Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash

Ikea’s Alex ($119.00) is my new storage solution for my nail polish. I stopped by Ikea earlier this week to investigate some potential storage solutions. I originally decided to finally grab some Helmers to control my nail polishes, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

See, every time I go to Ikea to buy the Helmer, I am completely put off by how flimsy it feels. Maybe the floor models are absolutely brutalized and feel less sturdy than newly assembled Helmers, but I just can’t convince myself to buy them. (I’m also not keen on the color selection–all of our furniture is black, with the exception of our office desks, which are beech). Enter in Alex, which was this six drawer unit on display next to the Helmer!

The Alex is actually a product series, and there are quite a few variations. I considered the taller versions for makeup storage, but I couldn’t commit because they only come in white–and for $119 a pop, I won’t compromise on color. I reckon that you could probably DIY some kind of paint job, though, if you’re creative enough :) Anyway, the six-drawer Alex that comes with casters does come in black.

There are three shorter drawers and three taller drawers. Since I expected to get Helmers, I didn’t bring any polishes with me for height tests. I crossed my fingers and hoped that some of the shorter bottles would fit.


I think this unit would work for the majority of beauty buffs, both as makeup storage and/or nail polish storage. I will caution you that if your collection only consists of taller bottles (think China Glaze and OPI), you will only be able to use the bottom three drawers for storage. The top three drawers are too short (but they fit Chanel, Dior, Illamasqua, RBL, etc.). I was sad to learn that Essie is just a touch too tall to fit in the smaller drawers… like 2 millimeters too tall! Zoyas are also too tall.  (Edited:  It seems like Essies will fit with a little maneuvering – seems like you can’t have them right against the sides.)

It does seem to hold quite a bit of polish. I only have four drawers with polish, and none of them are completely filled. I didn’t count this time around (I will do more micro-organizing by color when I have more time), but last time I posted, I had 669. I would guesstimate that there are around 700-750 polishes in this at the moment.

For those with modest nail polish collections, this could easily work — the bottom drawers definitely hold enough (the bottom drawer looks like it’ll hold 17 [China Glaze] bottles across x 10 bottles deep for 170 bottles in total). The shorter drawers will work for shorter brands, if you have ’em, but they can also hold makeup, hand creams, nail files, etc.

Ultimately, for me, I really love how sturdy the Alex is.  It’s heavy without polish, and the drawers slide in and out with ease.  I also love the look of the drawer unit:  it’s sleek with clean lines and matches the rest of my furniture.  It holds a good amount of nail polish, and there is some room for me to grow!

See more photos!

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash
Shorter drawer: Chanel, NARS, Dior, Lippmann, Butter London, Illamasqua, RBL, Lancome, MAC

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash
Taller drawer: Zoya & Essie

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash
Taller drawer: Orly, SpaRitual, Barielle, Milani, Nubar

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash
China Glaze

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash

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232 thoughts on “Nail Polish Storage Solution: Ikea Alex

  1. TOTAL. GENIUS. I love this! I hope they sell it in the UK ikea!

  2. Wow, Christine, this is awesome!!!!!

  3. Ana G.

    OMG!!!I’m speechless……

  4. Ellle

    So this how nail polish heaven looks like :)

  5. Vale

    :-Q_____ drowling…

  6. Svetlana

    I wish I had that many nail polishes to actually need a special storage for them.But I don’t. I only have 40-50 nailpolishes so I can put them just anywhere.

    Nice review though, I can see it being very helpfull for girls with a lot of polishes.

  7. Debbie

    OMG! This is the perfect solution for me. I am going to put it on my Christmas wish list, thank you!

  8. Gillian

    I’m waiting everyday for the blog sale! hahaha you’ve got to get tired of it all sooner or later! and my china glaze drawer is nowhere near as big 😛 x

  9. Janine G.

    You organized it so pretty so far 8] 700-750 bottles of polish?! Wow! I have significantly less amount 😀 but I store mine using a nail polish rack (like the salon ones) that holds 90. The storage unit looks nice as well.

