Installing our IKEA Pax Wardrobes (plus, Tips for Planning and Shopping for Pax!)

July 18, 2018

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The last time we talked about our closet, we showed you our plans to install IKEA’s Pax system. We used their planner online–which is a lifesaver for so many reasons, but the best part is you can change your mind and change it all around. After our initial plans, we took some of your feedback and tweaked a few other things before eventually pulling the trigger on our wardrobe system. Yesterday, we spent the better part of the day putting it together, so now our closet looks like this:

The main differences in our original plans that we showed you and what we ended up with are:

1. We nixed pull outs for shoes in favor for drawers. A few of you suggested this because they hold shoes just as well (if not better), and if we decide we don’t need as much designated shoe storage, we could always use the drawer for something else.

2. We lined up our drawers. In our initial plans, we had drawers cutting wardrobes in half, at varying heights, etc. We noticed that our inspiration photos looked neat and tidy because everything lined up, so we course corrected and we’re so glad we did.

3. Less glass shelves. We actually wanted allllll the glass shelves, but our store ended up only have the large ones in stock, so the 4 smaller sections have solid shelves. Not a purposeful difference, but it’s fine.

We made sure to make the changes we wanted to in the IKEA pax planner before heading into the store because you can make a shopping list directly from your plans which makes the actual shopping so much easier. On the list, it tells you the item number, how many, and even what aisle and bin to find it in.

From the planner, you’ll see an icon with a magnifying glass and a list next to it, click on that:

This will bring you to an itemized list of everything your plan entails. If you click on “Add products to shopping list” that is what will be most useful in store.

It looks like the list below. You can print it (I would!), email it, and check stock for the items in your order. This is where we learned that the glass shelves we wanted weren’t available so it wasn’t a huge shock when we got there. This is also helpful to bring in store and check things off as you get them–because there will likely be more boxes than you could even imagine (I think we had 55!)

Our closet is 96″ wide and 80″ deep. We started with a blank slate and worked together to build the 6 PAX wardrobe boxes, two 39″ wide ones in the center on either side, with a total of four 19″ wide boxes filling in the rest. My biggest tip here is take your time with the first one. Read the instructions carefully. Talk through it until you feel like you got it, and then the other ones will go so much faster.

Once the boxes were together and in place (we filmed the whole process and it will be live on CLJTV later on today!), Chris worked on securing them all to each other and in place while I built all the drawers.

We printed out our plans so that we could remember exactly where everything went and once the drawers were together, it all came together pretty fast (as fast as it could with three little ones wanting to help).

We have standard, 8ft, ceilings, and went with the taller 93″ wardrobes, but had to assemble them in an upright position–definitely requires two people but we’re so glad for the extra space. My side has a long section for dresses, the middle area has a double rod, and I imagine putting all my pants and workout clothes in the far area.

Chris opted for IKEA’s pants hangers, one rod with lots of drawers in the center and our laundry is tucked into the far cubby with an extra rod that will likely be used for jackets.

The best thing about IKEA’s system is it’s really customizable. Instead of going for a mirror image, we were each able to think about what we need our closet to hold. I even tucked a pull out tray for belts, sunglasses, scarfs and jewelry.

On the back wall, we want to hang a large mirror and the vintage art I bought (that inspired our whole bathroom) above it. I think it would be a nice tie-in, plus I love art in unexpected places.

Besides loading up our clothes and hanging a mirror, we still need to:

  1. Add crown molding to close the gap up top.
  2. Trim out the sides for a built-in look.
  3. Install the pleated shade accent light we got for the closet.
  4. Add baseboards.
  5. Swap out the floor register for something that blends better.

There were a lot of questions on Instagram about the budget for the closet. We actually chose IKEA’s Pax system because it is so budget friendly and we wanted to save some money after a few splurges in the adjoining bathroom renovation. Our total for our entire Pax design was $1584.73. Chris and I both feel like it has been the biggest bang for our buck in maybe our whole house. We’ll be sure to share more once we get it loaded up and trimmed out. I’m in organization heaven over here!


