IKEA bathroom hack

I love the clean and simple lines of the IKEA Godmorgon sink and wall cabinets for the bathroom. However, they can sometimes look a little standard or low grade. In this IKEA bathroom hack, we upgraded the look with a live-edge white oak countertop, chrome handles, Kohler top-mount sinks and wall-mounted Grohe faucets for a more luxurious look.

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet with customized countertop and sinks

Materials and tools needed:

  • Live edge wood (we used white oak)
  • Heavy duty saw
  • Sandpaper (heavy to fine grade)
  • Electrical sander
  • Polyurethane (oil based)
  • Paint brush or roller
  • Drill
  • Small L brackets and small screws
  • Large L brackets and large screws or other heavy duty fixings
  • Top mount sinks
  • Wall-mounted faucets (can use top-mounted faucets, just need to cut an extra hole)
  • Handles
  • Screwdriver


STEP 1: Buy all the necessary materials needed. Including finding a piece of live edge timber that you like and that will fit your IKEA Godmorgon cabinet. Many sawmills will cut the timber to size for you, and also kiln dry them. I’d recommend this, as we didn’t have ours kiln dried and we let it dry naturally in our garage for a number of weeks before we installed it, but it did warp and crack and we had to re-cut it to get it straight again.

TIP: Get your live edge timber kiln dried and cut to size at the sawmill

STEP 2: We chose a double vanity, but Godmorgon also comes in single vanity options. It’s available in black brown, white stained oak effect, brown stained ash effect, high gloss grey, high gloss white (which we used) in modern flat front cabinets. They also sell traditional style fronts Kasjon Godmorgon is dark grey, light grey and white options. They also have a very interesting dimensional high gloss white front – Resjon white.

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet
IKEA Godmorgon cabinet in high gloss white. (Image courtesy of IKEA.)

For these instructions we’ll refer to the double vanity high gloss white option that we chose. Cut out the holes for your sinks. For this you will need a heavy duty saw to go through the wood. We chose a thick piece of wood (about 3”) and it was very difficult to cut through it. We hired a heavy duty saw from The Home Depot as our jigsaw wasn’t strong enough to cut through it.

TIP: Make sure you use the templates that come with your sinks to mark the cutouts for the holes. And make sure the sink is positioned where the water will fall from wherever you are placing the faucets. If you chose a counter mounted faucet, don’t forget to leave enough space at the back of the sink for it.

STEP 3: Now you have the live edge slab cut, it’s time to sand and seal it. It’s probably easier to use an electrical sander with a rough grade to start with (around 80), then work your way up to a fine grade sandpaper (around 180). Keep sanding along the grain to remove all rough edges and make it as smooth as silk. Once you’re happy with the smoothness, make sure you remove all dust from the slab. I’d recommend vacuuming it, then finishing with a lint free cloth. Now you’re ready to seal it.

I’d recommend using an oil-based polyurethane, as it tends to sink into the grain better than a water-based polyurethane. It does however color the wood more than a water-based polyurethane would. Test a small area underneath first before you commit to the whole thing. Once you’re happy with the look, apply three coats according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

TIP: If you wanted to stain your timber, do that before applying the polyurethane, and test it underneath or on a scrap piece first.

STEP 4: Congratulations! You’re now ready to install your sink cabinet! Word of caution, the live edge timber countertop can be extremely heavy, so I would highly recommend extra support for it in addition to the cabinet. I would also recommend you find the studs to fix it to, if you have a wood-built house. Or using heavy duty fixings for other wall constructions types. (Please consult a professional contractor.)

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet with customized countertop and sinks

We installed ours on the studs and used extra L-shaped brackets underneath to support it further. We also used small L-shaped brackets to attach the countertop to the cabinet.

TIP: Make sure your screws aren’t longer than the cabinet is thick, otherwise your screws will poke out of the side of the cabinet.

To install the faucets and sinks we hired a professional plumber for this, as this was beyond our skillset. So I’ll skip over this part.

STEP 5: The last part is installing the handles (if you chose to). Godmorgon cabinets don’t come with any handles, which looks very minimalist, and you could certainly stick with this. We chose to apply long chrome handles in a minimalist design to add a bit of extra detail in this IKEA bathroom hack. I think you’ll agree they make them look high-end!

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet with customized countertop and sinks

For this, just mark the center on the back of the cabinet and mark the drill holes by using either the template that your handles came with, or the handle itself. Double and triple check these measurements are accurate before drilling to make sure you don’t mess up your cabinet fronts. Once you’re satisfied they’re in the right place, drill slowly from the back then screw the handles in place.

