IKEA Furniture Hack with dowels: From drab to fab

Wood dowels transforms the plain IKEA furniture into decor pieces.

I have a narrow long entryway so I was looking for something slim, chic and functional to put there. IKEA HEMNES was a natural choice but the standard piece of furniture felt very basic, so I wanted to modify it.

My inspiration piece was a sideboard from West Elm but it was too broad for my entryway and too expensive for my budget.

The IKEA HEMNES had a small footprint and functional storage. I thought with a bit of hacking and half-moon wooden dowels, it can be more interesting.

IKEA items used:

IKEA HEMNES shoe cabinet with 4 compartments x 2

IKEA HEMNES shoe cabinet with 4 compartments
Photo: IKEA.com

Other materials and tools:  

1 wooden piece of wood 84″ x8.5″
1 miter saw with 60 teeth blade or 1 Japanese fine toothed hand saw
Sanding blocks or sandpaper 80/120/220 grit
Wooden dowels 6 feet long -15-16 for this project. Number varies if design changes.
Minwax Pre-stain (optional but recommended ) 8 oz
Stains: Minwax Golden Oak, Gunstock and Golden pecan (you can choose to use single stain), 8 oz
Minwax polycrylic (optional ), 8 oz
Zinsser 123 Primer – smallest size you can find
Whisper White by BEHR – sample size
Angled Brush
Cotton Rag

Adding Wooden Dowels to HEMNES doors  

First, I assembled both the cabinets as per instructions. For the last part instead of putting the top shelf individually on both units, I got a larger wooden plank cut to size from Lowes (84″ length and  8.5″ wide).

I chose 84″ because I wanted a longer overhang, you can choose to go with 83 or 82 inches if space is a constraint.

Put the two cabinets side by side and attach the plank with wood glue. For the top shelf, I first sanded it, cleaned it and then prepped it with Minwax Pre-stain. After 15-20 min, I stained it with mixture of 1/3rd Golden Pecan 245, 1/3rd Golden Oak 210B and 1/3rd Gunstock 231. 

DIY dowel furniture for the entryway

Now for creating the design, I bought 6’ half-moon wood dowels from Lowes. For wood measurements, I found it easier to draw the desired pattern on the cabinet front using a pencil. I made sure that my pencil drawing had the exact same width as the actual dowel. Once you have one reference dowel cut, it’s easier to get the other 7.

cut the wooden dowels with a mitered edge to fit the design planned for the doors

Now I gave a slanted cut to the rods to fit on the cabinet front. Once all the pieces were cut, I prepped them and glued them to the cabinet. Finally I filled up the drilled holes for the knobs and caulked any gaps between the wood pieces. Then, sanded and primed the surfaces. Finally, painted the whole set Whisper White by BEHR.

DIY dowel furniture hack on IKEA HEMNES shoe cabinet

How long and how much did it cost?

It is my first DIY project so it took me considerably longer to figure everything out and implement it. I spent close to 35-40 hours on it. But if I were to build it again, I can do it in 20 hours.

What was the hardest part about this hack?

Getting the angles cut right and getting perfect length.

What to pay special attention to?

This IKEA hack adds considerable bulk to the cabinet front which can get stuck while opening/ closing the HEMNES shoe cabinet. Length of the dowels is crucial here.

DIY dowel furniture hack on IKEA HEMNES shoe cabinet

Looking back, would you have done it differently?

Initially I was working on one dowel at a time and it was taking a very long time, I found better optimization later on in the project. It would have saved me a lot of time to begin with it. 

See detailed instructions on my blog.

~ by niftyideas_n_thriftycrafts

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