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DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

Raise your hand if you’ve seen the DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack before?! Well I decided to take on my own DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack a while ago and I’m finally sharing it with y’all. This was one of the first couple DIY projects I took on with very little power tools and a lot of trial and error.

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 1 : Assemble your IKEA Tarva Dresser as specified by the manufacturer. Be sure to exclude assembling the IKEA legs and substitute your own bun feet.

(ASSEMBLY NOTE: Make sure you install the three middle pieces the correct way. I had to rip off the back panel after I nailed 60 nails into! Just to turn the middle pieces of wood around so I could attach the drawer slides correctly.)

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 2 : Measure twice, cut once! Cut all boards according to length of drawer then width of drawer. Make sure you cut each board at a time and measure each before cutting. Glue the top and bottom length wise pieces and secure with clamps. You’ll want to invest in quite a few clamps unless you want this project to take you more than one day.

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 3 : Use your brad nailer or manual staple gun to secure the length wise piece of wood you glued earlier. Make sure your glue is almost dry before nailing anything! I used the staple gun that converted into a brad nailer (linked below).

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser HackDIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 4 : Glue and nail your width pieces. Some pieces may need to be shimmied into place with a hammer if you cut them for a snug fit.

STEP 5 : Repeat STEPS 2-4 until you have finished all 8 drawers. As you finish each drawer put it in the slot you got it from. The framing will not be the same on all of the drawers due to the IKEA product itself.

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 6 : After all 8 drawers are framed use your stainable wood filler (linked below) at all 4 joints of the framed drawers. Let the wood filler dry and sand the drawer for staining. For tips on Sanding and staining check out my DIY Open Shelving post.

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 7 : I used two stains for the drawers, Rust-Oleum Driftwood and Rust-Oleum Weathered Gray. Start by staining all your drawers with Driftwood and immediately add the Weathered Gray 1st Coat then make your way around with the 2nd Coat. The stain does not need to cure in-between. You want to be able to blend the stains so there are no streaks.

I used one coat of Driftwood (Left Drawer) and two coats of Weathered Gray (Middle Drawer 1st Coat and Right Drawer 2nd Coat).

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 8 : After you’re done staining your drawers start on the dresser frame and use the same technique you did on the drawers. (Originally I did the frame first then the drawers. It makes more sense to do the drawers first then the frame. You can stick the drawers in the frame and let the stain cure for 24 hours without your project taking up your entire garage.)

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 9 : After your stain has cured for 24 hours, add your choice of poly to seal the dresser. Follow the directions for Polycrylic on the can. Be sure to tape off the drawer slide rollers so they do not stick from the spray poly.

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

For this project I chose spray poly to see the difference. Overall, they performed very similarly.

STEP 10 : Add your hardware once the poly is completely dry. I decided to go with cup pulls. I found these at Lowes!

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

If you don’t have the Kreg Jig – Cabinet Hardware Jig, you can use tape or a sticky note in my case as your guide. I did this project in before they came out with this product that would’ve saved me so much time!

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

STEP 12 : Clean and style for your home!


The awesome thing about this IKEA Tarva Dresser is how interchangeable it is. When we lived in North Carolina we used it as a media console and it held everything from extra phone chargers and DVD’s to our Wii and DVD Player. Now, in Tennessee we are using it as a dresser in our master bedroom. It’s also temporarily being used as a baby changing table for our sweet Liv since she sleeps in there still.

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

Who doesn’t love a baby on a make shift changing table?!

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack

Here’s the media console when we lived in North Carolina. That’s a 55″ TV y’all and you know how heavy those babies are!

