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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!


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

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

Share with us your creations!

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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    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!


    Sunday 23rd of August 2020

    I absolutely love this!!! Thank you so, so much for sharing how you made the new legs. I just started hacking Ikea furniture so don't have much experience but a friend of mine was able to help me recreate the legs. I'm so excited! What I'm now wondering is how did you cut off the legs? What kind of saw did you use? Thank you so much!


    Sunday 23rd of August 2020

    Hey Katja - I am glad you like the project! You could use a circular saw or a reciprocating saw to cut off the legs easily! I honestly can't remember which we used.


    Monday 6th of January 2020

    This looks amazing!! Want to do somehting smiilar with my Hemnes dresser. Question about the bar pulls: You linked the 15-1/8 bars here- did those fit withthe existing screw holes or did you have to drill new holes and cover the orginial ones up? I'm trying to avoid those extra steps but I LOVE the bar look!!


    Monday 6th of January 2020

    Thanks Molly. I trolled all of the internet (this was in 2018 to be fair) and was unable to find any bar pulls that fit the existing holes. So, I had to drill new holes - it was especially annoying because they ALMOST fit - it's less than an inch off total. But I also loved the look! Sorry for the bad news but know that drilling/filling the old holes wasn't bad at all. The old holes are closer together than the holes that I drilled, so they are hidden behind the bar pulls, too!