March 14, 2012 59


By in Apartment, DIY, Furniture, Trends


Andy and I were endlessly searching for the perfect table for the entryway in our apartment. We needed something with at least one shelf for storage but with enough room underneath for tall boots and shoes. And of course, we wanted a budget-friendly option. I’d been keeping my eye on the whole dipped furniture trend and then spotted IKEA’s SVALBO sideboard. Made of pine and only $79.99, SVALBO is a DIY dream.

The SVALBO fit all of our requirements except for the lower shelf and side brackets that just make the whole thing look country. Plus, they refuse to accommodate my tall Hunter boots. You’re probably thinking “Just don’t install the shelf, dummy.” Listen, unlike most IKEA furniture, this sideboard comes partially assembled, with the legs and shelf brackets/supports/annoyances already put together. So while it’s easy to just not put the shelf on, there are still two ugly chunks of wood to deal with. And I dealt with them, alright. But first, I primed.

DIY 01

I followed Centsational Girl‘s guide to painting furniture over an existing finish without sanding. The key is Zinsser Oil-base Cover Stain which bonds to pretty much anything and dries to the touch in about 30 minutes. To get the dipped look, I masked off a line about 13 inches up each leg and primed everything above that mark.

DIY 03

Then I asked my dad for help. I knew he’d know how to solve my bracket problems, because he knows everything. He set up a pair of saw horses and sawed the middle out of the bracket. Next, he wedged the remaining piece of wood away from the legs, exposing two shoddily glued, signature IKEA dowels.

DIY 04

The dowels are a little tricky to remove. You can try pulling them out and you might get lucky, or more likely, they’ll split and crumble. Then, like my dad, you’ll want to take a drill to them.

DIY 05

He drilled to remove as much of the glue and dowel remnants as possible and then switched to a countersink drill bit to get a clean edge. After finishing both sets of legs, he filled the holes with Elmer’s Carpenters Wood Filler in Natural which matched the pine perfectly. It makes more sense to remove the brackets before priming, so if you tackle this project yourself, I recommend doing that first.

DIY 02
DIY 06

Next, I painted over the primer with Behr’s Juicy Passionfruit latex paint. I added Floetrol to the paint, as Centsational Girl recommends, which makes paint go on more smoothly and helps minimize the appearance of brushstrokes. I left everything unassembled for the first and second coats and used a foam roller for the table top and shelf and a brush for everything else. I recommend sanding between coats and using a tack cloth to clean up.

When the second coat was dry, Andy assembled the table and I added some touch up paint. Then, I applied a clear gloss water-based Minwax Polycrylic over the paint. Water-based Polycrylic dries really quickly and won’t yellow over time.


And here it is, all finished and styled up fancy in the entryway. The table and supplies together cost me less than $120.00 and absolutely no heartbreak.

59 Responses to “SVALBO Hack”

  1. getchoo says:

    TOO cute. may i please borrow you and your dad?

    • thesweetbeast says:

      Thank you and of course! Although, I’m sure you could do this without us – you’re a very talented lady.

  2. Marne says:

    This is so great, Em! You are truly great at thinking outside the box. It’s inspiring that you could see the “after” while looking at the “before”.

  3. Brilliant repurposing, I adore the paint color, so so lovely and what a unique and welcoming entry, bravo!

  4. Lindsey says:

    Great hack! It looks fantastic. Way to go. :)

  5. Vanessa says:

    I just found this through Pinterest. What a great project! I can’t wait to replicate this at home. Thanks!!

  6. katym. says:

    personally, not a fan of the “dip” thing, but it’s ok… but it would save a lot of time and effort to just saw those dowels flush with the leg, sand the area, maybe a little filler if needed, prime and paint.

    • thesweetbeast says:

      That’s true! If you’re good with a saw, sawing where the dowels meet the leg could save some time. I’d be nervous about nicking the leg, knowing my luck!
      Thanks for the tip!

  7. Lisa says:

    I too just saw this on Pinterest and got a little bit excited because I’ve been looking for a simple, affordable table just like this, then I thought it best to check the Ikea website before I got my hopes up because often Ikea in Australia does not stock a lot of the same furniture that is available at Ikea in other countries. Good news is this item is available in Australia… bad news is the table is $179 here! For $80 I would have been willing to risk sawing, drilling, priming and whatever else was required but I don’t know if I’m willing to risk it for more than double that. What a shame :(

    • thesweetbeast says:

      Oh no! $100 more seems totally crazy! I’m sorry :(
      I bet a piece of second hand furniture would be great for this project too, maybe you could find something nicely priced with a great shape that just needs a little love.
      Good luck!

  8. Melinda says:

    Love it! I want to make this in turquoise! Where did you get the mirror?

    • thesweetbeast says:

      Thanks, Melinda! It would look so good in turquoise! I found the mirror at a thrift store, it’s crazy heavy and old.

