Ramen Noodle Budget DIY: Ombré Dresser

Hey people!! How was your summer? I took the last couple of weeks off to wrap up our summer vacation and chill Up North at the cottage with the family. But now we've been home a couple weekends in a row and I've been working on tons of projects at the house. I'm looking forward to sharing a whole lot of DIY furniture tutorials, room tours and Friday Favorites this fall! 

First up? One of the most popular elements of Cedella and Isora's bedroom tour was the Ombré Dresser I painted for their room. 

I've been pinning ideas for their new bedroom for ages and kept seeing super creative ombré painted items and just knew that would be the pièce de résistance for the space. 

I feel like I'm preaching to the choir saying this, but Ikea is a haven for ramen noodle budget DIY furniture. The prices are low enough that you can add paint, new hardware and customize pieces without spending a fortune. And now there are several raw wood pieces in the Tarva line, just calling out for custom stain and paint treatments. 

One such piece is the Tarva 6 drawer dresser. This was just big enough to provide massive storage in the girls' room without being too tall to be unreachable for my little independent dressers. 

Tarva 6 drawer.JPG

When looking for paint colors for all the rooms in the house we also looked for paint samples for this project. The typical ombré usually uses several shades from the same paint sample. Literally going from light to dark in the same paint 'family'. The paint companies take all the guess work out of it for you.

But I'm a loner Dottie...a rebel. 

So just choose what I like. I wanted saturated colors and a fun vibe in there. Pastels need not apply. 

I also wanted to match this lamp and loved the color story happening here. 


I found three colors that matched the lamp I bought 3 sample sized containers for around $3.50 each. Once I had my paint samples I got to work...


When the dresser was built I painted the outside with the white paint we used throughout the living room and front hall. It's Clark + Kensington Chalk (in semi-gloss). It's a soft creamy white that is bright and reflective yet soft. 


Using a 4" foam roller (made for trim) I rolled out an initial layer of paint on the tops, sides, legs and front of the dresser. Since it was a paint + primer combo I just started painting. Unfortunately I didn't sand the piece prior to painting which I REALLY should have. So heed my lesson...if you're going to paint Ikea unfinished wood SAND IT. Unless you want a lot of texture. Like rough and gritty, splintery texture. Which I didn't want but got anyways.

So after two coats of white and being unsatisfied with the texture I sanded the crap out of it, wiped it down with a tack cloth and painted another three light coats. 

And here's the progress with the drawer fronts. I sanded them down lightly at first and it made a huge difference in how smooth the paint went on. Using the same method, 4" foam roller, I rolled the drawer fronts, leaving the sides of the drawers raw. Now, it may not be the prettiest way to leave it but I don't mind it. I also didn't have the patience to take each drawer out and paint the side. So yea. Well call those unpainted sides what they are...Lazy Sides. 

Because I didn't prime the piece (and forgot that the sample cans are not Primer + Paint) there was a whole lot of grain showing through. So these got about 6 or 7 light coats. Maybe more. And there's still grain coming through. It doesn't bother me (but maybe cause of the aforementioned laziness) but to get a really nice finish on these would require a thorough sanding, followed by a coat or two of primer then your paint of choice. A pain in the ass? Definitely. But for a more polished and professional looking piece? Worth it.

Next we needed hardware. Initially I purchased small faceted crystal knobs to match the top drawer of the nightstand. Like these... 

But the small pulls just weren't right. The scale of the piece needed bigger pulls. Also, without larger pulls the drawers didn't open smoothly.

So I went into the black hole of Drawer Pulls. Do you know there are drawer pulls for $300 each?! Ummmmm, yea. That's insane. 

I knew I wanted something shiny and faceted like the other knobs. I coveted these $60/each gold faceted knobs.

But for 12 knobs $720 was more than a bit steep. WAY more. And after an exhaustive search I ended up with the largest faceted acrylic knobs I could find to match the nightstand. I got these on Amazon at $12.64 for 5 (needed 3 sets). 

There's just one problem...the fifth leg. That pesky leg hanging out somewhere in the middle of the back that I totally ignored while painting and now it's just fugly bit I try to ignore. Oh well...next time I'll remember the fifth leg. I hope. 

Here it is, in all it's colorful glory. The perfect sassy piece to hold tons of colorful wrappings for two mini fashionistas. 

So let's total up this project...

Dresser                                                         $150.00
3 Paint Samples @ $3.50 each                         10.50
White Paint (from walls)                                     FREE 
Paint supplies (already had)                              FREE
12 knobs (3 x $12.64)                                        37.92

TOTAL                                                              198.42

A perfect custom dresser for under $200? Score! 

Wanna go even more Ramen Noodle Budget with this project? Find a cast-off at Salvation Army, garage sale or Craigslist to save big time. I often see 6 drawer dressers for under $50 all over town. 

Whatcha think? Is it just the most colorful and fun dresser you've ever seen? Yea. Me too. I just love it. Sure it has it's fair share of flaws but it's just perfect to me. 

Would you take on a Tarva unfinished piece of furniture, or perhaps redo a thrift store find? I'd love to see your projects too!!