The Original IKEA Malm Billy Head Board and Under Bed Storage Hack

Malm Billy Bed head hack final 1

I desperately needed more storage space in the bedroom and was frustrated that I was unable to efficiently use the space under my original style Malm low bed or behind the bed head (as I had previously hacked four 20cm depth EKBY JÄRPEN / EKBY BJÄRNUM shelves to make a 2.7m long shelf behind the Malm bed head and night tables).

I liked the idea of the high Malm bed but was less enamoured with having to buy a new bed which no longer comes in Birch and would set me be back AU$400+ (plus the new headboard was 1m high which wouldn’t fit under my bedroom window). I did manage to source a second hand Malm Bed head storage unit in birch (also discontinued by Ikea) but sadly when measured up this solution wouldn’t work either as I wasn’t keen on losing my night table drawers (which I love) and it would have required electrical points being relocated. So I finally decided to bite the bullet and raise the bed myself. I’ll admit I got my inspiration from various hacks already posted on i.e. the bed head storage (April 2013) and raising a Malm‎ bed (Oct 2013). But I believe my hack is truly an ikea original hack as its key components are made from second hand IKEA parts.

Ikea Components:
1 x Ikea Queen sized Malm low bed and 2 x Malm hanging night tables (originals)
1 x Ikea Malm 4 drawer set‎ (80cm wide) (sourced 2nd hand for $20 gumtree)
1 x Ikea Billy bookcase (40cm wide / 2m high) (sourced 2nd hand for $15 gumtree)
1 x Ikea Billy bookcase (80cm wide / 2m high) (sourced 2nd hand for $20 gumtree)

Other material
To raise the bed and night tables: cost = AU$63
2 x lengths of Dressed Pine (70mm x 70mm x 1.8m) ($30)
32 x small sized screws (6G x 15mm) (Pack of 50, $2)
8 x Mending Plates (97x20x2mm) ($11)

To make the bed head storage components: cost = AU$67
4 x Hinge Butt (70mm) ($8)
14 x Bracket Angle MA0002 (25x25x20x1mm) ($8)
2 Mending Plates (57x17x2mm) ($2) – intended to attached the two side shelves to the main unit but in the end I didn’t use them
1 pack of Iron on Edging Melamine (21mm x 5m) ($8)
Approx. 40 small screws (6G x 15mm) (Pack of 50, $2)
16 x Bolt & Nut (8x12mm) ($4)
1 x length of timber (4mmx30x900mm)cut into 3 pieces (4x30x280mm) (free)

Instructions for raising the bed and night tables:

  • Cut the two lengths of pine down to the width of your bed which for a Queen size Malm bed is 1.69m. Attach the lengths to the bottom of the foot end and bed head using a mending plate at each side.
  • Use the remaining width to cut 4 blocks (4mm x 50mm x 70mm) to raise the two night tables to the same height. Attach to the two night tables using the remaining mending plates.

Raise Bed Image 1

And voila, the bed and its matching night tables are now 70mm higher which is just enough space to slide the 4 drawers from the Malm drawer set under leaving a 60cm space in the middle section of the bed perfect for storing books and magazines.

Raise Bed Storage Image 2

Note: if you want to use the Ikea Malm bed drawers, you’ll need to purchase timber that is 90mm in height to raise the bed slightly higher for these boxes as they have rollers but this was not necessary for me as my bed is on carpet and the standard drawers pull out easily.

Instructions to make the bed head storage components:

Start by partially dismantling both Billy Bookcases. (Mine were already dismantled in order to get them into the car). The Billy Bookcase 80cm wide will become the main storage unit behind the Malm bed head. The Billy Bookcase 40cm wide will become two side shelving components behind the hanging Malm night tables.

Notes: As I had limited access to tools and absolutely no carpentry experience, the design I came up with had to be limited to cutting only small widths of materials. I also tried to minimise the number of open cut sides that would require laminate edging. For this job I used a compound mitre saw, an electric drill (and bits), two screw drivers (flat and cross), a mouse sander, an iron and a swiss army knife.

Billy Bookcase 80 cm wide:

Malm Billy Bed Head Billy 80cm Cut Diagram Image 1

  • First select the side in ‘best’ condition that will become your new bed head top. (This becomes Billy Bookcase 80 cm wide Side A).
  • Lie the book case on the other 202cm long side, remove the foldable backing and then dismantle the bottom section and remove the Side A you will be using for your new Bed head storage unit top.
  • Billy Bookcase 80cm wide Side A – needs to be cut to 190cm and put aside for later (refer to drawing).
  • Billy Bookcase 80cm wide Side B – needs to be cut down to 190cm at the end where the old cupboard support leg section resided and then drill new holes into Side B only to reconnect the side using original components in its new 190cm length. Once done, you will need to cut the back side to new 190cm length and then reinstall the back and nail it back in. (I used my swiss army knife to do this but I am sure an angle grinder would do the job far easier if you have one on hand).
  • To make the top opening section of the main bed head unit, you need to steal some of the timber from the 40cm wide Billy book case. (Refer to drawings below for Support Edges S1, S2 & S3). Once these are cut (and rough edges sanded and edges laminated) you will be able to finish the Bed Head Lid for the main storage unit.
  • Attach Supports S1, S2 & S3 using original Ikea holes and fixing components. Drill appropriate holes to the Billy Bookcase 80cm Wide Side A to affix to main unit using the 4 hinges and appropriately sized screws. Then all that is left is to raise the unit by 4mm to the height of the other two components (84mm) which I did using 3 pieces of left over dressed timber I found in the garage.

Malm Billy Bed head Billy 80 cm step by step Image 2

Billy bookcase 40cm wide.

Malm Billy Bed Head Bill 40cm cutting diagram

    • Dismantle entire book case by removing the back first and then the top and bottom sections. Then select the side in ‘best’ condition that you will be reutilising for one of the top sections of your bed head shelving units. (This becomes Billy Bookcase 40cm wide Side B).
    • Billy Bookcase 40cm wide Side A – cut as per diagram. This section makes the back and side of the RHS Shelf (84 cm height) behind the night table and support sections S1 (13cm) and (26cm) for the main unit.
    • Billy Bookcase 40cm wide Side B – cut as per diagram. This section makes the back and side of LHS Shelf (84 cm height) behind the night table, the Top for RHS Shelf (40cm) and support section S3 (13cm).
    • The rest of the shelving units were put together using original connectors and holes, the top, botton and middle fixed shelves, the 4 loose shelves that came with the Billy bookcase (as per diagram) with the shelving held in place in the three avialable corners using angle brackets on each corner / level and bolt and nuts to connect to the back section. The shelf backs were then customised to allow for electricity sockets (my swiss army knife did the job) and finally all cut edges were sanded down using a mouse sander and then covered in laminate edging using a household iron.

Malm Bil Bed Head 40cm Shelving Diagram Image 3

Malm Billy Bed Head Billy 40cm Step by step image 4

The finished product – total outlay AU$130 which is AU$40 less than the cost of buying 4 new Malm under bed boxes + the petrol to get to the store!

Malm Billy Bed Head hack  Final Products

~ Niknak0404, Brisbane Australia