  10. Anusia

    I completely dislike it. I organize polish by colour and mix brands, so the drawer must be ok for any polish. Besides most of my polishes are tall…

    • Totally understand :) If you have under 500 or so, I would expect them to all fit within the bottem three drawers. (China Glaze seem among the tallest and biggest, and max capacity for me was 170 per drawer!)

  11. M.

    Wow that is a lot of nailpolish! What an amazing collection you have there.

  12. isabella

    i use the same but taller one for my makeup! in white. its sososososososo nice and keeps me so organized. i love it!

  13. Michelle


    *grabby hands*

    I need one YESTERDAY!

  14. Rachel

    I am IN LOVE with your China Glaze drawer… All the colours, so nicely organised. *melts*

  15. Steph

    I have to admit, my jaw dropped at “I would guesstimate that there are around 700-750 polishes”.
    My boyfriend has NO right to complain about my measly 65 now! XD
    All the NARS and Deborah Lippman and Butter London… -swoons-

  16. Amy EM

    That looks great! My biggest challenge is lipsticks- how do you store yours?

  17. London

    OMG! That is fabulous! If my stash ever overflows my measly little plastic storage box on top of my dresser (I’m new to the whole nail polish obsession), I will consider this.

  18. Lauren

    I have on single traditional shoe box style clear pastic storage container that holds ALL of my nailpolishes. Last night, I actually told my mom I can’t believe how many I have. Today, I can’t believe how many YOU have! wowzer! nice! sleep over party at christine’s!

  19. Rae

    that is EPIC! good job Christine. OH and, you got me at ‘Ikea’ 😉

  20. VeroJo

    WOW! That’s a lot of polish!

  21. nail polish goodness!
    I wish we had ikea over in Brazil, they have some great looking furniture and very good prices.

  22. Sojourner

    Woweeeee, you have so much NP…it looks great in the ‘Alex’ lol

  23. Deb

    Christine, thank you SO much for posting and writing about this! I have these cute little “toolboxes” that I use for my MAC polishes that are the perfect fit but I’ve struggled finding something for the OPIs and China Glazes so this is perfect! And it’s in BLACK, yaaaaay. It looks so yummy, lol.

  24. Luna

    It looks so good with all the pretty colors! I have the tall white one in my closet for nail polish, hair accessories, etc. I love it! I was thinking of buying the one you bought so I can use it for makeup storage. I’m glad they made in black because this one would be outside the close and all our furniture is black too!

    • It’s weird how OCD I am about having furniture match! I think if it was brown.. I could deal, but white is such a contrast. But I do really like the look and feel of the Alex series – very sturdy to me. I actually LOVE that they’re heavy units, because I find they hold up better over time.

  25. vikaki

    ooohh myyyyyy god!!!i am sooo jealous!!!!!i want them all!!:PP

  26. Lady Di.

    This is really nice and the black makes it so sleek! But just wondering…where do you keep your O.P.I nailpolish??

  27. NatalieK

    this is a thing of beauty Christine!!!

  28. Alison

    Is it bad I can tell what almost all these brands are just by looking at the cap?

  29. Molkinaify

    I’ve just realized how paradise looks like O_O

  30. Jess

    You should challenge yourself to wear a different color everyday until you go through your whole nail polish collection 1 time!

  31. Linda

    Wow, wow! The colors look so pretty all in the drawers! Nice job. Where do you keep the unit?

  32. Linda

    What is are the dimensions of one of the drawers (l x w)? Thanks!

  33. Lucie

    OMG, the collection is amazing!

  34. Whippetlady

    WOW!Now you only need littel stickers with the name of the polish to put on the caps so you can see what’s what at a glance.

    • I want to do a plastic placard with the bottle “colors” and names and have it line up with what’s in there, haha. Too ambitious, but I can dream!

