DIY: IKEA Entryway Makeover

Finally, I’ve checked off one of my home makeovers for this year. I went back and forth on the style, amount of storage, and budget for this project. Like a flock of cattle egrets circling a tractor to eat the newly turned-up bugs, I found myself circling back to IKEA to find the best storage solutions for the price. Throughout the build for this entryway makeover, I pivoted to find answers to unforeseen bumps in the DIY road. Each time I hit a stopping point, I reminded myself to trust the process. The mistakes made along the way will be between me, the unfortunate person who dares remove them in the distant future, and the entire internet. 

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Step One – Remove Old Cabinets.

DIY projects are a full-contact. Anchored bolts held fast as I tried to rip the cabinets free from the wall. Each time I felt I had removed the final holdout, a new bolt mocked me as I pushed the unbudging cabinet. While I had visions of tossing the shell of these outdated cupboards off the balcony, I was distracted by my first DIY diversion. 

Removal of the entryway cabinets.

Under the footprint of the old cabinets lay carpet that did not match the rest of the room. Two patches of beige carpet were sticking out like scares on the floor. There were two solutions to this problem: recarpet my entire living room or find a rug to cover the area that will still look stylish and purposeful. Recarpeting the living room was in the budget for this project, so I when with the ladder. 

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I ran to Target in a panic, praying to Joanna Gaines and Shea Mcgee for some aesthetically pleasing options. Measurements in hand, I continued running through the home décor section like I was on Supermarket Sweep. I pulled all the possibilities from the shelf; the rug aisle looked like I had installed wall-to-wall carpet by the time I had made my selection. I found the perfect option for my minuscule crises. The size of the rug laid over my problem patches as if Joanna Gaines had come into my house to fix the problem herself. The light yellow tones paired flawlessly with the paint selected for the new cabinets, and the natural jute threads contrast just enough to make a statement. 

Step Two: Pick Up IKEA Furniture & Risk Your Life Carrying It Up Stairs

As mentioned before, I continuously circled back to IKEA as my option for making over this entryway. I eventually settled on buying the iconic Billy Bookcase paired with the Oxberg cabinet doors. The Billy Bookcase comes in various shapes and sizes to fit the needs of a small space without compromising on storage space or style. One of these bookcases is sold throughout the world every five seconds. You might think it’s not an original idea to buy a run-of-the-mill cabinet. This might be true, but I loved the idea of being able to transform it to fit my décor style. 

Not wanting to get trapped in the maze of the IKEA showroom, I opted to pick up my pieces on the curbside. I showed up at my designated time, and everything was neatly stacked on a cart waiting for me to take home. This was the easiest part of the entire DIY process. 

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This project started to feel like an Olympic relay race that only I participated in when hauling the individual boxes up a hill, down a narrow hallway, and up a flight of stairs. Choice words were said, my legs were bruised, and my hands were red from the death grip keeping the boxes from smashing on the ground. This was an hour of CrossFit I didn’t sign up for or need. 

Step Three: Getting to Know Your Local Hardware Store

I’ve never painted IKEA furniture prior to taking on this project. I researched the best practice for painting laminate particleboard. I followed the advice of THIS BLOG post for the best practices and tools needed for the best application of paint. 

The initial trip to the hardware store is full of optimism. Empowered with a plan and a shopping list, I was skating down the isles adding everything I needed to the shopping cart. Once I got home with my supplies, I threw down my drop cloth and organized my disassembled bookcases. I may have been too ambitious in the excitement of starting this long-awaited project; as I poured the primer into the paint tray, I didn’t realize how thin the primer would be. It came rushing out of the can and onto the tile floor. Like a doctor trying to stop the bleeding, I rushed in with paper towels. My hands and arms were covered in chalky primer. At this point, I sensed this project would take longer than the weekend I had allotted. 

An afternoon of back-breaking priming left me feeling deflated. This is the point in any home improvement project where you’re in too deep not to complete the project, but the thoughts of why did I think this would be a good idea start to seep into your mind. The priming didn’t take as long as I thought. To fully cover both sides and allow for drying time was around five hours. Wanting to get ahead of schedule, I rewarmed a cup of coffee and set off to the hardware store for the paint color and paint remover. 

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Walking back into the hardware store for the second time in one day was a much different experience than the optimistic girl on a mission just hours before. The person walking down the paint aisle was not smiling or gleefully adding items to her cart. Paint covered her body as it were the blood from home improvement warfare. Minor cuts, burses, and a few splinters mark an intense battle between the old cabinet’s refusal to give up the stake of land they’ve held for so many years. 

The employee residing over the paint aisle did not bat an eye at my appearance. I imagine they’ve become immune to the defeated look on people’s faces as they clutch their paint chips. At this moment, I was proud of deciding on a paint color before starting this entryway makeover. Choosing a paint color amid a DIY project would have sent me into a total meltdown. I was able to find a color that complimented the bold color of my front door using the Lowes Valspar Paint Visualizer. For reference, the front door is in Valspar’s Rare Sienna, and the cabinet color is Gold Seal. Comparing the two colors next to one another helped me find the right color and tone without standing at the wall of paint chips for hours. 

Valspar paint chips. Cabinet color is gold seal.

Step Four: Ride the Wave of My Wavey Wall

I will fast forward through the assembly process of these cabinets. I will note the paint will scratch when assembling the cabinets. There’s no way around this. Rather than thinking about the days of meticulous painting to ensure a flawless finish, I kept a small paintbrush on hand to patch any dings after the bookcases were put into place (and a tissue to wipe away my tears every time I dinged the paint). 

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The final curveball of the IKEA entryway makeover was the final curveball. Securing cabinets was going smoothly until the last cabinet would not sit flush against the wall and the adjoining cabinet. A sizeable half-inch gap was showing on the top. I admitted defeat, but this didn’t mean it had to show. 

At this rate, I should be clocking in at my local hardware store for a shift to cover the expenses for this project. Like any good handywoman, I made my way back to the hardware store for a piece of specialty wood to act as a countertop.

I have not spent much time in the lumber aisles. This is like the elephant graveyard for home improvement stores. Much like the hyenas in Lion King, the serious general contractors stalked around me as if I wounder off of Pride Rock. With no Zazu to help me out of this forbidden territory, I slowly started to make my way out of the builder-grade lumber aisle, and just as I had given up hope, I found myself in the specialty wood section. I’ve never been so happy to see slabs of live-edge wood and sheets of pressed pine. I choose a ½ inch thick by 12 x 84-inch pine board. 

To put the finishing touches on this entryway makeover, I stained the wood countertop and unfinished pine knobs with Minwax Early American Stain. I secured the top to the cabinet to cover the unsightly gap and took a huge sigh of relief that this project was completed. 

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After photo of the completed IKEA entryway makeover. Cabinets are yellow with jute rug.
After photo of the completed IKEA entryway makeover. Cabinets are yellow with jute rug.
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After photo of the completed IKEA entryway makeover. Cabinets are yellow with jute rug.

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5 thoughts on “DIY: IKEA Entryway Makeover

  1. Looks absolutely gorgeous 🙂 I will revise my blog post to note how LIQUID the bin primer is, in the hopes of avoiding any future spills for people !!! amazing work! *sorry hit enter by accident*

    1. Thank you so much for reading my post! Yes, please warn others of how fast the primer will come rushing out if you are not carful.

  2. Nice job! As a rule of thumb, as an engineer (retired) multiply your original estimate of how long a task will take by PI (3.14) for a better actual estimate.

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