We recently moved into a new apartment, and it is much smaller than our previous rental – so cue all of the DIY organization projects! Starting with this easy Ikea Shoe Cabinet Hack.
I absolutely love our new place, but there are still a few pain points, and the first thing I wanted to tackle was the lack of an entryway. I know that this is relatively common these days, especially for new builds, but I feel like some semblance of an entryway is pretty necessary. Thankfully, we do have a nicely sized coat closet at the end of our entry-hallway, but we wanted some kind of storage cabinet/table close to the door as well – and we’re working with limited space!
So after some pinterest searching for entryway inspiration, I came across the infamous Ikea Shoe Cabinets! I feel like most people have seen or heard of them these days, because they are just really awesome and practical! After a fun visit to Ikea, we decided to go with the Hemnes cabinet, as we liked this style the best, and it was the perfect height to go with the round mirror we have (also from ikea!) I should clarify that I fell in love with the Hemnes cabinet because of its practicality – not its knob placement! I knew even before leaving the store that we would definitely be changing the knobs. They were pretty simple and boring, but also in a weird place (a quarter of the way down the drawer). So thankfully I found this post by House Tweaking, which involved replacing the regular Ikea Hemnes knobs with DIY leather pulls from a belt!
Once we built the cabinet according to the Ikea directions (minus the knobs), I decided that it was just a little too white for my liking. So we ended up replacing the top board of the cabinet with a stained pine board to tie it in with our other wooden elements we had purchased for the entryway. Plus it made it more of a homey + welcoming space with some modern bohemian vibes.
I’m really happy with the way this turned out, and it was a relatively easy DIY!
- Ikea Hemnes Cabinet
- Wireless drill
- A leather belt for a DIY version, or leather pulls like these
- White Spackling with a putty knife
- 1 10″x1″ in board for the new top
- Palm sander
- Stain in the colour of your choice. I used a combination of Minwax Early American and Minwax Special Walnut
- Foam stain brush
- Screws (in your choice of colour – I used black, but I wish I used gold)
- White paint
- Paintbrush or Foam brush
- Wood Glue or L brackets to reattach the top (Optional)
STEP 1: CONSTRUCT YOUR CABINET
The first step of this DIY was to build the hemnes cabinet according to the instructions, but to ignore the step where you fasten the top board to the rest of the structure. You can still rest the top on the cabinet if you don’t quite have the new board sanded and stained.
The next step is to decide where your shoe cabinet will go, and fasten the cabinet to the wall according to the instructions.
STEP 2: CUT + ATTACH THE LEATHER PULLS
I wanted the leather pulls to pop out slightly more, so I decided to screw them in at the top of the drawer, rather than at the front.
The belt and the drawers were slightly hard to drill through at the same time, so I decided to pre-drill the pull holes into a scrap piece of wood first.
STEP 3: FILL THE HOLES
This part is really fun, because you get to smear pink goop over your white cabinet doors! Using a scraper, apply a small amount of the plaster over the knob hole and smooth out until you have a flat surface. Once you’re happy with the coat, leave it to dry for about 15-20 minutes.
This may take a few coats to ensure everything is evenly spread. If some plaster dries on the area around the hole, that’s totally ok! It sands or scrapes off very easily. Once it looks like a flat surface, then it’s ready to paint!
STEP 4: PAINT OVER THE PLASTER
We had a bunch of cans of wall paint that our landlord left in our garage, and the colour was very similar to the cabinet colour, so we did a quick thin coat over where we applied the plaster. I recommend doing a few coats so that it really covers the holes and blends into the cabinet colour.
STEP 4: PREPARE THE WOODEN BOARD
Cut the wooden board to fit the top of the cabinet. We decided to have the board be slightly larger than the width of the cabinet, so it ended up being 8.5″. We used a table saw to cut it down to the size we wanted.
Sand the board and clean it off before you stain. Using a foam brush, stain the board in your preferred stain. Depending on how dark you want your board, this might take two coats of stain.
I really like Minwax Special Walnut stain, so I started with a coat of that, but it didn’t really match the tone of our ikea mirror, which has a red tinge to it, so we mixed special walnut with a little early american! I’m really happy with the colour we ended up with!
