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 and always considered an IKEA malm hack.
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/playroom/office space in the old kitchen so I didn’t want to spend any money on new furniture, but our Ikea Malm drawers looked out of place in our green and pink room.
As you all probably know, I love an upcycle and an IKEA hack and I love creating new furniture out of old. I decided to create a stylish office space in the bedroom that fitted in with the décor and tried to use what I already had, where I could.
It would also eventually 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 Micke 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.
Using cane webbing is a quick and easy way to update old (or tired) furniture.
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.
We have a dark green/jade headboard in the room and the teal colour clashed with it.
I went back to Valspar and bought a pot of Ebony Lake. It is a beautiful dark forest green and extremely rich in colour, almost black.
Malm Chest of Drawers Upcycle
With the materials and colour chosen, this is how I upcycled our Malm chest of drawers.
What I used
- 2 sets of IKEA Malm Chest of drawers
- IKEA Micke desk
- Paint colour – Valspar Ebony Lake
- A really good primer!
- Cane webbing
- Paint roller and brushes
- Saw & Mitre box
- Half wooden dowels
- Wood filler
- Wood glue
- Staple gun
- Panel pins
- Tape measure
- Gold handles
How to upcycle Malm drawers
I took all the drawers out and lightly sanded the drawers and desk. I then cleaned them with sugar soap and applied a thick coat of primer everywhere where I wanted to paint.
As the Malm 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!
However, if you give them a good sanding down, to begin with, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
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 around 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 the 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 my IKEA Malm bedside table hack 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 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 corkboard, shelves, books, plants 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 Desk Malm drawer hack has turned out! I loved pulling this corner of our bedroom together and now it’s an absolute pleasure to work here.
I think the dark green works beautifully against the cane webbing and gold handles and it inspired the rest of the decor in our bedroom.
What do you think?
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Absolutely love this!!! Didn’t realise you could buy the cane webbing! I’m definitely going to have a go at this. The transformation is incredible. Your office space looks absolutely beautiful. Thank you for inspiring me again x
Thank you! I am so happy with how this turned out, it’s better than I could have hoped for. The cane webbing can be a little expensive for what it is, but I think that’s because it is in high demand and I think it’s worth the cost as it makes the furniture look so much more expensive!
Love this. Have you got a link to the shelves? They look fab but I can’t find them on the Homebase website
Hi Sarah, I have had a lot of questions about these shelves! They are in fact a 120cm plank of pine from Homebase which I cut in half and varnished using Ronseal Medium Oak. Mel 🙂
Amazing is that all! Wow! Thank you. Were the little bracket clips from Homebase too? Think I saw them on your stories but can’t remember.
Yes, I couldn’t find the perfect sized shelves so decided to take the matters into my own hands! The brackets are from Homebase, I’m not sure if you follow me on Instagram but I put a tutorial reel up yesterday with a how to. Mel x
Hi Melanie! This is absolutely stunning and exactly what I’ve been looking for for my home office. How were able to get the desk and dressers flush? They look perfect in the pictures despite being 1.25in (or 3cm) different in height.
Hi Jamie. Thank you! I forgot to mention that I bought 6 x 30mm door stoppers from Amazon and fixed them to the bottom of the desk. It makes it the perfect height. Mel 🙂
Thanks, Melanie! If you don’t mind, would you be able to share the stoppers you purchased? I’ve been searching Amazon and Google but can’t seem to find the right height/diameter.
Of course, here’s a link – https://amzn.to/3p9apMh
Hi Melanie! OMG, you saved me! This is gorgeous! Question—the depth of the desk is 50 and the drawers are 48. How did you make everything look so even? Was it a noticeable difference? Thank you!
It actually worked out quite well as we have the radiator behind the desk. So the Malm dressers are pulled forward ever so slightly to align with the desk. It’s not noticeable at all
Hi, I am looking at doing this on a Malm desk, myself but was wondering about if it was at all sticky afterward? The draw for me getting an Ikea desk is that it is a clean large workspace so want to make sure it would stay that way!
Hi Kiera, it’s not sticky, but the paint on the Micke desk has started to peel away, mainly because of the desk material and I didn’t use a primer like Zinsser Shellac. I would definitely say when it comes to painting a desk, don’t! 🙂 Or, if you want all the furniture to look the same, maybe get some vinyl to wrap the tops. That’s what I’m going to do!