  35. Pam

    Wow! Nailpolish heaven! Love the new storage as well. I guess it’s about time for a little trip to Ikea…hehe

  36. Marina

    I love it! I was looking at it, but they were sold out in my Ikea

  37. Vvn

    ohmygosh.. this is insane! i’m in utter envy!

  38. Ada

    your collection never fails to amaze me ^^ now please excuse me while i daze off in wonder

  39. Julia

    This is gorgeous! I would put inserts in the top drawers and use them to organize jewelry, and then put all of my nail polish in the lower ones. I like having my makeup in my bathroom, whereas my nail polish and jewelry live in my bedroom.

    • Good idea! :) I think this is SUPER practical for those with small to moderate polish stashes. If you’re going on 1,000 bottles – maybe not so much, because of those shorter drawers – but the shorter drawers are absolutely great for other beauty storage or jewelry storage as you suggested!

  40. Bea

    WOW how envious i am of all your polish!

  41. I felt the same way that you did. the helmer does seem a tad flimsy on the bottom, but i figured if ppl were storing that much polish in them, and not experiencing sagging, then it must be alright…but i just couldn’t do it. so i had been thinking of the taller alex…but this might be better in terms of price.

    But wow XD love the action shots!

  42. Adi

    WOW! Looks great!

  43. Claudia

    I have an alex too but the tall one in white. I keep all my nail polishes and make-up in the top “short” drawers and my LUSH items in the deeper ones.

    No OPI for you?

    Oh also, if you get fed up of the polishes sliding around when you open/close the drawers, kitchen lining is great for that!

    • No OPI for me due to the drama from a few months ago!

      Surprisingly, the bottles don’t slide a lot. I have lining in my makeup storage solution to keep everything in place, and I figured I’d have to do it here… but so far, so good! I do admit I don’t heave the drawer out, though ;P

      • Claudia

        hahah maybe I should open them more carefully too :) I do have to say that my unit was defective. I had 2 screws missing and the metal rod parts are not aligning correctly in some drawers. But it was such a pain to assemble it that there’s no way I am going back lol.

        and gotcha about the drama

        • OMG, if you have missing screws/items, yeah :( I bought a dresser (Kullen, I think) for $40… and it was missing a couple of parts. It never worked out really well – was falling apart more often than not, lol.

          Like you, I didn’t want to deal with disassembling it and transporting it BACK to Ikea.

  44. Federica

    °-° you have a ton of nail polish!!! congratulations!! =) I love your collection!!

  45. Wow! Ikea does great basic storage

  46. Nicole

    Love it! I hate the idea of flimsy storage. This looks very clean, simple but sturdy as well! And as a self-confessed nail polish junkie, looking at all your polishes is like a being in a candy store! Hahah.

  47. Rae

    I’ve been thinking about getting an Alex, too! :o) I’m stuck on which to get, though — I’d be going with white, so I could go with this one or with the slightly taller, skinnier version. I prefer this one, but at the same time… the price difference is pretty large ($70) in Canada :/

    • I like the taller version, too – if I had all white furniture, it’d totally work, but most of my furniture is from Ikea and is “black-brown” and I am matchy matchy, y’know! LOL!

      If the taller one would fit more taller bottles, I’d probably opt for that.

  48. Ludwig

    If you ever have a daughter, she is going to be the luckiest kid in the world! : D

    • Shelley

      OMG YES! She’s gonna be so happy to have a mum to teach her how to apply make up and with all those collections!!!! :) :) :)

  49. wen

    LOL this….looks crazily fun

  50. Jackie

    Whoa! I probably have like 10 nail polishes…so sad.

  51. Shelley

    love your collection christine! 😉

  52. SiaM

    This is beautiful (*sniff*) It definitely looks prettier than a Helmer. I love how all the polishes are arrange in rows and the colors, the china glaze and the zoya & essie drawers are my favorite just because of how the colors look. I wish we had an IKEA here, all my polish are currently in plastic bins.

