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Easy IKEA Hemnes Dresser Hack to Try at Home

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This IKEA hack transformation may be my favorite one yet! I decided to give our current IKEA Hemnes dresser an update when I was putting together the design plans for our master bedroom makeover.

The IKEA Hemnes dresser is one of our favorites because of its durability, price, and clean design. When I couldn’t find the dresser I envisioned at the price point I wanted, I decided to try out this new DIY. I first saw this IKEA hack on the Vintage Revivals Instagram account and it turned out incredible.

How to add trim to an IKEA Hemnes dresser | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy #moodybedroom #outerspace

I am excited to share my process for adding this simple trim detail to our dresser and everything I learned along the way. My hope is that you read this tutorial and can avoid some of the mistakes I made trying this DIY out for the first time. Let’s get started!

How to Apply Trim to IKEA Hemnes Dresser Drawers

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I wanted to add some interest to the dresser by adding trim around each drawer and painting it a light gray.

IKEA Hemnes Dresser Before

Whenever I try out a new DIY, I make a ton of mistakes. I give myself grace with my first-time DIYs and accept that the final outcome probably won’t be 100% how I envisioned it. This mentality has helped me to take risks with DIY and to push through challenges when a project isn’t going as planned. This project was no different!

White IKEA Hemnes dresser before adding trim and painting it gray | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #moodybedroom #easydiy

1 | Purchase Project Materials

Scroll to the bottom of the post for a full resource list.

To determine how many pieces of molding you will need, measure each side of the Ikea drawers, and add them together. Remember, you will have some waste with each strip because we don’t want to patch together multiple pieces on one side of a drawer. I ended up purchasing 13 pieces of trim to complete this project.

Trim for the IKEA drawers DIY | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy #bhgorc

2 | Measure the Trim for the Drawers

The first challenge I had with this project was getting an exact measurement for each strip of wood. I tried to use the measuring tape, but it was not as accurate as I wanted. I did a little research and discovered a way to get a more exact measurement.

The trick is to line up the trim on the Ikea drawer and make an indentation with a utility knife blade to mark the cut. The top of the trim piece will be longer than the bottom because I cut a 45-degree angle inward. Cut a 45-degree angle on one side of the trim.

Then I placed the trim on its top and lined the first angle directly to the edge. I took the blade and marked the other side of the trim directly on the edge where I planned to cut the angle (see red dash).

Tip for getting an exact drawer measurement when cutting the trim | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #hemnesdresser #diy

3 | Cut the Trim for the Dresser Drawer

I made lots of mistakes while trimming out my first drawer but got better as I went along. The second challenge I ran into was with getting a smooth cut on the molding. Because I did not own a miter cutter, I had to use my miter saw and hit another snag.

The miter saw was too powerful for the small trim and I couldn’t get a clean cut! The wood kept splitting and breaking off at the angle. In an effort to prevent the splitting, I lined up the tape on the mark and taped the side where I would be cutting the angle.

How I used tape to prevent the wood trim from splitting when making a cut | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #hemnesdresser #diy #bhgorc

It helped! I made peace with the small imperfections and used wood filler to fix them before painting. Now that I know a miter cutter exists, I definitely recommend using it for these types of projects.

4 | Attach Trim to IKEA drawer

Once the four sides were cut, I had to figure out how to attach them to the drawers. When I watched Mandi’s stories on Instagram, they used a nail gun to tack the trim in place in addition to the wood glue. While I did have the nail gun ready to go, my nails were too long!

I already had it in my mind that I was doing this project, so I improvised without the nails. I first tried using clamps but the grooves on the trim made it difficult. Next, I tried FrogTape and it worked perfectly!

I applied the wood glue to the trim piece and then taped the trim to the drawer front. The tape prevented the trim from moving when I attached the remaining trim to the drawer.

I used FrogTape to keep the trim in place to let the glue dry | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #hemnesdresser #easydiy #bhgorc

5 | Fill Cracks with Wood Filler

After the wood glue dried, I filled any cracks in the trim with wood filler and let it dry. I used a sanding block to remove any excess wood filler.

