DIY Dresser Kitchen Island Cart in Redbook

Some DIYs are crazy easy (like thess: crate shelf, slab table, table runner and ladder towel holder), and some are a little more complicated. This one is one is more on the latter side, but all the individual ideas are simple. Check it out:

Redbook DIY Dresser Kitchen Island


I’m actually only into Ikea hacks if they are really simple, cheap and fast because it doesn’t make sense to me to put hours (or days) of work into a piece of furniture that may not last too long. So when we started this project we thought that it was super simple and cheap, but full disclosure, it was kinda a lot of work and took more time, money (and troubleshooting) than we thought. I actually LOVE every idea here and I really like how it turned out but if I were to do it again I would use a vintage dresser, something more unique, or something that I already had because there are a lot of kitchen carts out there that cost less than this one ended up being. At the same time sometimes these DIY’s are more about the ideas that you get from them and less about actually following this exact recipe with these exact ingredients. I just don’t want you guys to think that ‘this is a fast, cheap dresser turned kitchen cart’ because it kinda wasn’t. But had it been an awesome vintage dresser that wasn’t being used, that was higher quality, I would totally do this. At the same time for readers sake (of the magazine as well as the blog) we wanted everything to be easily sourced and to choose something really simple to start with, so this Ikea dresser worked well for this purpose.

Here is what you will need:

2_DIY Kitchen Island Dresser Ikea Hack_Ingredients

-Organization Accessories: Towel Bar, Paper Towel Holder, Spice Racks (we ended up painting all of ours to look like brass with some gold spray paint). But just buy the simplest ones.

-Leather Belts: We used some large mens leather belts which can be purchased from your local goodwill or anywhere that sells cheap leather belts. I think we bought from H and M, go thrifting, folks.

-Brass Nuts and Bolts: You will use these to fasten the leather handles to the dressers

-Brass Casters – We bought like 10 options and of course went with these which were the most expensive castors at 11 a piece (we got them from Koontz Hardware in LA).

-Leather Hole Punch

-Drill and Drill Bit

-Screwdriver and Screws: to attach the accessories to the side of the unit


1. Prep a Dresser:

First of all you can either start with the Koppang 3 drawer dresser that we did from Ikea for $99.00 or source your own vintage dresser or reuse an old piece that you have. It is totally up to how large you want it to be, where you want to use it, and the style of dresser that you want to use. It’s just important that it is roughly waist-high so that you can use it as a work top if you want.

1_DIY Kitchen Island Dresser Ikea Hack_Dresser


2. Replace the Handles:

We reused the pre drilled holes that were already in the dresser and swapped the knobs out for a leather pull that we made out of common brass nuts and bolts that can be found at your hardware store and an old mens leather belt. Here is how we did it:

Measure the distance between the two holes and then add a few inches onto that length. That will determine how long your total handle is. Once you have that number you will then add a couple more inches to each end of that length so that you can fold the belt over itself to create the clean edge at each end of the handle. Then using a hole punch you will pierce the ends of those belts where the holes will go.

We then used brass nuts and bolts to fasten the leather belt to the drawer front. We threaded the bolt through the drawer first then through the belt and then used a ball nut rather than a traditional nut so that we would have a clean rounded edge on the outside of the drawer. Ball nuts are the tits.

3_DIY Kitchen Island Dresser Ikea Hack_Leather Handles

3. Add Casters

We wanted to add casters to this to make it completely mobile. Then you can pull it into your dining room when you need an extra bar, or you can roll it into your kitchen if you need some extra prep space.

We found our casters at our local hardware store for around $12.00 a piece, but the type that we used is made by Bassick and can be sourced online.

Do secure the caster to the dresser you will flip it over then drill a hole into each of the legs that is the same size as the T-nut (which is the hollow sleeve that the caster slides into) then you slide and snap each caster into place.

4_DIY Kitchen Dresser Island Ikea Hack_Brass Castors

4. Add Accessories

You can go as mild or as wild as you want with the accessories for the side of your unit. We decided to get a few accessories for each side that made the piece a lot more useful. We got a couple small spice racks, a towel bar, and a paper towel holder. We grabbed all of these at our local hardware store as well. We didn’t really pay attention to color as we ended up spray painting everything with gold spray paint so that it looked uniform (and I mean you already know my love of all things brass)

5_DIY Kitchen Island Dresser Ikea Hack Brass Accessories

DIY Kitchen Island Dresser Ikea Hack Accessories


We love this guy so much we actually use it in our studio kitchen and everyone comments on it.

And then you have to style it out for a shoot which takes 2 stylist, 2 assistants, a photographer and 2 photo assistant. Please enjoy my gif about it.

