Well this is a fun one! We haven’t done an IKEA hack in a while, and I definitely didn’t intend to do another one any time soon, but thanks to inspecting every inch of our house for weeks on end now, there’s just no piece of furniture in our home right now that’s safe from getting a makeover. Not a single one! Ergo, the sad old IKEA coffee table and media console that I’ve had in my arsenal for what feels like an eternity (see the old snaps of both below) and was so shamefully beat up that I thought it trivial to dedicate any amount of hours of my life trying to give it a facelift instead of just replacing it, has now been given a fresh paint job and some fun, stylish flourishes that I’m proud (and a little shocked) to say, ain’t half bad! Is it the most epic furniture flip in the history of furniture flips? Probably not. Do both pieces look 1000 times better than they did before? You bet ya! What’s even better, with minimal effort, supplies I had on hand and almost no cashola spent, this little den space of ours that we’ve dedicated almost no time to updating until now just got a lovely upgrade. Quarantine win!
Left: The IKEA HEMNES coffee table when I first moved into this house 6 years ago; Right: The media console in my first condo out of college
The truth is, I’d been patiently waiting to replace these pieces and have hunted for just the right solutions for this space for a couple of years. That said, updating this room has been pushed to the back of the pack of our home improvement projects because more pressing projects and more frequently used spaces needed our attention. I was resolved that I absolutely would not invest any amount of dollars in a temporary furniture fix or update for this room, no matter how much of an eye sore the media console and especially the HEMNES coffee table became. No no no. I’d wait it out until we could dedicate the necessary amount of time, energy, brain space and cash to update this space with intention and care, once and for all.
Most importantly, I feel like you need to know the true depths of how sad and pitiful this HEMNES coffee table was before it got the pretty white paint makeover you see here. When I purchased this coffee table many moons ago and at the very beginning of my furniture flipping journey in my early 20s (I’m 35 now), I’d gotten a wild hair and painted the top of it with chalkboard paint so I could write cool things on it. In hind site there was nothing “cool” about it, I wrote nothing cool on it and the chalkboard paint ended up peeling off in spots because I didn’t prime before I painted and this table is has a pretty thick coat of clear acrylic lacquer on top of the stain. Over time, the entire table took a serious beating and looked like something that had been used in a toddler’s play room… through several generations of angry toddlers. Oh, those early projects! Nevertheless, I was determined to wait it out and not touch a single inch of the table or the media console until I had a plan in place for this entire space. Said plan has yet to fully materialize, but fast forward to present day and I’ve been forced to stare at the two beat up IKEA pieces for one torturous month since we started to stay at home indefinitely, and I could bear it no longer.
Now you should know that the HEMNES coffee table and media console tutorial below is basically my go-to furniture painting process for all furniture flips, especially when the furniture pieces have so many flat surfaces like these do. It’s an easier than easy process for refinishing furniture, making the end result look super profesh as well as making it durable so the piece can stand up to daily wear and tear. It’s also the same process I outlined when I shared our painted nightstand makeover not long ago, so if you want to check that project out just hop over to that link! The only part of this tutorial that differs from that project is the addition of the raffia cloth inset panels on the sides of the media console – that was a really fun addition to the media console and another DIY furniture upgrade that’s so chic and so easy to execute. So you’ll see the steps for easily adding the raffia cloth and the surrounding cane spline to the inset panels below.
If you’ve been around this little blog for a minute now, you know that I have a love affair with the paint color Creamy from Sherwin Williams. It’s my go-to white paint color for furniture and is a really close color match to Pottery Barn’s “Antique White” furniture color. We’ve used it on our cane dining chairs, a cane desk chair and so many more pieces. Naturally, Creamy is the color I used on these two pieces and I still love it just as much as I always have. It’s a nice, creamy white without any yellow undertones and looks awesome on every single piece of furniture we’ve used it on.
IKEA Hemnes Coffee Table Hack Supplies:
4” High Density Foam Mini Paint Roller
Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane – Water Based in Crystal Clear Satin (Interior)
Varathane Summer Oak Premium Fast Dry Interior Wood Stain
Sherwin Williams Latex Satin Finish Interior Paint in Creamy
1.5 Inch Round Wood Cabinet Knobs
Cane Spline (size will depend on project – I used #8) or Small Wood Doweling
3M Super 77 Multipurpose Permanent Spray Adhesive Glue
IKEA HEMNES Coffee Table Hack: How to Paint Your IKEA Furniture Like a Pro
I didn’t strip or sand either of these pieces because that would have been really laborious and more effort than I was willing to expend thanks to the acrylic lacquer used on them. All I did was prime both pieces really well so my paint would easily stick to each piece and the finish would be perfect. And that rings true for really any surface you want to paint, but can’t sand or just plain don’t want to strip or sand like laminate cabinets, heavily varnished pieces, etc. To prime these I used KILZ 2 Latex with a 4” dense foam roller and covered both pieces with one coat of primer.
I let my primer dry for 2 hours then applied 3 coats of Sherwin Williams Creamy in a satin finish to both the pieces using a 4” dense foam roller for the flat surfaces and a 2” angle sash brush for the detail work and little crevices. Doing both pieces at the same time makes it easier to tackle a paint project like this quickly and efficiently – less brush/roller washing, less paint pouring, less mess, less time spent waiting in between coats overall. I waited 30 minutes in between applying each coat. Note: Like I mentioned, a million years ago I covered the top of the coffee table in chalkboard paint and that made the top of the coffee table particularly dark because the chalkboard paint is basically black, so we had to cover the top of the coffee table in four coats of paint, even with the use of the primer. Such is life.