TIP: Place some painters tape over where the holes will be drilled on the front of the cabinet, this helps to stop the cabinet material splintering off. Also starting with a small drill bit, then working up to the correct size also helps keep the splintering down to a minimum.

Finished! You now have a unique and high-end look with this IKEA bathroom hack!

IKEA Godmorgon bathroom cabinet with customized countertop and sinks

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Jo @Britflipper

High-End Modern Bathroom on a Budget

A high-end modern bathroom shouldn’t cost the Earth. In this post learn how I used savvy shopping, some IKEA hacking, and a bit of creativity to remodel this master bathroom in under $13k.

The Bathroom Before

The master bathroom in our house was probably the worst room in the house. It was cramped, dated and well-worn.

The bathroom was separate from a small dressing area adjacent to it, making the bathroom a very small room. We decided to knock through the two rooms to make one larger room.


If you want some tips on what not to do when renovating a bathroom read my blog on ‘6 things to avoid when remodeling a bathroom‘. The bathroom stayed in this state for the next 12 months, far from ideal.

Remodeled Bathroom

Eventually we got there…

Modern bathroom remodel
Modern bathroom remodel
High-end vanity hack using IKEA Godmorgon

We moved the sink area further along the wall into the old dressing area where it was recessed to make more space in the new bathroom. In the area where we used to have the sink we managed to fit a tall storage cupboard from IKEA. The wall-hung vanity was also from IKEA. We added our own handles to these units to make them look a little more custom.

IKEA vanity hack - high-end look for less
Live edge countertop and Kohler sinks

We used a piece of live edge oak as the countertop for the vanity to customize the basic IKEA unit and make it look much more high-end than the standard countertop that it comes with. We also used Kohler sinks instead of the IKEA sinks, again to make it feel more high-end.

High-end modern faucet by Grohe

Grohe wall-mounted faucets add a touch of luxury, instead of having standard vanity mounted faucets.

We saved money by using the IKEA cabinets, but upgraded the look by opting for high-end sinks and faucets. I love the contrast of the minimalist white high gloss cabinets with the rustic live edge oak countertop. They are two materials you wouldn’t expect to go together, but they compliment each other so well and make the bathroom feel rustic country chic.

I used an over-the-top Rococo style mirror to contrast with the rustic oak countertop and sleek modern cabinetry. After hours of trawling through the internet for the perfect mirror, I realized that I already had the perfect mirror leaning against the wall in our bedroom. This mirror was bought in the UK as a leaner mirror for our dressing area, yet it looks so perfect hung on the wall above the vanity.

The vanity lights are modern like the cabinetry and the polished chrome ties in well with the faucets and shower, and contrasts against the opulent mirror.

Herringbone floor tiles

I chose fairly traditional tiling in wood effect herringbone and stone effect porcelain large format tiles in the shower, for easy maintenance. We bought the shower tiles from a discount tile shop (Kate Lo), they were end of line so greatly reduced at just $5 per sq ft. To add a high-end feel to the shower we accented the tiles with real marble hexagon mosaics on the floor and tile pencils around the shelves, with added sparkle from Fired Earth glass mosaics from The Tile Shop that compliment the natural stone and porcelain tiles.

Tiled shower floor

The mosaics were expensive, but using them sparingly in this way means you achieve a luxury look for less.

Tiled shower niche

We used a rain-head shower in conjunction with a hand-held. The actual shower heads are from lightinthebox.com, where we managed to save considerable money over the named brand equivalents. However we bought the shower controls from Grohe (Eurocube). We saved money where we could, with the shower heads, where they can be easily replaced, but the important things like the shower controls we spent a little more.

I chose solid brass fittings with a polished chrome finish. I would highly recommend brass, as it feels so much more solid, heavier and higher quality than other metals. You know that it will last well too.

Frameless glass shower door

The shower door is frameless glass with chrome hardware. It was only around $450 from Glass Warehouse and has the same look as much more expensive custom doors that were around $1500. Well worth buying and either installing yourself or getting an installer to do it. They come in increments of 1/4″ so will fit most situations.

Before and after

List of products:

Thanks for reading! I hope you like the end result of this high-end modern bathroom project on a budget just as much as we do. If you like this and want more home makeover tips, follow my blog below.

Please Pin It!

Jo @britflipper

6 things to avoid when remodeling a bathroom

There’s always that one project that’s like the gift that keeps giving, but not in a good way! For us it was our master bathroom remodel.

