Creating my DIY Ikea ALEX Vanity has seriously added joy into my everyday life. It may sound silly but having this really nice, well lit, comfortable, organized setting where I can spend some Me Time getting ready. When I sit at the vanity I feel super luxurious. It has been a wonderful improvement in the quality of my daily life.
If you’re an avid YouTube Beauty Guru watcher like me you know that the Ikea Alex 5 Drawers are part of the “Basic Beauty Guru Starter Pack.” That’s for good reason, they are amazing for storing makeup! And affordable.
This post will show you how do you put together the Ikea ALEX vanity with a step-by-step guide as well as information on other alternative vanity options and accessories. I spent a ton of time researching my set up before finally pulling the trigger and making the purchase. Now I get to share my findings with you all!
The IKEA ALEX Vanity
Vanity Lighted Mirror
My BFF Annabelle (of the hilarious blog Adderall and Compliments) gave me my Vanity Girl Starlet Lighted Vanity Mirror. The vanity mirror is the most expensive part of this whole set up at $299 + $29 shipping.
If you are a beauty junkie like myself you will love this mirror. It is huge at 25″x18″. It comes with salon-grade dimmable soft, clean white lights that also make for excellent selfie lighting. It’s an investment, but it adds such a girly and glamorous touch to the set up. It also has a lifetime guarantee which is awesome.
DIY Vanity Mirror with Lights
If the Vanity Girl Hollywood Lighted Mirror is outside of your current budget, remember that you can use any old mirror mounted on the wall behind your vanity and you can get LED light strips to put on each side to fake it until you make it! There’s also tons of YouTube tutorials on how to make your own lighted vanity if you’re feeling crafty.
Ikea ALEX Vanity Drawers
The Ikea ALEX 5 drawer unit has become a staple for beauty enthusiasts. These drawers are affordable ($79) and they are the perfect size and shape for makeup storage. The drawers are the perfect depth for makeup. When you open them you can have a nice, clear view of everything. They can store a LOT of makeup. More than you would think upon first glance.
If you want your drawers to last a long time be sure to divide divide your makeup up amongst each drawer. If a drawer is too heavy they will not slide properly and can break.
For my vanity I bought 2 Ikea ALEX 5 Drawers in white. I’m not a very strong girl so I was worried about going to the Ikea store by myself to get them, but I managed alright. I did need another person and a shopping cart to get them upstairs and into my apartment.
How to Put Together IKEA Alex Drawers
I found this video by the incredibly talented MadeULook which was EXTREMELY helpful when putting together the drawers:
Ikea ALEX Vanity 5 Drawer Dupe
You might have seen on Pinterest that there is a dupe for the Ikea Alex 5 Drawers at Michaels- the Recollections 5 Drawer Cube. The cheaper price tag may have tempted you, but I did a lot of research, watched tons of videos, and read many reviews before making my decision.
I came to the conclusion that the quality of the Recollections 5 Drawer Cube is just not there. You may think that IKEA doesn’t have the most high quality products, but these IKEA Alex drawers are very durable and really great quality. The Recollections 5 Drawers are nowhere near it. I personally think it’s worth the investment in the IKEA Alex 5 drawer set. This photo is from My Newest Addiction.
Table Top for Ikea ALEX Vanity
I did a lot of research and measuring in my room to decide what size table top to get for my vanity. The table top is held up by the two IKEA Alex 5 drawers to create the vanity. I went with the IKEA Linnmon table top in white the 47 1/4x 23 5/8″ size ($14.99). I needed a size that would be big enough for my huge Vanity Girl Hollywood Lighted vanity mirror. This size is great there’s plenty of room for everything including my legs to go underneath!
Acrylic Sheet Protective Top for Ikea ALEX Vanity
When I first put together my vanity my friends made fun of me because I kept the plastic wrap on the Linnmon table top. I was terrified of spilling makeup on the pristine white surface and staining it forever!
I finally forced myself to go to Lowe’s to get an acrylic sheet to protect the table top. I bought the OPTIX 0.08-in x 24-in x 48-in Clear Acrylic Sheet ($30). This is the correct size for the IKEA Linnmon 47 1/4 x 23 5/8″.
This acrylic sheet is 10x stronger than glass and has a 10 year non-yellowing warranty. This makes the vanity so easy to clean I just wipe it off with a paper towel and an all purpose cleaner.
I had considered getting one of those beautiful (and super pricey) mirrored vanities they have at Z-Gallerie and Pier One, but the thought of dropping a curling iron and chipping the glass freaked me out too much!
Seating for Vanity
This is one part of my set-up that is a work in progress. I already owned this Target Room Essentials Cube Storage Ottoman (similar).
This ottoman is not the nicest quality, but it’s comfortable enough and it doesn’t take up much space. This ottoman can fit underneath the vanity when I’m not using it so it keeps the path clear. I’d like to get a nice comfy seat with a back in the future, but this is what I’m working with at the moment.
I now have this faux sheepskin rug that I found on Amazon for under $20 laying across my vanity’s seat. It’s a great accessory and makes the vanity more cozy and chic.