DIY Redbook Dresser Island GIF

Meanwhile this is what the room around it looked like:

We were shooting both the crate shelf and this one at the same time and it was crazy.

redbook DIY

Also yes, we laid down a roll of linoleum so it would look like a kitchen. Fakey-fakey.

So, here’s a finished shot.

DIY Kitchen Dresser Ikea Hack Emily Henderson

Photos by David Tsay, styling by Scott Horne. Thanks, Brady for putting this bad boy together.

Meanwhile check out all the other Redbook DIYS here: Side Table Ikea HackDIY Towel Ladder Embossed Velvet Heart PillowOffice Wall PocketsDIY Tree Slab Table, DIY Basket Pendant, Table Runner.

How to Make the Hanging Wallpaper Panels

As you might have read for the new studio we decided to not paint the walls or do anything permanent to anything, partly because of my commitment issues, partly because we had 2 weeks to finish and there was NO way I was going to be able to decide the perfect wallpaper in that short of time, but mainly because we wanted the flexibility of white walls for shoots. So for the party I wanted it to be really exciting and colorful – with lots of wild patterns – for real life I think we are going to pair back to just a few of the colors/patterns to keep it a bit quieter.

Anyway, so we hung a ton of wallpaper panels on gator boards and hung them on different levels from the ceiling. Now this isn’t normally something that you’d do at your home, but enough of you asked how we did it that we figured a post about it couldn’t hurt.



Panels_wallpaper-wall emily henderson studio

Here is a breakdown of how to make those wallpaper panels. To see them in action you can check them out in the studio tour that Domaine did, or at our Tiny Prints party!

DIY Wallaper Panels_header

The ingredients:

DIY Wallpaper Panels Ingredients

1. Hammer

2. Grommet Kit: We picked ours up from JoAnn’s Fabric but they can be picked up at any craft store or online. Ours were brass (obviously) and 7/16″ in size.

3. Hooks: These are just standard ceiling hooks that we picked up from Home Depot, again we went with brass color.

4. S-Hooks: We looked for these in brass as well but could not find them, but as they hang behind the panel you don’t see much of the silver color.

5. Drill Bit: You will need a drill bit that is slightly smaller than your grommet kit so we used a 3/8″ drill bit.

6.  Chain: We picked up our brass chain from a local hardware store, but it is also sold at larger home improvement stores and even some craft stores.

7. Drill

8. Wallpaper: This is the most important and funnest part of it all. We used a bunch of different patterns and colors and then mixed them around to see what we loved best next to each other. You can also use fabric, contact paper, veneer, or whatever else you come up with!

9. Gatorboard: (this is what everything is sitting on in the above picture) Basically it is the same as foam core but much more rigid and more strong (and more expensive). We decided to go with Gatorboard because it does not warp as much as foam core would and it is still very light. We sourced ours online but it can be picked up in large sheets from your local craft or arts store.

Now that you know what you need, here is how its done. Once you have adhered your wallpaper, contact paper, fabric, or veneer to your panels here is how you will attach grommets, chain and hang them to the ceiling.

DIY Wallpaper Panel Template

Make Template: Trust me when I say that making this cheap little template will save you tons of time measuring. You can use any scrap piece of paper or cardboard and then measure in 1″ from both the top corner and the side corner, then cut out a hole approximately the size of your drill bit. Once you have made the template you can use it for each corner and just flip it over when you use it for the opposite corner. It saves you time from measuring out each hole and makes things much quicker if you are doing lots of panels like we did.

DIY Wallpaper Panel_Template Mark

Trace Template Hole: Just make sure that you line up the corner of your template with the corner of your panel and then trace the hole. When you go to trace the other corner of the panel just flip over the template and repeat the same process. Its not rocket science but you’ll be glad you did it.

DIY Wallpaper Panel_Drill

Drill Hole: Using the right size drill bit, drill right through the gatorboard. It will drill through very easy so don’t apply too much pressure and then end up drilling right through your floor, or finger, or leg. (PS. don’t every use your leg to prop up the gatorboard – it won’t be a pretty picture)

DIY Wallpaper Panel_Grommet Ingredients

Assemble Grommet Kit: When you buy your grommets you have two options: 1. A grommet kit, or 2. grommets. You will only need to purchase one grommet kit which includes the tools you see above for attaching the grommets together. You can then purchase the rest of the amount of grommets you need and use the grommet kit to attach them together.

DIY Wallpaper Panel_Hammer Grommet

Hammer Pieces Together: There are very easy instructions on the back of your kit but basically you will sandwich your gatorboard between the anvil, eyelet, washer, setter, and hammer. (and yes I did have to look on the back of the box to give you all those fancy names in the correct order. Once they are all lined up you have to give it a few good strikes and then your grommet will attach itself to the gatorboard and you are good to go.

