Watch an IKEA Nightstand Easily Transform Into a Modern Side Table

This is one IKEA hack project that anyone can do.
credit: Carrie Waller

Let the record show that we are quite fond of our IKEA hacks. Like, really, really, really fond of them. And we're always up for trying our hand at hacking a new project.

So for this DIY, we decided to turn a simple unfinished IKEA nightstand into a one-of-a-kind modern side table using practically nothing but paint and wood dowel rods. The result? A new decor darling.

Can you believe this before-and-after image is the same table?!
credit: Carrie Waller
The finished side table is unrecognizable from its original state!
credit: Carrie Waller

Things You'll Need

Wood dowel rods give this side table modern edge.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 1

Assemble the IKEA side table using the instructions that came with the piece.

Assemble the side table.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 2

Paint all visible surfaces of the side table using paint, a paint roller, and brushes. Allow the paint to dry for two to three hours, and then add another coat of paint if needed.

Paint the side table.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 3

Once the painted side table is completely dry (allow at least 24 hours for this, especially if you needed to do more than one coat), measure the height of the drawer front. Bunch eight to 10 dowel rods together with their tops and bottoms lined up, and tape the rods together with painter's tape. Draw a line on the tape where the rods need to be cut using a pen or marker. Repeat these steps to create several bundles of measured, marked, and taped dowel rods. This is necessary as you'll need to cut the rods down in batches using a saw in the next step.

Tape the dowel rods together and mark the line where they need to be cut.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 4

Lay your first taped and marked bundle of rods in a miter box, and then using a hand saw, cut it down to size where you marked it. Cut each bundle until you have a full set of rods to cover your drawer front. We used about 35 rods on our finished table, but you'll want to cut and stain extras to have on hand in case some turn out better than others. Sand the rough cut ends of the dowel rods using a sanding block.

Cut the dowel rods to size.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 5

Stain the cut dowel rods using wood finishing cloths. Make sure you add stain to the tops and bottoms of the rods, as well as all four sides. Allow the stain to dry and darken for about five minutes, then wipe off any excess stain with a clean, dry rag.

Stain the cut dowel rods.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 6

Starting in the middle and working your way out to the ends, glue the dowel rods to the side table's painted drawer front. This particular design allows for the dark painted finish of the table to show through between the stained dowel rods. To achieve this, use extra dowel rods as spacers between each stained rod as you glue them down. Don't glue these extra rod spacers down—simply lay them on the drawer front between the stained rods as you glue those down in order to allow for even blank space between.

Glue the dowel rods to the side table's painted drawer front.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 7

Allow the piece of furniture to dry completely overnight before handling. Once dry, arrange the new table anywhere in your home where you can use and admire daily. (We love it in the living room!)

Allow the side table to dry completely before handling or styling.
credit: Carrie Waller
Finish by arranging the piece in your home to use and admire daily.
credit: Carrie Waller

Carrie Waller

Carrie Waller

Carrie Waller is the writer, stylist and photographer behind the lifestyle and crafting blog, Dream Green DIY, which was founded in March 2011. Her wo... more