IKEA Makeover into Pottery Barn Style Apothecary

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IKEA Makeover into Pottery Barn Style Apothecary



Hey All!  So a little introduction to this next makeover.  It is kind of a big deal to me,  you see it was my first big furniture makeover.  It all started when I was at IKEA browsing the “Scratch-and-Dent” bargain area about 7 years ago.  That’s when I saw it, an Expedit console in the dark brown!  I know this may seem odd that I was excited about it, but I was thrilled!  You see, my husband and I had just moved and we were currently using a (Free) small bench as a T.V. stand.  We also had a 1 year old that was now standing up and trying to grab at the T.V.  We definitely  needed something that would keep it out of slobbery/goldfish covered hands.  So, I bought it then and there.  70% off, I couldn’t pass that up!?

Fast-forward 3.5 years, and  you would find me sitting on the floor of our little condo with a hand saw, (yes HAND SAW) good old fashion hammer and nails, with wood glue trying to give my little IKEA console a makeover. (I actually ended up dismantling the original,  simply because I needed to document the process. That’s commitment people!  The second time around I had access to power tools.)

I had no clue what I was doing, but after staring at that boxy piece, that showcased all my kids diapers, tonka trucks, and modem wires, I had had it.  Honestly, I think  my husband might have thought I had snapped. THIS was my first big project and the start of a beautiful on-going relationship with upcycles.  You can see more of them here. 

IKEA Makeover into Pottery Barn Style Apothecary

 Materials Used:

 Tools Suggested :

  • Nail Gun
  • Compressor
  • Table Saw
  • Miter  Saw
  • Sander


BEFORE we dive into this,  please understand that these are not BUILD PLANS.  I don’t have specific measurements.  This tutorial is intended to be more of a general guideline that can be applied toward many different size/style pieces.

Step 1: Add Height –

 I wanted to give the base some visual weight, so I began by adding height to the base.  I found the easiest way was to flip it over and attached 2″x 4″  boards directly to the base of the unit.

 Then  turn right side up. Next   task is to I cover  the exposed 2″x 4″s by adding 1″x 4″ boards (trim)  to the base.  I cut the boards with 45 degree angles on the ends.

  I   secured the trim piece (1″x 4″ boards) with wood glue, and reinforced with 2″ finish nails. 

Step 2:  Repeat on Top-

Now that the base is beefed up, I wanted to give the top a little more thickness as well. However I wanted it to be a little lower profile than the base, so I used 1×4’s instead of 2×4’s.  Again,  I  just  tacked it in place,  giving the top  some extra  visual weight.

  I  used 2×8’s  for the top.  I cut them so that  would hang out over the top a little bit and give it a lip.  This step alone makes it look SO much better !

Once the top of the console was in place I  trimmed  out the top of the shelf. ( I basically  repeated  the same steps  from the base.  Only this time I was covering the 1×4’s.)


Step 3 :  The Sides

Next up, sides! I decided to start in the corners.

I ended up doing mitered corners,  using my  table saw.  ( You can always  just  use a 1×3″ and 1×2″ and and have them butt into each other.)


It is coming together people!

I used a 1×2 to frame in the rest of the side,  leaving a large open ugly laminate area.

I  decided to use lattice,  because is has a much  smaller profile and would  create  depth.  That,  and I just love the look of it, and it’s cheap!

Using a sander I scuffed up the laminate,  because I was planning out using glue to help  hold the lattice in place, and everything sticks better to non-glossy  surfaces.

I simply measured, cut, glued, nailed, and then repeated on both sides of the console.


Step 4:  Dividers

At this point you can easily  call it good enough and move on to painting and/or staining.   But not me.  I had to go all “Corey” on it.  I decided to hide any evidences of laminate. Including the shelf fronts.

Once  I had completely covered all traces of laminate,  I moved on the “drawer” front.

Step 5: Drawer Fronts 

1.)  I cut a piece of paneling  that was the dimensions of the  cubby  opening.  I also cut 1×4’s the same width.

2.)  Using liquid nails I adhered the planks on to the piece of paneling.

3.) After it had completely dried I sanded it.

4.) It’s now ready for stain and hardware.

Once  I had made all my drawer fronts,  using  1×2’s I cut two strips of wood  that were the same  width of  EACH cubby. (These will be used  to install the drawer fronts. )

The strips of wood that I cut out of 1×2’s  are  used  to  keep the drawer front in place.   The “drawer” panel will rest against the wood slats and the magnetic  catch will hold it in place.  This system works PERFECTLY  for appliances like  printers, computers, routers, etc!

I  personally  did make a few drawers to hold the kids toys and diapers.  (I won’t be going into that today) But if you have your heart set on it,  it is totally  doable.

If the idea of making drawers sounds overwhelming,  maybe you should consider making some simple crates ?  Possibly  using decorative baskets ? Ikea  also makes a whole line of baskets meant to fit their shelves.  The possibilities are endless!

Seriously,  look at how much crap those little magnetic catch doors can hide!!?   There is always a way to make form and function meet.  Sometimes it takes a lot of elbow grease, and seriously stubborn disposition, but it is possible!




 Take Luck.

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