Skip to content
Home » Ikea Bathroom Vanity Hack – at home with Ashley

Ikea Bathroom Vanity Hack – at home with Ashley

  • diy
Ikea Bathroom Vanity Hack - at home with Ashley

I’m redoing my bathroom. For the vanity, I’m using the Ikea Hermes vanity. It’s plain, but has good bones. I thought I could dress it up with scallops at the bottom, trimmed out drawers, new knobs, paint, and carved flower onlays. So today, I’m showing you my Ikea bathroom vanity hack in case you want to try this out too.

ikea bathroom vanity hack

Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:


If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.



step 1- make it so the drawer closes

The bottom drawer on my Ikea Hermes vanity isn’t closing all the way. It’s close, but the pipe sticks out about 1/2″ too far. To fix it, we’re going to cut out where the pipe hits the drawer. Draw on the drawer where the pipe and drawer collide.

Use a spade drill bit to start a hole in the middle back section of the drawer where the opening will be. Then insert a jigsaw in that hole and cut along the pencil lines.

Test the drawer to make sure the drawer closes nicely.

Add a piece of thin wood to the back of the drawer so the hole in the drawer doesn’t show. Cut the piece of wood veneer down with a table saw for the right height.

Cut the wood with the miter saw for the correct width.

Glue into place and clamp down so it’ll set flat.

Now you can’t tell there is a hole in the back of the drawer! And it closes all the way.

step 2- add trim and wood details

Next, let’s add a Carved Wood Onlay onto the middle of each drawer. To start, find center on the drawer and use a pencil to mark that spot.

Then, use glue and a few nails to attach the onlay onto the drawer.

Cut Trim to go around the perimeter of the drawer. For the top and bottom pieces, cut them to 27-1/8″ long. For the side pieces, cut them 12-3/8″ (for the taller drawers) and 8-5/8″ long (for the shorter drawers).

Make sure the trim pieces fit nicely.

Then glue and nail them into place.

Note, the wood on the front of the drawers is very soft and it dings up easily. So be careful when working with it to be gentle on it.

step 3- close up the base

One of the things I hated about my last bathroom vanity was it was on legs and REALLY hard and annoying to clean under. So I’ve decided to close mine up so I won’t need to sweep under it while adding a cute detail. 

Start by cutting a piece of Plywood to fit under the side- 16-5/8″ wide by 8″ tall. 

Cut out a notch for the support beam with a jigsaw.

Add a few screws to hold it in place.

Go from under the vanity and attach the screw through the vanity into the back of the plywood so the screws don’t show on the front of the vanity.

Next, cut a second piece of Plywood to fit under the front- 27-1/2″ wide by 7-3/4″ tall. 

Test fit the wood to make sure it works in the space.

Use screws to hold it in place. Again, go from under the vanity and attach the screw through the vanity into the back of the plywood.

The finishing touch for the new base is adding scallop trim! I bought some Scallop MDF Trim to make this a really simple step.

Cut the scallop trim- 27-1/2″ long for the front and 16-1/2″ long for the side. When cutting try to make it so as many full scallops as possible are showing.

Nail the scallops in place.

At this point, it doesn’t look that special. But wait until you see it painted!

step 4- prep for paint

For this project, I’m going to use the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations Kit. It makes it so that kitchen or bathroom cabinets (or even wood furniture) can be painted easily with no stripping or sanding for an affordable price. The kit includes a cleaner/degreaser, bond coat, top coat, and a instructional booklet. It covers up to 100 square feet.

The kit works well on wood, laminate, metal, or melamine surfaces. A satin finish is achieved in 3 steps- clean, prime, and then paint.

The kit comes in different tints- white, midtone, or deep. Each tint variety can be further customized to a variety of colors. I’m using the White Tint Kit and I had the paint counter at my hardware store tint it to the color Frost (a very light blue)- or there’s 13 other colors. It can also be left untainted for white cabinet paint.

Begin by removing the cabinet doors off hinges and taking the drawers out of frames. Remove all cabinet hardware, including hinges, drawer pulls, and knobs. 

And now, fill holes with spackle or wood filler. I like to apply two coats to make sure the holes won’t show. Once that’s dry, I then lightly sand them smooth.

step5- clean the cabinets

Lay the cabinet doors and drawers on a table covered with a drop cloth during the painting process to make it easier and have a smooth finish.

And now, clean the cabinets thoroughly to remove any grease, dirt, or other residues. Begin by wiping or rinsing away any loose dirt or dust. A microfiber rag works great for this.

Use the degreaser that comes in the kit for this step (it’s 4 oz. of Krud Kutter). It’s important to clean well(especially if there is any wax or grease) so that the paint can properly adhere to the cabinet.

Apply a liberal amount of the cleaner to the surfaces that will be painted with a lint-free rag. Allow it to sit and penetrate 3-5 minutes before wiping dry with the rag. Do not allow the Krud Kutter to dry on the surface before wiping.

step 6- verify surface adhesion

Next, we’re going to test to make sure the bond coat will properly adhere with the bathroom vanity. To do this we’re going to test a small area on the side of the bathroom vanity in a hard to see place.

