painting an Ikea Malm dresser w/ASCP to get a Restoration Hardware finish



when one of your closest friends decides to move to another state, first you cry.  then you dry your tears, get out the paint brush and start painting everything she’s got stashed in her garage.

Ikea Malm painted to look like Restoration Hardware


my buddy had these two Ikea Malm dressers that she picked up at Goodwill for $5.  i know, $5.  in newport.  really?  yup. as you can see, they started out in the dark brown finish that already looks quite nice.

when she said she wanted a more modern, Restoration Hardware finish for her son’s room, i knew we’d find a way to make this work!

we started with a very watery wash of Pure White.

paint technique to look like Restoration Hardware

anyone who’s ever visited my blog knows that i’m addicted to Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.  the paints are so versatile that i’ve done everything from Gustavian, to beachy chic, to Restoration Hardware.

so we started with a watery wash, going with the grain.  we immediately wiped off, but ever so lightly so as to leave some paint on.

paint technique to look like Restoration Hardware


then we mixed up the ASCP Olive.  i’ve never painted with this color, but look how rich and yummy that color is?  again, we made a wash to use b/c we wanted to the dark chocolate brown to show through.Annie Sloan Olive paint and brush


we alternated a few layers of the Pure White and Olive, wiping softly to achieve a deep layered look.

then, using a 00 steel wool, we lightly sanded.  then clear wax.  then a blend of clear and dark wax.  then more steel wool.

dresser top painted like Restoration Hardware finish

the steel wool makes the finish so smooth and silky that you just want to rest your head on the furniture.

Ikea Malm painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to look like Restoration Hardware

as you can see in the picture below, we didn’t paint the dresser front, just the drawers.   Ikea Malm painted to look like Restoration Hardware

we wanted a bit of contrast, and we felt that leaving the dresser front in the dark chocolate, we accomplished the contrast.   Ikea Malm painted to look like Restoration Hardware

so now my friend has moved and her son has an awesome set of dressers.  and i’ll now go back to crying into my paints.  Ikea Malm painted to look like Restoration Hardware

About meesh

Meesh has a passion for people, creative projects, and technology. She enjoys painting furniture back to life, gardening, playing with her kids, and connecting people.


  1. Christine says

    Very nice. I like the green tones vs RH’s griege. It’s a nice change.

    • imeeshu says

      Thanks, Christine. Glad you like it. It works perfectly in my friend’s new house, too!

  2. jennifer says

    This looks great. What is the ratio of water to paint? Thanks!

    • imeeshu says

      I generally do a 1:1 or even 1:1.5 paint to water, but it depends on the look you like. I’ve been experimenting more with very watery mixes and the results have been very cool to achieve a wonderful layered look. You can go wrong with chalk paint, so I encourage you to keep trying different things!!

  3. Marianne says

    Wow, Looks Awsome!!! Do you think i could manage something similar with the birch malm to get it darker and warmer like this?

    Would be Great if you would give me your Five Cents 😉

    Your Site is Great! I’m Tired today, exploring it yesterday!

    • imeeshu says

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, you can def get this look with a birch Ikea Malm. In fact, you can search my site for a pic of a malm that I warmed up. I’d start with a dark base, then use lighter washes on top. Lemme know how it goes!

      • Marianne says

        Thanks for your answer! I’m gonna Show You, if i’ll manage to do all my planned projects! A bab isn’t that helpful in this case, right? 😉
        In fact i’m planning a wardrobe, a dresser and another Big dresser…

        Am i that blind? Can’t find the search function, neighter another malm in any of your redoes…

        Have you ever used the englisch yellow? I Wonder if it is bright enough, cause there is no Other yellow in the a.s.c.p. Stock… I need a bright, toxic Green….

        • imeeshu says

          The search button is within the top brown bar. I’ve used English Yellow on a friend’s nightstand, which was quite bright. Not my style, but my friend loves it. Good luck!