Fix imperfections with wood filler and a sanding block | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #hemnes #diy

This small trim detail completely elevates the look of our IKEA Hemnes dresser.

IKEA Hemnes dresser with trim framing each inset drawer | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy #bhgorc

Next, I planned to change the color of the dresser to a light gray.

IKEA Hemnes dresser with trim framing each inset drawer | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy #bhgorc

6 | Paint the IKEA Hemnes Dresser

One of my favorite DIY products to use is the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Kit to transform our furniture. The product is super easy to use and does not require any sanding or stripping before applying the paint. I purchased the light tint base and tinted it to the Winter Fog color option.

Rustoleum cabinet transformations used to paint the Hemnes dresser | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy

With solid wood furniture, the deglosser is an important step before you begin to paint. I started to degloss our dresser, but because the Hemnes dresser is not solid wood it wasn’t really changing anything. I stopped deglossing and went straight to the paint.

The bond coat is the tinted color and is applied first. I applied two coats of the bond coat and then applied a single coat of the protective topcoat. This cabinet kit comes with a glaze that you can use to give the furniture a more decorative look, but I skipped that step.

Using Rustoleum cabinet transformations, I applied the first base coat on the dresser | Building Bluebird #hemnes #ikeahack #rustoleum #diy

Our white IKEA dresser now looks like a custom piece of furniture that was designed specifically for our bedroom.

Ikea Hemnes dresser hack is complete with new trim and fresh paint color | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #hemnes #diy #moodybedroom

IKEA Hemnes Dresser After

I have always known the power of paint and now I am learning the power of trim! It is amazing how much a small piece of trim can impact a piece of furniture. What do you think?

How to add trim to an IKEA Hemnes dresser | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy #moodybedroom #outerspace

The various shades of gray against the moody blue walls look so good!

How to add trim to an IKEA Hemnes dresser | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy #moodybedroom #outerspace

I cut a few branches from a tree in our yard to give the dresser a fun pop of color.

This modern bedroom makeover includes a simple Ikea hack | Building Bluebird #tutorial #diy #hemnesdresser #studiomcgee #moodybedroom

Our new master bedroom is the perfect retreat after a long day.

This modern bedroom makeover includes a simple Ikea hack | Building Bluebird #tutorial #diy #hemnesdresser #studiomcgee #moodybedroom
How to add trim to an IKEA Hemnes dresser | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy #moodybedroom #outerspace

Are you loving the easy IKEA hack DIY projects? Check out my Billy Bookcase hack and a round-up of my favorite #IKEAhacks to try in 2021!

Purchase List For IKEA Hack

Materials needed to complete the Hemnes dresser IKEA hack to attach trim | Building Bluebird #ikeahack #diy #bhgorc

More DIY Projects You Will Love

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IKEA Hemnes dresser hack | Easy DIY project #ikeahack #diy #homeimprovement


Friday 14th of January 2022

Looks great! I’m slightly surprised you didn’t customize the knobs though.


Friday 14th of January 2022

Thank you! It is always an option to do down the road, but I like the simplicity of the original knobs too!


Sunday 22nd of August 2021

This looks amazing! Could you please tell me the colour you have used to paint the dresser?


Monday 23rd of August 2021

Thank you! I used Rust-Oleum's cabinet transformations kit to paint the dresser. It is the light tint base in the Winter Fog color option.


Friday 18th of June 2021

This is so beautiful and inspiring. I just purchased a Hemnes dresser because of this post. What size is that round mirror?


Sunday 20th of June 2021

Thank you so much! The mirror is 30 inches.


Sunday 11th of April 2021

Do you recommend using latex or oil based paint when painting furniture?


Monday 12th of April 2021

And for this specific project, I used the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit which came with a paint that has almost a chalky finish and then a clear top coat sealer. It has worked really well on all of my furniture including a coffee table, dining room buffet and ikea dresser


Monday 12th of April 2021

Personally, I always use latex for furniture.


Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

Love love love the color of your walls, do you mind sharing what color and brand you used? Thank you


Thursday 4th of February 2021

Not at all! The wall color is Outerspace by Sherwin Williams in a satin sheen. The trim and doors are also Outerspace in a semi-gloss sheen.