Mid Century Modern Stories

Quick DIY hack to transform an IKEA storage unit into a mid-century inexpensive night stand

Quick DIY hack to transform an IKEA storage unit into a mid-century inexpensive night stand

This is such an easy and quick little hack, and I did it so long ago, that I completely forgot to mention it in my blog. Yet, it makes so much sense since I now have a mid-century online shop! Here's the deal...

I had been shopping for a while to find cute mid-century modern night stands but not too big or expensive. I waited, waited, and waited... Then one day, I'm at IKEA Covina, here in California, and I notice a huge sale on a line of storage units. I'm thinking they must be changing them for a new line and need to get rid of the old system. Each of those was already at a lower price and now with the "last chance" price, they were only $25 each!!! I couldn't believe it. So I bought three*... without knowing what I'd do with it. It was too good of a bargain.

Once unloading all my shopping at home, a brilliant idea hit me. What if I hang them as night stands and find a way to "mid-centurize" them? A quick trip to Home Depot, my second favourite store, a few wood legs and voilà! The funniest part is these are wall-mounted so they don't have legs, even less need any. But this incredibly simple idea gave them an amazing look for just a few bucks. Plus, their size make them a real space-saver and I don't keep a ton of nick-nacks next to my bed.

IKEA Eket storage unit transformed into a mid-century night stand

To complete the night stand function and styling, don't install the lower drawer (keep it in storage in case you ever change your mind). You can then use the bottom as a shelf for easy reach on tissues for example. You could also add a styling deco piece on the drawer facade but I like the simple flat style without any handle, pull or knob (these are push-opener drawers that work with a light push, very neat and well made.)

When people see them, they often ask "So cute, where did you get those?". Nothing more fun than explaining it's an IKEA storage unit that I customized myself! Don't we all love to do that... If you're here reading this, I know you do!

* The third unit became a hallway console for keys, grocery bags, etc. and for now, it's still in its original style with both drawers.

What you'll need and how-to

IKEA Eket cabinet with 2 drawers

At the time when I bought it, this IKEA article was called the VALJE series but it seems to be the same thing. From what I understand, they changed the mechanism and renamed the whole line.

Ikea hack to transform an IKEA Eket 2-drawer cabinet into a mid-century night stand

All you need is mid-century modern style unfinished wood legs and angled metal plates at your hardware store. Choose the legs positions wisely. Of course, no need for back legs, you'd never see them anyway. Don't even think of transforming it into a self-standing night stand on 4 legs. The opening mechanism requires the unit to be solidly mounted on the wall. Don't go for the absolute corner, it might be harder to fit and a little overhang will give you a nicer mid-century look. Be sure to calculate the height of the legs before installing the rail on the wall to slide down the unit into. You don't want the legs to float in the air. With carpet in my bedroom, the measurement was a bit tricky. The legs on mine do float a tiny bit but thankfully, the carpet makes up for it.

For the finishing touch, I used brown shoe polish. I've mentioned this trick before in my IKEA TV bench hack. I'll copy that info here as well.

"When done, take the legs off and use brown shoe shine to give them a nice walnut tint. It's a quick and easy nifty little trick from a neighbour. If you're careful enough, no mess at all. You don't even need to let them dry if the legs have a metal cap like the ones I got. Just spread the polish evenly with a paper towel. Remember that the wood grain will show off a lot with the polish so keep that in mind when you choose your legs at the store. This technique doesn't render a finish as dark and even as real walnut but hey, for a few bucks? What the hack!"

Shopping notes

Wadell taper round wood legs, metal plates and brown KIWI shoe polish

For 2 night stands:

Storage unit: IKEA Eket cabinet unit with 2 drawers $90/ea X2

Wood legs: Wadell, Wood Round Taper Table Leg, Home Depot $3/ea (4 legs)

Metal plates: Wadell Steel Angle Top Plates, Home Depot $3/ea (4 plates)

Shoe shine: Kiwi Shoe Polish, Brown, Walmart $9

Total: $213 for 2 night stands
(around $80 total at the time with rebate and lower prices)


#1 - At the time of writing, the link for the plates was good. It seems it sometimes links instead to the FLAT plate model. Either the title or picture is wrong. I rechecked a few times and it seems to be resolved but be careful and check to make sure you choose the ones you really want.

#2 - The legs I used are 5.5 in., not the 7.5 in. It's up to you but make sure to measure accordingly.

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Hi Katie. I just sent you an email about sharing this post. Thanks.


Hi there!

I’m an editor at MyDomaine, and I’m currently writing a piece on how to style and hack Ikea Eket pieces. Could I include a photo from your DIY Eket bedside table hack in my story? It would be credited to you and the photo would link back to the post you wrote. Please let me know what you think, and thank you so much in advance!

All my best,

Katie Pittman

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