We have owned various shapes and sizes of IKEA Malm chest of drawers for the bedroom and although they are fab at doing their job, storing clothes, they are a bit lacking in style. But I didn’t want to throw them away.
When we moved into our house, there was only one room that could be used as a dedicated office space and my working from home husband nabbed that. To be fair, the deal was, if I wanted to decorate the whole house as I pleased, he wanted one room where he could hang his Army memorabilia and his picture of The Queen without me faffing about with cushions and paint colours. I thought that was a fair deal!
Whilst we were renovating downstairs, we decided the best place to put my office space was in our master bedroom. We are lucky with very large patio doors leading out onto a balcony in our bedroom with sea views, so I wanted my desk to face the views.
Eventually, we will be creating a guest bedroom/play room/office space in the old kitchen so I didn’t want to spend any money on new furniture, but our Ikea Malm chest of drawers looked out of place in our green and pink room.
As you all probably know, I love an upcycle and I love creating new furniture out of old, so I decided to create a stylish office space in the bedroom that fitted in with the décor. It could also be used as a dressing area and somewhere to put our clothes when I eventually moved working from home out of our bedroom and downstairs to my own office space.
We already had the IKEA Malm chest of drawers, so I searched for a desk that could sit alongside the drawers and were the same height (or thereabouts) so they looked custom made. Almost!
I found this desk on the IKEA website. At 75cm in height, it was only 3cm smaller than the Malm chest of drawers so it would sit perfectly in-between the two (they do a Malm dressing table that would have been perfect, but it was too long in length!)
I ordered some cane webbing from Etsy about 2 years ago when cane webbing furniture began to become extremely popular but I just never got around to using it. I’m absolutely loving natural materials and colours that connect to nature at the moment so I knew that the cane webbing would look perfect in our bedroom.
We had some Valspar Blue Jade paint left so I tested this colour out first on the chest of drawers, but I didn’t think the teal colour was right for this upcycle, so I went back to Valspar and bought a pot of Ebony Lake. It is a beautiful dark forest green and extremely rich in colour.
Malm Chest of Drawers Upcycle
With the materials and colour chosen, this is how I upcycled our Malm chest of drawers.
What I used
Paint roller and brushes
How to upcycle your Malm chest of drawers
I lightly sanded the Malm chest of drawers and the desk and then cleaned them with sugar soap. I then applied a thick coat of primer everywhere where I wanted to paint.
As the Malm chest of drawers are quite glossy in nature, I recommend an extremely good primer that has shellac in it, like Zinsser, as the paint just peels off!
Once the primer is dry, apply the paint onto the drawers and desk. This needed around 3 coats as the paint is such a dark colour!
Next, you need to fix the cane webbing to the drawers. I used a staple gun and it was really quick and simple. I cut it to size with a really sharp pair of scissors, measured out the drawer to make sure the cane webbing sat in the middle and then stapled from the middle of the cane webbing and worked my way out. I made sure I kept the cane webbing tight all around so that it didn’t sag.
Once you have used the staple gun to fix the cane, you might have to go round the drawer with a hammer to make sure all the staples are flush and ready to put the frame on.
I used wooden half dowels to frame the edges of the cane webbing to keep it looking neat. I measured out the length of dowels first, then cut them at 45 degrees angles using a saw and mitre box.
I painted them in Ebony Lake and then secured them with panel pins. I used wood glue with the first dowel to fix it in place, but I soon realised I was just making more work for myself and that the panel pins did the job just fine.
When the frames are secured and in place, you can use wood filler to fill in the corners of the frames and over the panel pins. However, I found this just caused more mess and as long as you are really careful when you are measuring out the frames and securing them, they shouldn’t need wood filler.
Once all the cane webbing and frames were in place and secure, the final job was to add some handles! I had some gold handles left from a previous Malm upcyle I did (you can see this upcycle here) and realised they were perfect for our Malm chest of drawers. I fixed them by drilling a hole through the drawers and using the screws provided.
And that’s all there is to it really. It took me about 3 days to complete but that’s because I did 2 Malm chest of drawers, one desk and a lot of waiting in between for the paint to dry.
As with anything, once they were all put together and I added some cork board, shelves and lots of faffery, the Malm chest of drawers really came into their own! I really am in love with my office space!
I couldn’t be happier with how the IKEA Malm chest of drawers and desk have turned out! I loved pulling this corner of our bedroom together and now it’s an absolute pleasure to work here.
What do you think?