Bedroom Makeover // MALM Dresser Facelift


When I was coming up with a game plan for our bedroom makeover, I had distinct visions of a beautiful dresser to go along with it all. Something clean and simple and a nice warm wood tone. Something like this:

Dresser1   Dresser2  Dresser3

Well our current dresser looked like this:


Not quite the look I was going for anymore. Tyler and I bought this dresser when we moved into our first apartment about 4 years ago. It's a MALM dresser from IKEA and to be honest, I've never had a single functional problem with the thing. It's a good size for our needs and has held up extremely well. Unfortunately, the dark wood tones just aren't my thing.

I searched Craigslist and Ebay for weeks trying to score a nice mid-century modern dresser for a reasonable price, but apparently that's REALLY hard to come by. I even considered purchasing a knock-off version from West Elm or other big box store, but I just couldn't justify spending hundreds of dollars on a new dresser when we had one that was working just fine.

So what did we do? The cheapest and easiest DIY fix around. PAINT! I had some extra white paint on hand from our kitchen cabinet makeover this summer, so I decided to give it a go on the dresser.  Our initial idea was to paint the top and sides of the dresser but leave the drawer fronts alone. We thought we could simply replace them with a nice wood and give the entire thing a brand new look.

I started off exactly the same way I did with our kitchen cabinets - by giving everything a light sanding all over.


I then wiped it all down really well, let it dry, and applied two light coats of KILZ primer. If you're planning to paint something dark to light, I would highly recommend coating everything in this stuff first. It's excellent at covering stains and odors. After that dried, I applied 3 coats of BM ADVANCE paint in White Dove. The ADVANCE paint waterbourne formula keeps VOCs low - perfect for painting indoors in the winter where you may not be able to open many windows. Like I said, this was just some leftover paint that I used for our kitchen cabinets, so it is in an eggshell finish - a little bit of sheen but not much. Just enough to keep things durable over time.


I was actually quite surprised how much better a little paint made the dresser look! Unfortunately, the drawer fronts were even more noticeable now. I hated that you could see the white strips in between each drawer and the front plate on the bottom just made the whole thing look.... heavy?  I started to second guess our idea of replacing the drawer fronts with real wood. Would it be worth the cost? Considering the current design of the bottom of the dresser, adding legs wasn't looking so great either. What if we just painted everything white and added some hardware? It can't hurt, right?

So that's what I did. After living with the dark fronts and pondering replacing them with real wood for about a week, I took the drawers outside, gave them a light sanding, and then primed and painted everything.




And we ended up with this!


I'm actually quite happy with the way it looks all painted white. The best part? I had all of the supplies on hand so it didn't cost me a penny. If we decide to proceed with the solid wood fronts at a later date, that can still be done. For now, I'm pretty set with the white and we're in the process of making some leather drawer pulls which should really step things up. Something along these lines:

LeatherPull1 LeatherPull2

Brick House                                           Martha Stewart

Tyler and I stumbled upon a really neat leather shop while we were in Cincinnati over the weekend, so we have almost all of our supplies on hand. Hopefully I'll be able to post some final photos next week! Stay tuned.

*By the way, we originally purchased the Glass Top in transparent gray that goes along with the MALM dresser. We no longer need it so if you're interested, just let me know and I'd be more than willing to give it a new home!