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IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack

We bought a used IKEA Hemnes dresser on Facebook Marketplace that was perfect to transform into our baby’s dresser and changing table. We have several pieces of the IKEA Hemnes line in our home, so it would be ok as is. But, we decided to give it a mid century modern twist.

Peep all the details of our tropical nursery here!

Morgan has been going crazy buying baby clothes (surprises surprise) and this dresser has really big and deep drawers, which are perfect for tons of onesie storage.

Something worth noting is that this makes for a really tall dresser.

If you are short and looking for a changing table, this might not be the best fit for you.

Also, we got the 6 drawer version of this dresser.

There is actually no Ikea in the state of South Carolina (I know, I know) and we bought this used on Facebook Marketplace for $30.

Click here to pin this project to your Pinterest board!

ikea hemnes dresser makeover

So, here’s our IKEA Hemnes dresser mid century modern hack!

IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack

IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack

Deconstruct the Dresser

The first step of our IKEA Hemnes dresser mid century modern hack was to make a new shell of the dresser.

We started by trimming off the overhanging edges from the top.

Then, we sawed off the vertical legs on the bottom. This left us with a plain square shell.

Refinishing the Dresser

We painted the dresser and the drawers with Behr Marquee Tower Bridge.

This plays off the nursery’s wallpaper and the inside of the closet.

IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack

We styled the drawers by adding strips of scrap wallpaper and adding new hardware.

Liberty Hardware steel bar drawer handle pulls

Thanks to Liberty Hardware for sending us their steel bar knob pulls and steel bar drawer handle pulls.

We used these pulls on the bi-fold closet doors as well, so they tie in nicely. These pulls are much more modern, but give a mid century look as well.

Add wallpaper to the side of dresser drawers

Making Mid Century Modern Legs

The biggest part of this project was creating new legs that look MCM. No – not man crush Monday – mid century modern!

We wanted to have angled legs with a sturdy base. Here’s the steps to make this leg base entirely from 2x4s:

  1. Cut four 8 inch long pieces with a 7 degree parallel miter on each end
  2. Mark about 2 1/2 inches down one side and 1 to 1 1/2 inches in from the bottom. Draw a line between the two points and cut that off.
    IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack
  3. Cut two 2×4 pieces the length of the diagonal you want from corner to corner. For me, it was 49 inches each. Trim them down to only be 2 1/2 inches wide and with non-parallel 7 degree miters on each end.
  4. Use a Kreg Jig to connect two legs to each board.
    IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack
  5. Line one of the leg sets up on top of the other to form an X-shaped base. Cut out a gap on one of the boards and attach the two new boards to the board that is still whole using a Kreg Jig.
    IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack

Since this IKEA Hemnes dresser actually doesn’t have a solid base, you also have to cut plywood out to connect to the bottom of the dresser so that the new legs you made have somewhere to support.

IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack - MCM legs from 2x4s

Final Steps

Stain the plywood base and legs a color of your choice.

Attach the legs to the base and the base to the bottom of the dresser using a combination of wood glue and screws.

IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack

IKEA Hemnes Dresser Mid Century Modern Hack

This IKEA Hemnes dresser mid century modern hack is a great way to bring new live to an old piece of furniture.

We love the look of the base of the dresser and the more streamlined body of the dresser.

Paired with the refreshed color and hardware, we’re swooning.

If you want to attempt an IKEA Hemnes dresser mid century modern hack, remember that paint is very delicate on the IKEA pieces until it is cured and sealed.

Any cuts will temporarily leave the dresser a little less solid until you recreate a new base as well, so always be careful.

Baby Animal Gallery Wall

I love how this dresser looks in our tropical nursery and love the Tower Bridge color with our wallpaper. Swoon!

I am digging the mid century modern feel and am excited to bring that vibe in with very similar legs on the crib!

Click here to pin this project to your Pinterest board!

Here is the tutorial for the DIY wooden changing table topper

Click here to see more details on that gallery wall and check out how we made over the bifold closet doors

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray in a Bedroom with blue dresser

Be sure to click over and check out our Jungle Theme Nursery Reveal!

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Interested in the Kreg Jig? Click here to read our full Kreg Jig review and to see all of our Kreg Jig projects.

New to the Kreg Jig? Here is a step by step guide on how to use a Kreg Jig!

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Sunday 26th of December 2021

Hi, I'm here for the base tutorial. How tall did the total piece end up with your new legs What is the measurement from the floor to the top of the plywood?


Sunday 26th of December 2021

Hi, we actually just got rid of this piece last week, so I can't measure exactly, but it's 8" legs and 1/2" plywood, so about 8 1/2" for the base.

15 Awesome IKEA Hacks To Do This Year | Pinterest IKEA Hacks

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

[…] Check it here. […]

Medina Hadzic

Wednesday 13th of January 2021

Hey! I have a smaller piece of the hemnes collection, the 3 drawer chest. I’m dying to know how you cut the overhang and if it’ll split the wood or not. I hate the overhang and it just takes up even more room in my already small space.


Thursday 14th of January 2021

Hey Medina - we just used the circular saw and cut it off. It didn't split the wood - but it exposed the composite wood underneath, which is not as smooth as the outer wood. You will have to sand and apply some type of wood filler to get a smooth finish!


Tuesday 3rd of November 2020

Hi Sean! I saw you had drilled the holes after painting so if you were to do it again, would you drill the new holes before or after wood filling the old hole? Example: I’m not painting and just adding new handle bars. Deciding if it’s best to cover the old hole first or not. It’s intimidating to me since they lightly overlap! Thanks for much got your help and this post!


Wednesday 4th of November 2020

Hey Lena - I don't think it matters. If you won't paint, then just fill it, wipe around the filling with a damp paper towel to remove any overage, and then drill the new holes! If they overlap, You probably want to fill it first so you aren't trying to fill one hole and not get it into the new holes, if that makes sense!


Friday 4th of September 2020

hi Sean and Morgan!

would you say the drawer holes are 14.25 center to center? or 13 7/8 as someone else mentioned? i don’t have the luxury of being able to sand down for a paint job + create new holes and am hoping to have better pull bar options years after you did this :)

when companies list the size, is it standard to refer to it as center to center?


Friday 4th of September 2020

I'm not sure exactly how you are measuring but the pull bars did NOT fit the existing holes. The bars that we used are just over 18" long, so the 15 1/8" refers to the distance between the holes. These landed on the OUTSIDE of the holes so the holes on the hemnes are closer together than this. I filled & sanded ours so I can't give you a good measurement between them, sorry!

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