Full Dresser Reveal – Ikea Tarva Hack

So last week I’d jumped the gun with excitement and posted a few blurry pictures of the newly painted dresser that is in our room functioning for storage and as a TV stand…
This has been a long time in the making… remember LAST FEBRUARY when I first started talking about this???  Well, it’s only taken me eight months to finish this project 😉  With the hardware attached, I can OFFICIALLY check this project off the list!
Yep, that’s my reflection in the TV!!

I can’t even begin to explain how good that feels to be able to say it’s DONE.  Phew!

I am so pleased with how it turned out – the ultra-marine blue paint color brings such LIFE to our bedroom without being overwhelming, or too in your face.

I am in love with how it all turned out, but it was a LONG road to get here… let’s start at the beginning…

Ikea… on a Saturday… NIGHTMARE.  I got in, I got out, and a glass of wine later, I was ready to get the party started get this dresser built.

Step one: organize nuts, bolts, and assorted other random pieces Ikea packages up.

All I’ll say is… be VERY CAREFUL to be sure that you are using the right little screw thingy for each step of the process… you do not want to have to go back and take apart the dresser halfway through because you used the short screw and not the long one – TRUST ME on that one.
You may also want to enlist a buddy to help read the instructions… they use pictures, not words, and some of the little drawings I STILL can’t figure out…. bottom left picture… what do you think that says?? “Don’t break the furniture you’re building?”  Is that what it means?  Thanks Ikea… wise words…
I’ll spare you the boring details, but our living room was a disaster zone for two nights, as it went from this…
To this… an almost completed dresser! 
Look at those drawers… that open and close smoothly.  A work of art I tell you!  I’ve never experienced a more satisfying moment.  
Well, except for that time when I was home from college, and went to Costco with my mom, and saw that the girl that bullied me all through high-school was working the front door…  that was also an EXTREMELY satisfying moment… Deanna!  Is that you??  Going places in life I see… 
Another story for another day… 
Anyway, it felt REAL good to get the drawers working…
Moving on… the wood is pine, which means that it secretes oil from the knots in the wood for years… YEARS PEOPLE… so to be sure that the knots stayed hidden, and that my lovely paint job stayed intact without any bleeding from the wood, I used a super-duper primer.
Kilz primer got the best reviews online for sealing in wood oils on pine furniture, and so far so good.
I read that having the primer tinted made things MUCH easier to paint over when using a dark paint color.  I am SO THANKFUL I did this – I probably saved myself an extra coat of paint (or seven), and many frustrating hours in the long run.

The tinted primer won’t be as dark as your paint color, but it helps SO much.  It went on a light blue (pictured above) – I did 4 thin coats with a roller (to be sure none of that oil from the wood came through over time), let it dry, sanded it, wiped it down really well.

Then it was time to paint.

I just did regular water based paint (for easy clean up) in a semi-gloss – three coats with a roller later, and these bad boys were drying in the living room…

The most interesting thing to me about this paint color is that it photographs so differently in different lights, and that’s actually how it is in real life.  In bright direct sunlight, it’s a rich peacock blue, but in the afternoon it’s definitely a darker moodier version of itself… sometimes it almost looks like a dark green.
Like a mood ring – it’s totally fascinating to see!
Remember my inspiration for this color?? It was this Peacock Blue Dresser from Dimples and Tangles that got the creative juices flowing – I still love how her’s has the lacquered look.  
Anyway, you all know about my love of the brass hardware – it was quite a hunt to find!  My first order was cancelled because they ran out of lion head pulls!  WTF… I had to hunt it down elsewhere, which added a few extra weeks onto this project.

The dresser was in our room, just waiting for those pulls, and when they came, I was even more excited with how cute these guys were!  Quite sassy if you ask me.

And so, that’s the story my friends…  are you ready for the massive photo dump??  Here we go!
The view from my side of the bed… that’s a pretty realistic image of how the paint color reads in person – like the color of the ocean 40 feet down… gorgeous!
And a few close up images of the hardware against the paint…

Our old problem was that the TV stand that had been in here was too low to the ground so we couldn’t see the TV from the bed… especially once we bought our giant California King, with the extra high box spring.

Now, as you can clearly see, the TV is at optimal viewing height…

This room is SO TRICKY to photograph – it’s not big, and so this was the only angle where I could really get the whole dresser in.  Awesome photography skills – clearly.

And as I’m posting these, I’m realizing that there are a few unintentional selfies where I’m reflected back in the TV.  In my pajamas.  Awesome.