When we bought the house the bathroom was very dated, cramped and poorly maintained. We knew we needed to remodel it, we just didn’t plan on it taking over a year to complete! There are a few things we learned through the process and so I thought I’d share my learnings so you don’t make the same mistakes we did.

1. Don’t start demo until you have the money to complete the job

We started the demo earlier than planned due to an ant infestation. I swore to never use the grotty bathroom again after sharing my shower with ants! And shortly after that, thanks to my enthusiastic husband, the walls started coming down, carpets ripped up and we were left with this.


The problem was, we weren’t ready to put it all back together again. We needed to save up, buy the materials, book the builders… So the project was left like this for around a year.

My advice, don’t start demo until you’re ready to put it all back.

2. Don’t skimp on the essentials

I tried to save money by ordering cheap faucets (taps) from an online retailer. Whilst they looked very nice and were solid enough, they were a nightmare for the plumbers to install and didn’t meet local building codes. So in an attempt to save a few dollars it meant more hassle and wasted time trying to send them back and find alternative named brand replacements at last-minute.

My advice, do your research, make sure you understand local codes if you are sourcing materials yourself and spend money where it makes sense. For things you’ll use everyday it’s probably worth spending a little more to ensure good quality. We ended up buying ours from Grohe and have not been disappointed.


3. Expect things to go wrong

We were project managing the remodel ourselves. Which meant hiring in sub-contractors at the right time in the right order. We thought we’d allowed enough time for each of the trades to complete their work before the next trades came in. However as it always goes, things go wrong, delays happen and we ended up having to push trades back to accommodate this.

Some tips we learned when project managing it ourselves:

  1. Buy the materials well ahead of time so that if things are missing or broken it won’t delay contractors
  2. Check things as soon as you get them, double-check you bought the right size etc
  3. Be extremely clear with contractors early on, draw accurate diagrams where possible
  4. Schedule in some contingency time, as however much you plan things will go wrong

4. Porcelain tiles will break

Porcelain tiles, although very durable and easy to maintain compared to real stone, are extremely hard to drill and so end up cracking easily. Of the eight holes that needed to be drilled, three of them cracked. Ideally you should steer clear of using a hammer drill on these types of tiles, however to drill them without will likely take about 30 minutes per hole! So unless you have a lot of patience, expect a few to crack.

The other thing we learned about these large format porcelain tiles is that some tend to have a slight curvature to them. Meaning they don’t meet completely flush at the corners, which spoils the streamlined look. My advice is to buy extra so that any curved tiles can be discarded for straighter ones.


5. Be careful not to be too adventurous

Whilst something may seem like a great idea at the time, be cautious and make sure you think about the practicalities of achieving your desired look.

For me it was the solid oak live edge countertop. I wanted something stunning and rustic and saw photos of similar countertops on Houzz. And if you saw the recent episode of Fixer Upper you might have noticed that Chip and Jo also used live edge in their kitchen project (Season 5 episode 2).

Photo courtesy of HGTV

Before I knew it I’d found a local sawmill and was making plans to visit to pick out my piece of live edge. We found the perfect piece of 3” thick oak milled from a locally grown tree. Perfect! It was cut to size and we took it home and left it in the garage to dry out for a few months. We then sanded it and applied two coats of polyurethane and left it inside with heavy tiles on it (to keep it flat) to continue drying out until we were ready to use it.

When we came to use it we found that it had warped so much it was about 1” out at two corners and wouldn’t lay flat on the vanity that we’d bought. So we had to take it back to the sawmill, a 2 hour round trip, to be re-sawn to make it flat again. Which also meant we had to re-sand it and apply two coats of polyurethane again!

Then came cutting the holes for the sinks… The sinks we’d chosen needed almost the entire size of the sinks cutting out. I searched online for the best tool to use to cut through almost 3” solid oak, and found a lot of posts from carpenters cursing Designers and Architects for choosing such a ridiculous countertop. That’s when I realized that maybe this perhaps wasn’t the best of ideas.

We did manage to cut the sink holes, eventually, after much cursing from my husband, hired tools and many broken jigsaw blades. But I think the result was worth all the effort. However looking back, it was maybe a tad adventurous!


6. Take photos of stud walls

My last tip, although only a simple one, would’ve saved a lot of time and scratching heads. If you’re building walls, make a note of where the studs are before you put the drywall back. It saves a lot of time trying to find them afterwards as you try to hang that heavy mirror or vanity unit.


You can read about how we created the finished look in my next blog ‘How to create a rustic country chic bathroom.’

Stay tuned…