...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I want to thank all of you for your well wishes and words of encouragement. THANK YOU. I wasn’t planning on it, but I had to take some time off. The kids ended up getting sick, too. Luckily, Cheetah hasn’t made anymore attempts to run away and I haven’t had anymore run-ins with opossums ;)

DIY leather pull 11

I’ve been tweaking things here and there in our bedroom. Mostly because I like change every now and then, but also because a few things felt slightly off. Take the IKEA HEMNES shoe cabinet, for instance. It actually started out in our entry, then I moved it to the master bedroom after I realized it made more sense functionally. (We don’t enter through the front door on a regular basis, so we don’t really need shoe storage there.) I hung a mirror (an octagonal one at first, then a rectangular one) and spray painted the knobs gold, but the vignette always felt flat to me. (Also, looking back at old posts is a little like looking at pictures of myself from college or high school. It’s embarrassing.)

Additionally, in my opinion, the cabinet knobs were awkwardly placed. They were positioned about one-third of the way down the drawer fronts. We had to give them a good tug to open the shoe compartments. I always thought handles/pulls located higher up on the fronts would work and look better. (IKEA must have received similar feedback because they now offer the STÄLL cabinet with notched handles.) I decided to try my hand at making leather pulls for the shoe cabinet.

DIY leather pull 1

I removed the original knobs, filled the holes with wood putty then sanded the putty smooth taking care NOT to sand the surface of the drawer fronts. (I just wanted to do a quick and easy patch & touchup job. If possible, I didn’t want to paint the entire fronts/cabinet.) After the putty had dried completely, I used a small watercolor brush from my kids’ art supplies to brush on two coats of paint over the putty only. I used Benjamin Moore white dove in semigloss (leftover from our baseboards and trim) because it was what I had on hand and there was a snow storm and I wasn’t dragging the kids to the store for eight drops of paint. It isn’t a perfect match but it worked just fine for the minuscule touchups. These photos are untouched other than lightening them up a little, but you really can’t tell where the knob holes used to be unless the sun is shining and you look at the cabinet from just the right angle.

Of course, you can have paint color-matched for a flawless finish if you’re worried about inconsistencies.

DIY leather pull 2

Once the holes were patched and painted, I got to work on the pulls. I found a faux leather belt at my local Salvation Army store. It was long enough for four pulls and the $1.99 price tag was perfect. When I got to the counter and found out it was included in the daily special (50% off all yellow tags!), I was stoked. The belt rang in at a whopping 99¢ and, after a grueling week from hell, it completely made my day. It’s the little things, people.

DIY leather pull 3

I cut the buckle off the belt then measured and cut four 4½” strips for the pulls.

DIY leather pull 4

I folded each strip over on itself, measured 3/8″ down from the cut ends then drilled a hole through each pull. (I don’t remember the exact size of the drill bit, but it was slightly smaller than the shaft of the machine screws I bought for the project. Keep reading for more info on those.) I used the same wood scrap from the DIY wood bead strand for a cleaner cut and to protect the floor. If you haven’t noticed by now, I tend to work on the floor in whatever room I’m working on at the moment. I’m too impatient to set things up elsewhere!

DIY leather pull 5

I bought four 10-24 x 1″ brass machine screws plus washers and nuts in the same size for this project. I found them at Lowe’s and they cost ~$6 total. For each pull, I slipped a screw through a washer then the hole in the leather.

DIY leather pull 6

DIY leather pull 7

I removed the shoe compartments from the cabinet (they simply pull up and out) and used the same drill bit to drill a hole in each front ~½” down from the top. I wanted the tops of the pulls to line up with the tops of the fronts without interfering with opening/closing. Again, I used a wood scrap underneath for a clean cut.

DIY leather pull 8

DIY leather pull 12

Then I used a flathead screwdriver to screw the pulls onto the fronts. I secured them with a 10-24 brass nut. I probably could have used a slightly longer screw as I had to bust out pliers to screw the nuts on, but it all worked out. Steve says the screws are perfect because they don’t stick out and pose a hazard to hands reaching into the cabinet for a pair of shoes. One thing is for sure. They aren’t going anywhere!