DIY Wallpaper Panel_Attach Chain Combined

Attach Chain:

Once you have your pretty brass grommets in all of the corners of your panels, you will attach an S-hook to each of the corners and then whatever length of chain you need to each of those S-hooks.

The last and final step is attaching your panels to the ceiling. You will do this by screwing in your ceiling hooks and then attaching each of the panels up in whatever order you want. We decided to overlap our panels, and hang them at different heights and depths from the wall and ceiling.


Oh, and while I rarely recommend wallpapering things yourself in this case it’s actually pretty easy because its such a simple surface and a lot of these wallpapers came wide enough that we only had to lay them flat and not even worry about matching the pattern. You lay them flat, paint the paste on the gator board, get a friend to help (it’s easier with two people), and then roll out/lay the paper or fabric on top and then smooth it out. You can even use decopauge.

Other options – maybe you want to paint chalkboard paint or magnetic paint onto a panel and hang it on the wall in your family room – less commitment than painting on the wall. And this works with fabric as well – not wood, I don’t think but fabric, cardboard, foam core and gator board.

Any questions, folks?

‘After’ photos by Chris Patey C/O Domaine, all instructional photos by Jayme Burrows.

Painted Glass Lamp DIY

Alright, remember that glass lamp from my guest room makeover post we? Well, today is the breakdown of how/why we did it. Off we go.

First off, I found these simple glass lamps at Target and chose the tall one for scale:


I really liked the simple shape, midcentury wood top and pretty warm lampshade, but the glass was getting lost in the room so I figured I’d try to give it more of a presence by painting the inside of it a color. These lamps are ‘fillable’ meaning that they top screws off so you can fill them with stuff. I didn’t really know what I would put in them (I mean, I really wanted to make it a terrarium with a bonsai tree, but it would have died immediately due to lack of air, obviously). But I did have experience painting the inside of glass jars before when I did this art installation with mason jars (full post HERE) so I figured why not do that?:


This time, though, i’d make it a bit more interesting than just a solid color since it was just one lamp.

Target Painted Lamp Items Needed

Whats so great about this DIY is a. how easy it is, and b. how customizable it is. You can choose ANY COLOR IN THE WORLD, which makes getting it perfect and exactly how you like it really easy.

Heres What you Need:

1. Paint Tray – you will need one for each color- you could use paper plates or bowls, too.

2. Paint Brush

3. Glass Lamp – ours is from Target and has a wide mouth which made it easy to get our hand inside of it and paint it.

4. Paint – You can use any latex house paint. We wanted to do a pink and blue option so this one is Dutch Boy’s ‘Pink Passion’.  Also if you don’t like getting paint on your hands then wear gloves.

Then I asked Brady to play with some patterns/strokes. We used a glass casserole dish that we had to sample, that way you could see how the outside of it would look.

So he played around …

Target Painted Lamp_paint options

1. More of a weave. I like this one but once you are trying to do it inside a jar with a small mouth you have less mobility and control so it was more of a risk (although secretly I might REALLY like this one).

2. I then tried it with a larger weave pattern and more blended strokes – Closer to what we were going for but not perfect.

3. My last attempt was with just straight strokes and blending the colors together – This was our favorite and the one that we thought looked best for the application. This sample was too ‘stripe-y’ and we wanted it to be a little more organic and random, but the general idea worked and was easy to implement.


DIY Crate Shelf in Redbook

I know I’ve said this before but this one may REALLY be the easiest DIY  we’ve done. You just stack crates, clip them together and if you like to go a little bit beyond that (we did) you can paint the insides of them. CRAZY easy, very customizable and super affordable. I mean, it pretty much made itself.


1. Decorate your Crates:

I bought ours at JoAnn’s and they were $12.99 a piece when we purchased (now on sale for $9.99), but they often have sales and discount codes which could be applied. We then painted the insides of some of the crates in a fun color palate which I put together. I also thought about possibly wallpapering the back and sides of the crates, doing some sort of contact paper treatment or even using fabric to cover the crates. The options are really endless and vary depending on where you intend to use them and how much ware and tear they might take. For example wallpapering your crates and then using them to store dirty shoes, garden supplies and hoses might not be the best idea where as paint will hold up well over time.

crate color palatte

Ginny decided it was best to put on her painting knickers whilst Brady just opted for his blue leopard smock.

crate painting

We used regular latex house paint and didn’t prime.

2. Spraypaint your Binder Clips:

I purchased large generic binder clips from staples and spray painted them gold. I also spray painted a version in white but later decided that the gold popped off of the crates and colors we used better so I used them.