Apply the bond coat in a small 3″x3″ area.

Allow to dry for 2 hours. Take a utility knife and make an X in the coating dow to the cabinet surface.

Apply painter’s tape over the X and press firmly. Remove the tape with one quick pull. 

If more than 10% of the coating comes off, the cabinet surfaces may have a wax finish and will need to be scuffed up or lightly sanded to allow the bond coat to adhere to the cabinet. None of the bond coat came off with the tape for me, so mine doesn’t need to be sanded.

If needed, sand lightly and then vacuum and clean up any dust. Though I did sand off the test area so that it won’t show later.

Then, finish prepping for the bond coat. Use painter’s tape to go around the perimeter of the cabinets. This will protect the floors and walls from getting paint on them.

If needed, caulk around any trim or where the cabinets hit the wall. For me, since this is a newly installed vanity that is an important step. Especially on the bottom where I just closed off the base of the vanity. Let the caulk dry completely.

step 7- apply the bond coat

Throughly stir the bond coat and pour it into a disposable tray or painting container. 

And now, apply the bond coat to the vanity. 

Begin with the cabinet frames. Apply an even coat of bond coat. Use a 2″ brush for detailed areas and a 1/4″ nap roller for the board, open areas.

Next, use the roller in up and down motion on the stiles and frame sides. Use the roller with side-to-side motion on the rails.

Proceed onto applying the bond coat to the drawers. Note, I’m only painting the front of my drawers. If you’re painting the backs of the drawers or cabinet doors, start with those. To do this, brush on the bond coat to all four corners and sides. Apply the bond coat in a horizontal motion for the top and bottom pieces of trim and in a vertical motion for the side pieces of trim.

Coat the center panel with long side-to side horizontal strokes with the roller. Next, coat the onlay in the center with paint.

Look for excess bond coat in corners and crevasses and use the paint brush to remove build up.

Be sure to coat the door and drawer edges when completing the fronts. Watch for drips.

Once the first coat is dry (approximately 2 hours), apply a second coat if needed. Allow second coat to dry 2 hours before moving on to the top coat step.

step 8- apply protective top coat

Once the bond coat is on, the protective top coat needs to be added. By doing this, it’ll give stain and scratch resistance to the vanity.

Stir the top coat thoroughly before applying. Use a 2″ synthetic brush for the detailed areas and a roller for the broad, open areas to apply a thin, even coat.

Begin with the cabinet boxes and frames. Like before, use vertical strokes on the cabinet sides and stiles and horizontal strokes on the rails.

Apply the protective top coat to the drawers. Use the brush on the trim and the roller on the open areas and apply as instructed in step 7.

Avoid over brushing in in previously coated areas. If build-up occurs in recessed areas, wipe them out using a clean, dry synthetic paint brush. Once finished, inspect the surfaces and touch up any light areas where more protective top coat is needed.

Note, only one coat of protective top coat is required. Allow 2 hours to dry.

After 12 hours, the cabinet drawers and doors can be re-installed. Reinstall the hardware onto your cabinets. By waiting the recommended time before using the cabinets, this ensures that the finish fully hardens and becomes durable.

The protective top coat will cure completely within 7 days. Avoid cleaning until product has cured for at least 7 days.


And here is the finished vanity! Do you see the scallop trim at the bottom- it is so cute!

I am genuinely impressed by the finish (if I do say so myself- lol). The result is a smooth with a rich satin finish. I’m so impressed with how smooth the finish is! 

Another thing I love are the drawers! I think the details really elevate the overall look- the wood onlays, the trim, and the pulls all look expensive even though they really weren’t!

The nice thing with the top coat is that it offers stain and scratch resistance. Which is helpful since the wood on the vanity is so soft! Later, to clean the vanity all that’ll be needed are a soap and water cleanup.

For me, the finished vanity looks like a vintage dresser that was turned into a vanity.

price breakdown

I thought I’d break down how much this project cost. The Ikea Hermes Vanity and White Sink Topper were on sale when I bought it. They came to $347 together. I bought the vanity a few weeks before I needed to so I could snag the good sale price!

For the materials, I spent $15 on the 2 pieces of Trim for the Drawers. The Scallop MDF Trim was $22. Next, the Carved Wood Onlays were super affordable at $10 for two. The Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit  came to $60.

Then, everything else- Plywood Hobby Sheet, Screws, Wood Filler, 1/4″ Nap Roller, 2″ Paint Brush, Lint Free Rags, Drop Cloth, and Painter’s Tape I had on hand.

So I spent $347 on the vanity and topper.

Then $107 to hack the Ikea Hermes vanity.

Total- $454

In conclusion, I hope this post was helpful! If you have a builder grade vanity or an Ikea one, I think you can use some of these ideas to totally upgrade it. Please let me know if you have any questions on this Ikea bathroom vanity hack in the comments. I am so pleased with how it turned out and am excited to see the rest of the bathroom come together!

signatureThis post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


If you love it, pin “Ikea bathroom vanity hack”!