Transform IKEA cubbies into a Pottery Barn console

media center makeover

 Hey all,  Corey here from Sawdust 2 Stitches and I am back with an mind blowing idea….  you ready ?  I  am going to show you how to completely  TRANSFORM  a  very boxy, cheap, modular shelving unit, into a gorgeous, Pottery Barn-esque apothecary console.

Ikea makeover

 Let me preface  by saying this,  I do love Ikea.  I have nothing against it.  Truth be told I  have quite a few items from there including this :


     We purchased this “Media Shelf”  shortly  after we got married from the “scratch and dent” area of Ikea  for $45.00, and I was  super EXCITED about it… for a while.Then one very romantic Valentine’s Day,  Andrew bought  me a miter saw.  That is when my life changed, and subsequently so did all my furniture.

This was a very simple makeover that  did not require a lot of  know how.  It already  had a sturdy structure, all  I did was give it a little facelift.

This is how I turned an Ikea shelf into a Pottery Barn-esque apothecary console.

Tutorial: IKEA Cubbies into Apothecary Console

 Materials Used:

  •  Old Ikea shelf or something similar
  • 1×2’s
  • 1×4’s
  • 2×4’s
  • 2×8’s
  • Lattice Strips
  • Liquid Nails
  • Stain
  • Foam Brushes
  • Drawer Pulls
  • Magnetic Catches

 Tools Suggested :

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


The Console

I started  by beefing up the base.  I wanted it to sit higher off the floor, and also give it some variation in  widths. ( It was all soooo repetitive and boxy.) I used 2×4’s.

2x4's Media Center Remodelaholics

Once the 2×4’s were secured to the base with screws,  I flipped it right side up.   Using 1×4’s  I created a base that  would cover the 2×4’s and the base of the console.

media Center Remodelaholics

  I simply  tacked the 1×4’s straight to the 2×4’s!  Voila,  instant height.

Base media center remodelaholics

Same story for the top.  I wanted  to beef it up. Only this time I didn’t want it as thick as 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.

Top media Center Remodelaholics

For the top  I  used 2×8’s and cut them so that there would be a little bit of hangover on the top.   Gives it a nice finished top, and looks so much more expensive than the cheapy laminate!

2x8s media center Remodelaholics

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

media center remodelaholics apron

Media center Makeover Remodelaholics

I knew I was  working against gravity at this point,  so I  glued, and nailed the top trim pieces in place.

media ceter remodelaholics

Once the  base and top  were completed I moved on to the sides. Starting with the corners.

media center remodelaholics corner 1x3

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

media center remodelaholics corner 2

Again,   I glued them in place and tacked them in place with a nail gun.

media center remodelaholics corner 2

Once the corners were completed, I had to tackle the far sides…

remodelaholics media center sides

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.

media center remodelaholics lattice

Just  keep  going until it looks a little something like this.

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  the shelf fronts.

media center remodelaholics dividers shelves

media center remodelaholics cut strips 2

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

Drawer Fronts:

I am going to warn you, these are not all  functioning sliding drawers.  I was planning on hiding a lot of random stuff like…

Hide it   For items like printers,  computers, and routers,   the idea of a drawer wouldn’t work, and  because of the look I was trying to create  hinges were not an option either.  So, I will show you a  short cut that  I used.

I started by  making the drawer fronts.  I wanted variation, so some are planked , and others are solid wood.  Here is an example of a planked front:

Drawer front

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 drawers front. )

Magnetic catch

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, comps, routers, etc!

PicMonkey Collage border

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!

Finish Work:

Now that you have completed the wood working process,  fill-in any holes with wood  filler,  then follow up by sanding and give everything a nice smooth finish.

Once filled and sanded,  I  stained , and applied  polyurethane to it.

I used:

PicMonkey Collage polu

The icing on the cake is the pulls/handles/knobs.  I  actually  found these “label” pulls on ebay!? They were dang cheap and work perfectly  for this project.  They were originally BRIGHT  brass,   I muted them a bit  but dusting them lightly  with and  “Oil Rubbed Bronze” spray paint.

drawer front wpulls

That’s all there is to it folks!  Stuff as much crap as you want in  those cubbies,  because no one ever has to to see   that you have half your house hidden in the media center.

Clutter free

Just look at how much stuff this thing can hide!  It is functional,  beautiful, and  in the same  price range as an Ikea shelf!  Not too shabby folks!

side media center

better border ss

If you  loved this Ikea makeover you might like this Copper Ikea Shelf   makeover  too!
Thanks for stopping by, and take luck!


IKEA Cubbies To Pottery Barn Console Featured On


IKEA’s basic furniture makes a great base for a DIY project! Check out these other projects that have started from humble basic furniture beginnings:

Little Girls Upholstered Bed


Built-in Closet Hackbuilt-in wardrobe closet, Remodelaholic

Bunk Bed into Cottage Playhousesherwin williams national painting week (37 of 40)

Copper Pipe Geometric Pendant Lightgeometric icosahedron copper pipe pendant light, The Gathered Home on Remodelaholic

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Corey is the voice and grunt labor behind Sawdust 2 Stitches, she freely professes, that she has a problem... She CANNOT leave well enough alone.
She can typically be found hunched over a sewing machine and/or covered in sawdust. All in the effort to create a perfect balance of aesthetics and practicality in her home.

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  1. Love this very much!! quick question….. What kind of paneling did you use to make the drawer fronts with?

  2. I have the exact same piece from IKEA that I’d like to redo like this. Do you have a more specific list of items used? Like how many 1x2s, etc?

  3. I don’t throw the word Love around especially when talking about things instead of people & animals, but I’m going to this time. I Love this wonderful piece. It would be great to have several, my craft room & storage area, it would make a great kitchen island, the list goes on. Now if I can only find someone to put one together, if I could find the right parts, I’m partically disabled so no, I can’t do the work myself anymore. Your instructions are clear, nice pictures, thank you for sharing. Have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

  4. I can not believe how great this looks!!! Mind you it looks like a lot of work, but it’s totally doable!!!