Ikea Bar Stool Hack

phdikeahack2If there is one thing my wedding prep taught me, it is that everything in life can be improved with gold spray paint.

We returned home post-wedding to find a wonderful array of new grown-up furniture, glassware, cutlery, and cake stands awaiting us. Amongst the Pottery Barn adulthood, our student Ikea bar stools suddenly looked especially nineties. Ten years ago, before I developed my own tastes and sense of style, Ikea’s plentiful birch effect and dull chrome hardware worked—now it ruined the aesthetic. Being in grad school our budgets have not improved in the last decade, but thankfully my creativity has. Rather than replacing the stools we hacked them. From nineties drab, our Franklin stools are now more mid-century fab.

Tools Needed:

  • Ikea Franklin stools
  • Screw Driver
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray Paint (Krylon Gold Metallic)
  • Wood Stain (Miniwax Wood Finish in Red Mahogany 225)

phdikeahack3First, take the chair apart so that all wooden parts are removed from the metal frame.

Remove the black plastic foot rest. This is a little tricky as there are little plastic prongs inside which you need to break off before you can remove the foot rest. Rotate the plastic bar until you hear a snap—that is the sound of the prongs breaking off. Now prize the plastic bar off of the metal frame, (we used scissors at first to get some purchase).

Cover the black plastic feet with painters tape and then spray paint the entire frame, front and back, and also the brackets. It took a couple of sprays before we got totally even coverage. Leave the frame to dry completely.

For the wooden chair parts, first, sand them down to remove the existing varnish. Make sure you sand front and back, top and bottom, as all areas will be seen. Once you have a rough surface, apply wood stain with a brush in the direction of the grain. We did a couple of coats to get the desired dark finish and left the stain on for near an hour rather than the suggested twenty minutes. Remove the excess stain and leave the chairs to dry. It was humid, so our chairs took a good twenty-four hours to dry.

Finally reassemble the chair and enjoy your handy work.

This was a very easy project, especially as we already had all the equipment in the house. While, in time, we will likely want to get new furniture for our kitchen, these chairs work well in our current space. Proof again, that spray paint really is a girl’s best friend.phdikeahack4


The Grown Up Table: An Ikea Lack Hack

phdpfikea4I call this table the grown up table because it wasn’t until we put the wooden table top on, that I realized how cheap and Ikea-ry it looked before. Of course it was cheap and from Ikea so it isn’t really surprising. Not that I want to bad mouth Ikea because I love the store (especially as you get a free cup of tea if you are an Ikea Family member!), however, I think our additions have improved this table dramatically.

This was actually a fairly easy Pinterest inspired project. However, we did rather manage to complicate it by cutting the wrong size of wood the first go round so that the table top was an inch short. However, if you can measure correctly the first time it will be much easier.

Tools Needed

  • Ikea Lack Coffee Table
  • 4 x 90cm x 5.5 inch wooden board (We chose Cedar planks)
  • Sealant (We used Krylon Crystal Clear Gloss Top Coat)
  • screws
  • Drill
  • Sand Paper

To start this project, measure the table. Ours was 90cm long, however, I would recommend measuring your own in case there is any deviation.

With measurements in hand we took one of our frequent trips to Home Depot and chose some 5.5 inch board. Don’t rely on signage to tell you the width of the board, measure it yourself as we found that the width marked and the actual width of the board were often rather different. We chose two cedar boards as we liked the grain best, and then cut each into two planks. Having previously been very nice about cutting  wood, our Home Depot now says they won’t do custom cuts. Therefore my boyfriend had to take the planks over to a bench in the dowels aisle and cut our boards with a blunt hand saw. Hopefully other Home Depots will be more accommodating and cut the boards with an electrical saw for you.

Once home we experimented with which order we wanted the planks to be on the table, and sanded off the ends and edges until smooth. We tried dark wood stain initially but decided that we liked the natural cedar better, and so just sprayed them with Krylon topcoat. It took a couple of coats to get something resembling an even covering.

phdpfikea6To attach the panels to the table we used a  drill bit to drill holes in the wood. This was arguably the hardest part of the project, in large part because our drill is fairly terrible and so the drill bit got stuck in the wood a few times. However, with a more efficient tool this wouldn’t be a problem. I was fairly certain the table would split when we tried to drill into it, however, I guess Ikea tables are stronger than I predicted as we didn’t have any problems. After making the holes we then put two screws in each end of the panel. Each screw is half inch from the edge of the panel.

The grown up table is now one of my favorite pieces of furniture in our house. It looks so much better than its $19.99 price tag.  The teal candle holder came from Ikea, and the coasters are white bathroom tiles from Home Depot that I doctored up with scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, Krylon top coat, and felt bases.