Once the stain is dry, you can attach the top using wood glue, or L brackets from the inside. I found that the new top was heavy enough to just sit on top of the unit without needing to be fully attached.
Now fill your cabinet and style your space to your heart’s content! We added the Ikea round mirror, a runner, some hooks, and a small stool. I also love the look of this little plant with my DIY abstract face sculpture!
We’re so happy with the end result! I absolutely love how practical the space is. We can fit quite a few of our go-to shoes in three of the drawers, and then we use one of them to keep dog treats, bags, and other goodies in! I also love that I have another surface to style, so I’ll probably be switching up what sits on the board very often!
Need to spice up your own entryway? Pin for later, and make sure to tag @lavender_julep on insta with your own hemnes hacks!
Update: April 2020 – check out how we’re using this Ikea Hack in our new home here.
TrishMarch 22, 2022 at 3:20 am
The cabinet is a bit too tall. I was thinking of cutting off the front legs and putting it direct on the ground and finish it with some molding around it. What is the height of the front legs?
TristanJanuary 11, 2022 at 11:38 pm
I love this! Thanks for sharing
JulieMay 16, 2022 at 6:42 pm
laureenOctober 25, 2021 at 6:52 pm
Love this – I have the smallest entryway ever. My question – did adding the leather handles not make it tough to close the drawers? I think I’m going to do this, but with the black, and still do the top shelf brown.
JulieOctober 26, 2021 at 6:22 pm
Yay! It’s so great for a small entryway! There was definitely enough room at the top for the thickness of leather I used, but it would also look good at the front where the holes are
JulieMay 16, 2022 at 6:39 pm
Good question! They actually still close easily, because there’s a gap above each drawer
MartinaOctober 7, 2021 at 3:43 am
This looks fantastic! Love it!
JulieOctober 26, 2021 at 6:23 pm
MazMay 21, 2021 at 4:29 am
Love this entry concept. I am remodeling my house and have small entry with laundry off to one side. This Ikea Hack (with matching mirror) will be perfect and will make a statement.
Thanks for answering everyone’s questions….I have all the details now 🙂
JulieMay 21, 2021 at 2:39 pm
Yay! So glad you find this helpful!
EmmaJanuary 17, 2021 at 2:48 pm
Hi. I also have a very narrow hallway and was wondering if this cabinet would be too deep.
Do you know the width of your hallway?
SueOctober 29, 2020 at 7:03 pm
What is the dimension of the mirror! I love it.
JulieNovember 2, 2020 at 1:06 am
Hi Sue, it’s the larger version of the Stolkholm mirror from Ikea!
JessicaOctober 9, 2020 at 1:21 am
Hi! Love this idea! Where did you get the runner rig from? So cute!
JulieNovember 2, 2020 at 1:07 am
Thanks Jessica! It’s from Homesense Canada
JessicaOctober 9, 2020 at 1:20 am
Hi! Love this idea! Where is the runner rug from?!
Peter DIYPDSeptember 12, 2020 at 12:01 am
Great colors Julie I love the belt handles (very clever) and I’m so close to by this IKEA mirror!
FarahSeptember 7, 2020 at 8:01 am
I loveeee it ! Gonna try this out, was wondering is the Stockholm mirror is it the 80 cm or 60 cm ?
thank you !
YasmineMay 4, 2020 at 9:06 am
What color was the mirror.
They have 2 colours. Sorry for being a copycat 😂
JulieMay 5, 2020 at 12:28 pm
Haha no worries! I’m flattered that you want to create the same look!
It’s the walnut colour, and I linked it here too: http://lavenderjulep.com/shop-our-home/
LaurenApril 30, 2020 at 6:58 pm
Looks great! I’ve been hesitant to get Ikea items because the white is too creamy and won’t match the walls, but if painting fixes this, then I’m definitely going to do this project.
MattyApril 26, 2020 at 4:48 am
This is so lovely. Just a quick question, do you also mount the cabinet to the wall? Or the top wood panel is heavy enough to hold them. Thank you
JulieApril 28, 2020 at 12:43 pm
Yes, we mounted it to the wall using the brackets that came with the unit. I just didn’t mount the top wood panel to the unit. It’s heavy enough to just sit on top, but you’ll want the actual unit attached to the wall for safety, since it only has two legs at the front!
