DIY Ikea Malm Makeover & Guest Room Updates

Big news: It's baby week! By the end of this week, our precious twins will be here. It still feels so surreal. Please follow the blog on social media if you'd like to see the baby announcement, and then I'll get back on the blog as soon as I can to share a few more details.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share this fun project the husband finished up recently. We wanted to get our guest room up to snuff because we know we'll have some guests coming to visit the twins. After my mom moved out we never really put it back together, and it became a bit of a storage space.

The main thing the guest room was lacking was storage. We felt like we needed a dresser so that guests could have a place to store their things when they visit, so we spent weeks looking for something on Craiglist. I finally got fed up with all of the overpriced options I was seeing on Craigslist and decided we should just customize an Ikea dresser instead.

I wanted a 6-drawer white Malm dresser, but our local Ikea didn't have any in stock. They did have the birch color, so we decided we would get one of those instead and paint it whatever color we wanted. However, the husband did what he always does - he checked the "as is" section by the checkout registers - and found the dresser I wanted for only $100! It was already put together (YES!) and was fully functional. As you can see, the only flaw was that one spot between the drawers was the birch finish instead of the white. We figured that was easy to overcome, so we bought it.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how we should customize the dresser, and I ended up taking inspiration from two different images I saw on Pinterest: this Malm makeover with leather pulls and this Malm kitchen island

We wanted the wood to be affordable, so we bought some really huge, clean wooden pallets on Craigslist for $20. Ideally it would have been nice to get those for free, but time was of the essence and we couldn't find any for free that weren't soaking wet. (It rained the entire week he worked on this project.)

I wanted the dresser to have a sleek, smooth finish, so the husband had to put a lot of time and effort into smoothing the pallet wood. First he ran each piece through his joiner to make every side of the piece a smooth surface. That was necessary so that the pieces would fit together perfectly and make that smooth wooden top I wanted, almost like butcher block. Then he used his table saw to rip them to be the equal widths.

Once he had the boards ready, he mitered each edge (45 degrees) of the planks so that they would interlock, similar to hardwood flooring. He used that technique for the wood on the top and on the sides, and those edges were joined together with another 45 degree miter cut. I wanted that "waterfall" look where the wood went down the sides, and he did it perfectly!

The planks were adhered to the top with wood glue and a nail gun with 15 gauge nails. Then he sanded the wood to get it all as smooth as possible.

He also added a strip of wood to the bottom of the dresser just because I thought it would look cool. It ended up being a good move because Ikea stuff can be really flimsy and that one added piece of wood made the base of the dresser much sturdier.

Because the face of the dresser (in between the drawers) wasn't all white, we decided to add an accent color using some grey spray paint we already had. We kept the drawers white since those didn't have any flaws.

The wood was stained a cherry oak finish and finished off with one coat of semi gloss polyurethane to get a sleek, mid century vibe. Without it, the piece looked a little too rustic for what we were trying to accomplish. 

The last step was adding the leather handles. I had the leather already, so we just cut it into strips that were each 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. We looped them and nailed them into the top of each drawer with bronze furniture nails.

It was a bit of a tedious project, but it kept the husband busy during his most boring spring break week ever. When your wife is super pregnant, stuck on bed rest and unable to do much of anything, even a tedious project sounds like more fun that sitting next to her on the couch all day. Ha!

What I really like about the dresser - aside from the fact that it turned out even better than I envisioned - is that we used materials we already had. The only thing we had to buy was the pallet wood and the dresser, so the project ended up costing $120. I think it looks much more expensive than that, so I consider that a success.

In case you're wondering, the other side of the guest room looks like this. It's a small room, it will do the job. We are officially ready for guests!

While we're on the subject of dresser customization, I thought I would share another last minute project we finished up today. You saw our dresser makeover inside the twin nursery, but I was having a hard time organizing the drawers with all of those tiny clothes. We decided that it would be really helpful to have some compartments inside the drawers, so the husband decided to make some.

He bought an $8 sheet of very thin wood and was able to create separators for every drawer. They just lay inside the drawers, so they aren't permanent. We wanted to have flexibility to change the configurations as we go along, so that suited our needs.

It's hard to see, but I put tiny strips of masking tape on the drawer separators so I could label what goes where. We're hoping to stay organized in the chaos of twin life, so I figured every little bit helps! The masking tape was the best solution because it's a piece of cake to peel off if we reconfigure the drawers as they grow and their clothing needs change.

Phew. I think we are pretty much ready! I will be 37 weeks when I deliver, and between the infertility and the pregnancy complications, t's been a long road to get here. We cannot wait to meet our babies and start this new phase of our lives. We appreciate your prayers and support as we navigate the terrifying world of infant twins! EEEK. Wish us luck!

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