The Ikea MALM is a modern classic that is perfect to customise with Ikea Malm hacks. Its minimalist design and range of finishes make it one of the most adaptable pieces Ikea offers.
Modifying it can be as straightforward as applying some decorative stickers.
If you have a MALM dresser or bedside table sitting around without a purpose then we have some creative solutions for you. After implementing any of the ideas we’ve collected here, your MALM dresser will be unrecognizable!
And if you’re a bit hesitant about DIY projects, fear not. Among the hacks we’ve gathered, there are some so easy that even my three-year-old son could handle them (he’s quite a prodigy, I must say!)
Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest to see tons of great Ikea Hack ideas as well as home decor inspiration.
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Malm Wooden Decor Overlay Panels
Don’t want to put in hours of work making your Malm drawers look better? Here is a fantastic solution for the DIY-challenged among us!
You simply stick these thin wooden decor panels onto the drawer fronts (they are specifically designed to fit Malm) and hey-presto! A new set of drawers, more or less!
Fluted Drawer Fronts on This Ikea Malm Dresser
In this revamp of an IKEA MALM dresser, Jennifer Liu upgraded a nondescript MALM dresser into a deluxe, custom-made item flaunting an elegant black and gold aesthetic.
She began with a $15 deal from Facebook Marketplace, which was initially marred by discoloration, peeling veneer, and scratches.
To add texture, Jennifer used pole wrap, fastened tapered wooden legs for a contemporary flair, and applied a coat of black paint using a shellac-based primer for added longevity. She complemented this with gold hardware and spray-painted the legs for a polished finish.
Simple Green Paint Job Transformation
Sometimes, all you need is a fresh lick of paint. The gorgeous green in this Malm hack from Interior Twin matches the wall behind it and therefore helps the Malm dresser blend in a bit better.
We love the combination of the green paint with the green of the plants as well as the natural material of the wicker basket.
Chunky Wooden Slats
The chunky wooden slats used in this Ikea Malm hack give the dresser a cool new look.
You can leave to wood natural like this or stain it and varnish it for a darker style. I think that would have made it one of our favourite Ikea Malm hacks here.
It’s a fairly simple hack to achieve by cutting the lengths of wood to the right size and gluing them onto the drawer fronts.
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
Lux Hax 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 most colorful of Ikea MALM hacks 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 example of mirrored Ikea MALM hacks 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. These Ikea Malm hacks should give you enough decor ammunition to tackle your own Malm transformation!
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!