Painting IKEA MALM Dresser and Drawers -Tips and Hacks

tips to paint IKEA malm dresser

Of the many items at IKEA, the MALM dresser is one of the most popular. The sleek design fits in with many home décor options.

But if there is a downside, it is best if the dresser is painted so that the color fits into your vision. 

Unfortunately, the melamine laminate surface is not well suited for painting, so what can you do to ensure that the paint you do applies sticks? 

To achieve this goal, you will need to follow the proper steps in the right order. Here are they…

Step 1- Take Apart the Dresser

The first step is one that is easy enough if the dresser comes in pieces that need to be assembled. You simply keep the pieces separate so they can be properly painted.

 However, if the dresser has come assembled, you will need to take it apart. 

Taking it apart needs to be done so you can properly sand all surfaces, which is crucial to getting the paint to stick.

Otherwise, it is easy to miss certain areas when the dresser is already assembled. 

The drawers can stay in one piece, but you will need to remove the handles or knobs. 

Just be careful when taking the MALM dresser apart, as the material is vulnerable to having the screw holes stripped or the veneer chipped. 

Step 2- Scuff and Sand

This is the most important part as you must scruff and sand away the laminate surface. Otherwise, the paint will not stick. 

A random orbital sander that uses 120-grit sandpaper should do the trick. Be sure to scuff-sand all the surfaces using long, arcing strokes. 

This will ensure that the entire surface has been properly sanded. 

Step 3- Remove the Gloss

Once you have sanded away the laminate surface, you should de-gloss it as well. By removing the gloss, you will assist the primer bond to the surface properly. 

The result is that the primer will stick better so the paint you apply on top will stay. 

Wipe all the laminate surfaces of the dresser using mineral spirits. When dry, apply the de-glosser as per instructions on the label. 

When the de-glossing is finished, wipe the dresser again using mineral spirits and let it dry before taking the next step. 

Step 4- Use Bonding Primer 

You will need to use the right primer that is designed for laminate surfaces. One that works quite well is Zinsser B-I-N as it offers a powerful bond between the surface and the paint. 

Apply the primer to the surface of all the pieces and include the edges as well. Instead of a brush, use a mini roller, as this will ensure that no brushstrokes are seen. 

Once the primer has dried, lightly sand it using 220-grit sandpaper. 

Step 5- Use Latex or Chalk Paint 

Now you can apply the paint. It is recommended that you use latex paint if you want a modern look.

 Or you can use chalk paint if you want something that is retro or has an aged appearance.

Both types of paint work well with the recommended primer. 

As with the primer, it is best if you apply the paint using a mini roller or spray it on the surface. This will eliminate any chance of brushstrokes being visible.

 Keep in mind that it will take two or three coats of paint at least to achieve the desired result. 

Let each coat dry before you apply the next. Inspect after drying to ensure that no wet paint remains before applying the next coat. Otherwise, the underlying paint will start to peel. 

Step 6- Let the Paint Cure

Once you have applied all the coats of paint desired, set the pieces aside so they can fully cure.

The curing process will take some time, so check with the paint label to see how long it will take.

 The curing process is crucial because the laminate surface will tend to have the paint peel or chip if items are placed on the surface before it has fully cured. 

To speed up the curing process, place the pieces in a warm area that has good airflow.

The movement of the air will help to dry out the paint fully so that it can properly cure. 

Step 7- Seal Using Wax or Clear Polyurethane 

Now you will need to protect the paint that you have applied. 

This can be done using a clear, water-based sealer if you used latex paint.

Miniwax Polycrylic Protective Finish is a good one to use, but any sealer that is polyurethane-based and works with latex paint is also acceptable. 

It will take at least two coats, perhaps three depending on how much you are going to use the dresser.

Be sure to let each coat fully dry, then sand lightly so that the next coat will stick better. 

Also, remember to wipe away the dust created by the sanding before you apply the next coat. 

If you have used chalk paint, you can seal it using a polyacrylic finish, or you can try a wax sealer that is designed for chalk paint.

 If you want the dresser to have an aged, distressed, or antique appearance, then the wax sealer is highly recommended. 

few steps for painting IKEA malm dresser

What if the Dresser is Already Painted?

In other words, what if you purchased the IKEA MALM series dresser used instead of new? 

If that is the case, you will need to follow the same steps that you did if the dresser was new. 

The one difference is to scuff-sand away not only the paint but to check if the laminate was also scuff-sanded in the first place. 

Do not assume because the old paint was still sticking that, the surface was properly sanded. 

Once you have fully removed the old paint and sanded the surface so that the new primer will stick, you can now proceed to repaint the dresser. 

Again, you will need to take apart the old dresser and scuff-sand, then prime and paint the pieces before putting them back together again. 

The result will be an old dresser that looks like new if you used latex paint and a proper sealer.

Or, the result may be an old, distressed looking antique if you used chalk paint and a wax sealer. 

How to DIY Paint a Concrete Floor in Your Basement?
how to paint a concrete basement floor

Your basement is the perfect spot for building rooms you may not want in the main house. These may include Read more

7 Tips on How to Repaint a Drywall – And Fix Peeling Paint
Repaint a Dry Wall

Drywall is basically a panel composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate or gypsum. Other names include plasterboard, wallboard, sheetrock, gypsum board, Read more

How to Paint Wooden Window Frames? (5 Easy Steps)
Door and window frame

Repainting the wooden window frames of your house is like putting on a nice, new summer dress after a long, Read more

How to Spray Paint Interior Walls and Ceilings? [Easy and Fast]
spray painting wall and ceiling

While brushes and rollers are the traditional means of painting walls, spray paint is coming more in favor. For many Read more

About | Contact | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use