The Ikea MALM dresser is one of Ikea’s most iconic pieces of furniture and as such, has been hacked repeatedly down the years. It is also one of Ikea’s most versatile pieces of furniture due to it’s simplicity and variety of finishes.
Hacking it can be as simple as adding dome decals.
If you have one of these floating around that you don’t know what to do with then we might have some answers for you. By the time you’ve applied any of the hacks we have gathered here you will hardly recognise your MALM dresser.
For those that are not very DIY-fingered, don’t worry, there are some hacks here that I think my son could do (he’s 3….but so very talented!)
Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest to see tons of great Ikea Hack ideas as well as home decor inspiration.
This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here for more info.
Ikea Malm Gray and Leather Hack
The Ikea MALM dresser does not come with handles; the wedge shaped top of the drawer front acts as the opener. With that in mind, an easy way to update the MALM is to just add some handles!
Ikea Malm Tree Decoupage Hack
I think you could make anything look good with this classic trees wallpaper from Cole & Son. We also particularly love that the MALM dresser has been paired with bright colours by sophierobinsoninteriors on Instagram.
In this hack the drawer fronts have simply been covered in the wallpaper by cutting out the shape of the drawer fronts and then gluing with a water based glue such as Mod Podge. Once that is set, go over again with the same glue to seal it.
Can you spot the moth drawer knobs? They fit in perfectly, but you could use these antique gold butterfly knobs as an alternative.
Ikea Malm Black & White Hack
This is a very elegant treatment of the Ikea MALM dresser from Home Talk. It has an art deco feel to it due to the black and white contrasts and we love the hexagonal shelf that has had the same black touch added.
They have fitted black bar handles to the drawers as well as painting the separation strip between the drawers black to make them stand out. Black tapered legs have also been added to make sure the dresser doesn’t sit on the floor which can make it seem boxy.
A final addition of a strip of wood across the bottom is a small tweak that actually transforms the look of the dresser brilliantly.
Ikea Malm Tricolor Hack
This simple little hack for the Ikea MALM dresser from milien_intheloft on Instagram just adds two new colours. The top drawer has been left wihtout paint and the middle and bottom drawers have been painted white and black respectively. Very simple, but very effective.
The addition of star knobs give another unique element to the dresser and make it perfect for a kids bedroom.
Cactus lamp? We love it too and you can find an alternative on Etsy.
Ikea Malm Relief Pattern Hack
Stylkea have some great stick-on panels for a variety of Ikea furniture. This MALM chest of drawers has had a stylish relief panel applied in the same colour and then some oversize wooden knobs added. The good old white and wood look is a tried and tested look that stands the test of time.
This hack can be applied to the larger dresser too, I just couldn’t find a picture of it in the same style (and I had to include it because I really like this hack!).
Ikea Malm Black & White Hack (Reversed!)
We’ve had the mostly white black & white hack, now we have the mostly black version which is a completely different look and we think the look is good!
This Ikea MALM hack from mercedes.doczi on Instagram looks especially good when teamed up with some black and red accessories.
The fact that they have used three dressers in a row to turn it into more of a sideboard has also helped transform the dresser into something different.
This method has been used on several of these hacks and in fact is a great way to use almost any piece of Ikea furniture, turning them into ‘modules’ that you can combine into larger pieces of furniture.
We love the black and red french bulldog print too and found a gorgeous pug version!
Ikea Malm Floral Pattern Hack
There are a huge array of decals available for most pieces of Ikea furniture. This Ikea MALM hack from Stickerscoloray on Etsy makes great use of their own tropical floral print decals added to the front of a black-brown MALM.
It’s such a simple way to transform the MALM and you can obviously find any style of decal you desire, we just particularly like this tropical plant one. Floral patterns are the way forward! (for now!)
Pair it with a fantastic oversize vase and twigs, like they have done above and you’ve got instant style in your room!
Ikea Malm Media Unit Hack
Another Ikea MALM hack making good use of the white and wood look that is fairly universally liked.