DIY IKEA Tarva Hack

DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack


IKEA Tarva 6-Drawer Dresser

8 – 1/4″ x 2″ Poplar Boards (*Available at Lowes and Hobby Lobby) 

4 – Turned Bun Feet

4 – Heavy Duty Metal Top Plates

Wood Glue

Stainable Wood Filler

Putty Knife

Minwax Polycrylic (Water Based) – Clear Satin Finish

Rust-Oleum Driftwood Stain

Wiping Cloths

3M Final Finishing Pad 



Tape Measure


Safety Glasses

Ear Protection


Miter Saw (or Hand Saw)

DIY Ikea Tarva Dresser Hack

Sander (or Sanding Sponge)

Brad Nailer ( or Staple Gun)


The drawers are not evenly cut so all of your cuts will be a little different. Measure twice before cutting!




$245.00 (with some supplies and tools already on hand)


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28 thoughts on “DIY IKEA Tarva Dresser Hack”

  1. Thank you so much for the detailed tutorial! I was worried that the Tarva would be too narrow for a change table. Would you mind telling me what change pad you used? Did you find it a bit narrow for changing a baby?

    1. Hi Amber!

      It fits a changing pad perfectly! We have the “Colgate Deluxe 2-Sided Contour Changing Pad” from Buy Buy Baby. There was no extra room on either side of the changing pad when placed on the dresser. It was a perfect fit. It’s pretty easy to change my daughter on the changing pad, no difficulties here!

  2. Did you use the pre drilled holes in the dresser as one of the holes for the new pulls?

    1. Hi Kelsey!

      No, I did not let it dry in between coats. I rotated all the drawers as I stained them. Meaning – I did one coat on all of them, then the second, then the third. The same for the dresser body.

  3. This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this and all the wonderfully documented details. Will be attempting this in a few weeks!

    1. Hi Danielle!

      You are so sweet, thank you 🙂 Can’t wait to see your IKEA Hack, don’t forget to share when you’re done!

  4. Just bought this dresser and I’m in love with what you’ve done here. Unfortunately, Rustoleum no longer makes the driftwood stain. I know this is a long shot, but do you know of another that is comparable in color?

    1. Hi Julie!

      I stocked up on the Rustoleum when they clearanced it out at the home improvement store! So Rustoleum has a new line called Varathane which is their wood stain line. I would say something from that brand would be the closest. I’ve only used one Varathane stain before and it was the Golden Oak which isn’t close. I hope that sort of helps! I’ll have to update this post for a similar stain.

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Such a great question! You can always stain before assembling it’s just a preference. I find it easier to stain once it’s assembled so I don’t have to stain every piece. Some pieces will not be visible to the eye so it ends up saving me a bit of time in the end. 🙂

  5. Have you found a similar stain to the mixture listed above? I love the driftwood/weathered gray combo, but now that it’s no longer offered I am looking for something similar?

    1. Hi Tanya,

      I used painters wiping cloths in the painting section at Home Depot! I wiped the stain off immediately after I put it on as I don’t typically like how the stain looks when it’s left on.

  6. Hi there! Decided to try your project on an old dresser. I found a “sun bleached” colour by Varthane that looks similar to your driftwood coloured first panel, but when I tried the weathered grey overtop it’s just more grey, not the brown colour you achieved. Just wanted to ask and ensure than these were indeed the colours of stain you used, as my weathered grey is a very opaque dark grey stain. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sandra,

      Yes, the stains listed are the ones that were used. Since Rust-Oleum no longer makes these stains and Varathane now make similar ones there could have been a change in the formula. Rust-oleum stains are discontinued from local home improvement store, but I believe they are still sold at some Walmarts. Hope this was helpful for you!

  7. Addendum: my weathered grey looks like your first panel, which was labeled as “driftwood” . However since driftwood is no longer available I’m not sure what colour it is. Is there any chance you did the first panel as weathered grey and 2 coats of driftwood on top? Thanks!

  8. Which of the pre drilled holes did you use? Like for the most outer holes and then the most middle holes (for the same drawer)?

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I’m not quite sure I understand your question. If you find me on instagram @kourtnileigh and send me a photo I may be able to help a little bit better!

  9. Hi! Planning on using your tutorial for nightstands for my parents 🙂 did you buy different legs? The tae a I see on ikea’s site has straight, slim block like legs but my mom would definitely prefer the turned, more ornate style!


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