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What do you think?

  1. Cindi says:

    I love your drawers now all lined up! I also love the idea of show drawers instead of shelves.
    – I am surprised the upper hanging rack isn’t too high. But I guess I had a double hanging rack in a closet before and it was “okay”. I think I just prefer tops to be at eye level so I can pick through them looking for the right thing. But it’s okay for jackets and that type of thing. I will have 9 or 10 foot ceilings, and was still thinking I would do the shorter ones with shelves at the top for things in bins I don’t use often. Now you have me thinking.
    – Do you find the 39″ wide shelves and drawers sag at all? That is a concern I had.
    – With the 19″ wide drawers, do you find that a handy width, or do you find it’s just a little too narrow to have 2 stacks of everything?
    – My other concern with PAX is that the max drawer is 6 3/4″. Do you do OK with sweaters in those? I would be nice to have a deeper choice.
    – I notice you didn’t use mesh drawers. Someone years ago said the glides on those weren’t the same quality, but I wondered if that was still the case. Did you look at them?


  2. Joc says:

    Hi, regarding your floor vent. Checkout , they have super sleek modern floor vents for only $25. Aria lite comes in white and would look nice with your floor.

  3. Elaine says:

    I’m just now finding your post so you may not still be answering questions since it’s been a long time since this was posted. I cannot find the link to the post about adding the trim pieces to your Pax system. We are planning our closet and want to have it look as nice as yours! Thanks!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Hi, how many pairs of shoes fits in your 39″ drawer?

    Im planning mine now and am trying to see how I can maximize my space!!

    Yours looks amazing!


  5. Veronica says:

    Where do you store your boots?

  6. Andrew Hague says:

    How tall is the plinth. I don’t know whether to remove the skirting boards where I plan to put the wardrobe, or could out the the plinth to accommodate the skirting. Ours is 80 cm high

  7. Mik says:

    Can I ask how long this took you to put together? thanks!!

  8. Casey says:

    Looks great and is super helpful to see/read that all of your clothes fit in here! I am curious how you have liked having the one high bar on your side. The rep. at IKEA told me it would be too hard to reach but I’d like to be able to maximize the hanging space and that setup definitely seems to do that. Thank you again for sharing!

  9. Joanne says:

    I LOVE your new closet! It’s beautiful! My husband and I are currently in the process of building ours.

    Did you end up anchoring your PAX wardrobe to the wall? We left our baseboards on so there is a 0.5 inch gap between our closets and the wall, and the bracket locations don’t exactly match up with our wall studs. We aren’t sure if we want to attach a piece of pine in between to make up for the gap and secure that to the wall, or leave the closet freestanding. Any words of advice?

  10. Beandy says:

    We just installed PAX mainly because yours went so well and we have a similar closet layout. Yours looks great and we our so happy with ours too! Thanks for or being a step ahead of us and showing us the way! I saw you ordered some hole covers from amazon on your insta stories. Can you link them? I’m not finding any on a sheet like you had when I search. Yours seem Moreno’s like stickers??? I’m only finding plug type.

  11. Michelle says:

    I LOVE your Pax closet! Doing something like this isn’t in our budget today, but let me tell you… you totally inspired me to FINALLY organize my clothes and donate items I haven’t worn in years. Thank you :)

  12. Lexie says:

    I just assembled three of these for our mudroom and am struggling with attaching to the wall. Did yours come with the screws for the metal brackets on the back? I can’t decide if all of ours are missing screws or I am not reading the instructions correctly…either way is entirely possible!

    • Chris says:

      It doesn’t come with screws to mount it to the wall. The holes almost never line up with studs and typical anchors aren’t sufficient, so I suggest using large toggle bolts.

  13. Erica says:

    I have a wall in my bedroom that is begging for PAX but I have a mini split at the top of the wall. What are your thoughts on cutting the wardrobes to be shorter?

