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Ikea Tarva hack from the Crazy Craft Lady. Full tutorial for making a custom TV stand.

Hey there lovely readers!  I hope you are enjoying this last Saturday-before-Christmas as much as I am.  Things have been pretty quiet in my part of the blogosphere lately, thanks in large part to an ear/sinus infection followed by law school final exams.  Try not to be too jealous of my glamorous life!  But winter break is in full force now, leaving me with plenty of free time to share my latest projects with you all.

I finished this TV stand about two weeks ago, and I am loving it’s new place in our living room.  Our living area is a really bizarre shape, with a nook next to the fireplace that contains the TV hookups.  The bizarre-ness continues in the nook with both the heater and A/C unit poking out from the wall.  I needed a way to stick the TV in the corner.  My first choice of floor-to-ceiling shelving was out thanks to the heat and A/C, so I opted for a small dresser instead.

Ikea Tarva hack from the Crazy Craft Lady. Full tutorial for making a custom TV stand.

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Like so many furniture purchases go, I headed off to Ikea.  I bought this Tarva three drawer chest for $80.  It was the perfect size, and the unfinished wood made painting and staining a breeze!

Here are all of my supplies:

  • 1 Ikea Tarva three drawer chest
  • wood filler and sandpaper
  • Martha Stewart Chalk Paint in “linen”
  • Minwax Wood Finish stain in “classic gray”
  • 4 drawer-pulls.  I used Martha Stewart for Home Depot Bedford 3-inch Nickel Canopy Cup drawer pull in the “bedford nickel” finish – available here.
  • paint brushes and rags for painting and staining
  • drill and bits for adding new hardware
  • piece of wood (cut 14 3/8 by 28 1/8-inch) for the added shelf
  • hardward to mount the added shelf – I used 4 “L-brackets”
  • wax – to protect your hard painting work!

Start by unpacking your Ikea purchase and checking to make sure you have all of the parts needed.

If you plan on keeping the top drawer out, fill in the holes where that drawer’s hardware would go with wood filler.  Lightly sand when it has dried.  This will make your project look a little more professional.

Ikea Tarva hack from the Crazy Craft Lady. Full tutorial for making a custom TV stand.

Then start painting.  If you look carefully at the instructions, you can get away with painting only one side of some of the pieces of wood.  You can also assemble the dresser and then paint.  Do whatever you prefer.

How many coats you may ask?  Well, since I was working with chalk paint, which is much thicker than regular paint, I was able to get away with one and a half coats.  I basically did one good coat and then touch ups instead of a full second coat.  One 8-ounce container of paint was the perfect amount of paint for this project.

Ikea Tarva hack from the Crazy Craft Lady. Full tutorial for making a custom TV stand.

Next up: assembly.  I find that I am most successful with Ikea furniture if I assemble while watching a good movie that I have seen 100 times.  But, that’s just me… I don’t think there is a fool-proof method for following instructions that involve cartoons and no actual words!

Note: you only have to assemble 2 of the 3 drawers.  What should you do with the spare drawer?  That’s a really good question.  Leave me a comment if you have any ideas!

Add the shelf with “L-brackets” so the top of the shelf is just flush with the top of the drawer.  Also, use a level and maybe invite a friend over so you can have a second set of hands.

Ikea Tarva hack from the Crazy Craft Lady. Full tutorial for making a custom TV stand.

Paint the shelf, and then you are done painting!

Next up: the drawers.

I did one 10-minute coat of the stain on the fronts of the drawers before assembling them.

Then I added the custom hardware – just know that if you use the hardware that I did, you will have to drill new holes.  This was only, like, the second time I had used power tools unsupervised, so have confidence that if I didn’t screw this up, you can tackle this project too!

I did one quick coat of wax over the whole dresser to protect it, and then I was done!  I wouldn’t call this project easy per se.  It was time consuming.  However, for a rookie like me this project wasn’t too difficult.  Plus, I’m glad I have the perfect TV stand to put in this super-awkward corner.  Mission accomplished!

Ikea Tarva hack from the Crazy Craft Lady. Full tutorial for making a custom TV stand.

Ikea Tarva hack from the Crazy Craft Lady. Full tutorial for making a custom TV stand.

Ikea Tarva hack from the Crazy Craft Lady. Full tutorial for making a custom TV stand.


  1. This transformation is awesome. I love how you are using this dresser as a tv stand. It looks great! Thanks for sharing. PINNED!

  2. Popping over from Treasure Box Tuesday =) I love IKEA… I wish there was one closer to me. Lovely TV stand BTW. Be sure to share your crafts & DIYs at Two Uses Tuesday over at Sarah Celebrates if you don’t already!

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  5. Your TV stand is lovely! It takes a truly creative person to turn a dresser into a TV stand, it’s so functional too. Great Job.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Amy. I thought I would never find something with the right dimensions to fit in that weird corner!

  6. This is so pretty. I love the paint/stain combination you used. And the hardware is perfect!

    1. Chelsea I was wondering the same thing. Could I use the bottom of the extra drawer for the shelf?

  7. Hey there! I LOVE the DIY project you did! I have the same dresser (two actually), I plan to use in my son’s nursery. I’m going to use your post as a guide for doing my DIY on them, plan to stain whole piece gray and paint bottom legs/trim and knobs white, but I wanted to ask, what kind of WAX did you use to seal it with?

    Thanks and happy DIY-ing!


    1. Hi Erin. I actually just used the Martha Stewart brand wax – it’s on the same shelf as the chalk paints in the craft store.

  8. What to do with the spare drawer. Simple. Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and purchase 4 chunky wood furniture legs. Screw them in the bottom. Have a piece of wood cut to the size of the drawer opening. Lowe’s will cut it free. I used 1/2 inch plywood. Get a hinge and attach it to the top of the drawer and you can either paint the entire piece or use a piece of thick foam and cover it and staple if on the top… Handy ottoman

  9. Hey! I love this idea and am planning on doing it with my Tarva as well. I’m a new DIY-er when it comes to furniture and was wondering how you mounted the L-Hooks and what screws/tools you used for it. Thanks!

    1. Hi Avanti! I just used regular 1/2-inch screws (if I remember correctly). I used my electric drill to pre-drill some holes, to make it easier. I would recommend having a friend there to help you hold the shelf in place and make sure it is level while you are mounting the l-brackets. Good luck!

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