DIY leather pull 9

I love, love, LOVE how the brass looks against the (faux) saddle leather. I was worried the pulls might scream “BELT!” but I actually like the stitching. Especially at <$2 per pull!

DIY leather pull 14

The new pulls are way more functional, too. No more tugging at awkwardly placed knobs.

DIY leather pull 13

Surprise! Two of the compartments are empty. Steve uses the one on the bottom left as a hidden charging station for his phone.

DIY leather pull 10

I didn’t plan for it, but the new pulls tie in to the leather bench at the foot of the bed. #happyaccident I sprung for a new mirror. Maybe you noticed? I really felt like we needed something round to break up all the straight lines and I wanted a touch of black. I found an affordable, round mirror with a black frame here. The scale is spot on. FYI – It’s heavy!

Thanks to the new leather pulls, round mirror and some Trader Joe’s blooms, I’ve fallen in love with this little corner of our bedroom. It just feels right. And now I want to add leather pulls made from thrifted belts to all the things. #savethebelts

Stay tuned for more bedroom updates, coming soon!

P.S. – If DIY isn’t your thing, pre-made leather pulls on an armoire.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

39 Comments

15.February.2016

Love this! It looks so good

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16.February.2016

Looks great! And I love the mirror addition.

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16.February.2016

Agree it looks and fits better with the room. I never thought of using a leather belt, smart idea. Totally thought you might do a white dresser with these these handles for Mabrey’s (big girl) room. Excited to see how you will transform her room. Also, can we get a blog on your updated bedding, love it! Thanks

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16.February.2016

This looks beautiful! I do have a question about the IKEA cabinet though… I know it has to be screwed into the wall but how did you do that with the base boards? Did they interfere with it being flush against the wall? Thanks!

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replied on February 19th, 2016

We did notch the back of the cabinet where it meets our 5 1/2″ tall baseboard. It’s just a small notch and didn’t affect the integrity of the cabinet at all.

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16.February.2016

Love the way this piece turned out! Very pretty and a super easy DIY… love it! xo

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LOVE this! Awesome job! The pulls really change the look. And you sure can’t beat the price!
Perfect timing too – I have been thinking of doing something very similar to my ikea dresser (see my mood board here if you’d like – http://visualmeringue.blogspot.ca/2016/01/be-our-guest.html) so I really appreciate the tutorial!
Love the round mirror too and such a great happy accident with the bench match!
:)

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16.February.2016

Genius, sheer genius! Love the use of the belt!

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16.February.2016

Did you modify your baseboard to fit the cabinet? I have a different model of this shoe cabinet and our baseboards are 4″ too tall but I don’t dare cut into them because they are 91 years old, oak, and original to the house. I am considering notching the back of the cabinet but that seems extreme, too. Currently I am using toy wooden blocks as risers.

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replied on February 19th, 2016

We had to notch the back of the cabinet just a little to get it to slip over our baseboards which are ~5 1/2″ tall. It didn’t compromise the stability of the cabinet at all.

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16.February.2016

Very cool – and what a great DIY!!!
Sometimes those little changes are just the best, aren’t they??!
Hope everyone’s feeling better now…: )
Take care,
Leah: )

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16.February.2016

Dana,

Love the new pulls!!! I’d love to know though where you got the black and white top and where else you normally shop. I always love the jeans you wear! Thanks!

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replied on February 19th, 2016

My sister has a killer fashion sense and gifted me the top a few years back. It’s Ann Taylor petites and I love it!

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16.February.2016

Dana, I love the leather pulls!! I can totally see how it makes the dresser function better.

Also I’m dying to know where you got your grey booties!! I’ve been searching everywhere for a pair like that!!!

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replied on February 19th, 2016

Sam Edelman! Try ebay for better pricing.

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16.February.2016

How big are the actual shoe compartments on this? the IKEA website only lists the overall dimensions. It could be perfect for our mudroom space, but not if it won’t fit my husband’s giant 15W shoes.

