Design by Room Bedrooms

I Treat the IKEA Malm Storage Bed Like the Linen Closet I Never Had

Underneath the mattress, I played Tetris with three types of bins.

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Even though our closets hold some of our most important possessions, we inevitably end up neglecting them. So we’re asking clever homeowners and renters to share their time-tested organizing methods that really (really!) work in our new series, Reclaim Your Closet.

I just doubled my storage, and no, I didn’t move apartments. I got a new bed frame. 

Upgrading my classic IKEA Malm bed to the lift-up storage model gave my towels, bedding, books, winter coats, and tote bags a proper home. While I’ve always kept those items under my bed (usually crammed inside a random suitcase), to get to anything in the center, I’d have to manually lift my mattress and balance it on my back while crouching over and pulling up the wood slats. It wasn’t a pretty picture, and may or may not have led to some chronic back pain. 

The classic and storage Malm beds are almost identical, but while the classic comes in four colorways and four sizes, the storage version comes in just two colorways and two sizes. Luckily, the size and color I wanted, full and white, came in both. The prices also differ quite a bit; for the full size, the upgrade takes you from $329 up to $659. My favorite difference: Rather than open-air sides, the storage version is completely closed. That one seemingly simple difference is what ultimately inspired me to make the swap. I knew this tiny upgrade would make my entire apartment feel so much cleaner—all of my stuff would be out of sight and, more important, it wouldn’t be such a pain (literally) to access stuff. 

Malm Storage Bed, IKEA

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The Assembly

The bed was delivered the next day (yes, you read that right) for $39. Delivery didn’t include assembly, so I hired a TaskRabbit. After watching the skilled professional with a 5-star rating take a full two hours to build the bed, I knew I had made the right choice. Paying him $150 saved me what would have been an entire weekend of frustration.

Now I simply pull a strap at the foot of the bed and—voilà!—my mattress opens to a 45-degree angle. 

The Organization

I have what I like to think of as a brand-new closet (it’s just one that lays flat on the floor!). Rather than reverting to my old ways and keeping my belongings in old suitcases, I went back to IKEA and tricked it out with interior storage compartments. Because there are so many options, I asked the interior design leader for IKEA U.S., Abbey Stark, for some pointers. She recommended a combination of Skubb and Parkla, both of which are soft zippered containers, as well as Kugis, a lidded plastic box. Full closure keeps dust at bay, and handles make them easy to pull out.

Before I put my order in, I got out a ruler and graph paper and drew the bed and containers to scale so I could play around with different orientations. After landing on the below layout, there were no surprises once my order arrived.

So what goes where? I started intuitively, putting anything that was soft and flexible (table linens, bedding, pillow inserts) in the fabric containers, and any hard objects, like books and extra taper holders, in the structured Parkla boxes. Because the Skubb boxes are the largest (they’re 36.5-by-21.75-by-7.5 inches), I saved them for bigger items like towels, and relegated smaller collections like tote bags to the Parkla containers. The nice thing about the soft containers is that they’re both sheer, so I don’t need to waste brain space remembering what is where. 

Skubb, IKEA

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Parkla, IKEA

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Kuggis, IKEA

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