Ikea Hack with The MALM 6 Drawer Dresser

posted in: Decor, Looks | 5

When we moved in 3 years ago, we purchased the Ikea MALM 6 drawer dresser to go with our matching bed-frame in medium brown. We also purchased a beautiful Missoni by Target bed spread.

Our bedroom was rich and dark- laden with shades of deep navies and browns. There was a little pop of tiffany blue and beautiful Portuguese watercolors I stole from my parents attic my parents gave me.

Tiffany Blue Antique Mirror
Tiffany Blue Antique Mirror

Unfortunately, living in the Big City leave most of it’s tenants with little to no sunlight. (Note to self: Sunlight is top priority in our next apartment.) In addition, as every New York knows- most apartments are overpriced shoeboxes, and ours was no exception.

So when we renewed our lease this year, Phil and I decided to revamp our living quarters. Turning our cramped, dark space into a bright yet cozy haven.

Step 1: Ikea Hack

In order to create the look and feel of a bigger space, we had to lighten the color palette and create a monochromatic design. We painted the front of our dresser white and added colorful knobs from Anthropologie. The great thing about Anthro knobs is:

  1. They are almost always on sale for about $2- $3
  2. You can mix and match
  3. Colorful knobsare adorable

how to decorate a small nyc apartment

The Ikea Hack itself sounded a bit intimidating, but with a positive attitude, a little patience, and the right tools it was surprisingly quick and easy. First step is to sand down the surface until it no longer shines. Wipe it off with a damn cloth and prepare to drill.

diy interior decorating nyc apartment

We used a marked ruler to measure the middle of the height and a tape measurer to measure 6″ from each side. Then drew a small dot to mark the drilling spot.

how to add knobs to ikea malm dresser ikea hack

We wiped the drawers down a final time, and got to painting: 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of white semi-gloss paint. This primer and paint was made especially for indoor furniture, and can be found at Home Depot.

ikea hack with ikea malm 6 drawer dresser

Less than a few hours later, the paint had dried and it was time to screw in our Anthropologie knobs. Et Voilá! Easy Ikea hack. For now, we’ve decided to leave some of the original brown color for contrast, but we’re debating painting the whole kit and caboodle. Thoughts?

ikea hack ideas malm 6 drawer dresser

Step 2: Monochromatic Palette

To open up the space, Phil and I decided to stick with a beach-inspired pallete: Seafoam green, tiffany blue, beige, grey and white. We ditched our old bedframe and purchased the Leirvik bed and matching bedside tables.

decorating small spaces on a budget

Our brown and blue Missoni were replaced with a hotel white Ikea, complimented with a brownish/grey and tiffany blue sheets. At JC Penny’s, we walked away with incredibly inexpensive finds: curtains, throws, and a bedskirt. Finally, my boss donated some gorgeous white lamps that just happen to match our bedframe perfectly. We just had to pick up new shades at Home Depot.

how to decorate a small new york city apartment on a budget


We couldn’t be happier with our new room- with the lamps and new color scheme it is infinitely more brighter and much more welcoming. Now all we need is a new area rug, and the transformation is complete!

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Founder • Contributor • Big Sister • Manhattanite • Yorkie Mom • Chocoholic

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5 Responses

  1. I’m moving to NYC next month and will definitely keep this tips in mind #ikeaalldayerrday

    • Jess
      | Reply

      You really can’t beat Ikea prices, and if you do a little research you’ll find they’re easy to personalize!

  2. kloxyfitness
    | Reply


  3. Sunny
    | Reply

    Did you not sand the ikea drawers before painting?

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