We let our paint dry overnight, and the next day I added my favorite topcoat to both pieces to make sure they’d be extra durable and stand up to wear and tear – Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane – Water Based in Crystal Clear Satin. Not only is Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane – Water Based so easy to apply, but it protects your painted furniture pieces with a Teflon-tough topcoat that doesn’t alter the tone of your paint color at all, which is so rare. No yellowing, no darkening, no stripping. Nothing! It also just gives all of my DIY painted furniture projects that professional polish and makes my finish look 100% perfect! I applied 3 coats to most of the surfaces on both pieces, waiting two hours between coats, but applied 4 coats to the top of the HEMNES coffee table, the top of the media console and the drawer fronts on the media console for extra protection since those will see the most use. I apply this polyurethane with a 3” with a wide foam brush because it makes the process so easy and the finish flawless. I simply apply the polyurethane in long strokes that go with the grain and only apply one stroke to each spot on my surface. Don’t layer up while you apply. All you need is to do one long stroke across the surface, and then keep on going down the line until you’ve covered the entire surface stroke by stroke.
The next day, once I had given the poly topcoat a chance to dry thoroughly, I swapped out the metal IKEA drawer knobs on the media console for my favorite round wood cabinet knobs.
How to Adhere Raffia Cloth to your HEMNES Coffee Table
Adding inexpensive raffia cloth to any cabinet inset is such an easy and affordable way to upgrade cheap or old furniture with minimal effort. The process outlined below could be applied to things like a cheap IKEA wardrobe, dresser, nightstand, etc.
I measured the square inset panels on the media console and cut my raffia cloth to fit using really sharp fabric shears. Fabric shears are the best scissors for cutting basically anything because they’re so darn sharp and cut with such precision.
This raffia cloth was really light and I wanted it to have a slightly darker, more natural tone, so I stained my raffia cloth squares with Varathane wood stain in the color Summer Oak using a 3” wide foam brush. I tested the stain color Golden Oak on a scrap piece of the raffia cloth and it was just too dark. Summer Oak was the perfect natural golden blonde hue. If I had more access to supplies right now or more time, I might have used Weaver’s Stain which is a tung oil enriched stain that basket weavers use to stain natural materials because it supposedly prevents said materials from drying out and cracking/splintering, but we have such limited access to things right now and I had a hard time hunting that down online, so I made due with regular wood stain and it worked just fine! When applying the stain, I simply brushed it on with my foam brush and then wiped it off with a clean soft rag like I would any other stain. If you don’t wipe, your stain can get blotchy and leave oily residue that doesn’t dry, and you definitely don’t want that on your raffia cloth.
I let the stain dry overnight. Then I was ready to attach the raffia cloth to the square inset panels on the sides of the console. First I used painter’s tape to tape around my panels and protect the rest of my freshly painted console from potential overspray from the spray glue that I was going to use.
Once I was thoroughly taped off, I put on some nitrile gloves and used 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Permanent Spray Adhesive Glue and sprayed one of my panels, covering the entire panel with glue (I recommend gloves because this stuff is seriously sticky). When you spray your area, make sure to hold the can about 8” to 10” away from the surface you’re spraying. That said, make sure to cover the area thoroughly because this is a medium tack glue and you’ll need all of the adhesion you can get to make sure that the raffia cloth is securely in place and doesn’t puff up/come detached in spots down the line.
Once you’ve sprayed your surface, lay the raffia cloth in place quickly and adjust the placement as needed as fast as you can while the glue is really tacky. I attached the cloth to the panel and then using my hands (with the gloves on) worked quickly to smooth out the raffia cloth to make sure the entire square was laying flat, in its place, and that every inch was properly adhered to the glue. When smoothing the cloth with my hands, I worked from the center outward to the edges to work out any bubbles.
My cane spline took a little bit longer than I expected to ship and arrive at my house, but if it had arrived before I stained my raffia cloth, I would have stained my spline at the same time I stained the raffia cloth. Since I didn’t have it in time, I stained it with the Varathane wood stain in Summer Oak later using another foam brush and the same wipe on, wipe off method. That way the color of the spline would match my raffia cloth and they’d kind of blend together.
We used the cane spline to create a nice clean border around our raffia cloth panels since the cloth frays slightly at the edge when you cut it, so after the stain was dry, we measured and cut the spline to fit the inset panels. We wanted the spline to look really tidy and polished and fit together perfectly in the corners of the panels, so we knew we’d need to do mitre cuts to achieve that. Not completely sure what the best method was for achieving nice mitre cuts on the spline with the tools we had on hand (there are handy little handheld mitre clippers/shears you can buy, but we felt like we could get around that), we tested wire cutters, a box cutter, and a good old fashioned butcher knife since the spline is so thin. The easiest way to get nice little angled cuts on the spline without proper mitre clippers? Wire cutters. That said, if the length needed any adjusting on any of the spline pieces, we had to use the box cutter to slice off the tiny amounts of excess length because it’s hard to get the wire cutters around small end pieces like that. Pro Tip: When making our first round of cuts, we always aired on the side of caution and cut the piece a smidge longer than we thought we needed to, then went and fit our pieces in the inset panel to see how we did, and adjusted the length as needed. You can always shave length off, but you can’t add it.
Once we’d cut all of our cane spline pieces to fit the border of our square inset panels perfectly, we threw on the rubber gloves again and attached the pieces using that same 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Permanent Spray Adhesive Glue because it’s so easy to work with, doesn’t stain the raffia cloth or soak into the furniture piece and has a nice strong hold. I simply sprayed the length of the back of each piece of spline with the glue, attached it in place, then pressed down on the piece with both hands and held it in place for 30 seconds, running my hands back and forth over the length of the piece of spline to make sure every part of the spline attached.
Love it! You are so creative and such an inspiration. Wish you could come redo my bedroom furniture!!