The Brimnes chest of 3 drawers (Art. 703.120.17) has a frosted glass window in its top drawer. I don’t know why it does, but it can certainly be put to better use than showing an outline of your sock pile!
Here’s what you will need:
- About 2m (7′) of LED light strip. I used an RGB variety, but any LED strip will do.
- A spare drawer bottom for the Brimnes (I went to the service desk and asked nicely, they sold me one for 20SEK) or another wooden sheet large enough to cover the inside of the drawer face.
- About 2m of planed wood with a rectangular profile. I used 8x15mm, where the 15mm is enough to fit my 10mm light strip.
- A few wood screws of about 20mm length
- A fistful of cable clamps (preferably using screws instead of nails)
Assemble the chest and the drawers according to the manual. Here’s what the drawer looks like.
Cut two pieces of wood long enough to fit the inside width of the drawer. We are making a frame of these, that fits around the window.
To ensure that the drawer can close correctly, measure carefully so that the short edges of the frame are the right length (up to the top edge of the drawer’s sides). I opted to let the long edges extend through the corners of the frame, because it’s easier to measure out the length of the four pieces that way.
Make sure the pieces are laid out with their longer (15mm) side facing into the frame and the short (8mm) side facing into the drawer.
Cut two of these shorter pieces, so that you have two long and two short ones.
This is how the pieces fit together. They are still loose, but make sure your frame lines up correctly inside the drawer. Note that the entire inside of the wooden frame is now 15mm wide, allowing space to mount the light strip later.
I coated one side of the wood sheet with wallpaper, to give it an even white tone. This will be inside the closed space, facing the glass.
Carefully align a long and a short piece of frame onto the edges of the sheet. Fix them with wood glue and clamp until they’re set.
Attach the remaining two pieces to make a perfect rectangle. Make sure all your corners are 90 degrees.
When the glue has set everywhere you should have a white sheet of wood with a wooden frame in one corner.
Use a hand saw to cut off the excess wood around the frame.
Your frame with backing should now fit inside the front of the drawer.
Double-check that it fits inside and that the top of the frame is flush with the sides of the drawer.
Drill small holes through the frame and the backing. These holes are for the screws that will hold the frame to the front of the drawer. I recommend at least three holes along the top (long) edge and one down each side. The bottom edge doesn’t need any screw holes.
Drill a hole in the side of the drawer, as close to the drawer’s front face as possible. Remember when you assembled the drawer, there was a screw holding the face to the side? Don’t drill there. I went in right above the metal slide.
Since my chest will have its right-hand side closer to a power outlet, I made the hole on that side of the drawer. That way, the power cable will come out the right side of the chest and be easier to route outside.
This hole needs to be wide enough to fit your lightstrip through. I made it 10mm.
Insert your frame in the drawer, hold it in place by hand and mark the position of the hole you just made.
Drill a matching hole in the frame, being careful not to break the frame (the glue might be weak still).
Feed the lightstrip into the drawer
Feed the lightstrip into the frame, all the way up to the connector and then some (you want the cable coming out, but the connector inside the frame where it will be safe.)
Starting from the connector, attach the lightstrip to the inside of the frame, with the LEDs facing inwards.
When you get all the way around, cut the lightstrip AT THE MARKED POINT (refer to the manual for your lightstrip). I got lucky, the cut marks line up almost perfectly with the length of the inside of the frame.
Put the frame in place in the drawer and attach it with screws through all the holes you made earlier. Make sure you don’t kink or crush the lightstrip cable, it should come out the hole in the drawer cleanly.
Attach the cable to the outside of the drawer securely using several cable clamps. Make sure you have about 5mm clearance between the clamps and the metal slider, otherwise the drawer will not sit back in the chest properly. Route the cable all the way up to the top rear corner of the drawer.
Feed the lightstrip power cable through the hole in the back of the chest (IKEA thoughtfully left a large rectangular hole there to fasten the chest to the wall).
Fasten the cable inside the ceiling, from the back and halfway to the front of the chest. This way, the cable comes down halfway between the front and the back of the drawer, and has equal slack when the drawer is open as when it’s closed.
Have someone hold the drawer up at the right height, right next to the chest, while you are attaching the cable.
Leave enough slack to turn the drawer around and insert it, but no more. This slack will be enough to open and close the drawer.
Route your cable down the back of the chest in a way that suits your installation.
Insert the drawer and plug in the light strip. Done! It’s hard to take good pictures of lighting, but the bedside chest now serves as a bedside light, with only about 17mm of space lost inside the drawer!
Here are some ideas for improvements:
There is ample space (about 5cm down to the drawer) inside the ceiling of the chest to mount a switch if you need one, I didn’t because my lightstrip is controlled wirelessly.
You could attach or draw dark patterns on the inside of the glass for a cool silhouette effect. You could also cut an open slot in the backing of the frame if you want to illuminate the inside of the drawer.
~ Albin Eldstål