Hey, update alert! I’ve seen lots of other new parents following this same “informal” trend of using IKEA furniture as the base for a changing table. High-five for deciding to save a few $$/using what you have/avoiding getting a formal changing table and instead getting something that’ll transition into a longer term piece; I’m all for that, and for us, this setup been working out really well, but, like with many things, our little dresser needed some customizin’.
What worked for the first few months–having the changing pad sitting unsecured, directly on the top of the IKEA SVEIO dresser–started to become less and less ideal as our now 7-month old Hattie began to move around more. Never was there an instance where we thought she’d fall off (I’ve never left her side while she’s been on the table, because I’m generally horrified about things like that), nor did I think that the changing pad itself would magically slide away, but as she shifted around on the surface I definitely noted that we needed to figure out a way to secure the changing pad, assuming we would be using it for several years; I’m not holding my breath in thinking that she’ll be potty-trained by 18-months, but that’s not to say that I haven’t planted the idea in her head.
That’s where this construct came into play: a simple frame using 1×2 and a 1×3 board that I cut and assembled to match the exact size as the top of the changing table. $5 in wood from Home Depot worked wonders.
I used our brad nailer and air compressor to assemble it in all of 2 minutes, also adding a dollop of wood glue between each lap joint for a bit of added connectivity. You’ll note in the photo above that one of those sides is not like the others, and that’s because I designed the backside of the frame to overlap the back of the changing table unit so that it could attach securely out of sight, without visibly damaging the IKEA finish on the unit at all, like so:
I lazily thought that it would look great with a transparent stain to seal the natural wood, but really, painted white looked way better and helped it to look as though it were always a part of this IKEA piece. The 30″ changing pad that we have fits perfectly in this frame, even pretty tight from end to end, so now it doesn’t move around at all, which is really all we needed, a little security for the bean sprout.
What worked for us may not work for you depending on whatever type of furniture you’ve decided to use as a makeshift changing table, so I can share a few other reccomendations: 1.) giant velcro strips to connect it to the surface; 2.) adhering a piece of non-slip rug underlay to the bottom of the pad to add friction; 3.) ehhhh, snaps? I thought I had more ideas, maybe you do.
For curious minds and other parents, a few notes about how we use our changing table setup, and musings on diapering:
- Our cloth diaper stash, cloth wipes, wet wipes, diaper cream, and some disposable diapers are organized and stored in the top drawer of our SVEIO dresser. As this is our changing table, these are the items we need most handy.
- Cloth is still my preferred method of diapering, since I’m home with the baby many days and have no problem handing used diapers or doing several extra loads of laundry each week; daycare also allows us to bring in cloth, which is convenient from a savings standpoint. To date, the ~$100 I have spent on our small stash of ~20 diapers has easily been recouped (meaning, I would have spent more than that already on disposables), so every time I can use a cloth vs. a disposable is basically a freebie in my eyes. You know my feelings on free. Plus, good for the earth too, blah blah.
- Our stash is a mix of BumGenius, which was gifted to us mostly via our baby registry, and Alvas, which I ordered through a coop group for about $3/each. I honestly see no difference in brand after months of using both, and prefer Alvas if I happen to be changing Hattie on the go — they roll up and snap together securely like little poopy burritos, and I don’t even need to bother with a wet bag.
- We still use disposables every night, because no matter how I stuffed the pockets, the baby and crib were still soaked and stinky every morning; we don’t use a heavy-duty overnight diaper yet, a regular daytime one is still serving us quite well for a 10-12 hour sleep run.
- We also use disposables we are going to be out and about for a long day, when she is being babysat, and if we are on vacation. And also, Pete uses them exclusively when I’m out of town because he’s a rebel, so no, we’re not uber-motivated cloth diapering parents or hippies when it comes to this new-old-fangled way of diapering thing, we do it as it’s convenient for us.
- We switched almost exclusively to using cloth wipes after almost killing our doggie, who loved devouring classic baby wipes on the regular. I like using cloth wipes considerably less now that Hattie is eating solid foods, but that’s not appropriate fodder for this blog. Since I’m already washing loads of dirty diapers each week, throwing a few extra dirty cloth wipes in the wash doesn’t really make a difference to me.
- The lower drawer of the cabinet is used to store almost all of our baby clothes; all of the onesies and all of the shorts and stretch pants are located right there at our fingertips. Anything hanging, like footie jam-jams and ridiculously cute t-shirts are in the closet, but it’s not that often that she isn’t wearing a plain ol’ onesie.
- If you leave both full drawers open when full, the unit will tip forward. Fortunately, I learned that before there was ever a baby on top of it (in fact, it happened when I assembled it and the drawers were empty, so maybe IKEA has some troubleshooting to do with this model). And they probably would never endorse using this as a changing table; consider yourself warned to be cautious, always, even if you’re not using the SVEIO like we are.