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When your stairs say no.

sophie cartledgeComment

The item that i get asked most about in our house is our daughters wardrobe. So i thought i’d share how i did it, why i did it and my love hate relationship with flat pack.


Never liked it. Not so much the putting together, strangely i quite enjoyed that bit, that's a bit like a puzzle with glue. An advanced Blue Peter challenge, with something more useful than a cardboard kaleidoscope to show at the end of it.

 I just never quite got it. The cheapness, the mdf, the veneer, the cardboard with a seam for the drawer base, all being held together with a bit of pva and plugs. I remember as a kid being horrified at my mums bedroom furniture choice. If you can imagine Emily Bronte does flat pack, you’d come somewhere close. However was that going to last? Why why why would anyone knowingly part with their hard earned money for this? I’m not sure its normal to have such a strong opinion on matters of furniture construction at such a young age but i guess its not surprising that i have ended up upcycling the good old stuff.

One too many jumpers and your cardboard bottom would be sagging like a gooden, you'd soon be losing your favourite pants for the next few years as they disappear through the gap of no return only to gather more dust than you ever thought could exist in your home.

 Never mind that really important receipt for that really expensive thing that you really shouldn't have bought. Yep gone too, for ever. Or at least until well past its return date. 

Then there’s IKEA flatpack. It is sturdy, it is easy to put together, you can definitely afford it and grab yourself a bag of dime bars and a 50p hotdog for the journey home whilst you’re at it. That would be once you have wrestled with your purchases and played that well known high adrenaline fueled tetris game called 'Is this coming home with us?’ This struck me as quite funny given that Gillis Lundgren apparently came up with the idea of flatpack because he couldn’t fit a newly purchased table in his car without taking the legs off…

Anyway i digress. I’m here to tell you about how a second hand ikea bodo was the answer to all our storage problems.

The style of wardrobe that i would have gone for. This one is from  Mid-century Friends  who stock the most incredible range of vintage furniture.

The style of wardrobe that i would have gone for. This one is from Mid-century Friends who stock the most incredible range of vintage furniture.

The daughter needed a wardrobe. As we have already discussed, i did not want flat pack. But, our stairs laughed at me. “NONE SHALL PASS” they shouted with their curves and low ceiling all in the wrong places. None shall pass. I hear you stairs but tell me what to do? They were most unhelpful. I wanted her room to have a vintage scandi feel to it and really wanted an old wardrobe, an old small wardrobe, an old small gentlemans wardrobe, a nice vintage wardrobe… I think you get the idea.

It wasn’t going to happen. Then one morning i was scrolling through gumtree, which is a daily ritual of mine, (its a goldmine of vintage treats waiting to be discovered). I saw this…


I squinted, closed my left eye and imagined it with the black fabric removed and painted a different colour. This could work. The stairs would let this one pass, in tiny sections. It could also, given the fact that it was wood and metal mix it up enough in her room and give it a bit of modern with the vintage. She would HAVE to keep it tidy which could be a problem but given the fact it was only £10, I went to collect it.

I gave the wood and the metal a light sand and used hammerite ‘copper’ (which actually looks more old gold) and little greene paint company’s intelligent matt clay mid. It’s a great finish, matt but wipeable and far more durable than a chalk paint.

If you were doing something similar you could use spray paint but make sure you prime and then spray your colour of choice.

The hammerite is brilliant because although it takes time to paint, the finish is really long lasting and anti rusting. There are still no scratch marks to be seen on it four years on, despite it regularly being manhandled and overloaded by its owner.

To give this piece of flat pack it’s due, it took minutes to put back together after the paint was dry, requiring no knowledgeable DIY assistant, just me and Alan the key.

I had a couple of retro suitcases I picked up for £3 each in a charity shop a while back, they were too cool to pass up with their orange and blue stripe. I had imagined myself carrying them along a train station, scarf tied under my chin on some chic weekend away, you know the usual daydreaming of a more spontaneous exciting life but for now I have set them about multi tasking. One hides away my old wedding dress and the other out of season clothes. They look good, are practical and entirely justify every charity shop purchase from the past or future because it will ALL come in handy one day…

You could equally use old leather cases, trunks or patterned boxes to do the same.

I also recently picked up some white wood hangers from Aldi £3.49 for 10 which I think have finished it off nicely.

Simples, a super quick transformation, ideal for an impatient transformation enthusiast.

Here are a couple of my favourite before and after IKEA hacks that have been done using an Ikea Rast chest of drawers and PAX wardrobe. Great inspiration that just might trigger off ideas for re-using furniture you already have or that commonly pop up on buy and sell facebook sites, gumtree and ebay.

1. Ikea Rast

2. Ikea Rast make over by Pati Robbins

3. Ikea Pax

4. Ikea Pax make over by Erin Kestenbaum

So there you have it as much as flatpack has not been my first choice for furniture it has definitely in this case saved the day and made me eat my ‘i’m too good for flatpack’ words. Like they say, there’s a time and a place for everything and that Ikea Bodo definitely has a place in our house.

Thanks IKEA, thank you gumtree , thank you to the nice man that sold it to us and thank you for reading.

 Sophie x