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Rustic kitchen island: This is how I hacked HEMNES

Here’s my IKEA hack of a rustic kitchen island made from an IKEA HEMNES dresser.

I recently moved to a condo and I had a HEMNES dresser. Either, I was going to have to get rid of or think outside the box to keep it.

Rustic kitchen island - before

And, I was tired of my round dining table with chairs. For a change, I wanted something that was chic yet functional.

I also wanted something that would be a space saver. That was when I took a second look at the HEMNES dresser, observed a few kitchen island ideas on different websites and got to work.

Materials for rustic kitchen island:
  • 1 HEMNES 8-drawer dresser
  • 1 Maple butcher block countertop
  • I used a combination of chalk and flat paint to get my desired color of olive green.
  • I also applied a sealing wax finish to the dresser after several days, to help protect the paint.
  • To protect the floor, I used furniture felt pads on the HEMNES feet

Rustic Kitchen Island Project How-To:

1. Assemble HEMNES dresser per IKEA instructions or if it’s already assembled, leave the top portion of the dresser. I find that this provides more stability to the kitchen island.

2. Paint the dresser to the desired color. I would wait 1-2 days until the color really settles.

I ended up having to get a different green, due to the first go round was not the desired color of olive green I was looking for (see pictures).

Rustic Kitchen Island IKEA hack

The first color was a chalk paint and the second was regular flat paint. After a couple of days, when I was satisfied with the color, I applied the sealing wax. You may need 1-2 coats, depending on your preference.

I also decided to paint the knobs a gold dust color, to match the mirror.

3. I purchased the maple butcher block countertop on sale at a builders’ supply location.

The measurements were taken by comparing to another pub table of what the correct overhang should be.

Rustic Kitchen Island IKEA hack

The measurements of the countertop are 26” width and length 72”. This would also depend on how much overhang you want.

4. Once the countertop is placed, make sure to use either baby oil or the specialty rubbing oil to seal and protect your butcher block. The oil will also slightly darken the countertop.

5. I stuck felted pads on the bottom of the dresser legs to protect the floor when moving the kitchen island. You can also place rolling wheels; whatever your preference.

Rustic Kitchen Island IKEA hack

The costs for my rustic kitchen island project:

This rustic kitchen island was a fun and simple project. I did have to ask my sweet boyfriend to help me place the butcher block top on 😀👍🏼 The rest was all me!

The total cost of the project was about $300.

I bought the HEMNES dresser from another person for $50. The maple butcher block was the most expensive at $200 and paint/supplies costs $50.

~ Michelle H.


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#2 Compact kitchen island with stainless steel top and drawers

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After digging around on Etsy for what seemed like a million years, CommandoGirl still couldn’t find one that provided enough storage and was also small enough to fit into the limited space in her kitchen. So, enter the Hemnes dresser. And out came her small kitchen island with drawers.

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Kitchen islands are expensive! And they are not very cute. Joanne took an old HEMNES 3-drawer chest (the bigger one) and re-purposed it into a charming country kitchen island.