This media unit hack from katrin_gaimakova on Instagram is also another great way to use the modular nature of the MALM to create something that works perfectly for you.
The fact that the TV is sitting down a level from the dresser next to it helps it not stand out so much, which is an eternal struggle we all feel with televisions!
The use of soft furnishings such as cushions and plants help disguise it further.
Ikea Malm Pastel Hack
This Ikea MALM hack from Shake uses the same principle as the tricolor example earlier but with calmer, pastel colours introduced.
There are no novelty handles on these dressers which works well in this situation so that the overall look is muted.
The dressers are really well styled with accessories and lighting and the entire look is quite sophisticated…all from a starting point of the Ikea MALM!
Ikea Malm Rustic Workbench Hack
We’re not sure if this was meant to be a workbench or a console, but if it works well as either then it’s a great piece of design! It is a great piece of design anyway though!
The creators at Grey House Studio (who have loads of great ideas!) have basically completely clad a MALM dresser with reclaimed wood and added a chunky raised worktop with storage baskets.
The whole piece is a gorgeous rustic hunk of furniture that, as mentioned, would look great almost anywhere!
Ikea Malm Mirrored Morroccan Hack
Mirrors are always a great way to add some instant elegance, reflected light and an illusion of space and this Ikea MALM hack from homeartstickers on Etsy takes the MALM dresser to another level.
The adhesive panel comes in one piece (mirrored surface and fretwork) and you simply stick them on to the dresser.
This is perhaps one of the best ways to completely transform the MALM.
It’s wonderful to have all these sources of specially made Ikea add-ons that make Ikea hacking so much easier and varied.
Ikea Malm Kitchen Island Hack
This is such a great way to use the Ikea MALM dresser. The dressers themselves haven’t actually had anything done to them but the combined project is perhaps the biggest transformation of all these hacks.
Ginawohnen on Instagram has simply fitted four MALM dressers back to back and put a worktop on top to create this kitchen island. It is so creative and also really practical and good looking.
There is even room for a breakfast bar and stools! This hack makes the kitchen island dream accessible to anyone with the space for it.
Ikea Malm Gold Trim Hack
You may have seen this Ikea MALM hack a lot on Pinterest, for good reason! A touch of gold always adds an element of elegance and this is such an easy way to transform the MALM.
Preciously Me have created a gorgeous bedside dresser with just the addition of gold vinyl to the gaps between drawers.
We think they could have elevated (literally!) the look by adding short legs but it is stunning by itself.
Ikea Malm Mirrored Hack
Another fantastic mirrored Ikea MALM hack from Comfy Dwelling. This one covers the whole dresser in mirrored vinyl sheets to make it almost disappear into it’s surroundings.
Again, the way the dresser is styled with gold mirror, dressing room lights and soft furnishings adds so much to the look.
Ikea Malm Raindrops Decal Hack
It’s a fun hack that would look great in a kids room, as demonstrated. You can get all sorts of colours and styles of decals like these to fit into whatever scheme you have.
Ikea Malm Rustic Shabby Chic Dresser Hack
This is such a gorgeous Ikea MALM hack from anitanosova_pro_kraski on Instagram. Looking through her other creations she seems to be an expert at distressing and the shabby chic look.
The embellishment panels that have been added give an almost Moroccan feel to the dresser and the added wood surface on top completes the look perfectly.
Ikea Malm Stencilled Hack
Stencils are a great way to add a bit of interest to any piece of furniture, a wall or all sorts of surfaces. This Ikea MALM hack from Home Talk uses a variety of stencils to transform the dresser into something quite amazing.
We found this playing card symbols stencil which we think would look really cool.
It’s so easy to do this and there are so many stencils out there to choose from, it’s a really good way to hack the MALM!
The Ikea MALM gives us a great blank canvas that we can customise in so many different ways.
We hope we’ve shown that there are so many ways you can hack such a simple piece of furniture into something special.
Happy MALM hacking!