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replied on February 19th, 2016

Each compartment is 16″ across, 5″ deep and 13″ tall. Hope that helps!

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16.February.2016

Thanks for the inspiration. Looks awesome. I have a kallax bookcase and I was considering using the inserts but not thrilled about the knobs. I’m going to try this for sure. Thanks

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16.February.2016

The pulls came out fabulous, that belt was a good find at the thrift store! I love the screws you found at Lowes. It’s all in the details! More bedroom updates, yes please!

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16.February.2016

I have that same cabinet. If I ever figure out where I should put it, I might just use this as inspiration – I love those pulls! Somewhat more importantly though, can you tell me the deets on your jeans? I like the fit at the waist, seems a bit higher. And, to round out my comment, we bought a new house in August and we are doing a total DIY remodel and your house is one of my design muses :)
Thanks!

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replied on February 19th, 2016

Congrats on the new house and impending remodel! How fun!! My jeans are Levi’s (pretty much the only brand I wear) demi curve. I shared more about them here if you care to see…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/11/24/my-favorite-jeans-a-100-giveaway/

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16.February.2016

A great and inexpensive idea!!

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16.February.2016

I love this! Such an awesome idea and it looks fantastic. That mirror is gorgeous, as well.

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17.February.2016

Love it! I have the same cabinet sitting in my entryway (where garage, front door, closet, and basement stairs meet in an epic battle of 4 doors in a space of 10 square feet). I did replace the knobs with some brushed nickel hexagons, but it’s still really clunky to open the doors. I don’t know if your beautiful leather pulls would work in our space (or really, I’m just too afraid), but maybe moving everything up a few inches would be the ticket!

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17.February.2016

Such a small change, but it makes a huge difference. Thanks for sharing!

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18.February.2016

How clever you are! I especially like the hidden charging station. Our kitchen counters, once so neat, are now littered with all manner of charge-em-up thingies. **sigh**

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03.March.2016

SO cute – love it all. where did you get that gorgeous gold dipped bowl???

xx

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replied on March 4th, 2016

Target, a few years back!

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09.March.2016

Hello, from where is the lovely bed end leather bench? I love it! Thanks in advance!

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replied on March 9th, 2016

It’s from Rove Concepts! See more here…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/17/a-bench-in-the-bedroom/

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10.March.2016

We have this cabinet, and I love the leather pulls!! What a great idea.

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26.March.2016

I’m new around here (found you on IG) and I just love your style. And this shoe cabinet is awesome. I’ve been looking for a solution to a narrow space and this is perfect. Thank you for sharing your home with us!

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replied on March 26th, 2016

Thanks for hopping over to the blog from IG. Welcome!

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29.June.2016

This is the best IKEA furniture hack I’ve seen so far. The piece looks beautiful in the living room but with different paint and hardware transform any room. Thanks for sharing this great idea. It’s an IKEA IDE-A.

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19.August.2016

Fabulous! And yet so simple!
I’m renovating my new home and trying to do as much as possible DIY. Takes a lot of time, but definitely worth it! Gotta do something similar :)
Thanks for sharing! :)))

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19.August.2016

I’ve seen several Ikea hacks for this shoe storage piece, but this is one of the very best. The leather drawer pulls look great on this piece and your tut is easy to understand… I actually think I could do it. I also like how your husband uses one bin as a hidden charger station. Thanks for sharing that tidbit because I’d prefer a hidden charging station too, but don’t have one. You’ve certainly made me reconsider purchasing one these and then using your tut. I like the depth this piece…will fit in my small condo entryway (store my bag and shoes….AND charge my phone). Thank you!

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22.August.2016

Spotted on Apartment Therapy! Great project, Dana!

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/easy-ikea-upgrades-big-impact-small-effort-232321

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replied on August 23rd, 2016

Thanks for the link!

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17.December.2016

Great project! Where did you find the round mirror? I’ve been looking for One exactly like that. Thanks!

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