Vanity Accessories and Makeup Brush Holders
Makeup Brush Holder
My makeup brushes are actually in a candle holder from Target. This is the Antique Mercury Glass Candle Holder- (edit: this is no longer available here’s a similar one from Amazon ). Other things you can use for makeup brush holders- pretty cups/mugs, flower pots, re-purposed candles, vases, etc.
At $3.99 this Skurar off-white plant pot from Ikea is another beauty guru DIY makeup brush holder fave.
This Kassatex Arabesco Resin Tumbler ($25) in white marble would also make a great brush holder.
Makeup Palette Holder/Organizer
When I saw these Ikea Liksidig napkin holders ($3.99) I thought they might make cute makeup palette holders/displays on top of the vanity, and they work! They only fit about 2 palettes each so keep that in mind!
IKEA Liksidig napkin holder in white that I use to hold makeup palettes.
This Kantek Acrylic Mini Sorter ($14) would also work nicely as a palette organizer and would probably fit a few more than my napkin holders.
Mirrored Vanity/Perfume Tray
I love this mirrored vanity tray/mirrored perfume tray from Amazon and it’s under $20! It’s 9″x14″
If you want a white marble accent this Kassatex Arabesco Resin Tray ($45) would look great.
Cotton Round and Q-Tip Holder
This is another item that I saw in store and thought “ooh that would work great!” This is the Ikea DROPPAR frosted jar with lid ($2.99). I store cotton rounds and q-tips in it.
If you’re more into a white marble vibe this Kassatex Arabesco Resin Cotton Jar ($25) would be a beautiful addition to a vanity.
Magnified Lighted Mirror
I already had this Conair Reflections LED Lighted Collection Mirror ($33) and use it often on my vanity. It’s great for seeing up close. When I put fake lashes on I like to look down into a mirror to help me place them and this is what I use.
I reviewed the much more expensive ($200) 8″ SimpleHuman 5x sensored vanity magnified mirror here. It’s a great option if your eyesight isn’t great and you need a really amazing magnifying mirror to apply makeup.
Candle and Flowers
What vanity is complete without flowers and candles!? The fake peonies on my vanity are both from TJ Maxx. HomeGoods is another excellent place to find gorgeous fake flowers. The candle is a Voluspa 2-wick candle in Laguna ($16) given to me by my friend Rachel.
If you want to upgrade to a super fancy beauty blogger candle, the Diptyque Baies Scented Candle ($65) is a classic. Once the candle is done burning you can clean out the wax and it would make a beautiful brush holder!
I LOVE this Capri Blue ‘Gilded Muse Collection’ candle in pink grapefruit/prosecco ($39) and the rose gold color is stunning!
I now have an essential oil diffuser like this one by Serene House ($40). I love to put in a citrus blend in the morning and a lavender in the evening to set the mood.
More Accessory Ideas for Vanity Organization and Storage
I now have a small jewelry box where I keep my small, everyday pieces (earrings and rings) like this Waterford Crystal Heart Box ($75). I like that it’s clear so I can see the jewelry and remember to put it on. This one closes so the jewelry won’t get dusty!
This Impressions Vanity Diamond Collection 4-Drawer Acrylic Organizer ($100) may be the perfect fit for someone who has so much makeup they have filled all of their ALEX drawers, or so little that this is all the need on a regular table!
The CosmoCube Vanity Tray ($58) is a great option if you like to move in between your vanity and bathroom with your makeup.
If you like to keep tissues handy why not do it with this super chic Waterworks Studio ‘Luna’ White Marble Tissue Cover ($75)?
I have also added one of my most important accessories to my vanity- a CLOCK!! Because time seems to drift away as I’m beating my face at my vanity. This Waterford Lismore Diamond Clock ($125) would be a beautiful accessory to keep you on track.
Other Vanities I Considered Buying
The IKEA Malm Dressing table ($169) is nice because it’s all in one and already has the glass top to protect it from spills. The Malm didn’t have enough storage for my sizable makeup collection. If you own a normal amount of makeup this is a great more affordable option.The other reason I didn’t get the Malm table is the length of the table is the same as my Ikea ALEX vanity, but the width is 16 1/8″ compared to my 23 5/8″. I didn’t think this would leave me any room on top once my Vanity Girl Hollywood mirror was in place. A mirror that mounts to the wall would work great with the Malm.
The Ikea Hemnes Dressing Table ($249) has one large drawer like the Malm dressing table and a nice mirror, but again this wasn’t enough storage. Plus I already had my big mirror first so I knew this one wasn’t for me.
The Z Gallerie Studio Mirrored Desk ($499) is super chic and fancy looking. I didn’t choose this one because it doesn’t have enough storage for my collection. I was also worried I’d chip the glass by accident!
The Pier1 Hayworth Vanity in Silver ( $399.95) is another popular one, but again not enough storage for me and I was afraid I’d break it.
The Z Gallerie Jett Desk ($599) was too big for my space and looked like it would give me bruises all over my shins.
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