Hope that helps!
AsiaMarch 21, 2020 at 7:20 pm
Just a quick question! How wide approximately is the belt that you had used? I have a few old belts that I’m deciding between but don’t want to first cut them and then figure out they’re too wide or narrow. Thank you!
JulieMarch 22, 2020 at 10:32 pm
It’s about 1″ wide, but I think you could go wider if you needed to!
CharlotteJanuary 7, 2020 at 11:28 pm
I think my molding might be too tall for this price, but I love it so much. Any ideas on ways to make the front legs a little taller to accommodate? My molding is 5.5” tall. Thanks in advance!
JaneFebruary 18, 2020 at 2:08 am
Charlotte, I found some here! https://www.etsy.com/listing/705923762/unfinished-wood-block-leg-raisers-2-and?ref=cart
JulieFebruary 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm
Thanks for finding these Jane!
TiannaDecember 2, 2019 at 3:18 pm
Stunning!!! LOVE this idea and design. What size mirror is this? Is it the 31″ one or the 23″?
JulieDecember 3, 2019 at 3:50 pm
Ours is the larger one!
Anwen charlesNovember 24, 2019 at 10:28 am
Where is the letter rack and basket from please?
Perfect for what i need.
JulieNovember 25, 2019 at 2:35 pm
Unfortunately both of these things were found at thrift/antique stores. Sorry!
ElizabethOctober 23, 2019 at 5:48 pm
Love this so much! Could you tell me the exact measurements LxWxH of the top piece I love the size you chose!
JulieNovember 11, 2019 at 4:55 pm
It’s 41.75 x 8.5 X 1
Clarissa ROctober 3, 2019 at 2:14 am
Beautiful! I love how everything looks!
I want to paint my entryway walls white and I know there are too many whites to pick from. Which white paint did you pick for your walls?
JulieOctober 3, 2019 at 12:37 pm
Thanks Clarissa! It’s a new-build rental, so we didn’t actually pick the colour, and it’s actually not great quality. But it’s an off-white!
VennessaSeptember 3, 2019 at 12:52 am
I love this! My husband and I are doing some remodeling and were looking for a great entry way idea and this is awesome! I just wanted to ask what type of wood did you use for the top? Also we love the stain color how much of each stain did you use to get it? Thanks so much!
JulieSeptember 6, 2019 at 12:46 pm
We just used a simple pine board, but you could definitely go for a better quality like cedar!
And for the stain, I mostly used the lighter colour and added a little bit of the darker one. I recommend testing it out on a scrap piece of wood first!
Let me know how it goes!
KimAugust 18, 2019 at 8:37 pm
This is so cute! I love the entire entry way. Do you mind also sharing where the rug is from? Thank you in advance!
JulieAugust 21, 2019 at 4:46 pm
Thanks Kim! It’s from Homesense!
AshleyOctober 8, 2019 at 7:49 pm
Hi there! I’m getting my wood top custom cut because I live in NYC and table saws are hard to store (lol) but having a hard time figuring out what size your wooden top ended up being post cut.
Would you be able to share what the exact dimensions ended up being so I can send them to the wood cutter? Thank you so much In advance I can’t wait to recreate your gorgeous work
JulieOctober 11, 2019 at 12:41 am
Hey Ashley! ours is 41.75 x 8.5 inches!
DanielleAugust 9, 2019 at 10:37 pm
Hi Julie! Just came across this lovely post whilst researching entryway ideas! Love it all! I wondered where the little stool is from please? Thinking it would be perfect for our little boy to perch on whilst doing up his shoes! Thanks Danielle
JulieAugust 12, 2019 at 7:50 pm
Thanks so much! The stool is from Homesense (in Canada), but I feel like HomeGoods in the US is very similar and might have something!
CharlotteJanuary 7, 2020 at 11:26 pm
We have Homesense now too!
Veronica FerranteJuly 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm
Hi! So happy I found this post.
