There Will Be Tables and Chairs…

We’ve been desperately needing bedside tables since we moved into our new place. I’ve been looking around for some to buy, keeping in mind that (a)the bedroom is super tiny and (B) we have a malm bed and dresser and wanted something that didn’t look too “Ikea”.
So we came up with these. We took a quick trip to the Ikea in Richmond and Home Depot on Friday night and built them on Saturday. I was very much inspired by these two pieces:
On the left: a jewelry case made by Angie Johnson as featured on Design*Sponge
On the right: The Curator Nightstand from Anthropologie
which I saw when I was at the store in Seattle a few months ago. I loved how all that gaudy decorative trim was piled on and thought, I could totally do that. And at $931.57 (CAD), I could do it for much cheaper.
Mine (which are, admittedly loose interpretations of the original) came out to $96 each and I painted them “West Coast Grey” (so appropriate for our new Vancouver home).

I think there is a lot of potential here for other projects.
You could stack two or three of the chests together and add little ornate feet.
Or cut a larger base and attach four of them (2X2) together with longer legs and some sort of surface for the top. That would make a great little entryway table and place to throw keys and things.
Any other ideas?
Click below for my how-to and cost breakdown.

The Cost
4 Fira mini chests with 5 drawers from Ikea: $36 ($18 each)
8 12″ Wooden legs from Home Depot: $40 ($5 each)
8 Metal top plate (to attach legs to chest) from Home Depot: $16 ($2 each)
Decorative trim, assorted styles, 6-8′ long: approx. $50
Paint: $20
6 Knobs: $15 ($2.50 each)
Wood glue, paint brushes, hardwood for base: $15
Total: $192
$96 each

(This is the base amount. There were some things that we had (nails, sandpaper). We did have to buy a small hacksaw, which was $5)

A note about the mini chests:
I bought the 5-drawer version because it was the only one available at our Ikea. I was actually looking for the 3-drawer one which would be a bit easier to work with. I decided to glue the three little drawers together – now the top drawer has built-in dividers.

How to:
1. Put together the fira mini chests as per Ikea’s lovely instructions.

2. Attach the legs:
You can’t just screw the legs into the chest because then, of course, the bottom drawer wouldn’t open. So get a piece of hardwood cut to the size of the fira chest, or just a smidge smaller. A friendly worker at Home Depot cut ours. Use generous amounts of wood glue to adhere the wood to the bottom of the chest, then hammer small nails along the edge. Screw the metal plates into the wood at the four corners.
Now you can screw the legs in (and off should you need to move it).

2. Glue three top drawers into one.
Attach the three top drawers together with the wood glue and clamp them. I used medium sized binder clips and they worked wonderfully. Our Elmers wood glue said to clamp for 1 hour and let sit for 24 hours. I didn’t have the patience so I set them aside, clamped, for a couple of hours while I did the other things. They were really strong by the time I was ready to use them.

3. Decorate.
Cut all the trim to the size of the chest (not the drawers – so that they will go right to the edge) with a hacksaw. This didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Most trim was thin enough that it just took a couple seconds to saw and then snap them apart. Don’t worry about rough edges.
I laid the pieces out on the floor in the pattern I wanted (the same for both tables).

Some things to keep in mind:
I didn’t want the thin edges of the chest to show much so I let just a tiny bit of trim stick down below each drawer.
Use one of the wider trims as the top layer on each drawer so the little cut out is completely covered.
You need to leave a space between the trim on each drawer to make it easier to attach the knobs later.

Now start gluing the trim to the drawers. Hold each strip down for a minute or so. You can clamp the top trim with a couple of binder clips.
You can attach the trim with little nails but I don’t recommend it – the wood splits very easily.
Attach one strip around the bottom of the chest to cover the hardwood and metal plate (shown below).


4. Let it sit for at least a couple of hours.

5. Sand all the edges.

6. Paint.
You can prime and then paint. Or buy a paint that is primer and paint in one and do two thin coats (this kind of paint is for bathrooms I think but a girl at Home Depot recommended it).
Do not paint the sides of the drawers or the inside of the chest because it’s already a snug fit without layers of paint.
Let it dry overnight.

7. Attach knobs.
Screw them in where you left a space between trims on each drawer.
BTW, Ryan and I found the best deal on these knobs. There’s this amazing store a couple blocks from our place called The Cross (I want pretty much everything in that store) and we stopped in while we were waiting for the paint to dry. They had a bunch of knobs in an old antique dresser but they were all too large. So they sold us the original, perfectly-sized, antique knobs from the six-drawer dresser or $2.50!

The whole process took me the most part of one day. I probably should have waited longer for the glue to set but it still feels very sturdy. It could easily be done as a weekend project.

44 responses to “There Will Be Tables and Chairs…”

  1. Skippy

    AMAzing! excellent instructions too.

  2. grace

    seriously? amazing. a-mazing. i like it so much better than the anthropologie version. hands down. great work, britt!

  3. Summer

    I LOVE DIY ideas! This blog is always so inspirational! Thank you for sharing…when thrift stores start charging antique prices (I’ve been running into this lately), do it yourself!

  4. Rachel (Heart of Light)

    This is so amazing! You are a crafty goddess.

  5. Shannon

    These are are stunning! They are definitely better than the real thing. You should post these over at – they would definitely cause a jaw opening reaction! Thanks for the great project idea!