  53. Amber

    I’m so jealous…I have about 300 nail polishes and I store them in nail racks mounted on my wall but I think I want The ALex from Ikea now that I see how lovely yours looks…

  54. Annika

    I like the tall Alex from IKEA. Am considering puting three of them i a raw in my hallway (where I also have my vanity). That would give A LOT of organization potential, both for makeup and for other stuff like gloves and scarfs and hats. Great tip!

  55. Crystal

    How long do nail polishes typically last for after you’ve opened them?

    • If you store them well (cooler temperatures, no humidity, etc.), they should last quite awhile (years). Just depends on the quality of the polish, whether you regularly roll them (to keep it from separating), etc.

    • Quinctia

      I wouldn’t ever use my experience as an absolute guideline, but I recently found one of my favorite polishes from when I was in high school–I graduated ten years ago–and after rolling it a bit to mix everything back up, it applied perfectly. It didn’t even seem overly thick. I was very surprised.

      My house is kept very cool, which is the only thing that might be out of the ordinary about how I stored it. 😛

  56. Karen

    Love it! I see a trip to Ikea in my future.

  57. Ariane

    ohh I need something like this!

  58. Dini

    Sooooo very organized. And the Alex looks so sleek!!! I’ve been considering buying it for my workspace for over a year now, but maybe it can double duty as polish storage too. Absolute genius. :)

  59. I love this idea, I just don’t have the space for another piece of furniture, so I’m stacking Melmers… I need a bigger house! 😉

  60. Carianne

    Holy Cow! You have more polish than my nail place! LOL Great storage drawers, I’ll have to check them out next time I am at IKEA.

  61. Laura

    How sturdy are the bottoms of the drawers once they’re filled with polishes? I looked on the product page on Ikea to see what the unit is made of and I thought there might be a sagging issue with the drawers once they were full. (Which is why I dont like shoe boxes for polishes — since they sag under the weight) Thanks Christine! Great idea!

    • Hey Laura,

      Everything has been fine so far. The China Glaze drawer (bottom) is the only one that’s 100% full, but I haven’t seen any sagging yet!

      I did think about that, but there should be enough room underneath each drawer to slip in a piece of plywood for reinforcement, if necessary.

  62. Stacey M


    My problem would be wanting to fill it up!

  63. Stephanie

    I love it! Thanks for the idea! If I get that many nail polishes I will look into this haha.
    Have you ever thought of doing a storage/room tour video on Youtube Christine?

  64. Madelynn

    That’s amazing!

  65. Sandi

    Would the short drawers work for pigments?

  66. Dana

    Hi Christine! I actually own this for my makeup storage and it works out great. I just have to say I love what you do I think it is great. Whatever new products come out I always check to see if you have reviewed it because I trust what you have to say. Keep it up the good work? Thanks

  67. Rengirl

    What is the bottom of the drawers made of? Is it that flimsy fiber board that most Ikea drawer sets use or solid particle board?

  68. Shannon

    now i just need this to go on sale lol. i already spend way too much on polishes and makeup, i would feel way too guilty if I spend like $120 on the HOLDER for them…

    • The one thing I will say is that over the years, I have gone through many different storage systems. I wish I would have just gone for the best solution, rather than routinely going cheaper… hating it or outgrowing it, and then buying something totally different.

      I DO totally understand, because storage is so expensive!! It’s so painful every time I change!

  69. K7P*

    I don’t know what i’m loving more… the amount of nail polishes you have, or the Alex storage!!! =) The amount of nail polishes you have is insane!!! I love it!!!

  70. Christal

    if i was your loving sister i so steal this from you.. hhhahahaha

  71. Nicole

    HOLY GUACAMOLE, u have a lot!!!

  72. This looks great! I have 2 Helmers but I agree that they aren’t the most attractive. My boyfriend is moving across the street from an Ikea next month and I think my Helmers might need to be replaced… :)

  73. Rachel

    Even though you have no OPIs, do you know if they will fit in these or will they be too tall?

  74. Perri

    I think I will use it for other storage though… I don’t have nearly as much nail polish as you do!

