Before & After: This IKEA MALM is a stylish asset in a candy-floss pink bedroom

This is how a Swedish design staple became a boutique furnishing that demands all attention

IKEA MALM cabinet hack in a girl's bedroom
(Image credit: Suzanne Lynam / @houzzproject24)

IKEA is known and admired for its versatile icons that can work in schemes of all shapes and sizes. However, while it is easy to love the Scandi-cool chain for its minimalism, it is equally as easy to celebrate a creative IKEA hack that turns the furniture favorite into a bespoke one-off piece. 

The latter is the case with our latest crush – a makeover MALM (opens in new tab) that has gone from streamlined to uniquely stylish following a transformation by designer Suzanne Lynam (@houzzproject24 (opens in new tab)). Here, Suzanne shares her modern decorating ideas – including the process behind her design. All that’s left to do is to make the MALM work in your own scheme. 

IKEA MALM hack – before  

IKEA MALM cabinet hack in a girl's bedroom

(Image credit: Suzanne Lynam / @houzzproject24)

Suzanne explains that she decided to makeover the unit after decorating her daughter’s bedroom. After pasting the distinctive Buckley the Wonderdog (opens in new tab) paper by Graham and Brown around the space, she decided to design a staple piece that would match the dramatic – but stylish wallpaper. The fluted MALM was the answer to her interior design desires. 

‘The dresser is a perfect size and feels like it was specifically made for the alcove it sits in but just needed a little TLC,’ Suzanne shares in discussion with Livingetc

‘With a love for paneling and molding, which are features throughout my house, I knew I wanted to bring a similar fluted look to the dresser to add some texture with a modern twist,’ the designer adds. 

IKEA MALM cabinet hack in a girl's bedroom

(Image credit: Suzanne Lynam / @houzzproject24)

After investigating – and finding the perfect design – Suzanne measured the drawers before visiting her local wood supplier (@woodworkers.ie (opens in new tab)). Here, she picked out a half-round dowel molding for the front of the drawers and got them cut to size. 

'To add a look of sophistication to the sides and top of the unit, I ordered some marble contact paper from Amazon, and some rose gold contact paper for above the drawers,’ Suzanne says. 

The designer adds that the paper ‘matched in perfectly with the color of the dachshund on the wallpaper,’ which emphasized the bespoke aesthetic further. 

IKEA MALM cabinet hack in a girl's bedroom

(Image credit: Suzanne Lynam / @houzzproject24)

After sourcing the materials, Suzanne cleaned the unit and applied the marble contact paper to the top and sides. She then added the gold contact paper to the front of the MALM. 

IKEA MALM hack – after 

IKEA MALM cabinet hack in a girl's bedroom

(Image credit: Suzanne Lynam / @houzzproject24)

Once Suzanne had applied the paper, she glued the cut dowels to the drawers using some no-nails glue. Here, she was careful to line up the four drawers so that the wood was equally in line on all drawers

‘To finish, I applied three coats of clear varnish to the wood and voila. The result is a great bespoke piece of furniture that my daughter loves, and I thoroughly enjoyed making,’ Suzanne says. 

IKEA MALM cabinet hack in a girl's bedroom

(Image credit: Suzanne Lynam / @houzzproject24)

Has this fluted MALM reset modern bedroom ideas for the season ahead? We can only suggest so.  

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA. 


Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.