IKEA Malm Dresser Hack: How to Customize Your Furniture

This is the ultimate IKEA Malm dresser hack. I started with this regular IKEA Malm dresser and customized it to my own design. It was easy! Here’s what I did:

Tools and materials

  • IKEA Malm chest
  • Sandpaper (various grits)
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw (circular or hand saw)
  • 3/4 inch scrap wood
  • Wood glue
  • Nails and hammer or nail gun
  • Plywood
  • Edge banding
  • Clamps
  • Screwdriver
  • Small furniture feet
  • Primer
  • Paint (rich brown burgundy)
  • Paintbrush or roller
IKEA Malm dresser before


Sanding the chest

1. Sand the chest

Use sandpaper to sand off the finish of the IKEA Malm chest. Start with a coarse grit and move to a finer grit for a smooth finish.

Modifying the height

2. Modify the height

Measure and mark a couple of inches from the bottom of the chest. Use a saw to carefully cut off the marked section to reduce the height of the chest.

Prepping the wood trim

3. Prepare the wood trim

Rip down 3/4 inch scrap wood to the desired width for the trim pieces. Measure to ensure they fit the sides and front of the chest. Cut the wood pieces to the appropriate lengths for each side and the front.

Attaching the wood trim with wood glue
Attaching the wood trim with with clamps and nails

4. Attach the wood trim

Apply wood glue to the back of each trim piece. Position the trim on the chest and secure it with nails. Use a hammer or a nail gun for this step. Use clamps to hold the trim pieces in place while the glue dries for a stronger bond.

Ironing the edge banding
Securing the plywood base

5. Add the plywood base

Measure the bottom of the chest and cut a piece of plywood to fit. Apply edge banding to the edges of the plywood for a finished look. Secure the plywood base to the chest with screws.

Feet for the dresser

6. Attach the feet

Decide on the placement of the small furniture feet. Use a screwdriver to attach the feet to the bottom of the chest.

Priming the dresser
Painting the dresser

7. Prime and paint

Apply a coat of primer to the entire chest, including the new trim and feet. Allow it to dry completely. Paint the chest with your chosen rich brown burgundy color. Use a paintbrush or roller for an even finish. You may need multiple coats for full coverage. Let the paint dry thoroughly between coats.

DIY dresser
Upgraded IKEA Malm dresser
Styled IKEA Malm dresser
IKEA Malm dresser with decor
IKEA Malm dresser hack

IKEA Malm dresser hack

Now this looks just like the $1,000 designer dresser I wanted, and I can't get over this color. What do you think of these changes? Do you have IKEA Malm dresser hacks to share? Leave a comment below to let us know!

Follow @jennasuedesign on Instagram for more DIY ideas.

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