  9. Heather says:

    Love the peach paint color you chose!

  10. Carey says:

    This looks great. Love the color. Dipping the legs in gold or even silver paint would look fantastic, too!

  11. Lori says:

    I saw this on Pinterest too and think it is so clever! The colour is gorgeous. Enjoy the weekend :)

  12. Becky says:

    I love the color you used. Great Ikea hack. It is so cute with the accessories you used too. :)

  13. Sarah S. says:

    Where did you get the old postal box? It reminds me of going to the post office when I was a kid.

    • thesweetbeast says:

      Good eye, Sarah! It’s actually an old postal box turned into a coin bank. It was a gift to my fiancĂ© from his mother, I’m not sure where or when she found it.

  14. Sammie says:

    I love how this has turned out! Very pretty!! I especially love the lamp – do you know where it is from? :) Thanks and all the best!

  15. This is a great DIY and the peachy color is so on trend. Nice work!

  16. kelly says:

    Just stumbled on your blog via miss moss and I love it. cheers!

  17. Traci says:

    This is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the details about the table. I am curious where the lamp is from?

    Thanks so much for the great post!

    • thesweetbeast says:

      Thank you, Traci! The lamp is from IKEA from a few years back, I don’t think it’s available anymore though. Huge bummer!

  18. katie says:

    Thank you for linking me on your sidebar, it led me to find your wonderful blog. I love this diy and your styling work is gorgeous!

    Katie x

  19. Samantha says:

    I found this via Pinterest. I adore this idea and luckily its in stock in my local IKEA and will be my first D.I.Y project – thanks for inspiring me to get the paintbrush and saw out!!

  20. Toni says:

    SO stoked to do this… I’m juggling between colors; avacado 70’s green, or that 60’s turquoise, I’d like to do gold legs too… Such a great, clean, modern look with being flirtatious and fun still. Bravo! @Centsational Girl really assisted with the inspiration for me with this project too. Will share how it turns out!


  21. Emma says:

    Amazing! Perfect paint color and beautifully styled. Well done!

  22. Julie says:

    What grit of sandpaper would you use between coats of paint?

  23. Sarah says:

    I just bought a very small console table from Walmart to do this project! The Walmart table is a cherry/dark wood. I think I am going to paint the table yellow, a dark coral, or a mintish sky blue. Hmmm decisions decisions.

    Any help? these are the exact colors I am going off of (
    And if it helps my couch is khaki/natural fiber, I have a chair that is going to be that darkest blue, and a side table that is turquoise. The console table will be for my entry way that leads directly into the living room. Thanks in advance!

    • thesweetbeast says:

      Hi Sarah,

      It’s hard to say without seeing your room but it sounds to me like yellow would look quite nice.

      I hope it goes well, please come back and share a picture when you’re done!

  24. Shandi A says:

    LOVE this! We are moving (like tomorrow) and our new house is completely different style and I want lots of color and this is so cute! I plan on doing this asap! lets hope I don’t screw it up! fingers crossed!

  25. Julie says:

    Perfect! The paint color is so great!

  26. Kaitlin says:

    I have been looking for a piece like this to but in our extra room! I love how you transformed it. How long ago did you buy the table from Ikea, it is not on the website anymore :(

    • thesweetbeast says:

      Oh no! So sad that it’s not on the site anymore. Sometimes if you go to your local Ikea, they’ll still have some in stock or can find out what’s up. I bought mine last year but it was def still for sale a few months ago.

      Best of luck to you!

  27. Katie says:

    I love this DIY. I used a Hemnes nightstand and did a blog post about it: and gave you a shout out!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. katja says:

    i am in love with this color. nice job!! i was searching on diy furniture painting and ran across this post on your blog. i scored a wall unit of ‘campaign’ style furniture and plan to paint it and was researching hints. off to explore your pretty blog!


  29. this is fantastic. makes me want to forget about all the IKEA drama i’ve experienced and go buy one- it’s that cute!

  30. Emily,

    I love the color you chose! How pretty! If you wouldn’t mind, I would love to pin this to The Home Depot’s All About Paint Pinterest board.

    Senior Editor,


  32. Brittny says:

    I LOVE this! It would be perfect in my entry way! I cant find this table on their website:( do you know if they still carry it? Thanks!!

  33. Okay I am seriously drooling over this gorgeous piece! Pinned :) I’d love it if you shared this over at The Makers link party going on at my blog,!


  34. liz says:

    I love this and am thinking of doing something similar! Do you happen to know how many inches are between the two front legs??

  35. Jamala says:

    I love your table.. You chose the perfect color..the coral/gold is a winner

  36. Alex says:

    I noticed the old metal mail slot door attached to a wooden box on the table. I have wanted to do that for a long time with mine since I even have the combination to the mail slot door. Any details on how you made it or attatched it to the wood box? I would appreciate it!

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