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Before and After: A Campaign Style IKEA Malm Hack

by on Aug 31, 2015

Photo: Faith Towers

I’ve had this black IKEA Malm dresser for years. And when I moved into a new house, the black just didn’t feel right anymore. So I decided to transform it into more of a campaign style piece using chrome hardware and (believe it or not) self-adhesive contact paper. Keep reading to check out the transformation and the tutorial.   

A brown and white three drawer dresser with a black plant, pink flowers and a blue abstract painting on top of it.
Photo: Faith Towers

Pretty drastic change, right?! And it really wasn’t difficult to do, it just took a little bit of time and effort. 

Before and After: An IKEA Malm Hack

1. Here’s what you’ll need if you’d like to create your own campaign style dresser:

Wood tone contact paper
Round chrome pulls
– Decorative chrome corners
– White latex paint and a brush
– Fine grit sandpaper
– A drill and a hammer

2. Begin by sanding the whole piece down so that the paint will have some texture to adhere to. Then wipe it down with a damp paper towel.

3. Next, paint the whole dresser white. It may take two coats – be sure to let it dry in between. 

4. Let the second coat dry for at least a day or two. 

Before and After: An IKEA Malm Hack

5. Next, lay a piece of contact paper over the drawer. Trim the paper, leaving enough excess to cover the edges of the drawer. Fold over the edges.

6. Now begin drilling your decorative hardware onto the corners. Do this for every drawer.

7. Last, drill a hole in the center of each drawer for your ring pulls. The Malm is made of a dense material, but just push hard and be persistent and eventually you’ll make your way through. 

8. Add a pull to each drawer. The screws that came with the pulls weren’t quite long enough so I ended up using screws that were about half an inch longer. And that’s it… you’re finished!

Before and After: An IKEA Malm Hack
Photo: Faith Towers

You could use this same technique with different paint colors and different types of contact paper… a colorful patterned paper would look great too. 

Before and After: An IKEA Malm Hack
Photo: Faith Towers

Or you can try gold tone hardware for a more traditional campaign style look.

Before and After: An IKEA Malm Hack
Photo: Faith Towers


Before and After: An IKEA Malm Hack
Photo: Faith Towers


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  1. You didn’t use a primer and the paint stuck perfectly? I’m thinking of doing this.

  2. Hi Sam – I didn’t use primer, but in retrospect I do think it might be wise to use one if the piece you’re painting will incur a lot of wear and tear. Mine was fine for a while, but there are a few areas that have peeled a bit where I dragged things across it.

  3. did you wrap both the sides and the top of your drawers with contact paper? any ideas on how to keep the creases clean?

  4. Hi Cadence, I wrapped the tops and sides of the drawer faces with the contact paper (not the actual side of the drawer when pulled out). My contact paper was pretty thick, so I didn’t have any issues with the creases… I put it on the front part of the drawer first and then just folded the edges down over the sides of the drawer fronts.