Bedroom Makeover: Ikea Malm Dresser

Guest Bedroom Makeover
Day 3: Ikea Malm Dresser Makeover

**Note: This is part of a 12-step bedroom makeover series. Find the previous steps at the bottom of this post.**

A few years ago, our house experienced a major flood. Much of our basement furniture was destroyed, so our insurance company gave us money to replace it. In a hurry to be done with the painful coordinate-with-insurance-company experience, we went to Ikea.
Oh, to have that pivotal moment back again! Would have made different decisions. Dah well.
One of the purchases we made was this lovely (cough) Malm dresser. We placed it in the equally lovely (cough hack snort) guest bedroom.
Here it has sat for several years. *yawn* I know. So. Boring.
Because I'm recently obsessed with Greek key trim (here and here), and because it's in the dead of frigid ice-capped winter around here (thus, doing a full-fledged furniture paint project isn't possible), I thought a golden trim around the front of the dresser would be a simple way to add a little style.
I got some 1.5" frog tape and sketched out some measurements.

Then I transferred said awesome sketch onto true-size graph paper. The frog tape was slightly less than 1.5", so I adjusted measurements accordingly.

Cut it out. Because I excel at using scissors. Me & my 4-year-old, we're awesome like that.

I used a clear cutting board to find the corner point, then taped my homemade stencil there. (As it turns out, a "simple" Greek key pattern isn't the easiest to reproduce...if anyone has an easier way to do this, I'd love to hear!) ('Cept then I'd be mad because I did it the hard way. So. Nevermind.)

Penciled in around the corners where I'd be putting tape...

...and taped out the dresser's four corners accordingly.

Then I added in the stripes of frog tape between the key-detailed corners.

I used watered down acrylic gold paint because I've heard it's hard to get a good finish on gold latex (is that true? lies?) and because it's too cold to spray paint around here for the next bunch of months. In hindsight, I'm not sure I'd make the same decision again, but it turned out okay for what it is...a dresser in a largely unused basement guest bedroom. So.
And also: I started out using a foam brush. Because I always associate acrylic paints with craft projects and craft projects with foam brushes. But I quickly swapped the foam out for a regular skinny paint brush. Way better, less streaky. 

Look, ma! No dropcloth!
Painted two or three coats, then peeled off the tape. I love frog tape, you guys. This was my first time using it, actually, and I found it to be far superior to blue painter's tape. Crisper lines and everything. 
After the paint dried, I did a suuuuuper light sanding of the paint edges (didn't want to sand off the drawers' original white finish). Then I quickly sprayed the whole thing with clear coat spray. Which officially makes this a craft project instead of furniture makeover. And also we all almost died from the fumes, but it would've been for a good cause, so it's fine.
Here's the freshly sprayed finished product.
I like it. Not, like, break down into sobs of joy while I stroke it and give it a name or anything, but it doesn't make me sad, for sure. I'd give the acrylic paint a 7.5 out of 10 -- love the sheen and actual color ("antique gold"), but don't love how it's so thick and a little streaky.
Regardless, you should totally come back for Day 4: Pallet Headboard. I love this one! I promise it involves no acrylic paint. And if that doesn't impress you at this point, well, I don't know what to say. 'Cept this: come back anyway. :)
Check out the previous steps to this bedroom makeover:
Day 2: Paint Walls
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  1. I love it--I think you did a great job giving your dresser a face lift.

    1. I like how, other than recreating the actual greek key design, it was so simple to do and had such an effect. LOVE projects like that! :) Thanks, Susan.

  2. I don't think I could have figured out how to do that! I need more patience to do stuff like this! Nice job!!!

    1. Oh my gosh, you totally could've figured it out, Crystal. Or a better/easier way...which I'm still convinced is out there, I just haven't stumbled upon it yet (aside from buying a stencil).

  3. Ikea & Greek Key ~ two of my favorites, it looks great!!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm happy with how it turned out...more and more every day, actually. Which is a good direction to be heading.

  5. Brittney this is absolutely gorgeous! Greek Key is really hard to do and you totally rocked it!!

    xoxo, Tanya

    1. "Greek key is really hard to do." I'm so glad you said this, Tanya! I was surprised at how difficult such a simple design was to replicate...thanks for the reinforcement! :)

  6. Gorgeous! Love the greek key design!!

    Jenna @

    1. Thank you, Jenna. I'm a sucker for greek key, too. Major.

  7. Absolutely STUNNING piece Brittney!! WOW!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality!

    1. Christine, you are seriously the nicest. "Stunning" is an ego-boost word no matter what. Thank you!!

  8. Wow, great job. I fear I would have done the tape & paint backwards... ending up having to paint the entire dresser gold. I think that design is hard to do or maybe it is just me.

    Do you like the Krylon clear? I bought a can of clear, spray acrylic at Walmart years ago (Color Creations) and it was not clear, but icky yellow. I used it to cover a wooden dowel I bought & painted WHITE to replace a missing towel rod...... well it ruined it. I thought I needed the clear coating since wet towels would be hung on it. UGH.

    1. Yes, the Krylon worked out great; it's stayed clear. I'm sorry about your bad experience! No fun.

  9. Ok, I want to try this. I just bought two malm dressers and everyone uses the overlays but they are like 100 bucks! Except this looks really mathematical and I am petrified. Wish me luck, haha! And thank you!


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