20 IKEA TARVA Hacks to go from Basic to Beautiful

ikea tarva dresser hacks

IKEA TARVA dressers are affordable, durable, and easy to construct, making them one of the Swedish manufacturer’s most popular products. TARVA dressers seamlessly combine simple designs with untreated solid wood, creating a blank canvas that works well with other styles and IKEA furniture items.

Currently, there are 3 TARVA dressers available at IKEA: the 6-drawer chest, 3-drawer and 5-drawer chest. Like the rest of the TARVA range, the chest of drawers are made from solid pine except for the back panel and drawer bottom which are fiberboard.

IKEA TARVA dresser range

There are many fantastic DIY hacks to modify the exterior and interior of an IKEA TARVA dresser, allowing you to personalize the outside while organizing the inside. Being untreated solid pine makes it a prime candidate for IKEA hacking. It readily takes paints and stains, cutting and drilling.

Many people have transformed their basic IKEA dresser into a unique piece of furniture that expresses their style – and you can, too! From decorating the TARVA dresser’s exterior to repurposing the dresser, I’ve collected 20 IKEA TARVA hacks to get the most out of your sturdy chest of drawers. 

20 fabulous IKEA TARVA Dressers Hacks to try at home

1. Use Wood Stain Hacks To Create A Modern Dresser

You can use your favorite wood stains to craft a sleek, modern dresser. A clean TARVA design will add an elegant, modern touch to a room. For a rustic earthy vibe, complement the TARVA dresser with new hardware like these vintage brass drawer handles

2. Combine Trim With Trendy Handles For A Simple Hack

While the TARVA comes with basic round wood drawer handles, you can instantly upgrade your dresser by replacing the stock handles with trendy pulls. Paired with a coat of white paint, you’ll have a timeless TARVA design that’s stunning and functional. 

3. Use This Hack To Craft An Art Deco TARVA Dresser

If you’ve struggled to find the right vintage pieces for your home, this TARVA makeover is perfect! With a funky paint color and DIY drawer pulls to match, you can instantly transport your dresser back in time. Using a turquoise color will help turn your dresser into a statement piece.

4. Hack TARVA Dressers With Paintable Wallpaper

Paintable wallpaper is the easiest way to customize the exterior of your TARVA dresser – especially when paired with personalized drawer handles. Paintable wallpaper is available in many styles and textures and can be easily customized with a paint color that compliments the rest of your décor. Many people have used this method to upgrade their TARVA dressers. 

5. Give Your TARVA Dresser A Geometric Makeover

Simple lines can instantly elevate your TARVA dresser with a geometric makeover. You can use a stencil to create a geometric pattern on your dresser. Lacquer paint will ensure your design is visible once the paint dries on your customized dresser. 

6. Make Your Own Coastal-Themed TARVA Dresser 

An IKEA TARVA dresser is the perfect canvas to turn into a coastal-themed dresser. You can use paint in half strength to create a dreamy, muted color where the wood grain may still peek through. Try painting either the drawer fronts or dresser frame to create subtle contrast.

7. Elevate Your TARVA Dresser’s Drawer Pulls

There’s a simple way to make your TARVA dresser appear absolutely non-IKEA: change the drawer pulls. And we don’t mean replacing the knobs with a pull. Take a leaf from Jessica and make custom geometric pulls for the drawers. Now the placement of these new wood handles is key. Adding them to the top and bottom of the dramatically changes the look of the dresser. Paint or stain will work with this IKEA TARVA dresser hack.

8. Angle the legs for a lighter look

I agree with Sarah Sherman Samuel, “You just have got to do something about those legs!”. A simple tweak but makes a whole lot of difference. She completes the hack with a coat of pale blue paint and classy drawer handles that allow you to easily pull out the drawers. 

9. Go bold with Overlays 

greek key overlay on IKEA chest of drawers

With some paint and an overlay kit, you can create a TARVA dresser with a Greek key design – which is a style that will never go out of style. This TARVA hack is affordable and looks luxurious. The best of both worlds! Don’t forget to stain the pine top for contrast.

