Hackers Help: Hemnes tower bookcases and bridge – add trim/laminate?

Desperate mom of picky 13 year old son here. A few months ago, grandparents helped us give him a Pottery Barn Teen storage bed, full size. Note we could only afford the bed, but IKEA Mom here thought – hey! I can put together the Hemnes tower and bridge, and either paint or stain it to sort of match, or even match his walls, something cool, for an eighth of the price! Then IKEA Mom was in a car accident which trashed her spine – no creative Saturdays with said son doing a light sand, primer, paint multiple coats and poly for her 🙁

paint stain IKEA HEMNES to match Pottery Barn Hampton Storage Bed Super Set

Photo: PBteen.com

To be fair, once I realized I’d have to do every shelf, every piece…not happening. I tried to hire a pro to do it for me – he tried gel stain and rejected the project. I even tried calling Pottery Barn and pleading for them to sell me the rest of the pieces – I’d find the money – but no. By the way, don’t buy from Pottery Barn, ever.

So now I have Hemnes and an unhappy son and boxes of books and junk all over the house. And I thought – hey, what about some sort of funky two-tone veneer, where I stain and finish (okay, hire someone to stain and finish) veneer over the bookcases like this. And then I could also have said person (or me, in a year, when my back is better) add wood trim also finished – and if I did it sort of like this but with the light pine/stained dark veneer & trim.

Or even lamer, tried to stick it on with Panyl. I did some extra work and now have about $2k I can spend on his room.

1. Should I try to refinish all of the wood in the dark “espresso” (really more like a walnut) finish using gel stain, a stain sprayer, and lots of layers & sanding?

2. Should I do the same but paint it a funky color for his room? Is painting Hemnes a dark color easier than staining a dark stain?

3. Should I just get sell the cabinets and try the ridiculous Pottery Barn towers? I can’t get the bridge, but maybe just two wood shelves with 2-3 vertical shelves would do it?

4. Should I just say screw it and go get a massage and a really good bottle of wine?

Ideas and thoughts and help very much welcome!!!

~ CountryMom27


Hi Countrymom27,

Sorry to hear of your accident. Hope your back heals quickly. 

The HEMNES is solid pine with a coat of clear acrylic lacquer. Good news is it’s possible to paint, stain the IKEA HEMNES. Bad news, neither methods of staining, painting or adding a trim will be a quick and easy job, especially with a bad back. Whether you choose to paint or stain, the lacquer needs to be removed and sanded down. Do apply several coats of paint/ stain to build up color, drying completely between coats. Here is a link to more information on staining the HEMNESYou may be able to get away without sanding with chalkpaint

Vinyl stickers are probably easier to accomplish. But they may look tacky covering large areas. With stickers, I would opt to not match, perhaps lining the insides of the shelves with a color or pattern that pops like this or this.

Whatever it is, take care of that back. Your boy can live with mismatched furniture for a while. The massage + wine idea is super. 🙂

~ Jules