How to repaint and refinish an IKEA Malm bed

Updated February 21, 2017

Malm beds are manufactured by the Swedish company, IKEA. Known for their modern style, Malm beds are made of fiberboard covered with a wood veneer that provides it with a more heavy-duty, natural-looking facade. If you'd like to refinish or paint your IKEA Malm bed, pay special attention to preparation. Wood veneers don't accept paint or stain well unless they are properly conditioned. Learn the proper way to promote a durable finish or flaking and peeling will follow.


Remove the mattress and bedding. Place the bed on a canvas dust sheet.

Sand the IKEA Malm bed until the surface appears dull. Prevent splintering by sanding along the veneer wood grain.

Wipe dust from the Malm bed with tack cloths.

Apply masking tape to those portions of the IKEA bed that you don't want painted.


Apply a shellac primer to the IKEA Malm bed with a mini-roller. Touch up the bed and smooth any drips with a 7.5 cm (3 inch) china-bristled paintbrush. Let the Malm bed dry for two hours.

Clean the paintbrush in denatured alcohol.

Paint the IKEA Malm bed as you primed it. Use a strong, easy-to-clean acrylic enamel. Use a polyester brush instead of a china-bristled one. Let the Malm bed dry for two hours.


Apply gel stain to the IKEA Malm bed veneer with a china-bristled brush. Quickly wipe the stain from the veneer with rags. Let the Malm bed dry for four hours.

Clean the brush using white spirit.

Brush on a coat of varnish. Apply a light coat to prevent runs or sags. If you notice any sagging, immediately smooth the finish before it has a chance to dry.


If the IKEA Malm bed came painted, your only option is to repaint it. Don't use liquid stain on IKEA Malm beds or the finish will dry unevenly.

Things You'll Need

  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloths
  • Masking tape
  • Canvas dust sheets
  • Shellac primer
  • Mini-roller frame
  • Mini-nap cover
  • 7.5 cm (3 inch) china-bristled paintbrush
  • Denatured alcohol
  • 7.5 cm (3 inch) polyester paintbrush
  • Acrylic enamel
  • Palm sander
  • Gel stain
  • Rags
  • White spirit
  • Varnish
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.