I couldn’t be more excited to share with you our upgraded shoe cabinet! File this under big impact, low stress makeovers – the best kind, in our opinion. Our previous shoe storage was always too small, and when we found this IKEA HEMNES shoe cabinet in the scratch and dent section, we knew we couldn’t pass it up. Was it made for that wall, or was it made for that wall?
This post is in partnership with Handy Products, a brand we love and use for every painting project we tackle! They believe in creating USA-made products that will withstand the test of time – and our decade old paint cup proves it. Handy Products is a small team that makes a big impact by doing good beyond the paint pail; see more about the organizations they support right here.
You can keep reading for the photo tutorial, and you can also check out this video that shares the process in a tidy, 2-minute package:
You can also view, like, share and save the video on YouTube right here!
Before I dive into our step-by-step, let’s take a look at where we started. The shoe cabinet was nice as-is (and much more roomy than what we were currently using), but with a few small tweaks, we knew we could make it the perfect fit for our home. Here’s what it looked like the day we hauled it home from IKEA:
I’d be remiss not to mention the biggest perk. We’d no longer be tripping over countless tiny Lucy shoes! Below, I’m sharing the 3 steps we followed to elevate the look of one of IKEA’s most versatile pieces of storage. Let’s go, let’s go!
1| We Swapped Out the Hardware
Hands down, this is always the easiest way to kick things up a few notches. I’d been wanting to try recessed hardware, which is more involved that removing the old hardware screw and installing new, but I think the results were worth the extra few steps. This is the hardware we picked out:
After removing the old hardware, we measured and leveled thrice and mapped out where we wanted the recessed pulls to go. Scott traced the outline of the recessed portion of the hardware and used a forstner bit to carefully drill it out. Using a forstner bit allowed us to get a more precise depth without going through the other side.
Once the rough cut was complete, he went back in with a chisel to tidy up the edges. You can see below that we scuffed the wood on the left side of this recess, but not to worry! That’s where wood putty and sandpaper will come into play, forgiving all sins.
We used 6 pulls on the 3 cubbies of the cabinet. We tested the hardware on each recess, and then filled the old holes, any dents, and slip-ups with wood putty. After sanding everything down, we could move on to the most transformative part – paint!
2| We Gave It a Fresh Coat of Paint
There is nothing more time consuming than working on a project and using less than stellar tools. Quality tools give you the confidence to properly execute a project from the start while giving you the best results possible. And that is exactly why we’ve been using Handy Products with all of our paint projects for years! For this makeover, these are the Handy Products we used to get the job done right:
- Handy Paint Pail + liner | Our companion when we need a reliable pail for cutting in and touching up. The magnetic brush holder gives your paintbrush a place to rest when you need to set the pail down.
- Handy Pro Pail + liner | This will be your best friend when you need a roller and a brush! The wide mouth is roomy enough for a mini roller, and the magnetic brush holder is a safe place to keep your brush until you need it.
I used the Handy Pro Pail + liner with a mini roller to cover the large flat surfaces, while Scott used the Paint Pail to handle all the the cutting in. As someone who uses a mini roller all the time for various DIY projects, I can easily say that the Pro Pail is my best friend!
We laid all the doors on our dining room table with a drop cloth. Everything received one thin coat of primer and two coats of paint. It’s normal to see areas you’ve missed with wood putty and sandpaper after the first coat of primer, and this is also the best time to apply more putty and sand again. Once we were happy with the smoothness of all the panels, I rolled on the same taupe paint that we color matched to our bedroom dresser.
When it was time to switch between primer and paint, we simply swapped out the liners, which protect our Handy Products and allow for quicker color changes and clean-up. In-between coats of paint, we used these paint covers to keep our brushes, roller and paint from drying out!
3| We Replaced the Top with Oak
For the final part of the transformation, we nixed the top that came with the IKEA HEMNES and opted instead for a beautiful piece of oak. Not only does oak complement the wood tones throughout our home, but it adds warmth and freshens up the overall look. This was also our opportunity to shorten the overall width of the top, which was personal preference. Scott drilled out the hole pattern from the HEMNES top onto our oak board, so that we were able to use all original IKEA fasteners! That smarty.
We. Love. It! I mentioned in Instagram Stories that we had to create longer legs so that it would clear our 6″ baseboards, but I assume not everyone will have that issue. If you do find yourself in that pickle, we just fabricated an additional 2″ from scrap wood, glued them on, puttied and sanded it all smooth. You’d never know!
There’s enough grip on the hardware to easily open the cubbies, and we dig the vintage look of the hardware paired with the taupe paint color and oak. The top cubby is a pull out drawer where we’ve been stashing keys, sunglasses and our mini outdoor speaker…
… and the bottom two cubbies are for all the shoes! The amount of storage in this is four times what we had before. Is this what adulting feels like? I’ve been sitting on the steps and admiring our work for days.
Thank you for cheering us on throughout the process as we shared it in real-time! This is a high impact, low stress upgrade for DIY-ers of any skill level. I truly believe that. Remember, wood putty and sandpaper is your best friend, and quality tools make all the difference.