10. Craft A Woven Raffia Styled TARVA Dresser

Megan Bell

You can use this YouTuber’s hack to transform your TARVA dresser into a stunning woven raffia dresser that looks more high end than it really is! You can make your dresser look like a model that will cost you $4000 for just 10% of the cost! 

11. Use it as a base for a built-in 

Take a shortcut in building built-in storage drawers. Jaime started with a 5-drawer TARVA chest and integrated it with the rest of the cabinet.

12. Overhaul a drawer dresser into a rolling desk

This IKEA TARVA dresser hack is a lot more involved than most of the ones listed here. But it’s so good. Diane took inspiration from a college dorm room desk — a small piece of furniture that had 3 functions. It had space on top for books, drawers for clothes beneath and a drop down desk that is deep enough to fit a laptop. Now can you believe this dresser can do all that? See her tutorial for the full DIY process

13. Go tall with a TARVA hutch

From dresser to hutch? It’s possible with the TARVA. Gail built a hutch to fit on top of the TARVA chest and effectively doubled the storage space on the same footprint. The TARVA hutch works great in her laundry room for linens, towels, and laundry supplies.

14. Turn Your TARVA Dresser Into A Grasscloth Dresser

While Grasscloth furniture is quite expensive, you can use this hack to transform your dresser into one that looks like it was manufactured by a designer. You can use a fabric of your choice to transform your IKEA TARVA drawer fronts to match your home decor. 

15. Craft A Fluted TARVA Dresser With This Hack

With this chic TARVA hack, you can add a lot of texture and personality to any TARVA dresser. ¾-inch screen trim is the best size for creating a fluted look. You’ll need a lot of patience for this IKEA hack … attaching trim one by one can be tedious. If you can get your hands on pole wrap, it will certainly speed things up. 

16. Amp Up Your Walk-in Wardrobe With Drawers

A TARVA dresser is an easy way to add drawers to your walk-in closet, especially if you’re constructing a custom wardrobe from scratch. It’s the perfect size to neatly store underwear, socks and KonMari style folded clothes. The 5-drawer TARVA has a shallower drawer which is perfect for accessories and watches. See Hannah’s post for tips on adding drawers to your custom closet.

17. Turn Your TARVA Dresser Into A Changing Table

You can use this beautiful hack to turn your TARVA dresser into a functional changing table! This DIY project is ideal for parents of young ones who are looking for an affordable and stylish changing table that they can still use when the kid no longer needs a changing table. And as a bonus, it looks so good in the nursery. The replacement of the TARVA legs with bun feet adds to the charm. 

18. Hack the TARVA into a drinks cabinet

Katie took the TARVA into new territory as a drinks cabinet. She changed the top drawer into a wine shelf. The bottom two drawer space is merged into a two-door cabinet for wine glasses and more bottles. Not an easy IKEA hack, but it shows how a regular piece of furniture can end up totally changed. Now, I would not recommend buying a new piece of TARVA and changing it into a drinks cabinet (unless you want to) but if you have an old unused one, by all means repurpose it.

19. Transform Your TARVA Into A Television Stand

By removing the top drawer of your TARVA dresser, you can transform it into a TV stand and media cabinet. Katie used a furniture grade board to create shelves to cover up the top of the second drawers. She cut the board to fit the inside of the dresser cabinet and notched around the drawer supports. A coat of paint in the same color as the TARVA frame makes all of it seamless. The open shelving provides a nook for electronics, game consoles and hide unsightly cords. 

20. Create Drama with a two-toned piece

There’s no rule that says you need to paint the whole piece of furniture. @ebonybasten dips the top of the dresser in black and stops for dramatic effect. It works!

There’s certainly no shortage of DIY hacks to customize your IKEA TARVA dresser to add your personal style. With the right inspiration, you can use your TARVA dresser in nearly any room in your house, including bedrooms, laundry rooms, and even lounges. Which among these 20 is your favorite IKEA TARVA dresser hack?

For more IKEA hacks on the TARVA range, see this page dedicated to IKEA TARVA hacks.