  6. Amanda

    WOW! this is AMAZING. i found it featured on design sponge & i am planning on making two FOR sure… one for my baby room, not sure what to store in it but im going to put it in the reading corner and one for our room to store my jewlery in! FINALLY the perfect looking piece for that! THANK YOU! ps- I grew up in the lower main land and love love love The Cross… I could buy everything in there too! :)

  7. bluire

    This is a great project. I think if I were doing it, I would leave spaces for the knobs, I would just drill through the stuck on mouldings, but it is great inspiration!

  8. tiffany

    I now have a favourite blog. wow.
    i’m totally going to tackle this for a spring project!
    hmmm and perhaps stop blog hopping during work hours..

  9. Rachel Brumer

    Can you tell me about the bedding in the photo? It’s a white background with beautiful large flowers. Where did you purchase it?


  10. Kerri

    Wow Britt, congratulations on being featured in Design*Sponge! You’re famous!
    These tables are amazing, good work! (Your blog is outstanding as well)

    Hope you and Ryan are doing well and enjoying Van!

  11. .amanda.

    saw you though design sponge! Great design! This is truly beautiful and inspiring! can’t wait to make my own version!


    p.s. I adore your paint color choice!

  12. Creme de la Mode

    These are really fabulous. I can’t wait to attempt one!

  13. Serena

    It’s me, Skippy, now here in person to applaud your design*sponge appearance! I got so excited and told all the household! I’m so happy that I get to know you in person!

  14. Colleen

    I’m totally making two of these tables! When I read the paragraph about you needing bedside tables for a small bedroom that weren’t too ikea-sh, I thought I had written it! Can’t wait…

  15. Amanda

    Absolutely lovely! I am definitely going to try this one!
    Did you get the wooden trim anywhere special or just the local hardware store/craft store!

  16. Kelly

    Great job….these are very inspiring! If you don’t mind I may link this in a post!

  17. melissa

    Love it! I’m redoing my bedroom and this would be perfect.

  18. Alicia

    Came over from design*sponge, this is really great! I have a tear-out of the Anthropologie case on my bulletin board specifically so that one day I can copy it, too. Great job, love it.

  19. hannahrose

    are you selling these at all?

  20. Savvy

    I’m very impressed. Great job. I talked about it on my blog: .

    I like your site a lot–I’ll keep checking back.

  21. Shilo

    Visiting from Nesting Place, love your idea!

  22. Sandy Toe

    Such an amazing idea~
    sandy toe

  23. Jennifer

    So creative. I am lacking the gene that allows me to see potential like this. Great job! My daughter needs a night stand…I think she’ll LOVE it!

  24. Kim

    Wow, I’m impressed. Best of all, I will never be able to look at things from Ikea in quite the same way. I now open to a world of possibilities. You have to love that!

  25. colleen sugata

    Hi Britt! I’ve had my eye on this project for awhile now, and my husband and I finally had a chance to make these tables. I just posted a little something about it on my blog (with a link to your website, if that’s okay). Just thought you might like to see what you’ve inspired! Thanks for the idea and the instructions! And I love your website!

  26. Chris

    Hi Britt,

    This is just so really clever. I’m not sure it’s a style for me, but I can totally see using your techniques to embellish generic furniture. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve added links and full credits to your page from my own blog (mostly) Handmade Holiday. I think this makes a wonderful gift idea.

  27. Mike

    That’s a great way to dress up boring furniture and, I have to say, one of the most ingenious uses of ‘clamps’ I’ve seen. lol. Nicely done!

  28. chris

    hi! one quick question… where did you find your decorative trimming/mouldings? i have been to a ton of hardware stores and none of them carry anything sides the boring kind. i love the square ones you have as well as the rope-like twist. a website or store name would be great! thanks!

  29. Cassi

    Hey, I’m in the process of making this great little nightstands and I have one question; above it says that you used 4 Fira chests, but then it only looks like one in the pictures. So did you attach two Fira chests together, or did you just use the one? Thanks! I’m so glad you did this because although I loved the table 700 was a bit much.

  30. Lori


  31. Jeeyun

    and pony rides and dancing bears!

    What a great eye for imaginative creativity you have. I’m making one tonight.

  32. seminar projects

    hey dude
    Great stuff! i got a lot of inspiration from this post
    it is very interesting ….
    i went through this page two times
    am learning for social work


  33. angela

    agh!! The Fira drawers have been discontinued by Ikea. So sad… I was totally going to make this my weekend project. boo!

  34. Kristina

    Hi Britt,

    I want to make this but the FIra drawers are discontinued – any other suggestions?

    If not, do you sell these (or perhaps by some miracle have a lot of fira chests you would like to sell?!)


  35. Lauren Flanagan

    I added a link to this on my site – I hope that’s ok (let me know if it’s not). It’s a fabulous project!

  36. Mod Podge Amy

    One of my favorite projects I’ve seen in a long time! Must make.

  37. Jamie

    Ok. I am in serious mourning. Just read that these are discontinued in the comments. Gaahhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. Jeanette

    I stumbled onto your sweet tables on Pinterest and wanted you to know what a great job you did. I have been using scraps in this way for years {missed the ones at Athropologie.} The most recent project was a pretty box to hide the ugly cable box. You can see it here.

  39. deloom

    So glad I found this! I was searching for end tables for our bedroom. This is going on my list of weekend DIYs! Thanks for sharing! <3

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