IKEA IVAR : cabinets makeover

IKEA IVAR : cabinets makeover

Sometimes a simple DIY project can bring a lot of satisfaction, don’t you think?

During the period of lockdown and social distancing I finally found time to give our IKEA IVAR cabinets makeover they’ve been long waiting for. I have to admit that I absolutely love the IKEA range – there is so much room to customise and be creative.

That’s probably the reason why we have IVAR in my studio, hallway and now also in the living room. It takes just a little bit of sanding and two-three coats of paint to give it new, stylish look.

I admit, I can get very picky when it comes to choosing colors and most of the time the available furniture finishings do not match the color I have in mind. This is why painting natural wood cabinets is good alternative as we can get EXACTLY the shade we imagined.

For this project I did not have the possibility to get the new samples, so I ended up using paint ‘leftovers’ I already had at home – the cornforth white color by Farrow and Ball. It turned out exactly as I wanted – soft greige, looking great against the white wall. Once we have a little bit more freedom, I might paint the wall in the same matching color. Or repaint it all (Just kidding. Maybe not.) Time will tell!

A quick tutorial:

First off we need to assemble the IKEA IVAR cabinet. As I’m sure you know it isn’t a hard job and can be even easier with an electric screwdriver. What I always do is – I put up the main structure but leave the cabinet doors and shelves apart. Then I prep each element by gentle sanding (just with a sandpaper and my hands) and make sure there is no dust afterwards. Once they are clean and smooth,Β I paint each element twice with a paint roller. To achieve deep dark color you might want to consider one extra coat but for any light shades, two should be enough.

Wait for it to dry, assemble the doors, place the shelves and your new, awesome piece of furniture is ready! Not so hard, right?

The best part is, it looks well done. The wood absorbs the paint so the risk of stains or air bubbles is really low. I have to say, I was worried about the final effect before my first IKEA IVAR project but it turns out that special skills are not needed. I’ve painted quite a few of them and each time I’m happy with the result. Whenever we have guests over and they ask about the cabinets they have hard time believing I did it myself. I guess this is the best complement I can get!

Have you ever given a makeover to any of your furniture?

Project and photos : Agata Dimmich / PASSIONSHAKE



Do you prime them before painting?


    A bit of sanding is always a good idea!

Nienke Roubos

Hi! What kind of paint did you use of Farroe and Ball? Best, Nienke


    I used the one for wooden furniture – cornforth white color.


Hi! I’m trying to do this πŸ™‚ Do you remember how much paint you used? not sure If I should buy 4L or a couple of samples… thank you!


    Hi πŸ˜‰ I’m afraid I don’t but I think samples might not be enough… I always get bugger buckets and keep them for future projects :))



I love how your IVAR turned out. Could you please let me know what sheen you used for the paint? Is it Eggshell?



    Hi Natasha! Yes exactly! Hope it helps πŸ™‚


It looks great! I’m inspired to do something similar. I see the Ivar cabinet, but what’s the bookshelf next to it? They look so good together.


    Thank you so much! The bookshelf is Ivar without the doors :)) I’m still deciding whether I should add them or not, what do you think? πŸ™‚


      I think it looks great like you have it!


I love how it turned out, I will definitely try this too! Do you still see the structure of the wood or is it even? And where do bought the lovely vase in the last picture?


    Thanks Freddi! πŸ™‚ If you look very closely you can see the structure however the appearance is definately β€˜even’.

    There are actually 4 vases in the last picture! πŸ™‚ Which one do you mean?
    Top, straight, white – casa shops
    Round vase – Cooee design
    The beige and white one – Sostrene Grene
    Bottom, glass – casa shops
    Hope it helps!


      Oh thank you for your fast reply, I was talking about the last one, (glass from casa). It looks like we don’t have stores from them in Germany.

      But Ikea we have, so I will definitely try the makeover πŸ™‚

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