I bought the same basket and hooks too, I liked it that much. I just wanted to confirm that the wood top isn’t actually attached right? When I first read the post I thought it said some here to use the included hardware to attached…but I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately. That might have been an entirely different project 😉
JulieAugust 12, 2019 at 7:51 pm
Ours isn’t attached, but you could attach it with the hardware, or just leave it on top if it’s heavy enough.
Karen SparksJuly 20, 2019 at 8:09 pm
SuzanneJuly 2, 2019 at 1:14 am
Hi Julie – did you remove the top of the cabinet before putting the wooden top on it? Looks like you did – and how did you do that?? Thanks – think this looks so great and really want to try this out! Suzanne 🙂
JulieJuly 10, 2019 at 1:58 pm
I just built the cabinet according to the ikea instructions, and left the top off. And then I just set the wooden piece on because it was heavy enough, but you could also glue it with wood glue.
FrancisJune 26, 2019 at 7:52 am
Hi Julie, great work!
The Ikea doors are finished wood and not possible to paint. Did you just paint over the plastered bits? When looking up really close do you not get two colours? Although not possible to say from the photos. And what kind of paint? Gloss, Shean, etc?
One other question did you find enough gap on top of the doors to fit the letter straps? Do they pull out easily?
JulieJune 27, 2019 at 1:40 pm
I just colour matched to the paint, and painted over the plaster pieces, and you can’t tell any difference. TBH it was just paint from our walls, so I believe it was gloss, but not 100% sure. And yes, the leather straps do pull out easily. I would recommend paying attention to the thickness of the leather though, but the belt I used seemed like a pretty normal thickness for a belt if you choose to go that route.
Let me know if you have any more questions!
ShwetaJune 3, 2019 at 5:06 am
Great post! I am trying to create this awesome show rack for my house. However I am having a hard time finding the same size lumber block for the top. Usually the dimensions are little different in the store. When it says 1” it’s actually .75 and 8” is 7.25. Could you please confirm what dimensions you used for the project?
JenMay 8, 2019 at 4:01 am
So cute!! Where is the best place to get leather?
JulieMay 8, 2019 at 12:54 pm
Thanks Jen! You can probably buy leather from a fabric store and cut it, or just use a belt like I did!
Jacqueline BeachApril 28, 2019 at 11:37 pm
Gorgeous! Thank you! I want to do this over the summer. Where did you get your hooks? So hard to find a good one. 🙂
JulieApril 29, 2019 at 12:30 pm
Thanks Jacqueline! I got the hooks from a store called Bouclair Home 🙂
Marina BorodayJanuary 5, 2021 at 3:35 am
What size of mirror from ikea? They come in two different sizes
NadineOctober 8, 2019 at 11:44 pm
Great Job 😊 whats the name of the mirror?
JaimeApril 20, 2019 at 2:22 pm
Love this! Where is the mirror from?
lavenderjulepApril 22, 2019 at 12:36 pm
Thanks Jaime! The mirror is also from Ikea!
AnonymousJuly 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm
Where is your cost hook from
JulieJuly 10, 2019 at 1:57 pm
It’s from a Canadian Home Decor Store called Bouclair 🙂
Adriana SuarezJanuary 7, 2020 at 5:54 pm
Did you place the wood over the original top? Or did you take the top off? You drilled holes on the wood to attach it to the cabinet?
JanelleMarch 22, 2020 at 9:27 pm
JulieMarch 22, 2020 at 10:27 pm
I didn’t attach the top when putting the cabinet together. And because the wood is heavy enough, I didn’t screw it down. But you can use the original hardware or buy additional brackets to attach it to the cabinet from the inside.
StephanieMay 2, 2019 at 1:13 am
Great job. Where did you get the coat hook/fixture from?
StephanieMay 2, 2019 at 1:14 am
Never mind just saw you’re other comment 🙂
Tanya from Dans le LakehouseApril 10, 2019 at 5:05 pm
I love how to made this IKEA piece feel custom!
Julie - Lavender JulepApril 11, 2019 at 8:31 pm
Thanks so much Tanya!! It was such a fun piece of furniture to update! 🙂