My Favorite DIY Hack.

When I was finishing up my former master bedroom I really wanted to share how great this little project came out but couldn’t because I had to wait for the book. But now I can! I am no DIY master- that’s just not my thing and it’s important that as a designer, blogger and person I honor my strengths and know my weaknesses (like any projects involving a power drill, sanding or sewing, thirty seven steps or incredible amounts of patience). However, sometimes a budget restriction requires you to get a little bit crafty no matter how DIY-challenged you are. I was DYING to get a fabulous dresser by Redford House for this room.  But my renovation and decorating budget was completely busted and so I had to improvise. Enter IKEA, some nice hardware, Andrew and his powder drill!

The result is here- lovely, functional and totally doable!
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Lamp –  c/o Bunny Williams // Art- by me, another way to save money! // Rug- Mohr & McPherson (I borrowed this, so it’s still available! LOVE.) // Jewelry Boxes- West Elm // Buddha- Homegoods, similar here

This is the dresser I was lusting after- $2,620 in white with brass hardware. GAH.

Bennett 6 Drawer Dresser French Grey

So instead I bought the IKEA six drawer Malm dresser for $149…

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I ordered six well made, heavy brass ring pulls– $32.99 each.  Yes, these are very expensive, yes, but the weight and finish of them offsets the discount dresser and makes the project feel much more high end.  When you grab the heavy handles you feel like it’s anything but IKEA!  Andrew drilled carefully measured holes in the drawers and BAM- I high end looking dresser for less.


In total it cost $348 (plus lots of hugs and praise for Andrew and his IKEA assembly skills)- a fraction of what the inspiration dresser cost but still with substance!

The rest of the room, looking pretty lovely now as our main guest room!

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Bed- Crate & Barrel // Ceiling Light- Lamps Plus // Bedding- Pottery Barn // Sconces- Hudson Valley // Bed Pillow- Custom // Framed Panels- Custom // Side Tables- WS Home (old, given to me by a client, spray painted white!)

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Tray- from my line with Jill Rosenwald (just ask for a custom monogram added!)

Another saver? I love ordering gorgeous custom Leontine Linens for clients, but that wasn’t in my budget either. So I bought nice bordered bedding from Pottery Barn and sent the shams down to my friends at Monogram Goods and they added a custom monogram!

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I always advise clients no matter what budget to mix the big box affordable with a few splurges to craft a unique look. Plan your splurges for the truly eye-catching- in this room it was the framed wallpaper panels and the custom pillow on the bed. This keeps your room from looking expected and like a catalog.

There are tons more tips and images like this in my book, so I think you should pick it up if you haven’t. As well as a few copies for friends for the holidays. Just saying. :)

All images by Michael Partenio // Styled by Stacy Kunstel & myself


  1. Love it! May I ask what color paint you used? Your book is the topic of many family discussions, we adore it! Thank you

  2. I like yours even better!
    The hardware is fantastic.
    Silly quick question….where does one get a banana leaf like the one in your vase?
    Is it real or faux?
    P.S. Really enjoying your book…..great job!

  3. I hacked the same dresser! Mine has black trim on each drawer with gold pulls. It’s a dramatic look, but at least it was cheap if I get tired of it!

  4. I just sent a friend a copy of your book as a gift! I’ll also be sharing it in my upcoming holiday gift guides. It’s too pretty and packed with goodness not to share!

  5. Love your guest room! Can I ask where your curtains are from? Also is there a name for how they’re pleated at the top, but with the rings? Thanks! :)

  6. I saw this dresser in your book and LOVED the pulls- thanks for sharing the source! Also, I’ve been over at looking at all the One Room Challenge reveals and I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve spotted your book in everyone’s photos…it’s like “Where’s Waldo”, but “where’s the EOS book”!

  7. Erin, do you have any advice for how to replicate the look of the panels? Are they framed wallpaper or tapestries? Thanks in advance for your help!

  8. PERFECTION just like everything you do!! You have the Midas touch!! Love the hardware. Your book is fantastic, I so enjoy reading it!! Love how it looks in my family room basket tray on my ottoman, just the right touch!!!

  9. This is similar to the picture I tabbed and showed you on your Chicago visit because I love, love, love, LOVE it all!!! I’m lost in panel making tips and tutorials (definitely not my strength). Hint, hint, I think it would make a great follow up post to today’s post. Thanks for your incredible book (and blog) – truly enjoying it! :)

  10. That art! I can’t believe you DIY’d that – so impressive. Do you sell your pieces??? I’d kill for one in my condo.

  11. You got those nightstands before me:( I saw them in her garage and she said she already had a taker.

  12. So pleased for you to see your book featured in the “Must Reads – inspiring books to give and receive” piece in the December issue of Canadian House & Home! It is well-deserved!

    1. Love the way this turned out! How did Andrew drill the holes? Last time I tried drilling into an Ikea piece of furniture the holes ended up looking very jagged.

  13. ok, that’s it, i am ordering your book for my shop! if all this goodness is in there, gotta have it!
    i am fairly new to you erin and admire all that you do……with an element of style

  14. Hi Erin. Question on the pulls (I’m doing the same hack). The ring pulls in 3″ are half the price of the 2.5″. Do you think the smaller size is worth the extra $$? Also, any advice on installing this particular hardware? I’ve heard it’s especially difficult. Love this look. Thank you!

  15. Erin, that room is just beautiful! Is that a king size bed? I am about to redo my room with my king-size and I wanted to do one long pillow like you have in the front, but I don’t know what dimensions to get?! Do you remember the approximate height and length of that one long pillow?
    I am dying to use Peter Dunham’s fig print in front on an all-white bed! I love your
    blog and your writing and I have been praying for you to be blessed with a little one:)

  16. Erin, I live in Singapore and my book finnnnnally arrived yesterday! I can’t wait to dig into it this weekend!

  17. Hi Erin-

    I installed pulls on that same IKEA dresser for my daughter’s nursery but noticed that the room had a horrible off-gassing scent that never went away for months and months. (She was sleeping in our bedroom at that time anyway). But I wound up getting rid of the dresser before she even moved into the room. I did a little research and realized that the formaldehyde used for the MDF is what caused the smell. Yikes! Did you experience anything similar?

  18. This room is so beautiful and thank you so much for sharing. High-meets-low is the best way to decorate — definitely one of the best pieces of advice that clients can receive, I think.

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