IKEA Malm Hack

Hey ho. I have had a bland little bedside table next to the bed for some years and finally decided enough is enough.

It’s very functional, good size, handy drawers, but oh-so boring. Beech tone laminate. Bleugh. No hardware at all. Yawn. So inoffensive that it violently offended me every time I laid eyes on it.

So I decided to give it a makeover. Now this is not groundbreaking – I’d seen some pretty great Ikea hacks generally, and there are plenty of Malm hacks on Pinterest. But I do love a good makeover, and this one probably cost me about £15 all in. Plus I’d gotten the Malm for free some years ago (I wouldn’t have paid money for such a meh item, unless I had plans for it).

Here’s how I did it.

I took the drawers out and gave the whole thing a light sanding, just to scuff the surface a little. Then I laid out my strips of pine to get an idea of how far I wanted them from the edge, measured, and drew a rectangle to mark where the wood would sit. The idea with adding the pine strips was to give the whole face of the piece depth and interest and to make it unique.

Then came the tricky part – I measured the wood and cut each one at a 45 degree angle using my mitre box. I’m sure there’s easier ways of doing this, and I really could have used a vice or a clamp cos it was tricky to stop everything moving around enough to cut a clean angle, but I got there eventually. I struggle with accuracy sometimes – I usually prefer a slightly chaotic method – which this was – I dropped a saw on my knee and walked into the coffee table (aka my workbench that day) within the space of about 5 minutes. Safety first kids.

After my 8 pieces of wood were cut for the rectangle detail on each drawer, I laid them out to check the angles all fit together and finally, glued them down using No More Nails.


At this point there were a few gaps – not all of my angles were perfecto as you can see above – but I filled this with a little wood filler, let it dry and sanded the angles smooth.

Now it was time to prime! (Why do I sound excited about priming? Possibly the most boring step of all). I used Dulux Difficult Surfaces Primer – I already had some lying around from other laminate furniture pieces I had painted, so this saved me some money.


Once the primer was dry I added the colour. I used Dulux Teal Tension, and all it took was 2 little tester pots. I used a mini foam roller for a smooth finish.

This gave me 2 full coats plus touch ups where I needed them. Here are the drawers looking ropey after the first coat:


I love using tester pots for small projects – they cost less than  £2 each, you never need to worry that you’ve brought way to much of some ugly-arse paint that you’re never going to use, and it’s surprising how far they go.  The only problem is that tester pots (in this country at least) are usually in a Matt finish. Once I had painted this, I loved the colour, but the I wanted a bit of shine to my finish, to set off the lovely tone, so I did a couple of coats of a satin finish clear varnish that I had. This will make the finish very durable as well.

Once the colour was on and I was happy with the finish, it was time for bling.

I chose these adorable cast iron cup pulls which were only £2.99 each on eBay. I considered keeping them dark (they were an ‘aged antique brass’ finish), but I love the idea of gold and teal – such a beautiful contrast. So I grabbed the trusty gold spray paint and went to town. This pic was taken pre-varnish with the pull just placed there so I could make sure I was happy with the colour. You can see the brush strokes here, which are actually from the primer – stupidly I brushed the primer on instead of rolling. Luckily after the varnish the brush strokes are not obvious. Still, it’s a lesson for next time.


To be honest the pulls were a total faff to attach – the screws were way too long so I had to hacksaw them in half because I didn’t have anything the right size. And then they had these tricky-arse rear fix fastenings – not just a couple of screws sticking through the drawer, or on either side – they have this hidden screw thing that I pissed around with for ages and swore my head off (I can’t remember how I did it in the end – I think I’ve blocked it out. Sorry, that’s really helpful isn’t it).

That was the final touch (and the one that almost finished me – the finishing touches are supposed to be the fun bit I thought?!). And so and I ended up with this cute guy:

Ikea Malm Hack

Here’s a before and after:


And in situ before and after – I love the blue against the green of the walls. POW! So much better.




So there is it. It’s a much more interesting piece of furniture now and much more in line with my vision for the bedroom. More on that soon!

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