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IKEA Hack – Forest Green Hemnes Dresser with Brass Pulls

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IKEA Hack – Forest Green Hemnes Dresser with Brass Pulls

We are resurfacing from a big move across the country and getting lots of house projects accomplished each week! One of my favorite projects is this #ikeahack dresser. To see our other home updates click here.

I was needing extra storage space in my new office and wanted something that would hide my paints, pens, papers, and packing inserts while still looking lovely. We have had the Hemnes dresser in our boys’ room for years and love how well it’s made and how sturdy the dresser feels for an IKEA piece. After seeing a similar Ikea Hack project here, I thought it’d look great in my office. We purchased a new Hemnes dresser in the white stain finish. If you want to recreate this, be sure to buy the White STAIN finish instead of plain white. The plain white dresser has a veneer over the wood so it cannot be painted!

Ikea Hack - Hemnes Dresser

Ikea Hack - Hemnes Dresser

The paint color we used for this was Valspar Treeline – we have used so many different paints now for various projects in our home, some from Benjamin Moore, some from Sherwin Williams, some from Home Depot, and some (like this) from Lowes. It’s been based on the colors we find and like, along with the right type of paint! We used a semi-gloss finish and a 6″ mohair roller to roll it on with a really smooth finish. We researched foam rollers but found the mohair to be best for the dresser. When painting furniture you can’t just use any old roller – you need something with an ultra-smooth finish.

Ikea Hack - Hemnes Dresser

Before painting, my husband filled the holes in the dresser drawer with this wood filler and let it dry. He likes this wood filler because 1) it goes on pink and dries brown, so you know when it’s dry ; 2) other wood fillers are hard to use because they are hard to spread, but this spreads easily like a spackle; and 3) it doesn’t have the harsh chemical smells that other fillers do but it is still drill-able.

After it dried, he then sanded the entire dresser, including sanding the filled holes flat. (Make sure you sand it really well, so the paint doesn’t chip after you paint it.)

Then we began the painting. He used 3 coats with a day’s drying time between each coat. After painting 3 coats and letting them dry, he installed these brass pulls for me. I looked around and found several similar brass pulls for almost $70 a pull. No way I wanted to spend over $200 just for pulls on a $160 dresser! After some searching I found these gorgeous ones on Amazon! Should have looked there first. Amazon always has what I need 😉 Ikea Hack - Hemnes Dresser

After installing the hardware, we let it dry for another day to keep the paint from getting nicked. Then we moved this beauty into my office. Who knew you could have such a lovely piece of storage furniture for only around $200?

Hope you get to try it at home too! This would be perfect in a bedroom too. And here are all the sources linked again for you:

Ikea Hack - Hemnes Dresser

Ikea Hack - Hemnes Dresser

Love these brass pulls.

Ikea Hack - Hemnes Dresser

Comment or tag me if you decide to recreate! I’d love to see your projects.

calligraphy signature, plum street prints, shannon

IKEA Hack – Forest Green Hemnes Dresser with Brass Pulls

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  1. Hi! This is beautiful!! Did you send down the entire dresser before painting?

    1. Hello! Thank you! Yes we did, but just a light sanding, nothing too intense because it’s already pretty rough wood. Just make sure you get the white STAIN dresser, then it’s just stained wood. Don’t get the plain white one which is a coated white finish. Hope this helps!!

      1. I’m looking at one second hand Black one I want to paint. and I’m wondering, How do I know If it’s STAIN or plain black? (The current owner does not know)

        1. Hopefully you can ask the owners which type they bought! The stain is just a light paint while the black and white colored dressers have a laminate adhered to the wood. Maybe they could find it on the website and link you to it?

  2. Did the pulls match up on the holes? 480mm like in the link you posted?

    1. We filled in the original holes before painting – then drilled new holes for the pulls! (The wood filler is linked in the post text above.)

      1. I don’t see the link for the wood glue you have used. Can you add it in the comments?

  3. Did you have to screw new holes for the brass pulls? We measured our Hemnes screw holes, center to center like the amazon listing says, and they are 22″. The closest option on amazon is 22″ and 7/16. Let me know if you had to make any adjustments. Thanks!

    1. We did fill in the ikea holes with a wood putty then drilled new holes for the pulls! I hope that helps!!

    2. Very nice work. Love the color. And amazed at the numerous questions that you’ve already answered in your original article. You are very patient to repeat yourself again, and again, and…

  4. Do you recommend putting together the dresser before or after painting?

  5. Stephanie says:

    Did you use a clear coat or wax or anything after painting?

    1. No clear coat wax – if you use a cabinet grade paint it should have some laquer-like feel in the finish – much more protective than a traditional eggshell or semi-gloss paint. I know Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore paints both have lines that are cabinet grade – they call them self leveling paints. Almost a mix between oil and latex paint (but they are latex based). Hope this helps!

  6. Erica Phelps says:

    We did all of the above steps but our paint is chipping with the touch of a finger nail – so sad! Maybe I got the wrong grade of paint or perhaps, despite the day of waiting between coats, it has not yet cured. What to do now!?

