These Ikea Malm Dresser Hack ideas are so terrific, you’ll want to try one right away…
Ikea is known for its affordable and functional furniture. In fact, their furniture offers the perfect “starter” pieces because the styles can go with any decor.
So, what do you do when you get tired of your Ikea pieces? Well…you hack them, of course!
Ikea has several different lines of furniture styles, and they all have one major thing in common: they are simply styled, making them absolutely perfect guinea pigs for personalization.
Today I want to talk about one of the most fun pieces to upgrade in my opinion…the Ikea Malm dresser hack.
In fact, the entire Malm line from Ikea is a very modern, sleek line of products that look somewhat plain and are basically begging for hacking personalization.
In short…when your Ikea Malm furniture needs a refresh, don’t toss it. Do the eco-friendly, crafty thing and hack it instead!
Can You Paint Ikea Malm Products?
First, let me answer the question you may be thinking. Can you paint the Malm? Yes, you definitely can.
However, the Malm product line can be difficult to paint. The pieces are made of laminated veneer chipboard.
This is a nice, fancy way of saying it’s almost impossible to get paint to stick to the smooth melamine surface without some prep work!
In order to successfully do an Ikea malm dresser hack with paint, it’s crucial to take the time to properly prepare it first so the paint will stick to the surface. Here’s how:
- Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need to sand the laminate surface in order to roughen it up…IF you use the right primer, and that part is KEY.
- Apply primer to the surface to keep your paint from chipping. The primer gives your paint an even surface to grip and adhere to. Then let it dry. (In my experience, THIS primer works the best!) Do NOT use a water-based product. Trust me, I’ve tried and the results ain’t pretty.
- Once the primer is dry, apply 2 coats of paint of your choice. Latex paint, milk paint or chalk paint will all work.
Important Tip: Paintbrushes can leave unsightly streaks in the finish of your paint – especially on ultra-smooth surfaces like Malm products. Instead of using paintbrushes, I highly recommend using either a paint roller or a paint sprayer to get the smoothest possible finish.
And if you just want to add a little bit of paint to repair those annoying scratches and dings that Ikea furniture can get…I’ve got the most amazing product for you to check out!
If you’re already an IKEA die-hard (or even if you haven’t yet caught the bug), then grab this free list of 25 IKEA must-have items for a stylish home on a budget! These are my favorite IKEA products as many of them can be used in amazing, outside-the-box ways, too.
We LOVE a good Ikea hack, too. Here are other posts we’ve done about upgrades to other awesome Ikea products…
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Ikea Malm Dresser Hack Ideas For Every Home
Here are Ikea Malm Hacks to inspire you if you are looking to glam up your furniture.
1. Cane Charmer
I’m leading with perhaps my favorite hack on the list. Honestly, it was hard for me to fathom that this was actually a DIY. This piece looks like something that cost thousands.
Now, truth be told, this is NOT an “easy hack” like many others on this list, but Helen’s hard work definitely paid off because the results are outstanding.
2. Wonderful Textured Wallpaper
Erika of @whitesageco shows you how to add wallpaper to your own Malm dresser on her TikTok channel.
Check it out because it’s a project that a novice can tackle, but the results will make you look like an expert DIY’er, fo’ sho’. And honestly, adding wallpaper or contact paper to your Malm is a great way to update it. It may be much easier than priming and painting.
3. Outstanding with Overlays | Sarah Hearts
Go two-tone by painting only the drawers white and adding overlays to the drawer fronts to create this interlocking circle pattern. Complete this look with simple drawer knobs from Home Depot. What a huge difference, right?
4. Built-In Malm Work Station
Desks can be hard to find, difficult to size to fit a specific work space…not to mention expensive!
So why not use some budget-friendly Malm units and create a custom workspace that fits your home office space, and budget?!
5. Darling in a Dressing Room
Amy transformed a Malm dresser for her beautiful dressing room space using 3D stickers! Check the product out if you want more details.
There are many companies on Etsy as well that create custom stickers for IKEA furniture. It’s an opportunity for a simple hack that makes a really huge impact.
6. Art Deco Hack | A Crafted Passion
Save yourself the work of painting by covering the boards in between the drawers with black contact paper, which adds contrast to the white laminate dresser. Add 4-inch black drawer pull bars to create a custom, modern look.
And make sure you grab this list of 25 awesome IKEA products to help you create a stylish home on a budget!
7. Beautiful Bunk
This is one heckuva hack! Look at this space-saving platform bed crafted with a Malm base. Great idea, for sure. This could be a perfect addition to a college dorm or apartment that is always short on storage space.
8. Turn a Dresser Into a Worktable | Gray House Studio
This Ikea Malm dresser hack is genius and turns a Malm six-drawer chest into a worktable by adding wheels to the bottom and a raised top to bar stool height.
Make the piece completely unique by adding weathered wood to the back while the front drawers stay hidden for easy storage. Dramatic change, right?
9. Lovely Legs
Sometimes the simplest changes make the biggest impact. The only thing needed for this fun hack are some cool, trendy angled legs! That one change gave this Malm dresser a new lease on life.