    • Julia says:

      Ikea Wardrobes have been hacked every which way so you could absolutely cut the wardrobes to be shorter as long as you aren’t planning on adding doors. Also be aware they offer two different heights so check to see if one of those would work first.

  14. Ali says:

    I really like the look of these. Thanks for sharing how much the total cost was – it’s nice to see so we can plan accordingly if thinking of doing the same thing.

  15. Kristin says:

    The closet looks fantastic! We’re thinking about going with the IKEA Pax system for our son’s closet, with extra shelves and clothes bars we can move as his clothes get longer and he gets bigger. Random thought on the register – we just went through the same thing with ours and with a similar colored tile. We just took ours out and hit it with Rustoleum spraypaint in silver.

  16. Jackie says:

    They sell hole cover widgets if you want to fill in all of the holes for a more streamlined look. Fun project for you to have your daughter do too – you can pay her a penny per hole :). Also, save your wall paper remnants! you can decoupage them onto the sides of little boxes or containers that might end up accenting the space.

  17. Jackei says:

    Thoughts on using the same floral wall paper on the back wall of the closet to tie it to the bathroom more? Or potentially too busy looking with your clothes?

  18. Chad says:

    Looks great and you have me excited to install our own. Will you guys be detailing how you secured them to each other, and did you feel the need to anchor the cabinets to the back or side wall? And if so was the hardware included? Thanks!

  19. Shawna says:

    Would LOVE to know where Julia’s jean shorts are from? So cute!!

  20. Marielle says:

    Love it. BTW: Denver IKEA offers the option of $38?and they’ll “pull” all your goods from the warehouse for you. Whoot. Whoot. We chose to do it that way as we’re late 60scwith various back issues. We went with 78” (2 x 39”W) and 93”H for our garage storage. Thanks for the reminder about shoe storage as we’ve been debating installing the shoe shelves we’d purchased. Going with drawers now.

  21. Laura F says:

    I saw in your original plans you were going to put your dresses in the back and folded clothes at the entry. What made you decide to swap them?

    • Julia says:

      Our light switch! It was right on the inside of the closet and we actually had to notch out the wardrobe a bit (we’ll share that with the trim post) so it wouldn’t accommodate drawers right there.

  22. Lori says:

    Will all your clothes go here, like all seasons, nothing stored anywhere else?

  23. Leena says:

    will the closet be open or will you be adding a door?

  24. Amanda says:

    How did the light switch cut out turn out ?? Pictures ?? This has been an issue we’ve been avoiding until we could figure out a way to make all the ikea shelving work. Great job on closet!!

  25. Katrina says:

    Thank you for sharing your process. I am going to be installing the Pax now too thanks to you guys! But I didn’t think about trimming it out…do I need to remove the trim that’s already in there before installing it? Please share how you guys end up trimming yours out!

    • Julia says:

      Definitely take out baseboards before install so the wardrobes can sit nice and flush. We’ll absolutely share the trimming out process next!

  26. Marie says:

    Wonder if you could help me with ours…we moved into a Home that had installed these same cabinets. The weather has been awfully hot as the back part has been warping and coming off the wall. Looks like the previous owners just glued it to the wall??
    Anyway, any chance you might have a solution for this?

  27. L. says:

    This mirror is the best if you’re still looking! It can be hung both ways and is super heavy and substantial.

  28. Kirstin Mackenzie Smith says:

    This is so exciting !!! I can’t wait to see it finished ???? So pleased you have found a home for your original inspiration art work ????. This whole project has been so much fun to watch. Love you guys!!!❤️

  29. Molly says:

    Do you think an 80″ wide space would leave enough room to walk between the galley style closet? (instead of the 96″ dimension?)…in other words, what do you think the limit is to the width of a walk in galley style closet like this- trying to figure out a way to make it happen but am constrained in the width dimension (would be stealing from bedroom) Any ideas?

