Ikea Malm Before and After

Luca DIY, Furniture Before and After 3 Comments


In my last post, I showed you the results of a master bedroom makeover. My clients had an existing Ikea Malm dresser that they wanted to keep; it was great storage, but not very stylish. So I decided to give it a makeover and I wanted to take you through the steps for achieving this look.


First I roughed up the dresser’s slick finish with an 80-grit sanding block, which allows the primer to adhere better. I removed all the drawers, covered the edges with painter’s tape, and gave the piece one coat of Zinsser primer. Next I added two coats of Benjamin Moore’s Glacial Till, a light putty color.

I bought 3/4″ panel molding from Lowe’s, and I expected to be able to have it cut down in store. Unfortunately they were only able to do straight 90-degree cuts, and I was looking for a 45-degree miter cut. I was about to rent a (gigantic!) table saw from Home Depot, but luckily the helpful employees at the Marina Del Rey location offered to cut the molding for me. Phew!

I attached the molding with brad nails and used a Phillips-head screwdriver and a hammer to sink the nails a bit below the surface. I filled the nail holes and the mitered joints with wood putty. Then I taped off the panels, gave them a coat of primer and two coats of paint. I could have attached the molding before I painted to save time, but I was able to achieve a smoother surface by painting the drawer fronts on their own first. The last step was to attach the hardware. Just drill pilot holes and then attach the handles with screws.

In the end, the dresser has a much more sophisticated and distinctive look, and the design gels with everything else in the bedroom.



Comments 3

  1. Hi!

    This re-do is gorgeous! I have a similar Malm dresser that I would love to do this project with. Could you tell me the measurements of the 3/4 wood trim pieces? Also – how did you tape under the trim for painting? It looks like you taped, then nailed the trim down on top? Where did you find the hardware? I love that! Thank you for posting this!

  2. Hi there! I have this exact same malm dresser that I’ve been wanting to paint white. Just wondering if your paint ever scratches, even after sanding and painting? I’m worried about that happening!

    1. Post

      Hi, Sarah! This dresser is in a client’s house, so I haven’t seen it since I finished the project. But I think it’s fair to say that all painted furniture chips eventually. If you prep the surface well before painting, chipping should be minimal and easy to touch up. I’d love to see what you end up doing with your dresser!