Exciting things are happening in my apartment. Mainly, I’m rearranging the furniture, and overall it’s been a rather thrilling and empowering experience, but last night I hit a regrettable hurdle. You see, as part of my apartment makeover, I’ve wound up moving a filing cabinet from the depths of my bedroom into the living room temporarily. The original plan was to just scrap of the ol’ Ikea EFFECTIV modular unit, but once it was in its new, temporary home, I realized that it could actually be repurposed as a nifty bar. The upper shelves could house martini, wine, and shot glasses while the lower drawer could provide storage for all my booze. All I needed to do was remove the filing cabinet apparatus on the bottom and replace it with two doors that could swing open. Easy as can be, yes?

Maybe not.

Here’s the hutch. It works quite nicely as a place for bar ware. Formerly, this portion of the unit stored office supplies like paper, paperclips, CD-Rs, and other boring junk. (Also, I’m aware that the shelves are in need of dusting.)

Here’s the unit with all its doors open. As you can see, I’ve managed to remove the filing system from the bottom section and attach doors instead.

But here’s the thing: while Ikea is normally very good about placing little holes for our dowels and screws, when it comes to affixing knobs to doors, we’re on our own. We must drill our own holes. And thus the source for my folly.

Last night, I carefully measured out the exact placement for each knob by copying the measurement of the knobs on the doors above (those doors DID have designated holes to screw the knobs into). And yet despite my meticulous measuring, THIS happened:

Yes, my knobs are 100% janky. The one on the left is fine — except for the glaring veneer chip that I caused when my drill bit pierced through the wood. Ugh. The knob on the right, however, is all sorts of horrific. It’s too far up and too close to the edge. It looks ridiculous.

Truth be told, the knob on the right should be repositioned, but doing so would leave a gaping hole in my door.

So now I ask my dear readers a question. Which will look more janky: two uneven, massively unsymmetrical knobs? Or two charmingly aligned knobs… and a gaping hole. And yes, I’m aware that all this talk of knobs and holes sounds vaguely dirty. Please try to focus. I HAVE A MAJOR ISSUE TO DEAL WITH.

25 replies on “The Great Ikea Debacle of 2011”

  1. The janky (never heard it, love the term, though!) alignment would bother me SO much! I say move the knobs to the correct, aligned position, but maybe try a larger knob (that’s what she said) in order to hide the original defacing of the Ikea door. Alternatively, you can do some sort of border on the door (I’m thinking a quality duct tape or contact paper in black) to hide the hole after replacement. It prob wouldn’t look totally hot, but could mirror the border of the top.

    Aside from the mis-placement of the knobs, nice hack/reuse!

  2. I’m thinking that once people see how much booze there is in your cabinet they won’t care about the uneven knobs. (Party at B’s place!)

    I would be frustrated with how it looks too, but trying to fix it may just make it worse.

  3. Why don’t you buy two completely new knobs, or perhaps drawer pulls (hello Home Depot!), that could be glued (maybe screwed, but I doubt it) onto the front to not only replace the knobs, but hide the janky alignment? Just my $0.02.

    1. Agreed, you can get new knobs anywhere that will be big enough to cover the chips. better yet, what about handles?

  4. Having botched a few do-it-yourself projects, I know all about misaligned drill holes… If ya swing by Home Depot, they may have some wood filler & some wood markers/crayons to help camouflage the JANKY situation you’ve created for youself.

    Or, like everyone else said, buy a bigger knob – much easier 🙂

  5. I’d go with plates and handle pulls (similar to what was previously stated). The plates will cover the poor drilling and the handle pulls will allow you to open the doors nicely.

    Here’s an example:

    Given the style of the piece I’d go with a more contemporary plate and handle pull. That site has tons of options, plus it’s called, which is pretty hilarious.

  6. kittywampus works for you b.
    btw – love that the floor is no longer a refuge for all your loose change.


  7. I was disappointed with that “knobs” site. Wasn’t what I thought it would be. It’s not even R rated!

  8. I think you should get bigger knobs to hide the mess. Or use wood filler and wood markers to cover it.

    When you do drill new holes. Use a cardboard template that you make yourself to get it in the exact spot on both doors. The template should start at the bottom of the door so you can align it up perfectly. I had to do this for my kitchen and they actually look like right.

  9. I’ve had such a crappy week, this wouldn’t even make my top ten list of annoying things. I wouldn’t notice, because I would have the doors open all the time in order to have encumbered access to the liquor.

    Chill out.

  10. I too was impressed by your booze collection. the good stuff no less. the way I see it, it would be great for pranks on your drunk friends. make them think they’re seeing things and insist they are aligned perfectly.

  11. girl, this is simple as a pimple! i had the same problem with my kitchen cabinets, so i went back to ikea and bought their long “knobs” that covers the mess perfectly. they have several horizontal/vertical ones you can choose from.

    be sure to show us the improved results!

  12. Go to and find a better piece of furniture to put together. Ikea sucks. No offense.

  13. I choose the third option that you failed to give: Leave it as is.

    I would hardly call the asymmetry massive, and I find the sqweewampusosity quite charming. You’re just going to fvck it up more if you try to “fix it.”

  14. this is a disaster. i would throw the whole thing out than let anyone see this. its the ROSIE O’DONNELL of door knobs a/k/a as trump would say A TOTAL DISASTER.

  15. It looks like the doors are a little misaligned. The hinges have small adjustment screws on them, and by tightening down (or backing out) those screws a little at a time you can realign the doors so the gaps between the door will look more consistent, and that may help the knobs line up a little better. You can do the same for the upper doors.

    Next time you drill a hole in a cabinet door place a block of wood over where the drill bit will exit the hole and it will prevent a “blowout”. Use a clamp to hold the wood block to the door, not your hand!

    The writing on this blog is outstanding. The photocaps even more so.

  16. I miss Bud Man stickers…
    a couple of those babies would look totaly perfect on those frosted doors.

  17. Ikea also sells plastic templets so that you can get the nobs aligned correctly…not that this will help you now…SORRY…Do like the Idea of bigger nobs and wood filler…

Comments are closed.