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George Washington goes modern
Ikea Lack Modern Credenza Hack
Ikea TRÄBY Hack Credenza
Cheap Modern Desk


I recently put together a small credenza from the TRÄBY line. We put it in place under our window, right away we noticed that it just blended into our floor. I purchased some high gloss white paint and painted the perimeter with about 8 coats of paint. I think it looks much better. See the results after the jump.

modern credenza

modern credenza
modern credenza


  • GeeMod

    Wow! You’ve made it on Apartment Therapy 3 times already, fun for you! Keep up the good work “8 coats guy”

  • bicoastal

    Love It! Did you change the legs? Can’t find this piece on the ikea site.

  • admin
  • Anonymous

    Wow! I love what you’ve done! Do you offer instructions anywhere on your website?

  • admin

    ANONYMOUS, the real trick is bolting the two boxes together. I used bolts with really large washers to provide more surface area. Then I used flat metal brackets on the bottom. Hope this helps a little.

  • Katy

    That does help indeed (although I don’t know why my name is coming up as anonymous–I’m Katy!)

    Where did you get the wood for the doors?

  • admin

    Hi Katy the doors are found at Ikea as well

    The door pulls I got from Ebay

  • lou

    Looks great, but shouldn’t you put some legs in the middle of the unit to prevent sagging?

  • admin

    LOU, I did buy a leg for the middle, but the large flat metal brackets I used on the bottom have held up well and prevented sagging. I guess if you put a lot of books and other heavy items in it you might want to put in a middle leg.

  • Brad


    That’s some sweet lacquer you have there! Did you have that professionally sprayed, or is that a rolled-on finish? Excellent work!!

  • admin

    Brad, I actually brushed it on. It took a few coats because I did not want to see the texture of the ”
    wood” I wanted the smooth glossy look.

  • Josh

    wow, veryyyyyy nice.
    to be honest, i’ve always hated the boring, blah look of draby…….er i mean traby. but that white on the frame, looks so nice against the wood doors. and the feet were a MAJOR upgrade 😀

    ps: what brand/type of paint did you use?
    i’ve been looking for some high gloss / lacquer-ish stuff to paint my lack coffee table with.


  • admin

    Josh, Thanks for the comments, I just went to my local Lowe’s and found the highest whitest gloss paint. Make sure to prime first. The high gloss paint dries really fast, so you need to move quickly. Could maybe use a spray but it helps when you can put it on thick.

  • wen

    hey, loved the white. but eight coats? how’s the finish? been thinking of doing this but lack the courage. *heh heh* how’s the finish? smooth? tough getting the paint to stick?

  • WB

    Looks great! Do you know the overall dimensions for the completed project? It’s inspired some possible bedroom modifications. Thanks!

  • admin

    The finish is good, smooth and glossy, I had to use 8 coats because I wanted the lacquered look and the traby has a pretty deep texture. Make sure you prime before paint.

    Width: 63″
    Depth: 15 3/8 ”
    Height: 21 “

  • Lauren

    Wow, wow, wow. You are my hero. I am rushing out to IKEA tomorrow to purchase this project. What a great idea!

  • emmitt

    I was thinking of staining a Traby (I already have an ash veneer set of shelves that are stained black) – do you think that is possible (ie how did the veneer look when you stripped the lacquer)?

  • admin

    Emmitt, I did try a stain on the Traby, It did not take at all, I think that is why I painted it instead.

  • emmitt

    Thanks – you just saved me a lot of heartache!

  • Olivia

    Love the hack.

    I’m thinking about doing the same thing myself.

    I want to put this in my dining room and would like to sand it a dark dark brown.

    Did you sand it first, then prime and then add the 8 layers of high gloss? or did you only primt and add the high gloss?


  • admin

    OLIVIA, I did not do the sanding first, but it probably would be a good idea to do that.

  • ben

    This looks great! I wonder if you could send the dimensions of the cubes – I want to see if I could fit my electronics in the unit and close the doors. Thanks!

  • admin

    Thanks For the kind words.
    You can find a link in the comments of this post that will give you the dimensions.

