...because home doesn't happen overnight.

stop stool 1

That’s Everett. He’s five. He wants to do everything his big brother does including wash his hands at the kitchen sink even though he can’t reach the faucet. Instead of walking back to the bathroom, because you know it’s sooooo far, he climbs up on the counter and precariously balances on the edge of the sink. Obviously, it isn’t safe. I keep picturing him falling head first into the sink or backwards onto the floor. Plus, there’s no center support in the cabinet under the sink so I don’t really think it’s meant to hold the weight of five-year-olds.

Enter the Ikea BEKVÄM step stool. It’s $15, constructed of solid wood and sturdy. (We have one in the boys’ room so I can vouch for it.)

stop stool 2

(I got a little carried away with laying out the unassembled pieces. Doesn’t it look like a graphic group cheerleading pose?)

Before assembly, I painted the legs and stained the steps. I walked into Sherwin Williams (I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket) and was immediately drawn to a fiery red-orange swatch. The paint color is called “stop”. I guess because that’s what you do when you see it. STOP! I like mostly neutrals in our house but I thought it would be fun to have a shot of color on the stool. Also, I seem to be on a red-orange kick lately. The paint guy said since it was in the red family I was to use a primer first. I didn’t. I’m such a rebel. I brushed on two thin coats in a semigloss finish and the coverage was great so I left it at that.

Ikea advises against painting the steps due to the risk of slipping. And since safer was my goal in the first place, I decided to stain the steps with one coat of Minwax special walnut. We had some leftover from previous projects so all I had to do was walk out in the garage and search for a half an hour through our own private paint department. Oh, wait!, first I used a coat of wood conditioner…then I stained. I always use a wood conditioner before staining. Okay, so that was one coat of wood conditioner then one coat of special walnut. I decided not to seal the steps because I like the raw, matte wood and I kinda love the idea of it getting beat up and taking on a patina over time.

stop stool 6

Isn’t it spicy against the black cabinets?! HOT. With hints of orange and coral, it’s such a great modern red. I’m so happy I only did one coat of stain on the steps and left them unsealed. I love me some rustic-modern juxtaposition.

stop stool 8

Now the lil’ man can wash his hands, no problem. Everett was so excited when I told him the stool was for him.

stop stool 9

But there was a *slight* ulterior motive for this stool. I have a hard time reaching a cabinet above our microwave. I usually end up hoisting myself onto the counter or dragging over an extra tall stool from the island. No more.

stop stool 7

When the stool isn’t in use, I’ve been stashing it next to the fridge. (Mabrey is all about climbing up and messing with the papers and magnets. One problem solved, another created.) Eventually, it will go live where the high chair is now in my workspace.

I am a little worried about the paint marking up the cabinets but I talked to Everett about it and so far he’s been really careful not to bump the stool against the cabinets. Like I said, he LOVES the fact that this is his stool and he’s taking it very seriously. Ha! I’m hoping the high quality paint won’t be prone to leaving marks. I also made sure to let the paint cure thoroughly before bringing the stool into the kitchen. So far, so good.

Isn’t it just the hottest lil’ thing? All of a sudden I’m craving a margarita and chips & salsa. Any takers?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

47 Comments

25.February.2014

Ohh, I love the stool! My closet is crying out for something fancy like this. Now to figure out if it’s tall enough for short me…

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25.February.2014

Love the bright hit of color!

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25.February.2014

I love little pops of color like this! Lately I’ve been craving mustard…er, well mustard yellow that is. I love it when a swatch just jumps right out at you. Makes our jobs a whole lot easier! Loving all of your latest tweaks!

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25.February.2014

Looks great ! I have one like that I stained for the bathroom for little kids to reach the sink. Maybe you can stick small felt pads on the back of the top step to prevent the stool from scratching the cabinet doors ? And I’ll take a margarita with you ^_^ ! Take care.

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25.February.2014

Just letting you know BEKVÄM means comfortable. :) And I thought Swedish was completely useless. Gotta thank IKEA.

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replied on February 25th, 2014

I love it when people tell me what the Ikea product names mean. Makes sense!

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25.February.2014

I love this rug in your kitchen. . . in fact I love your home. It’s gorgeous and cozy looking, congrats :-) Can you give info on the rug?

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replied on February 25th, 2014

All the details here…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/09/30/a-kitchen-rug/

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Too cute- I love that contrast!

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25.February.2014

I just put together a Bekvam stool last night! Love it (as does MY 5 year old!). But didn’t paint it. Now I will have to! Yours looks way better!

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25.February.2014

Cute! We have the same stool stained dark. We left the wood raw and it still looks great a few years later. You can glue a similarly colored strip of felt on the side of the top step that would hit your cabinets to keep it from scratching anything. Does that make sense? The front (back?) edge of the step on the side… You’ll hardly notice it and it does help!

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replied on February 25th, 2014

Great idea! Might steal that idea if I start noticing marks.

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replied on February 26th, 2014

I just used the sticky felt pads that are meant to keep the bottoms of furniture from scratching hardwood on the backside of my kids’ stools. (i found mine at home depot or lowes in the hardware section). I love the colors of this stool, awesome tweak! I so wish that there was an IKEA closer to me.

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replied on March 2nd, 2014

We have the same stool. The paint I have on it does mark the cabinets. Cover anywhere the legs might touch the cabinets with transparent tape. My paint was semi gloss and the transparent gift wrap tape has a shine too so you can’t see it at all.