On another topic, how awesome do those navy and white curtains look with the dresser???  Totally baller.

Next up on the list… what do we do with this wall above the TV??

It’s a HUGE improvement to have the TV higher on the wall, but it’s still very empty feeling.  I know I have a bit of a problem and want to put something on every wall, but I swear to god, this wall NEEDS something.  I was thinking sconces, but the lazy part of me is like… ehhhhh.

If we didn’t have so many freaking mirrors in this room already, I’d consider a trio of round convex mirrors, and I haven’t completely ruled that out, but I’m trying to think of something other than another mirror…

Here’s a photo of our lovely dresser from the bathroom door looking back towards the hallway and our dining room / office area.  I love that the spaces have a really cohesive feel…

Oh, and don’t forget to notice our dust ruffle on the bottom of the bed.  It’s a subtle change, but a HUGE improvement since you could see all the crap stuff we were storing under there and it just looked so unfinished, and ugly, and messy, and terrible.  UGH.

Now it’s hidden and I’m SO much happier.

This next photograph was taken from an angle I don’t often capture since the salmon tile in our “art deco” (aka old as hell) bathroom is all up in your face.

What you can’t see (thank god) is that the shower was re-done at some point since the 1930’s, and in an attempt to match the coral tile, they went with pink.  Pepto bismol pink.  That doesn’t match.  Not even close. Oh well…

And just for good measure (and since i was already in there with the camera) I got a few photographs of the headboard and new bedding together.

I’m liking this combination for fall, and I love that the Duralee fabric on the bolster ties in with the other colors in the room, and brings a punch of color to wake things up a bit – as you can see, I’m still on the hunt for euro shams.

Standing a bit further back, you can see yet another empty wall that kills me a little every time I see it. The wall above our bed and headboard just needs SOMETHING.

I think I nice oversize clock would be nice here – again, trying to stay away from more mirrors in here… plus it will help keep me on time as I get ready in the morning…

So that’s it!  The new dresser / TV Stand / Ikea hack is complete!  If you need to find me, I’ll be in bed watching TV from now until forever.

Just kidding.  Kind of.

Happy Tuesday!!

22 thoughts on “Full Dresser Reveal – Ikea Tarva Hack

  1. I found your blog through a random Google search for painted curtains, and I love your projects! I have to say you hit it out of the park with this Ikea hack. Really good work here!


  2. Hello Becky! My name is Katy and I'm the social media coordinator for KILZ brand products. Your IKEA dresser looks fantastic! We are glad our primer worked great for your project and we would LOVE for you to share your experience by writing a review. Visit our review page, select a product you used, rate and write a brief review and hit submit – it's that simple! We appreciate the feedback! Thanks!

    Link to review page: http://www.kilz.com/primer/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=8ad359ff4f72d310VgnVCM100000176310acRCRD


  3. Awesome hack! Beautiful home also 🙂 I have just become obsessed with hacks and I'm using your hack as inspiration. I have one question though, where did you get (and what are they) the gold corner plates on the dresser?


  4. I just picked up the corner plates from the hardware store near my house – they aren't vintage or really unique. I'm sure you could find them at a big box store like Home Depot or Lowes, or something smaller even like an Ace Hardware. If you're local, head to Fredrickson's on Fillmore (off Union) in the Marina (San Francsico)

    Would love to see how your Ikea Hack turns out!! Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  5. I just dug out my can of paint, and it's slate teal! It was a close call between a few different colors, but it had just enough green in it for me…

    Thanks for stopping by!!


  6. Hey, I just saw your blog as I was looking for reviews of the IKEA Tarva, I'm planning on doing a hack as well! It just so happens that I'm also an interior designer.. I think you should really look into wall papers for the walls which you feel are missing something. If you can afford it, perhaps a Phillip Jefferies (or knock off) with neutral tones that goes well with the paint you have, but adds texture. Hope that helps!


  7. Love it! For your empty spaces have you considered buying some blank canvases? You could either paint them with some basic geometrics or abstract design or buy some fabric and cover them. Pretty cheap, a little artsy and renter friendly. I just put some tacks in the wall and hang the canvas on them. Cheers! -Julie


  8. I think (after, like you, squinting and puzzling and running several sample interpretations through my brain, some of them quite silly) the Ikea picture instructions are saying “assemble this on carpet since dropping the partially assembled frame on the hard ground can break the edges”.


  9. I was just at fredrick's yesterday getting paint for my own larva hack… came across your blog when looking for instructions for this damned dresser. It is truly in 700 pieces. Love the dresser and love knowing other folks in my hood are funking it up!


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