9 times the IKEA MALM series was used to perfection

Put your own stamp on this IKEA classic with these inspiring ideas...

Ikea Malm dresser
(Image credit: Ikea)

IKEA have been supplying us with interior classics for 30 years now, and one of the most popular is their MALM dresser – a staple of bedrooms everywhere. 

Do you love the MALM dresser but fancy making it your own rather than that ‘just out of the box’ look? We love IKEA hacks and there’s plenty of cool inspo on Instagram for you to check out, all you need is an arty eye and some basic DIY skills. Check out our favorites below and get creative! 

1. Make a MALM dresser part of your pink scheme

The beauty of IKEA pieces is that you can add and subtract elements as you wish, and this bedroom is a perfect example of that. The drawers on the left of the desk together with the dressing table create a seamless extension and there’s no need for a fancy design hack on the MALM here as the pinky coral scheme is enough of a design statement. 

2. Create a scalloped design for an art deco feel

Lins is renovating her 1930s South East London home with her husband Pete and she’s a dab hand at upcycling, you can follow her journey via her Instagram feed, @linsdrabwell. She was inspired by other Instagrammers when she decided to give her MALM drawers a new lease of life and we love the scalloped design and blush pink paint. 

3. Go angular 

It’s Lins again from @linsdrabwell - we loved her scalloped design so much that we scoured her Instagram and found another! These drawers were designed for her husband and the two colors are Farrow & Ball’s Green Smoke and Ammonite, mixed by @decoratingcentreonline. She used tape to mark out the lines before painting and added the new handles, the idea was for a more masculine feel and we love it! 

4. Use plywood to transform your MALM

How impressive is this MALM hack? If you have a peek at Holly’s IG account you’ll see that plywood features heavily in her beautiful family home, so it was only natural that their MALM dresser is upcycled with it too. The other design feature we love is how this section of the space has been used to create a barrier between the bedroom and dressing area. 

5. Create a glam space in a dressing room

Vicky wanted to create a dressing room and as bedroom no.4 is right next to the main bedroom, she decided to turn it into a walk-in wardrobe slash dressing room. The MALM dresser fits into the space whilst still allowing a corner unit for Vicky’s shoes, and the rose velvet upholstered chair matches her collection perfectly. 

6. Paint your MALM furniture to suit a space

The beauty of the MALM range is its versatility, and how each piece works in any room whether your home is a new build or a period property. We love how @chez_tora has painted her MALM unit to the alcove wall colour behind it - the result is modern and stylish and it works really well with the wooden floor boards and exposed brick. 

7. Remember plain can be just as stylish 

Another example of how seamlessly MALM can fit into your home, although this one is how IKEA intended it to be, Marianne @martingrantnewhome shows how you can create a sophisticated modern scheme using it. A quick update would be to add a handle or door knobs to make it individual, @anthropologie does a great range of shapes and sizes. 

8. Go for a gothic makeover 

Roxanne upcycled her MALM dressing table to create a dramatic film star feel with great results! She used a Wickes wood and metal paint and added Plank Hardware handles. The walls are painted in Honey Haven by Johnstone's Paint which creates the perfect backdrop for this stylish space. The sidelights are also IKEA and check out the beautiful wishbone chair – it looks fabulous don’t you think?

9. Take the wood effect to the next level

Kayla actually found these MALM dressers whilst thrifting and felt like they would potentially fit in their nursery - look at the amazing upcycle! Kayla is fabulous at DIY – check out her website for more tutorials – she cut half round dowels, then glued them on to each drawer front to create a fluted look and added some handles to finish off the look.

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.