  4. sillycreative says

    did you just paint directly onto the dresser as is, or did you sand it down first?

    • Hi. I painted directly on the dresser without sanding. That’s the beauty of chalk paint. You typically can paint directly on any surface! Good luck!

  5. Ashley says

    Hi there! Could you tell me where you get the clear and dark wax and the ascp? Also did you use regular store brand white paint or the Annie Sloan?


    • meesh says

      Hi and sorry for the delay. My site wasn’t letting me know when I had comments. Sorry! You can find Annie Sloan Chalk Paint at a local stockist near you. Her product is typically distributed through boutique shops, not regular paint stores.

      I used all Annie Sloan products here as there’s no need for stripping or sanding before applying the paint. I find this helpful in several ways: 1) faster completion 2) no fumes from the nasty-smelling and toxic stripping agents

      Good luck, and be sure to send me a photo when you’re done! 🙂

  6. Hi!

    How much time passed in between layering white and olive? Did you allow each layer to dry fully or slightly wet mix?

    • Hi! Yes, I waited for the layers to dry. Chalk dries very quickly, especially here in dry So Cal! Good luck!

  7. Hi, this is great! In terms of colour combos how do you think the white would look with Coco or French Linen?

  8. I am going to attemp this with my black malm ikea dresser. This is my first time trying anything crafty. Would you be able to provide me with a list of materials I would need to complete this project? This is all very new to me.

  9. Hi.
    Did you sand the surface before doing this? Primer? Thanks!

    • Nope! That’s the beauty of chalk paint. You don’t need to prime or sand. I’ve only had one piece where this didn’t work in all the years of using this paint. Good luck!

  10. johnson says

    Hey there, the dresser looks great! How many layers of each paint did you put on to get this look?

    • Hi, and thanks for visiting my site! This piece probably had 3-5 layers of different watery colors applied. The paint dries very quickly and I use a cloth to wipe any excess to achieve the look I love. You can continue with layers until you love it. Good luck!

  11. Shelly says

    I love the way you transformed these dressers! I have identical ones but in the birch color (we scored them for $15 a piece at a yard sale a few years back) I managed to score a bedframe a few years ago that is a similar color, but real wood. so we have decided to keep our bedroom light colored, and we’re both always ready to pitch the dressers (that also serve as night stands because the bed is quite tall) as soon as we find the one. But it occurred to me this morning that there might be a way to glam them up and make them look less cheap. Hence how I ended up here. I’m hesitant to paint them an accent color simply because with our next move I will probably be looking to get a new bedding set. But I’d like to do something similar to this, I’ve only ever painted one piece of furniture and wasn’t terribly creative with it, and don’t want to end up with dressers that we hate even more. Would you be able to recommend some colors that might work with the birch to get the same effect? I’ve attached the link for the dressers so you can see the color of the piece.

    I welcome any suggestions you might have! Thank you!

  12. Jamie says

    Love how this looks, do you think I could do the same with the birch veneer by using the same technique with a dark paint?

  13. Ashley Phillips says

    Hi!! I have these dressers in white and would like to refinish them. Do you have any advice for painting over white?

  14. tanya says

    Love this look, i have cabinet in birch veneer color..can you guide me colors which will give good rustic look .. thanks a ton

  15. Sharon Pederson says

    How do you think this technique would work on the PAX wardrobes? I have been wanting to change how they look without replacing them. I love what you’ve done here.

    • Well, my response is probably too late, but yes, I think it’s possible on a PAX. If the original is white, then I’d paint it dark first, then do your layers of color on top. Good luck!

  16. Melissa says

    did you sand it at all before painting it?

    • No, that’s the beauty of chalk paint. No need to sand in most cases. Good luck!

    • Jeremy Watson says

      I have the same dresser in the same color and it does not look sanded to me. If she did do any sanding it was very light.


  1. Dresser Blog says:

    Dark Chocolate Finished Dresser

    […] thanks for visiting my site! This piece probably had 3-5 layers of different wa […]