  • http://ikeahackers sabrina de haan

    Very nice! Like many others I might use this idea!

    Greetings from Amsterdam

  • Michael Gibson

    hi, i love the idea like everyone else, however, have you noticed any caving in around the middle of the credenza unit? i’m a little weary that it might cave in over time.

  • admin

    Michael, no caving or bowing yet but I guess that would depend on how much pressure is being applied. In the two cabinets we have them full of magazines. other than that, that’s all we have in them. I am sure if someone took a seat in the middle it would not be pretty.

  • pugsfly

    Is there any smell or odor after the painting? I painted my cabinets once and the odor lasts for weeks…

  • Tyler

    PUGSFLY, It wasn’t too bad but I did have it next to an open window. If you can it would be best to paint it outside or in a garage.

  • Myou

    Hi, I love this. I have these myself and was contemplating window seats. I was wondering did you sand before you primed/painted? I have been checking around and hearing a few things however after seeing your finished piece I think I will definite take your advice. Anything you could offer would be helpful. Thanks.

  • Tyler

    MYOU, I would for sure use a middle leg if people are going to sit on these. You could lightly sand first, prime then paint. I did not sand due to the texture that was already on the traby.

  • Victor

    Thanks for the great idea! Did you use a latex or oil-based paint?

  • Tyler

    Victor, I used a Latex based paint

  • Pingback: Here’s an affordable modern credenza « tissue paper()

  • Jem N’ Tonic

    I always have liked the wood and white contrast of a credenza. It looks really nice

  • Kam

    WOW! My IKEA/DWELL brother. One look at this site and I knew you were a Dwell recipient. I love the DIY work. Job Well Done.

  • Tyler

    Kam, thanks for the kind words, Dwell is the one mag we kept after we cut back.

  • M. Wanzer


  • M. Wanzer

    Do you always use latex based paint for painting the Veneer/Particle board wood. A guy in the paint shop once told me I would need to use oil based paint, but I have heard its unsafe. Have you ever used oil based paint in any of your projects?

  • Tyler

    M. WANZER, for the most part yes I use latex, never really messed around with oil based

  • Mariah

    Drat! It doesn’t look like the TRABY link works anymore, and I can’t find it on the Ikea site. It is possible they’ve discontinued these pieces? It’s pretty much exactly what I want to make, I’m not intimidated by a few hacks, and the versions I’ve found elsewhere are far too pricey!

  • A. Oaks

    Yes, in one of its worst moves ever, IKEA discontinued its wonderful Traby, their best quality modular bookcase series. It can be found in its UK and Ireland sites, though.
    If I could, I’d still buy a lot more of these, if only they were available at my local IKEA store.

  • alice q.

    Love it! I also loooove the lamp you have displayed here! Where can I find one?

  • Tyler

    Alice, the lamp is from West Elm it was originally white but I painted it orange.

  • kacier kusuma

    Thanks – you just saved me a lot of heartache!

  • Dan in NY

    Are you happy with the 8″ Capita legs or in hind sight, would you have preferred either the 4″ or 6″ capita legs?

  • Tyler

    Dan, the 8″ worked out really well for me

  • Cass

    Where can I buy this?? Does anybody know if it’s stil available? Or something similar.

  • JoAnn

    I Can’t find the Traby collection on the Ikea site. Has it been discontinued or does it now go by a different name. Any suggestions on how to replicate this current Ikea products. Would very much love to do similar project.

  • Tyler

    JoAnn, I do believe that the Traby line was discontinued, sorry.

  • Jamie

    Hi- just came across this & looks great! I’m adapting a Traby to hold Trissa boxes like these
    …so the white & wood combination would be great. Was it as simple as using masking tape along the inside edges to retain the raw wood finish inside the case? Thanks!

  • Tyler

    Hi Jamie, I didn’t use any masking tape, I just used a brush and pulled the paint to the edge. I think masking tape gives you the feel that no matter how much paint you use, you will be safe but I didn’t want to use too much paint and have it go under the tape.

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