Akurum kitchenisland

Published on December 13th, 2012 | by Jules Yap


MALM meets NUMERAR Kitchen Island


Description: My wife and I recently bought our first house. Yay! As you can imagine, living in L.A. means housing is very expensive, and we didn’t have very much left in our budget to renovate the new house as much as we would have liked to.

One of the things we knew we wanted to concentrate on was creating as nice a kitchen as our dollars would let us. So that meant the usual suspects: IKEA cabinets, cheaper countertops (we wanted Ceaserstone), and less cabinetry. We also kept the stove that came with the home as we did not have the Benjamins to splurge on a new one. We also kept our old refrigerator. The only appliance we bought new was the dishwasher, also from IKEA.

I’d like to show you how we took $559 and made ourselves a pretty cool island that we love.

1. First, we outlined the footprint of the island, 3′x6′ with Blue painters tape. FYI, the kitchen is not finished in these photos.

2. The next step was to build a frame base. Here we used 2x4s that are held down with angle brackets. Do you see the dresser under the window? That is an IKEA MALM bedroom dresser that we will be using as part of our island.

3. Once the base was built, we attached the MALM dresser. To the left of the dresser (as seen in this view) is an IKEA base cabinet. We found it in AS IS at IKEA and it was in rough shape as you can see. We snatched it up for $10!!

4. With both bases in, we can now move on the next step: the sides and top.

5. For the sides and the top we decide to use IKEA wood countertops. We purchased two; each one is 3′x6′ basically. We cut one right in half, and voila, the sides of the island!

6. The top is, you guessed, a full sheet of the IKEA wood countertop. This is so heavy, we barely had to fasten it in place much, we just used two brackets on either end, tucked away inside so you can’t see them.

7. For the face of the island, we attached a piece of 1/2″ plywood to the 2×4 base and the back of the cabinets. We then used a sheet of vinyl wall panel (called Plas-Tex) that we picked up at Lowe’s. It is attached with Liquid Nails, that’s it. So far, its held up well. Easy to clean kick marks too!

8. This is what the other side looks like. the MALM drawer gives it a very refined look we think. The only thing left to do is to add some shelving on the right and a toekick.

9. Yes we would have liked to have some doors here instead of exposing the pots and pans, but the budget wouldn’t allow it. Nobody sees this side as much anyway so we’re ok with it.

Well, there you have it, our $559 kitchen island. Hopefully, it will inspire you to do something you’re happy with, and not spend too much money doing it. I did sand it and seal it when it was all put together of course.

Here is a list of the items we bought (with prices, rounded to the nearest dollar) with links, if available:

(3) 2x4s (10′), Lowe’s, $8.40 + tax = $9
(2) Countertops, IKEA Numerar $390 + tax = $424.
(1) IKEA Malm dresser, $69.99 + tax = $76
(1) IKEA Base Cabinet, (AS IS), $9.99 + tax = $11
(2) Shelves and back of island, Lowe’s, made from (1) 4′x8′ sheet of 1/2″ plywood, $15.97 + tax = $17
Plas-Tex Vinyl Sheet, Lowe’s, $19.98 + tax = $22
Total: $559

See more of the customised kitchen island.

~ Danny Cerezo, Los Angeles, CA

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

16 Responses to MALM meets NUMERAR Kitchen Island

  1. Kenya says:

    Just a note I find that sturdiness is never an issue with any “assembly required” projects as long as I use a good wood clue to reinforce all seams and joints. Never…

  2. Danny Cerezo says:

    Hey everyone, Danny here. I’m the original “hacker” I guess. I’m just reporting back that the island is still doing great after a year of service. The comments about the sturdiness of the malm drawers were poignant though as we did have some issues with the bottom drawer and weight. I haven’t had a chance to fix it, but I like the idea of adding a thin metal mid beam. I’ll give it a try and report back.

  3. kristine says:

    Looks really good! Great hack! Nice design.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Very nice – I have two comments
    1) I made the malm drawers more solid for my dressers by adding a thin metal mid-beam. I think we bought some D-channels from home depot and screwed them in – you can’t dis-assemble the drawers anymore at that point though, or the particle board starts to give. Otherwise, the drawer definitely used to sag.
    2) I recommend adding some hardware to the drawers to make them look a bit more kitchen-y — the long lansa handles look very nice.

  5. Cecilia says:

    Awesome job! That’s exactly what I was envisioning for my kitchen island! How many people can you seat on this island? Thanks!

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. hollybogo says:

    Again, kudos. You have really got my brain going!

    I think if I try this for my kitchen I will use the Stolmen drawers. They are tough enough to handle heavy items. (My Malm chest can barely handle my linens!) They also come in 2 widths, allowing for some flexibility in sizing.

    One other idea I have is to miter the sides to the top. That eliminates the problem of the darker end grain showing, giving a bit more finished look.

    Please do not take these as criticisms. My version is only possible because of your original creativity. Thank you

  8. M0m0nga says:

    Awesome hack! I especially love your idea to frame the kitchen island on three sides with solid wood countertop… Very stylish! We just moved into our small rental condo (like, really, really small): We have a Malm dresser kicking around in storage cause it won’t fit into the bedroom (sigh) – and we were just thinking about how to build a kitchen island/breakfast counter… You’re giving me tons of ideas here! A heartfelt thank you for posting this!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think that the open shelving looks quite nice. It adds visual interest and I bet it’s more convenient than doors. It is absolutely stunning.

  10. Anonymous says:

    maybe a sliding panel from the curtain dept with a funky design or roll up blind to cover the pots and pans…love all the rich colored wood…love it when style and function come together.

  11. Doodle Bean says:

    Nice! I suspect if you installed doors you would miss the easy access to your pots and pans.

  12. Danny Cerezo says:

    Thanks everyone! We worked hard on it and we love it!

  13. Molly K says:

    This is one of the best ikea-hacks i’ve seen! Great job. And I think the open shelving is very tidy and looks fine. Just be careful since the MALM drawers probably aren’t as sturdy as the AKURUM drawers– i wouldn’t put heavy liquids or pots in them.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the concern regarding the solidity of the Malm drawer bottoms. They are made to hold clothes, not stacks of plates or serving bowles. One option if the bottoms should bow or fall out in future: Malm drawers can easily be hacked. As the drawer sides are made of particle board a sturdier drawer bottom can be inserted.

  14. It’s a very nice island. You done a great job.

  15. Mr Barnes says:

    Great Job, I love how it turned out

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