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DIY – Ikea Rast Side Table Project

In September 2008, I was looking for side tables for our bedroom. At the time we didn’t even have a couch, so dropping a lot of money on bedside tables wasn’t something that we could do. I was flipping through my September 2008 Style at Home Magazine and I came across a bedroom shot and in the corner of a page I spotted a bedside table that was PERFECT. When I quickly flipped to the source of the table (expecting to be yet-again dissapointed by cost) I saw that they were Ikea RAST side tables. Seriously? Ikea?

They had made over the Ikea Rast tables, and although there weren’t instructions on how to do the project, I decided to try my hand at recreating the tables myself.

I got these….


and the bedside tables turned out like so….



First you need to pick up an Ikea RAST table. For our table we used brass pulls from Lee Valley The size we used were the 51mm x 43mm ($2.80).

Assembled the table, except for the drawers.


– I primed the fronts of the doors and then painted them in Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. I really love this white (it’s the same white that we’ve used as the trim colour throughout our house)

[b] STAINING THE TABLE I found it easier to stain the piece fully built, instead of piece by piece so I stained the “body” of the table in Antique Brown by Duraseal (this was the floor colour, left over from when we installed new floors.) I did 1 coat, as I didn’t want the side tables to look too dark. I think the lighter the tone, the more modern it looks. UPDATE: Any stain, waterbased or not will work, we just liked the look of this colour. A deep walnut selection is my favourite.

Staining Part 2 – I did 2 coats of varnish after the stain had dried.

I then put the drawers together on the built shelf, and threw out those ugly Ikea knobs, and put in the beautiful bronze knobs from Lee Valley Tools here in Toronto. They have an online shop, so you can easily pick up your own too. 🙂


Q: What is the quality like?A: I didn’t even think that quality would be questioned until a lot of people e-mailed me to ask. These are great side tables, real wood, well constructed and easy on the pocket book. We’ve been using them every day, and they don’t have any scratches or bump marks.

Q: The drawers don’t have rollers. Doesn’t that make it hard to open the drawers?
A: Rollers are good if you’re opening drawers that are (a) Big and (b) hold heavy items. Keeping that in mind these tables are small, and (for us) house things like bedtime reading, socks, pajamas, the missing rollers are not an issue. We’re not storing heavy stuff in these tables, so the drawers open easily. If you were to add heavier items (like lots of hardcover books) yes, it may be heavy to open the drawers, but they still open.

Inspiration (Thank you!) Style at Home Magazine, September 2008 Issue
Knobs: Lee Valley The size we used were the 51mm x 43mm ($2.80) pulls
Side Tables: Ikea Rast Table,
Bed in picture: Colette Bed
Our Bedroom Colour – Classic Gray (oc-23) by Benjamin Moore
Drawer Colour: Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore, I used oil, and in semi-gloss

For a more complete shopping list from our bedroom, take a peek at our Before + After Bedroom post here.

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  • Reply
    September 30, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Lindsay! Just found your blog and I adore it! I love what you did with the side tables. The picture is so gorgeous I honestly thought it was from a magazine!!!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Hasina – thank you!! 😉

  • Reply
    October 21, 2009 at 3:49 am

    Those look amazing. Seriously, a job well done! I'm in desparate need of more bedside storage in my bedroom and have been searching for a smallish dresser to fit the bill. I think I just found it.

    Thanks for sharing this project and your adventures! I look forward to checking out your archives.

  • Reply
    Lisa Canning
    November 20, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    These look so high end! Love love love

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    December 12, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    I LOVE this idea. What size rings did you buy? I can't tell what size to order online.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Really great job of turning that value-priced Ikea side table into a great looking piece of furniture. Inspired me to look for more Ikea hacks and found a whole site dedicated to them:

    Looking forward to seeing more ideas for our own home reno in Ottawa:

  • Reply
    December 21, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    can you tell me where the bedding is from? my mother is in love with it!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    This is fantastic. I want to do this project too. Now the embarrassing part: I have never done anything like this, and don't really know how to go about staining. I've been looking stuff up, but can't find anything conclusive. Do you think you could detail your process? What kind of sanding paper did you use? Do you stain with a brush or a rag? I would love to know your process, if you don't mind sharing!

  • Reply
    Jack and Annie
    January 27, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I have been looking for something just like this! DH an I both wanted simple clean lined 3 drawer night stands! Cheap doesn't hurt either!THANK YOU!!!!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Why oh why didn't I read this post back when I bought my two RAST dressers?? I bought them for the same purpose as you did. I tried the paint/stain combo, but they just looked like footballs. I ended up just painting them white. I totally would have copied you! (I'm too embarrassed to link to the "footballs", but if you're really curious you can go to my blog and look in the "painting/staining" category.) Well anyway, great job, they look fantastic.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    I love what you've done with these dressers! I have been looking for something clean and modern to replace my bedside table and was so impressed by your post I went out and bought a Rast chest of my own to remodel. Would you mind if I include a photo and a mention of your work on my blog? Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    March 4, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Oh my, I'm a little delayed on the replies.