3. Clip it Together:

This is where the fun begins. I tried quite a few different layouts before I decided to stick with tis more organic layout. Play around with the crates stacking and restocking them until you find your perfect configuration. You could arrange them horizontally and then use it as a TV console or behind a sofa or more vertically to fit in a small corner. Once you are happy with a layout then you can start clipping together the crates with your binder clips.


4. Fill with Items:

You know me and you know how much I like my “stuff” so creating something to actually store it all and keep it off the floor in an attractive way was a win-win situation.

emily styling crates

Also Brady you are fired for posting that photo. Please collect your things and leave the office. Don’t worry, i’ll give you a good recommendation!!

scott styling

To say that things were a bit crowded that day was an understatement. We had quite a few people crammed into one room and were photographing two projects for Redbook during the same day. That involved two separate room scenarios that we had to set up, and two totally different sets of props.


I had what I like to call ‘clutter body’ where your entire body is so encased in clutter that you want to cut off all your limbs and set them outside in hopes that they’ll feel some air and space.

Scott styled the shoot (while I art directed in my clutter body pose) and Brady and Ginny assisted. Look at them go!

Crate Organizer Gif Styling

It ended up feeling like a mud room which was the intention, obviously.


Sources: Crates: JoAnn’s Fabric and Crafts | Binder Clips: Office Supply Store (spraypainted gold) | Bird Feeder | Gray stools | Folded Pink Rug

The after shots are photographed by always amazing David Tsay, and styling was done by none other than Scott Horne. And yes, they changed the wall color in post! We think it looks better dark gray, too.

You can check out our other DIY projects we did for Redbook by clicking through these links: Side Table Ikea HackDIY Towel Ladder Embossed Velvet Heart PillowOffice Wall PocketsDIY Tree Slab Table, DIY Basket Pendant, Table Runner

Orlando’s Dining Room Comes Full Circle


This post was written by Mr. Orlando Soria, himself. Please check his blog for general hilarity and good design.


Dear Emily,

I’m sitting here, writing on my computer, thinking about all the things you taught me, all the things we learned together, and all the things I learned from ogling all your beautiful designs. One thing I learned from you (in addition to looking happily into the camera as I pretend to type this post), is to always be adventurous and inventive when designing a space. This is what gave me the idea to paint a big ol’ circle on my dining room wall.

My dining room was actually kind of okay before, but I was getting bored of the black metal bookcases and the art I had in there so I decided it was time to pep things up a bit. Add some color. I’ve always been a fan of wall graphics but I thought my style was too simple and paired back to use one in my own space. Which is exactly why I decided to do it. Sometimes, when you’re scared of doing something the best thing you can do for your own sanity is just to do it and see what happens. I mean, like don’t go trying crystal meth or heroin or anything, but if you’re just painting something, HELLO YOU CAN ALWAYS REPAINT IT CALM DOWN.


So that’s what the dining room looked like before, and now it’s all:


How’d I get from Point A to Point B, you ask? Paint. Like basically all I did was paint everything. Which is kind of a testament to how awesome paint is and how transformative it can be. Also, I studied painting in college (HAY PRACTICAL MAJOR!) and so my first instinct is to just paint everything. Like if I could paint over that one time my aunt told me Santa wasn’t coming because I opened a gift on Christmas eve I totally would. Oh my god, Christmas is coming in like three months I am like so excited. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, paint. Here’s what it looked like when I repainted my shockingly well-priced Ikea bookcases:


Don’t let these pictures fool you. Painting these things took like five hours and burned off the top 13 layers of my skin. Just kidding not really, but it did take way longer than I expected. Going from black to white with spray paint takes lots of layers and LOTS of patience. So put on a Cranberries album, drink a Snapple, and get into the groove of spray painting because QUALITY TAKES TIME PEOPLE.

And now it’s time to trace your mega graphic onto the wall:



To trace the giant circle shape onto the wall, I hammered a nail into the center of the wall and attached a string with a pencil tied onto it at the radius I had determined beforehand. This sounds confusing but it’s not. Basically tie a pencil onto the wall on a piece of string half the length of the diameter. Do you get what I mean? WHY IS THIS CONCEPT SO HARD TO EXPLAIN I CAN’T TELL IF I’M MAKING ANY SENSE!!! HELP ME.


Once I’d repainted everything, I did a little shelf styling and kept it lighter and airier than it was previously. When placing bookcases in front of a hyper graphic, you have to keep the background shape in mind when composing the shelves.


So there you go. Now go out there and paint some big ass shapes on your wall and it they look like garbage paint over them and start again because you only live once and a life without shape is a life without purpose!



PS: For more pics, tips from Orlando on shelf styling, and full before/after shots read more of the story on  Homepolish Magazine!

Photographs by Sean Gin courtesy Homepolish