    • Chris says:

      I think that would end up pretty tight – but IKEA does offer 13in deep versions of their PAX systems that might be a good fit.

  30. Dana says:

    Hi your closet looks amazing. My husband and I want to redo our closet. We have been looking at the Conatiner Store Elfa closet system. Did you look into that and if you did what made you pick Ikea? Thanks just curious. We are just in the beginning stages (like what our options are) so haven’t dived deep into any product yet. Thanks!

    • Chris says:

      We looked at it, but found the price was almost as high and IKEA didn’t require as much involvement from the store, whereas CS Elfa you often have to work with someone. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just not what we wanted for our space. And the IKEA closet cabinets fit perfectly in the closet space we had.

  31. liz says:

    Looks great. I agree on using art in unusual places – I have art in bathrooms & closets.

    One question – are you planning to paint or change out the floor register? With the white look in the area, the darker register looks out of place. The faucets over your sinks blend in with the marble. Of course, if the mirror frame is dark or with a darker rug, it may all blend in.

  32. Sara says:

    Will you be putting a runner rug in the closet? I feel like a rug with some reddish, warm tones would be fabulous.

  33. Trina says:


    It looks awesome! We want to do the exact same thing for our walk-in closet. I just want to know if the laundry pull out is an actual choice on the ikea website or if it’s just an extra large drawer you’re using for laundry? Thank you.

    • Julia says:

      Oh, it’s not a drawer. It’s just a shelf that fits two of their laundry hampers side by side. Not sure if those hampers will stick around–we’ll see!

  34. Rachel says:

    Question- suggestions for pax if the dimensions dont fit quite perfectly? I either wind up with like 7″ blank extra space or I’m about 1″ too big for my dimensions.. so frustrated!

    • Julia says:

      Have you mixed and matched all three of the widths? We have a few spare inches we plan on trimming out to make it look more custom and built-in.

    • Ryan says:

      Depending on what your combination of boxes is, you can add some space between boxes and on the ends with 2x4s turned so the 1.75″ face is out or just on the ends with the 3.5″ faces out and then use trim to face the boxes and the whole thing will look more substantial and custom filling in your extra 7″ of width. Even custom cabinets aren’t built to exactly fit the space and usually have a filler on the ends that is scribed to the wall. I live in an old house and the walls are never straight meaning I’ve had a difference of 1+” from the top of a cabinet to the bottom.

  35. Loreen says:

    Looks awesome! Love the floors. Will the closets have doors? Will the entrance have doors or just be left open?

  36. Julie says:

    I’m so excited for your closet! I am planning an ikea master closet and this helps me tremendously! You guys are so awesome :)

  37. Tati says:

    Thank you for sharing. Looks great! What size is your closet? Thanks

  38. Makila says:

    It looks so amazing!!! I can’t wait to see all your stuff in there!

  39. Caitlin Rose Low says:

    First, I am so excited you went with a galley style. We live in a tiny condo and so our kitchen is about the size of your closet!! It’s a U shaped and I always wish it were a galley style because I feel like it would have so much more room! Also, I’m over the moon you are able to use the artwork. That was perhaps my absolute favorite piece of your whole bathroom reno!! Yayy!!!

  40. Megan says:

    Wow, even before trim it is dreamy! I am now seriously wondering whether we should add “upgrade master closet storage” to our home to-do list.

  41. Crystal says:

    Please share detailed instructions for trimming out everything. I’m so intimidated about that.

  42. Sarah says:

    I’d love if you’d share a step by step for trimming out your closets! We just got a pax system with doors to install in place of our reach in closet.

    • Molly says:

      Ditto! We’re planning to do a PAX closet too and it would be awesome to see a step by step in trimming it out to make it look nice and built-in.

      Looks so great already!

      • JL says:

        Ditto again! I’d like to switch out our Pottery Barn Kids Cameron system (we’ve outgrown it) for PAX in our front room/multi-functional room. But, it will absolutely need trimming out and customizing.

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