  75. Holy moly! There’s so much nail polish in there!!

    Btw, I went to Ikea this week too! Random. =P

  76. Kerri

    Love this! All your NP look so organized. I own the taller version, which houses my stash. The very bottom drawer houses all my nail polishes. Although I was sad about the fact that it only comes in white, it still coordinates well enough with the rest of my house, so it doesn’t look too out of place :)

  77. Kaoyee

    Ack! I was just at Ikea over the weekend for some kitchen and bedroom items. I really like your organization tips. I have about 50 bottles at the moment so a few clear shoeboxes stacked on top of each other is working well for me. But wow I am so drooling over your collection.

  78. Karana

    LOVE! lots of china glaze. I don’t see OPI. Do you like OPI?

  79. Courtney

    Ooh, I’ve been looking for a polish/makeup cabinet, but I could really use something tall and skinny to fit in my bathroom.

  80. Claire

    So jealous!! all those beautiful colours

  81. BethM

    That looks very nice!
    I have to keep my polishes in closed plastic containers, then in the cabinet in the bathroom- If they’re not in a closed container, I can smell them and it gives me a headache.

  82. Amanda R

    Wow. That’s a beautiful thing. Totally jealous of your collection. My OCD wants to turn all the little Chanel Cs and Dior Ds the same way, lol!

  83. Vio

    I had been looking at the larger Alex for makeup storage and as my bedroom is actually white I wouldn’t have the color-problem you have. Black would be much more problematic.

    A trip to Ikea is already planned so I will definitely take a look at them. Your comment about sturdiness convinced me to put the larger version on my ‘definitely-look-at’-list. Thank you :-)

  84. t_zwiggy

    I’m totally getting one! I’ve tried to figure out a good storage solution for my nail polish for months now (currently they’re all just jammed together in my closet). This will also match the rest of my furniture (all black and most of it from ikea).

  85. Desiree

    Whoa lol, that’s more nail polishes than any nail shop I’ve ever gone to has had! Seeing how many China Glaze polishes u have shows me that they must be pretty good quality so I’m definately gonna look into buying some for myself =D

  86. Ula

    Your collection… WOW! :)

  87. meghan

    Would foundation bottles (usual size) be able to go in the shorter drawers or would they have to go in the taller ones?

  88. grace

    Wow! I think you have more nail polishes than any nail salon I’ve ever been to!!

  89. Ru

    Christine, how do you keep all these polishes from going bad? Even if you changed your polish everyday, you still wouldn’t use them all within a year!!

    • I have polishes that are 3-4 years and apply the same now as they did then. If a polish thickens, you can use a bit of thinner to help make the formula easier to work with. I routinely go through and roll all the bottles so that the colors don’t separate.

  90. Nadia

    My husband and I were at IKEA one day and I happened to see the Alex 9 drawer unit. We returned a few days later so that I could buy the unit. I absolutely love the Alex 9 drawer unit!!! It is perfect for storing all of my makeup. I highly recommend it.

  91. Marie

    Wow, they really do have storage for everything at Ikea, do they? :p
    That’s a really nice idea, thanks!

  92. Amanda Enn

    Do you know if IKEA has a good storage alternative that is maybe half the size and less expensive than the Alex?

  93. Did the Orly fit okay? I’ve been leaning towards the Helmer just to get those taller polishes in there. And Misa has very tall bottles, so I’d be afraid those wouldn’t fit either.

  94. Tammy

    Hey Christine, I don’t know if you’ve done this or if someone has suggested it already, but I would suggest that you get the kitchen liners? They’re rubbery in texture and they do come in black and if you line the bottom, it’ll keep your polishes from sliding in the drawers every time you open/close the drawer. Hope this helps! :)

  95. lio

    What a gorgeous collection! Especially the China Glazes look so nice all lined up like that. 😀 And I’m actually happy you don’t have any OPIs either, sometimes I feel so alone for not oohing and aahing over them anymore. I got so bitter from the drama. 😛