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When we furnished our bedroom, we were very aware of the fact that our previous chests of drawers had collapsed due to the sheer amount of clothing stuffed into it. For this reason, we knew that we really needed two chests of drawers so we could have one each, as well as our wardrobes for hanging. After taking into consideration the colour scheme of hour room, the style of existing furniture, and our budget, we ended up with two of these Kullen 3 drawer units, which cost £30 each and unlike other Ikea items are only available in Black Brown currently.
These units measure 72 centimetres tall and 70 centimetres wide with a depth of 40 centimetres. There are matching items available - a 2 drawer bedside table, and 3+2 drawer chest.
The drawers are very plain and simple. They have no handles, just a slanted edge which you pull to open them. They are made of chipboard veneer, and they come flat packed ready for assembly at home. As with anything else from Ikea, these come with universal instructions consisting only of pictures, and both myself and my partner found the instructions a little lacking - most of the assembly was very straight forward but it was a bit hit and miss trying to work out how to affix the runners. Most of the parts are included, all you really need are 2 screwdrivers, one flat one Philips, and a hammer to hammer in the dowls (one of which was missing, in typical Ikea fashion). It took us perhaps an hour and a half to assemble the two units - the first one took almost an hour due to figuring out the runners, but the second was much easier.
The drawers look smart enough when assembled - clean minimalist lines and straight edges all over. They are very similar in style to the Malm, in fact I did wonder why the 3 drawer Malm chest which is almost identical was £45 compared to the 30 paid for this. It becomes obvious when you look a little closer though. The bottom of the drawers is incredibly flimsy, and has begun to sag (after only 2 months) despite not being over filled at all. The back of the unit has raw edges, and there are places on the visible edges of the unit where you can see the metal fixings. The slanted drawer fronts don't come quite all the way up- even with the drawers fully shut, you can glimpse the clothes in the drawers. And these just don't feel as sturdy - they really do feel cheap. I've also found that whereas the veneer on the Malm range is very hard wearing, this stuff takes only the slightest bang to ding or dent.
Personally, I regret purchasing these particular drawers. Sure, I saved 15 quid on each set by picking these over the Malm range, but it was a false economy especially as the drawer bottoms are starting to collapse already after only 2 months of use, and I'm already looking at replacing them. I can only give these two stars - they do look nice at first glance, and they are certainly affordable, but at closer inspection they're cheap and falling apart.
At the moment I have two of these in my bedroom - one his and one hers. The theme of our bedroom is natural and tranquil, so the drawers fit in nicely. Most importantly, ther are suitable for us student types who are on a budget, but still like things to look nice! I think ther cost about £45 each which isn't bad. They are nice quility for that price. I've had them for about two years now and they aren't falling apart despite being stuffed full of all sorts of wonderful things (mine is anyway!) which, in my opinion, suggests they are of a decent quality! They are a nice colour of wood (veneer at least) and have a nice simple design which fits in nicely with my theme. They are also quite modern which would make them felxiblw in the type of room they fit into. They are simple, modern, and most importantly they have nice big drawers which makes them functional to boot!
I have always been an advocate of cheap and cheerful furniture for my daughter - this way if she ruins it, I don't get too cross.
Of course cheap and cheerful doesn't always last very long. Ten years ago I bought a cheap flat back wardrobe and matching bedside table and two chests of drawers for her from my Freemans catalogue and found the wardrobe was just cheap and had a door falling off after less than a years' use. Everything else has lasted reasonably well until recently however.
One of the drawers on her three drawer chest became permanently stuck, due to the fact the cheap plastic runner was no longer able to cope with the groove on the drawer side, as the groove had become distorted. This was wear and tear and couldn't be fixed, meaning I needed to get a new chest. This had to be done quite quickly as the chest also was home to her TV and wii console, and I was told in no uncertain terms how insufferable her life would be without them!
I did some searching online and found it hard to locate a reasonably low three drawer chest, which would fit in the space I had for my daughter's chest of drawers, but IKEA came up trumps with the Kullen range, and I certainly couldn't find anything to beat the £25 price tag.
The chest is 72 centimetres tall and 70 centimetres wide with a depth of 40 centimetres. This was slightly taller than the old chest but was a perfect fit in every other way.
The drawers have no handles, just an angled top rim which you pull to open. The set is made from birch veneer and be under no illusions - this is chipboard and therefore relatively lightweight but also not particularly robust.
The box it comes in easily fitted in my car boot - in fact you'd probably only struggle getting this home if you drive a Smart Car as it's pretty compact. The box weighs in at 21 kilos and it was hard going getting this from my car to the house on my own so I would suggest you don't visit the store on your own if you are a wimp like me.
Like everything from IKEA, the Kullen three drawer chest is flat packed so you need to be relatively handy with a screwdriver and hammer to put it together.
The instruction manual is relatively easy to follow and consists entirely of pictures, in that money saving IKEA way meaning they can ship the same box all over the world with the same instruction manual and no need for translations.
I was taught how to put flat packed furniture together by my father when I was in my teens and the most important lesson he taught me was to read the instructions before starting, and to ensure you have the right tools too.
All that is required to construct the Kullen chest is a flat screwdriver, a Philips screwdriver and a hammer, so getting the tools together wasn't a problem, except for my inability to locate my errant hammer...which did, of course, turn up in the very last place I looked after turning the house upside down. Why does that always happen?
I have some Malm chests from IKEA that my husband and I bought about three years ago, and clearly with the memory of putting them together reasonably fresh in my mind, I was aided along with the Kullen set and much to my amazement had the chest of drawers ready in just over an hour.
My only gripe about the instructions is you do have to take your time and look at the pictures carefully to ensure you have the correct pieces and also have them correctly positioned....for instance you start by screwing the metal drawer runners onto the side panels of the chest but I had to look several times to ensure I had them in the right place and also to work out where the screws went.
However my father also taught me to check and double check everything when constructing flat pack furniture and this stood me in good stead. I would say that as long as you take your time and follow the instructions to the letter you will be able to get this out of the box and in place in less than 90 minutes.
There is no denying that this is a cheap chest of drawers and that is evident when one is constructing it - the chipboard isn't particularly strong and the finish inside the drawers is minimal.
I had a minor hiccup when I constructed the first drawer and this made me see just how flimsy they are, and as a result I would only recommend you use these for light clothing - there is no way this could cope with heavy documents or toys for instance. The base of the drawers is just a very thin piece of woodboard and I can imagine these warping or breaking very easily if the drawer is overloaded.
However, I cannot deny that the chest of drawers does look very good - the drawers sit nicely flush and the lack of handles isn't a problem.
I also like the fact this chest of drawers has metal runners - and while they are not of the standard on the Malm chests I have, they are still hugely more efficient and reliable than the piece of plastic on my daughter's old chest of drawers, and also seem to be more durable too.
It's also worth mentioning that the top drawer in this chest is not as deep as the other two drawers. This meant I had to move my daughter's underwear to the middle drawer as I keep it organised using IKEA's Komplement drawer organisers and these were too large for the top drawer. This personally would bother me as I am a creature of habit and like to have my underwear in the top drawer, but my daughter wasn't bothered in the least.
Overall we are both pleased with this purchase - my daughter can still have her TV and Wii in their original place, and now can open her drawers with ease - something that makes my life much easier too, given the fact any problems such as these result in plaintive cries of "mum" from her.
I think when you factor in the low price and the relative ease in putting this together, this is an unbeatable bargain and ideal for a child or teenager's bedroom in particular.
The Kullen range also includes a two drawer chest and a five drawer chest, available for £19.99 and £45 respectively.
***This review was previously published by me on ciao under the same user name***