This IKEA hack transforms a MALM chest of drawers into an on-trend fluted masterpiece

This IKEA hack gives some plain white MALM drawers a brand new look thanks to some decorative woodwork and a lick of paint

Ikea malm drawers painted black, in front of sage green wall
(Image credit: Jana Tohver / @saurustekodu)

The IKEA MALM drawers are a classic bit of furniture - walk into any rented apartment and you'll probably find one. 

Despite being an affordable and convenient chest of drawers that work well in any room, their stark white appearance can be a bit too clinical for the home. Luckily, this IKEA hack offers some great DIY inspiration so you can customise your own drawers to fit the aesthetic of your home. 

Home renovator, Jana Tohver (@saurustekodu), who is based in Estonia completely transformed the lacklustre IKEA staple into a bespoke set of drawers that complements her modern home. With some DIY moulding, a few brass knobs, and a coat of paint, the MALM drawers have been given an entirely new lease of life. Better still, Jana did this living room DIY project on a small budget.

Ikea malm drawers painted black

(Image credit: Jana Tohver / @saurustekodu)

Jana had owned the MALM drawers for a while after purchasing them while decorating her rental. 'We used to have an apartment that we rented out and we need to furnish it quickly and on a budget,' explains Jana. 'The MALM dresser was one of the pieces we got for the place.'

But, when Jana and her partner bought their own house and sold the apartment, Jana felt as though the original white IKEA look was out of place in her home. 'It didn’t suit anywhere and was just off - so, I had an idea!' 

Ikea malm drawers in process of adding moulding and paint

(Image credit: Jana Tohver / @saurustekodu)

Jana's IKEA furniture hack was pretty simple. Using half round mouldings she purchased from a local hardware store, Jana measured the height of the MALM drawers and then got sawing the piece to fit along the front. 

'It took 160 pieces to get the final look,' she explains. 'I glued them on and finished with Fusion Mineral paint.' The brass knobs bring a bit of something extra to the chest of drawers by offering a sparkly contrast to the dark paint. 'I ordered them from AliExpress to keep spending to a minimum.'

Ikea malm drawers painted black

(Image credit: Jana Tohver / @saurustekodu)

Jana chose a dark color to contrast brilliantly with her wall - black is one of those  colors that goes with sage green. The textured finish with the wooden moulding adds some dimension to the dresser which pairs beautifully with the geometric moulding on the wall. 'I think it complements the greyish green wall perfectly, which is also a DIY project,' adds Jana.

Although this IKEA hack took a while, Jana is over the moon with the result. 'Because we're lazy, it took months to finish, but it's so worth it!' she says. 'Now I really love the dresser - like really, really!' 

Lilith Hudson
News Editor

Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.