The MALM dresser is instantly recognizable by any IKEA fanatic. The simple colors and smooth lines are clamored after for a clean, minimalistic feel that fits into any space. But some people see that plain jane white surface as a blank canvas, and they feel the itch to flex their DIY muscles and upcycle it into something totally unique.
We searched Instagram and TikTok for the very best MALM dresser reimaginings. The best part: Despite how unrecognizable the simple MALM looks after these transformations, most of the DIYs are so easy that you could start one (or three) yourself and finish in only a weekend!
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Scallop Star Power
Breaking news: Scallops are back. And what better way to incorporate this Art Deco throwback into your space than a DIY paint job on your MALM?
DIY blogger Lins Drabwell painted her MALM pink, traced the pattern from a scallop tile sample, and used white to make it pop. For the herringbone top, she hot-glued jumbo lollipop sticks. If you’re really feeling this design, paint a scalloped edge on your walls to match!
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Not into organic shapes? Go the geometric route. For this one, Drabwell used masking tape to block out her design, painstakingly making sure the lines were perfectly straight across the drawers. Once painted and dry, she added brass handles for a pretty finishing touch.
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Granny Chic Paisley
By blending green and pink Annie Sloan chalk paint, topping it with an intricate lace stencil, and adding matching knobs, artist Rachel Llewellyn-Payne turned her MALM into a striking work of art.
She wanted to combine her husband’s hardcore rocker vibe with her own style for this space (aptly dubbed “the granny chic room”). The result: A gorgeous, industrial-yet-floral creation.
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We love a good retro vibe in our home decor, especially when it’s something you can craft yourself. This DIY looks so good and is so simple, it might just be our favorite hack.
Cut the molding, adhere burlap-like fabric to the top two drawers, add the molding, and voila. Pair it with some metallic and vinyl decor to complete the mid-century modern look.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Navy Florals and Plum Pudding
Vikki Hunt has had two MALM dresser sets for many years, and she found their look to be rather tired. So she set out to freshen them up, make them brighter, and give them a “wow” factor that would stand out in a room filled with neutral colors.
Using Frenchic paints, she painted one set navy and pasted floral wallpaper across the top drawers. For the other, she painted a few coats of purple.
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With mirrored panels, trellises, and 15 minutes of work, you can turn your dresser into the fairest MALM of all.
Home DIYer Charlotte Page wanted to breathe new life into her tired set of drawers on a budget, and the minimal materials needed for this hack were the perfect option. Everything came together with just a little bit of Gorilla Glue.
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A MALM for King Midas
Sometimes subtle changes are the most glamorous, and this is the case for this MALM reimagined with gold accents.
The drawers and top are left white and untouched, while the spaces between compartments are covered in adhesive film (though metallic peel-and-stick wallpaper would work great, too). Set a pretty mirror and metallic decor on top, and you’ve got a pretty accent piece for your bedroom.
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The Magic of Molding
A quick way to make your MALM look more elegant is by adding molding to the drawers. The trickiest part is cutting the right (or, should we say, 45-degree) angles, but once you’ve got them adhered, caulked, and painted, the dresser looks totally high-end.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Faux Marble Top
With just a few little details, you can give your dresser an entirely new, high-end look. These gold center bar handles are a breeze to add to the drawers. And, when it’s topped with a faux marble vinyl adhesive, your MALM will be unrecognizable. The best part? This DIY can be done in an hour or two, tops.
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Never underestimate the power of polka dots. Home blogger Lucie Weston had seen designers create polka dot walls on Instagram and instantly fell in love, but, being a renter, she wasn’t able to deck out her own walls in decal stickers.
So, she decided to opt for the next best thing and stick them to her furniture! She placed the larger dots on first, then filled in the white space with smaller decals until she was satisfied.
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Simple Paint and Knobs
After finding inspiration on Pinterest, interior design enthusiast Raluca Herdean knew just how to bring her desired "something blueish” into her bedroom.
With a roller brush and Rust-Oleum chalky furniture paint, she gave her old MALM a facelift in a matter of hours. After two coats of paint and installing wood knobs, it was unrecognizable—and gave her room the look she’d been looking for.