules Yap