10. White and Gold Ikea Malm Dresser Hack | Preciously Me
Are you starting to notice a trend with the contact paper? Since painting the laminate finish on Malm furniture is fairly labor-intensive, using contact paper is one of the best ways to give a completely unique look to your old dresser…and it’s a terrific time-saving option as well.
11. Rustic Ruse | The Inspired Hive
Nope, those aren’t reclaimed wood panels you’re seeing…it’s actually some wood grain adhesive vinyl! And that is all you need to give your simple Malm dresser custom drawers, and turn this basic piece into a rustic-chic showstopper.
12. Crackle Paint for a Chic Bedroom Chest of Drawers | Anika’s DIY Life
A crackled paint technique layers white glue with paint to create this incredible textured look and a gorgeous Ikea Malm hack.
13. Statement Bedside Table
Lorein of @reinmart.interiors dressed up this Malm side table to make it a stunning statement piece for her bedroom using wood dowels. See her highlight reel for the DIY details.
14. Glam it up | Homey Oh My
Take a black Ikea Malm dresser and paint the drawers white. Then, attach brass corner hardware and drawer pulls for a campaign-style makeover. Lastly, admire your beautiful new dressing table and show it off like crazy…I sure would!
15. Amazing Architectural Update
In today’s edition of mind-blowing white Ikea Malm dresser makeovers, check out this one I found on the ol’ social media.
I couldn’t believe this was a Malm, but just flip through the images in this post, and you’ll see that it is, plain as day. Truly an unbelievable transformation with wood panels and vintage-look knobs.
This reel will show you some detail about the clever way he made this makeover come to life.
16. Simple, Stunning Suede Pulls | Nayla Smith
Nayla will teach you how to make and add these beautiful suede drawer pulls to your IKEA malm.
It’s one of the easiest of the easy DIYs on this list, but although it’s simple, it completely transforms this piece of furniture in an awesome way.
17. Lovely Leather Pulls
And here’s the sister project to the suede pulls above…leather pulls! Both of these simple ideas are such fun ways to spruce up your Malm.
Neither of these two ideas require that much in the way of craft supplies, and it only takes a few small holes to get this project completed.
18. Terrific Tween Furniture Flip | A Baby on Board
Gill Crenshaw breathed some new life into this 4-drawer dresser with the help of paint. A simple, but trendy geometric design was added in playful, bright colours for her tween’s space. This would also look adorable in a nursery, I think.
IKEA furniture is really great for kids, I think. We have used it for our kids as well, and I’ve never regretted the choice! It’s affordable, but surprisingly sturdy for the price-point…a massive plus for a kids’ space!
19. Mid Century Modern Marvel | House on Sugarhill
Jodi from House on Sugarhill had been looking for a unique piece for a while, something MCM in style, but she was coming up short.
So she decided to make her own using a 6-drawer white Malm unit. She’ll show you exactly how to make your own if you want to try one, too!
20. (BONUS!) Wood Glue + Wallpaper = Wonderful | Stefana Silber
Did I save the best for last? You decide, but I’ll say this…I think this Malm hack wins the prize for highest end look on a budget. Stefana in all her brilliance took a look at a beautiful Serena & Lily table that retails for over $1200, and decided to make a more affordable look-alike. And she nailed it.
Actually, she didn’t nail it…she wood glued and wallpapered it. And the results are completely incredible.
Don’t forget to grab your top 25 IKEA products list – click here or enter your email by clicking the picture below. I’ll send your guide right away!
15. Overlays and Fancy Knobs | Maggie Overby Studios
Create an instant two-tone look by adding white overlays to a black piece in this Ikea dresser hack. Finish the look by installing fancy mid-century style knobs.
16. Industrial Hack | Kaleidoscope Living
Love the industrial rustic look? Then this Ikea Malm dresser hack is for you! Get the full tutorial as well as a total cost breakdown. You’ll see just how affordable it is to hack a basic piece into something you truly love.
17. Jenny Lind-Style Knob Outline | My Dear Irene
Wooden ball knobs are the texture piece in this Ikea Malm dresser hack. Gluing each knob in the right place at the edges of the drawers, and painting the unit is time-consuming but yields a high-end product.
This piece would be beautiful in a master bedroom, or as a console piece in an entryway, or even in your living room beneath that big flatscreen TV.
Malm Hack Conclusion
No matter what style home or décor you have, taking your old Malm and turning it into new furniture with one of these ideas is certainly a good idea!
And if you’re decorating on a budget but are craving a more custom, high-end look…there’s good news! Upgrading an inexpensive Malm is an easy way to create the perfect piece to fit your style, and budget.
Let your imagination soar and have fun transforming your Malm!
Pin this Ikea Malm Dresser Hack post for later! And if you try one, leave a comment (or better yet, a photo) on the pin! That helps others know whether they want to try one of these projects, too!
Don’t leave empty-handed! Grab your free copy of our “25 Best IKEA Buys For A Stylish Home On A Budget” list! It’s the next best thing to an IKEA cinnamon roll (and if you haven’t tried one of those, you are missing one of life’s biggest joys)!