Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ikea KULLEN 2 Drawer Chest Review

EDIT 08/13/13: Woho, did I foreshadow this correctly or what. I was doing some Ikea website surfing and found the so called "smaller MALM". Problem is that it's not a MALM, it's called the KULLEN. They look almost identical except for a few screws and the dimensions. The dimensions for the KULLEN online match up nearly perfectly with what I have. I've corrected references to "MALM" except for the url. Woops.

We all make mistakes. I'm not perfect. It happens anywhere, anytime, doing whatever.

Take my trip to Ikea for example. Years ago, I went to Ikea to pick up a night table so that I wouldn't be storing my clothes for home under my bed. Let's say I did a week of research (catalogue browsing), went there to pick up a 2-drawer chest, came home with a 2-drawer chest, but not the 2-drawer chest that I wanted. Let's also say that I didn't really realize it until I took it all the way home and almost finished putting it together.

And that is the story of how I bought my KULLEN drawer. Since I couldn't fit the shirts and pants that I wanted to put into it, it became my "stuff" table.

I didn't know at the time, but there were two similar looking 2-drawer chests available: the CA$ 40 smaller chest (KULLEN) and the CA$ 70 larger chest (MALM). For some time, I was under the impression that there were two very similarly sized MALM 2-drawer chests available -- one was supposedly more compact. And I thought the smaller version of the two had just been discontinued since I couldn't find it on the Ikea website anymore.
Ikea KULLEN 2 Drawer Chest Side
Ikea KULLEN Chest with 2 Drawers: US$ 29.99 / CAD$ 39.99

Ikea Kullen 2 Drawer Chest Close-up
Ikea RAST Nightstand versus KULLEN Chest
Ikea TARVA Nightstand versus KULLEN Chest
2016 Model - Ikea KULLEN 2-Drawer Chest
2016 Model - In 54 seconds: Ikea KULLEN 2-Drawer Chest Assembled

Not going to lie: this one is a bit of a blur to me. Chances are that I was kicking myself so much for buying the wrong item that I mentally erased most of the traumatic memories. But if nothing stood out, chances are that it went swimmingly. The chest isn't that big and I've been able to lift it empty without too much trouble. It's only about 50cm in the largest dimension.

After reviewing the instructions for the KULLEN drawer on Ikea's website, assembly appears to be your typical Ikea product. There are the dowels, steel lock-in things, and nail on fiberboard back. They also tell you to install an anti-topple device (i.e. attach it to a wall).

Ikea KULLEN Drawer Interior
I seem to recall having tipping problems when my drawers were pretty empty and I wasn't familiar with the KULLEN chest yet. As noted, the instructions for the drawer require the installation of an anti-topple device. After learning about the problem and loading the drawer up, I've learned to be extra careful and haven't had problems since. I almost never pull the drawers out fully -- maybe 1/3 at most? Virtually no other living thing touches the chest which helps too.

Expandability / Customizability
It looks like the MALM, which is apparently an entire line of similar looking products at Ikea. Get a somewhat matching set?
Ikea MALM 2 Drawer Chest Front
Everyday Use
To repeat myself again: I use this drawer as my "stuff" table and sock drawer. You can see in the photos a small collection of my "stuff". As a short person, I don't have to strain my back to pick anything off the top of this thing. And the KULLEN is at about the perfect height for when I'm crouching and putting contacts in.

Would I use it as a night table? Not if it were placed near my pillow. I keep things away from the head end of my bed because I have a habit of hitting my head on them in the middle of the night.

Overall, it's a pretty solid product. I've jammed it full of socks -- enough for them to pop out when the drawer is drawn out more than a few inches -- and nothing's broken yet. The drawers themselves slide in and out smoothly with only moderate resistance. I hate the sound it makes when sliding the drawers though. Also, they close flush with the frame which is nice. It's been at least two or three years since I bought this chest and it has been used daily. Considering that I occasionally go days without touching my ANEBODA wardrobe, this is a pretty important detail. Keys are thrown on top and socks are jammed in there and ripped out daily.

The Ikea KULLEN drawer is a pretty good side table or storage chest for me. Just wish I got the bigger MALM chest...

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