    Kristi – The bedding is layers of different sources – the pillow cases I think are just standard, I tend to like to buy new pillow cases every few months when the old ones look tiered so I dont go too crazy with buying the most expensive. 😉 The Duvet that is folded over is from Au Lit Fine Linens here in Toronto. The white blanket is a hand me down from my parents.

    Robyn – My process was non-mythodical and so if I can do it, ANYONE can do it. I used a combination of a brush and a foam brush for the staining, but a rag would work equally as well. This was my first time staining, and I was very surprised at how easy staining was. I sanded it lightly with whatever sandpaper we had lying around, I really just gave it a quick one over. 🙂

    Laura! Please feel free to use the photo – thank you for asking! The side tables are fab-u-lous, and I know you'll love them!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I am so inspired by this! May have to try it my bedroom. Painting is easy, but for some reason I'm daunted by the staining part…

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    April 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you so much for posting! I found your picture featured in a post by Caitlin Wilson Design. It was actually in a post about her "top 5" shades of gray. Your picture was features along w/ your address. I popped over specifically hoping you might post a reference for that perfect side table- knowing in advance it would probably cost $1,500/table. Imagine my surprise and thrill when I found your instructions for making my own. A 3-drawer dresser, chic, contemporary & AFFORDABLE! Thrilled! I'm voraciously reading back through every post! A fan!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Hi, I saw your project on bryn's site. I love it! I love your blog too! I am adding you to my blog list :O)

  • Reply
    May 6, 2010 at 12:40 am

    what a great diy! the end result is so pretty <3

  • Reply
    Andrea C
    May 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I've starting to follow your blog recently and I love it! Along with yours I follow others like MadeByGirl. I noticed on her post today she has a picture with a very similar dresser like the amazing ikea makeovers you own… SO COOL! I don't know if you found ispiration for your dressers or someone used your dressers for their own inspiration, but either way I think its pretty awesome! Check it out!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2010 at 10:04 am

    In case you find it hard to open the drawers due to friction, try using soap on the parts that touch. By soap I mean the solid soap, not the liquid one. Green soap (olive oil?) would be even better.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I just completed this project and it turned out great! Thank you so much for the inspiration and great instructions. Best wishes for you both with your new little boy!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Oh, and where did you get the lamps on the tables? I've been looking for crystal lamps no bigger than 22" high and have had no luck yet. Regards!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Oh My… let me tell you… I screamed when I pulled up the Lee Valley web site! And to think… I have been slumming it at Home Depo, trying to find hardware for my DIY projects.

    Thank you 100 times over! If it was not Canada Day I would be sitting in their parking lot waiting for the doors to open.


    I Love the site, and your keen sense of style!

    Tara (also a beaches gal)

  • Reply
    Centsational Girl
    July 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Lindsay, I just have to say how much I love your IKEA transformation. Those pulls send me over the edge ! I have a Draper knockoff that I've just repainted in gloss white with champagne/gold detail and pulls like yours and it reminds me so much of your piece ~ LOVE it !


  • Reply
    Patricia Melo
    July 20, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Aubrey, do you mind telling me the size of the knob? I'm awful with proportion!! Thank you so much, love everything that you guys do.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Love the side tables!!! I am slowly realizing now that with decorating a 3 bedroom house can involve a lot of $$$. I am now in the process of decorating our guest room and have been searching high and low for side tables…love what you have done 🙂 I am totally inspired!!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2010 at 2:53 am

    I did the same thing for the same reason – they were real wood and real CHEAP! But I had a terrible time closing the drawers after I painted them… Not sure if the wood swelled or what? I ended up having to sand them down and I've found the drawers a real pain to open and close… But considering we have kids and I don't always want them digging through my night table this hasn't been all bad! :/ I painted the whole thing white and added antique black knobs. I think I like yours better – wish I had seen this before I painted mine!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I love that headboard…it's exactly what I want for my room. Where is that from? Or did you make it yourselves?

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Hope you see this = its been so long since you did the original post.

    I'm recreating this great IkeaHack. Thanks for the inspiration. the one change i am making is that the front of the drawers will be a lovely linen fabric. Here's my question:

    Do you have a suggestion about how to finish the edge of the linen? Would you wrap it around the edges and finish it there? Is there enough room between drawers to allow for that thickness? The upholstery store told me to simply put the fabric on the front and use a fraycheck product. What do you think?

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Wow! What an amazing idea!!! I am in Toronto and never knew about Lee Valley. Thanks for the tip AND the great idea!

  • Reply
    Marcus Design
    October 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I just love this project! I googled Rast chest because I wanted to make these over my self and I found your lovely DIY!!! I have one question, when you primed the fronts, and used semigloss paint, could you seen the knots/grain of the wood through that or was it a pretty smooth finish? Thank you for your help!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    came across your blog from a photo on decorpad. what a fun find! love this ikea redo and can't wait to check back in the future. keep up the good work.

  • Reply
    modern night stands
    November 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

    This is such a smart idea! Love it!

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