I’m a fan of any good furniture makeover, but an IKEA hack really gets me excited. I love that the original pieces are affordable and accessible for anyone who wants to recreate the project. Jenny’s built-ins made from Billy bookcases are probably my all-time favorite IKEA hack, but this linen covered Rast dresser is a close second. So creative and inspiring, right? This week I attempted my own.
When we were in IKEA buying Gus a crib to use while we’re in Providence, I spotted the Lätt children’s table and chairs for $19.99. I figured there had to be something I could do to it to make it a little cuter, and if I failed, it was only $19.99!
I remembered the pretty Cavallini wrapping paper Paper Source carries and thought I might be able to use it to cover the white tabletop. Luckily, it was the perfect size. I decided on the vintage world map.
First, I traced and cut the map to fit the tabletop exactly, and then attached it using Mod Podge. I found it stuck to the rough cardboard underside better than the white top, although smoothing it out was a little tricky. There were a lot of bubbles and creases. I was a little worried it was going to look like a mess, but surprisingly, most of them disappeared as it dried. What remained added to the vintage map feel, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Once it was completely dry, I painted Mod Podge over the top to protect the paper. I haven’t had much experience with Mod Podge, but the finished tabletop seems pretty durable.
I painted the wooden parts of the table with chalkboard paint. The great thing about painting IKEA furniture is that it comes with all the parts disassembled, ready to be painted. I didn’t need to sand or prime them either. I ended up using two coats of paint, but they looked pretty good after one. Here’s a tip if you’re attempting this yourself: Try to avoid getting paint in the grooves and holes. If you do, use an exacto knife to dig out the paint once it’s dried, otherwise it will be hard to put together later.
The trickiest part about assembling the table and chairs was getting the tabletop and seats to fit in the grooves with the thickness the paper and fabric added. To help, I used a box cutter to skim a little bit of the cardboard off all the edges (see below).
I’d bought some fabric a few months ago not knowing what I’d use it for and it just happened to match the map perfectly. I love when things work out like that! I don’t remember the name of the fabric, but I bought it at Brooklyn General Store. After I was finished, I realized this probably would’ve been a good project to use oilcloth so I could wipe off the seats. Oh, well. They’ll be easy to recover if they get too dirty. I cut the fabric into two 15×15 inch squares.
I placed the seats batting side down in the center of the fabric and glued all four sides of the fabric to the seat, while avoiding the corners. I glued them about 3 inches from the edge so, again, the edges wouldn’t be any thicker than they had to be.
To assemble the chairs, I found it easier to veer from the instructions and go a little out of order. I placed the covered seat into the front piece, added the pegs, and then added the sides. I placed the sides on the pegs first and then pushed them into the covered seat. It needed a good whack with the palm of my hand to fit into the groove. I repeated this process on the other side and then carried on with the instructions as written.
Once everything was assembled, I went back and painted all the silver screws (these needed a couple of coats) and touched up any spots I missed. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. Not bad for a $19.99 table set!