Our entryway is a continuous work in progress. We do not have a closet for coats near the front door, so everything we need to go out into the world needs to be accessible and still not look like a complete disaster. Once I decided to get rid of our tiny storage bench and replace it with the Bekvam stools, I knew I would need another piece of furniture to store hats,  gloves, and scarves. I did a lot of research on dresser styles trying to decide what would work for us and not be crazy expensive. I wanted to be able to put shoes under the dresser, and have enough drawers to keep mom, dad, and kid stuff separate. I wanted a place to put a vase with flowers, and mail, and keys, and a lamp. It also needed to be smallish, as our entryway is not huge. Not too much to ask, right?

I love to look at furniture online at places like Joss & Main, and Anthropologie. I was originally inspired by the Indian inlay furniture that has become so popular. After I found an IKEA hack that uses stencils to mimic the appearance of bone inlay, I was very excited to try my hand at stencilling. How hard could it be? I watched a lot of stencilling videos. I ordered the stencils and bought the 3 drawer IKEA TARVA dresser and left it to wait patiently in our garage over the summer while I worked on the entryway stools.

Expensive inspiration!
For the dresser, I decided to use Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint. I’ve decided that better paint really does make a difference. The paint definitely goes on smoother and feels more durable. It took me a long time to paint as New Jersey is so humid and I wanted it to dry really well. But when I finally had my blue dresser pieces, I set them out and started to stencil. It looked awful. I wiped it off and tried again. Blurry and nothing like the crisp pattern I had envisioned. Stencilling on paper worked for me, but it did not work on the dresser’s painted surface. As smooth as it was, it just wasn’t smooth enough. I stopped for the day and rethought my plan. While I was looking up ideas for the girls’ stools, I came across a lot of beautifully decoupaged furniture. If the stencil idea wasn’t going to work in the way that I wanted it to, I was more than willing to try a completely different approach.

I adore floral designs. If you type “botanical decoupage dresser” into google images, you come up with some truly lovely pieces. This being the first large piece of furniture I was working on, I felt like I needed to keep it a little simple. I also wanted to finish the dresser before winter. I scoured the internet for botanical prints, and finally found a wonderful source here which mentioned the Missouri Botanical Garden online collection of prints. Jackpot! I found more than enough beautiful prints to decorate my dresser.


I printed many (too many!) botanical prints out on a regular inkjet printer. I covered them with a layer of Golden gel medium to seal in the ink. I was worried that the ink might run but it didn’t smear much at all. Then, I cut and adhered the prints to the drawer fronts with mod podge. I put on a couple coats of polycrylic to seal them a bit more. I assembled my dresser and added pretty knobs I found at Marshall’s.

botanicaldresser2  I’m very pleased with the way the dresser turned out. It’s a cheerful spot to locate all of our junk. I finally have a dedicated place to put pretty plants and bouquets of flowers. We have a small ceramic wax melter that doubles as a night light, and a bowl where I can always find my keys! Now, if only I could make that new rug lay down flat. 

18 Comments on IKEA TARVA dresser hack

  1. Aw, this was a really nice post. Spending some time and actual
    effort to make a great article… but what can I say… I put things off
    a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

  2. Good day Administrator, This is an amazing post you’ve made, reading your complete article content I’d personally enjoy to comprehend with your thought. Wonderful job all over, stick with it please. I would like it if you will keep offering this type of good blogposts without a doubt.

  3. I realize this post was from a year ago, but I’ll try to ask a question anyways! Did you use a certain paper when you printed? or was it just plain normal printer paper?

    • Hi Justinna,

      I used glossy inkjet photo paper. The Mod Podge did shift the colors a bit when I brushed it on, but they ended up very close to what I printed out. Close enough anyway. 🙂

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