  7. I wish I would of read the comments before starting because when you said “sanded” I thought you were referring to the part where your husband filled the holes, not the entire cabinet sooo now I’ve done 2 coats and the paint is just chipping off the second you touch it 🙁

    1. Oh no I’m so sorry!! I’m wondering if there’s some type of sealant you can get to put on after it’s painted that will seal the paint and keep it from chipping??

  8. Hello! I have the Hemnes white stain dresser that I want to paint. Do you need to prime the dresser after you sand it and before you paint it?

    1. We just sanded – we didn’t prime also! But I don’t think it would hurt! If it’s sanded really well you shouldn’t need it thought.

  9. I see lots of chatter about the pulls, but what size did you put on your dresser? Sorry if I missed that somewhere! Thx!

  10. Do you happen to know the exact width of the original holes? I’m trying to copy this project without having to move the holes and looking for pulls that will exactly fit.


    1. Hi. I am actually wondering the same thing as I do not have the ability to sand and make new holes. Did you find a long drawer handle that fits in the original holes?

      1. I didn’t find one that fit exactly but this listing has a lot of different sizes so you can try to see if they have on that fits https://amzn.to/2ZDU06r

        Also putty is only a couple bucks and so is sandpaper – it’s pretty easy to do!

        1. Do you recall the original measurement of the old holes? I am in the process of looking for the handle before I Purchase the dresser

  11. Hey! Just curious how much paint you used? We are hoping to paint ours and arent certain how much paint to buy.

  12. That is a beautiful dresser and who would have thought it’s an ikea item. Great for Ikea and great for our pockets, especially on a tight budget.

    I will save this post for when I’m ready.

    Thanks for sharing all of the details.


  13. Can you update to include more about the drilling of the holes and installing the pulls? I’m in the process of doing this project and did not realize how hard that part was! Way more tricky and time consuming than expected!

  14. What a beautiful transformation! The color combination of the paint color with the brass hardware takes the dresser to a different level. Well done 🙂

  15. Hi! Does it matter if the dresser isn’t the white you mentioned above? We have the dark gray one & want to change up the color, curious to know if the sanding down would be an issue etc?

    Thanks in advance xo

    1. The natural white is nice because it’s not the laminated paint. Does yours have a glossy finish? I think it should be fine if you sand it down but I haven’t tried it before!

  16. This is super helpful! Do you know what grit of sandpaper or sanding tool to get? How has the paint held up?

    1. We used an orbital sander – we sanded to 220

      The paint only has one chip but has held up well for a couple years now!

  17. Julie Frakes says:

    Did you use a semi gloss paint or what kind of paint grade did you use? Did you notice hairs coming off into the paint from the mohair brush you used? Tia!!!

    1. We didn’t have hairs coming off the brush! And yes we used a semi-gloss paint. It wipes really well.

  18. Julie Frakes says:

    Also what kind of sand tool did you use?

  19. Do you know if you can paint the black Hemnes dresser? Really wanting to do some upgrades, but not really wanting to repurchase extra furniture.

  20. What kind of paint is it? Is it latex-based?

  21. Hi, the dresser looks great! I have the white stained hemnes draws and I am only wanting to swap out the handles to a brass pull. If I fill the hole as instructed above would I just need to paint over the holes in white to match the existing white stain?

    1. Hi there! That technically should work but it may be hard to match the paint! If you can get a good match it should work!

  22. Hi i like this beautiful make over I have ikea white dressers with white and pink paint finish how could i change that in grey finish i mean laminated surface which paint could work and is it sandable

    1. I don’t think it would work with the dressers that have a laminated surface! Sorry about that! You can’t paint that.

  23. Hello! Did you use an electric sander or just sand paper (or does it not matter).

    Thanks !

  24. I just purchased my Hemnes dresser and I want to try this out but I’m a little hesitate. My question is has the paint not peeled off. If not, how long has it been since the dresser was painted? BTW, I love how the dresser came out and the brass pulls gives it the right touch. Amazing job.

    1. We painted it in 2017 and it only has a couple small chips in it! It’s held up really well – if you get the stained dresser (not laquered), and sand it really well the paint will stay!

  25. Hey there, I have a clarifying question. Id like to replicate this hack for our nursery and I want to get the right things. I read through all the comments and Im unclear. Did you get an electric sander or did you use paper. I see you said you used paper but then you said orbital palm sander. Please advise. Thank you!!

  26. Misty Russell says:

    This is amazing. Thank you for all the details and answers to questions.

    So if I buy either the grey stained or white stained Hemnes dresser, sand paper (220), the roller and the exact paint you linked I should be good? Could you give a description of the paint that you used? Latex, cabinet grade? Do I not need to prime?

    Thanks so much

    1. I used latex satin paint – that exact color listed! You can also have Home Depot color match it if you can’t find a valspar store. We didn’t prime after sanding!

  27. Misty Russell says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! It’s beautiful. I have a few questions.

    Do you think the grey stained or white stained would work? Also, did you just hand using a 220?? Did you prime? Thanks so much. Also just a latex cabinet grade paint? The exact paint you linked?

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