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Love the red! Its perfect with the other pops of red you have going on in the house. I painted our Ikea Bekvam mint but now that our floors are mint, Im thinking its time for a new one. We’ve had it for a while now and haven’t experienced and peeling or marking on our cabinets, and I used Behr paint for it. I love that you stained the steps. It’ll wear so beautifully over time.

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replied on February 25th, 2014

you have MINT floors? that sounds awesome. I need to wander on over and hope you have pics! I wish I was that brave!

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replied on February 25th, 2014

Ha! Yes there are plenty of pics as well as a tutorial:)

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I love all the hacks of this little gem of a stool I’ve seen! It’s a must with kids!

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25.February.2014

STOP it! ha! Looks great – especially love you left the treads timber. i like me some half-painted stuff. I just threw out an old broken step stool and am in desperate need of a new one. I’m tall(ish) and still can’t reach the top three shelves of my pantry. And immy needs me to lift her everytime to wash her hands (which is often as she is a grot). need to do another ikea trip… wish i had one just up the road! x

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25.February.2014

Gah! That’s been on my IKEA shopping list for forever, but IKEA is a hike away so I haven’t been able to follow through. Very jealous.

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25.February.2014

Did you use the beech stool? Did you have to sand it any or you just painted over the existing finish?

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replied on February 26th, 2014

Yep, it’s the beech stool. No sanding or any other prep work besides the wood conditioner for the treads.

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25.February.2014

Love it! What a cheerful color (especially with the doldrums of winter).

And what is it about boys? Mine has an inexhaustible supply of energy when it comes to running circles in the house , but yes, walking to the bathroom from the kitchen to wash his hands is apparently an impossible feat. The step stool is a great idea.

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25.February.2014

I *just* picked up that step stool today at IKEA! And a fiddle leaf fig plant – yay! Thanks again for the shopping tip. I might have to copy your idea for painting the stool – soo cute.

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26.February.2014

The colors in your carpet matches the stool. I love red and oranges.

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26.February.2014

Love the Bekvam stool so much! We have two of them, for 5 and 2 year old girls… they frequently use them as half-picnic tables, with a plate or art supplies on the top. The original one ended up quite a mess and sanded down repeatedly over the years, and now has been stained black and matched with a new black Bekvam as well.

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26.February.2014

Wow, I love this! I have a 5 year old boy who either drags a chair to stand on, or uses our non-cute plastic folding step stool. I like this way better!

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26.February.2014

This looks so great! I love the red and think it goes really well with your rug.

I swear every time I go to IKEA, they are sold out of this stool! I want one for our kitchen for the same reason – little bodies climbing on counters. I was thinking of painting it yellow.
sigh. Maybe next trip.

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26.February.2014

I too can vouch for the sturdiness of the Bekvam. We’ve had one for something like 15 years, and it is still as sturdy as the day we got it. All of us use it, including my husband, and it’s all like, what, did you have a challenge for me?

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27.February.2014

Everyone loves the stool, but I love the cheerleader pose you created from the unassembled pieces! That’s what they call ‘thinking outside the box’. I am a new fan!

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27.February.2014

What wood conditioner do you use brand wise?

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replied on February 28th, 2014

Also Minwax.

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replied on February 28th, 2014

Perfect. Do you use regular or water based formula?

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28.February.2014

[…] painter’s pyramid stands came in handy when I tweaked an Ikea step stool earlier this week. Such a clever […]

28.February.2014

Love it! A couple coats of my all-time fave clear coat Modern Masters Dead Flat would diminish your red-marking-things-up fears. Stuff is a flipping fortune, but if you’re ever up toward Lebanon, you can borrow my can! :)

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[…] 5) I Call It the Stop Stool by House Tweaking […]

12.August.2014

[…] *http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/24/i-call-it-the-stop-stool/ […]

[…] Source […]

[…] are a ton of super cute Bekvam makeovers in blogland, like Kristi’s, Dana’s, and Liz Marie’s, the possibilities are endless with this little guy.  I was going […]

[…] Or take it aside, paint the bottom/ body a shade that matches your kitchen and let the youngsters use the stool to succeed in the sink or the highest cabinets. Similarly, use it within the rest room is the sink is mounted too excessive for the youngsters.discovered on housetweaking. […]

19.May.2015

[…] she isn’t playing chef. She likes to carry it over to her kitchen when she’s playing. The red stool stands in as extra countertop […]

11.August.2015

Hey! Nice project. after a year or so do you find you have problems with water getting on the stained wood? I just stained mine and am wondering if I need to seal it with something to prevent water damage?

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replied on August 12th, 2015

A few drops and dribbles haven’t messed up the finish. If I were to use the same stool in a bathroom I would seal it. If you’re worried about water damage a few coats of sealer is a good idea. I would go with a matte finish though to avoid slipping!

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16.October.2015

Love this look! Another reader asked this as well – for the tops, did you use water or oil based stain? Do you have a preference?

Thanks!

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replied on October 16th, 2015

Sorry, one other question: What was your set up for painting the unassembled legs? Were the legs able to stand upright by themselves so you could paint all sides and let them dry? Or did you have to lay them down and paint the last side later? Thanks again!

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replied on October 20th, 2015

I think I had to lean them against something to paint one side at a time.

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replied on October 20th, 2015

I believe it’s oil-based.

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