DIY

Before and After: Our Closet and the Ikea PAX Wardrobes That Made it

August 14, 2018  —  Written by Julia 

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Our closet is installed, trimmed out and loaded up and I’m so excited to share all the after photos with you today. (Psst! There’s a video tour inside the closet and every other drawer in the bathroom on CLJTV right here).  While we went all out in our bathroom, as you may have read in the budget breakdown of it in yesterday’s post, we wanted to keep costs down in our closet, while still having it look just as high-end/custom but mainly, VERY functional. After a lot of research, we landed on the IKEA PAX system and you can see how we designed it here, how we installed it here and here, and how we trimmed it all out to make it look built in here!

Ready for the afters?

As a reminder, here’s what the before looked like looking into our closet. The former toilet closet (that we moved to the other side of the bathroom in the renovation) jutted into the closet making Chris’s side an odd shape and the whole layout created a bottle neck leading into our closet.

Here’s how the same angle looks today:

We widened the doorway, added lots more light and got rid of the bottle neck. We deepened it by about 12 inches on my side (the right), and Chris’s side gained about 3 ft, thanks to moving the water closet to the opposite side of the bathroom in favor of a linen cabinet in its place–something we didn’t even have before. Our closet is now 96″ wide and 80″ deep. And, of course, added a his/her closet system (we kept our same sides :) that feels a lot more like a dressing room to us. Can we just call it a dressing room? 

Here’s how the same side looked before.

When Chris and I were designing our sides, we both took into account how we like to organize our clothes. I like to fold my jeans. He prefers to hang his pants. I really needed more rack space to hang shirts and long dresses/jumpsuits and Chris only hangs his button ups, but liked ample drawer space for his t-shirt collections. I thought about how I like to store workout clothes (in a drawer) and what we don’t use that often, but still need a place for (swimsuits, ties).

The bottom drawers across both sides are filled with our shoes and we are so glad we switched to this method after a few commenters suggested it. It allows me to stack sandals to the brim, while keeping a consistent look across the board of drawers, or use it for something else altogether if down the road I suddenly have no need for shoe storage (????).

One simple tip that doesn’t take any more time is organizing clothing by color. It looks so much better and actually helps you find what you are looking for faster, too! Chris has just one rod of shirts and I divided mine by short sleeve up top, with long sleeves at the bottom.

The shelves are deep enough that I was able to fit storage boxes two deep filled with swimsuits, coverups, unmentionables, and some misc/sentimental things. It was important to us that everything fits in our closet. We don’t have seasonal clothes or a stash of shoes elsewhere. It’s all right here and although I’m constantly donating things that I no longer love with my whole heart (if I haven’t worn something in a year, it’s gone!), I am truly amazed how much fits in here now that it’s organized.

Since the closet is open to the rest of the bathroom (as it always has been), we ran the same marble flooring  into the closet and heated it the same so it’s cozy underfoot. We added windows and a great exhaust fan for when the shower is going, so even though we’ve always had our clothes opened to the bathroom, we’re even less concerned about any moisture lingering on our clothes now. Over the weekend, we toyed with the idea of adding a pretty runner in the closet and are definitely open to it if we find the right one.

In addition to trimming out the PAX system, I think the vintage art (that actually inspired the entire bathroom!), pleated light fixture and even the small green ottoman are all things that help make it look a little more special and add some character. We wanted to keep the mirror (also from Ikea!) and back wall white to really let the other elements, including the clothes, shine.

I love how the bathroom and closet work together, but more importantly, I love how they work. It’s so much easier to keep things cleaned, put away and organized when those things actually have a place to go. For the first time, I have a spot specifically for scarves and belts. The quote, “A place for everything, and everything in its place” are words to live by for sure, but having the “place” first is the key.

I’m happy to report that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either! Our closet came in at right around $2000.

Our PAX Wardrobes totaled $1584.73
Nissedal Ikea Mirror $50
Vintage Art $78
Pleated Light Fixture $114
Green Ottoman $150
Trim $40

GRAND TOTAL: $2016.73

For a better feel of what we keep in every drawer, be sure to check out the video tour right here!

Missed a post? Check out Designing our Ikea Closet, Installing our Ikea Closet (here’s the video!), Trimming out our Ikea closet.

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What do you think?

  1. Melissa Burgess says:

    You closet dimensions are the exact size as ours. Are you able to somehow share the exact dimensions of each component of the system or your plan you created? It all seems like exactly what we would want.

  2. Kimberly Van says:

    I’m in the process of installing an IKEA PAX into our Master Closet. I do have one question, I’m left with extra space on the ends of my PAX especially with the wall there it leaves about 1-2 inch remaining space that I’m not sure what to do with, how and what process did you do to make it a more “built in” look and what did you do with your extra space?

  3. Linda Potashnick says:

    looks fabulous! can you recommend a company to do my closet?

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      IKEA PAX are easy to DIY, and I believe IKEA has a team that will make house calls in certain cities? Can anyone confirm this?

  4. Sandy Le says:

    What is the depth of that Ikea mirror? Can the drawers still be pulled all the way out? I can’t find the measurements online.

  5. Cindi says:

    One more question :-) Is it fairly easy to change locations of things over time? How are the brackets attached?

  6. Shelly says:

    How did you secure the Pax units to the wall? Did you just use the two interior brackets they come with along with drywall anchors or did you add more anchors or brackets?

    • Chris says:

      We lucked out and hit a couple studs, and used toggle bolt anchors for the rest. Large toggle bolts seem to hold them out securely from our experience.

  7. Eliza A Maynes says:

    Wow! That is such a huge improvement on a great budget. Im-pressed,

  8. Kim says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it’s just beautiful, and perfect exactly the way it is. I have an advice question. I’m planning my new walk-in closet with a pax system, and due to the size and shape of the room, there’s not much wall showing. I’ve picked out a wall color that I LOVE (blush/beige), but I want to see more of it. What do you think of installing the wardrobes without the backs, so that my paint shows through? Not sure if you will see this, but I would really value your opinion. Thanks, and again, great job!

  9. Audrey says:

    Hi! Would you mind sharing what size crown molding you used? I’m in the process of installing my own Pax closet system, and I also have 8’ ceilings, so I’d probably need the same size as you. I’ve never done crown molding before (or really any DIY home project) so I’m not sure how it’s measured, since it’s at an angle, and I would appreciate your guidance! Thank you!

    • Chris says:

      Once installed these are 2 3/4 tall, but installing the wardrobes first then measuring and picking out crown is probably the safer way to go.

  10. Libby says:

    I’ve looked all over the comments, video and different blog posts but I can’t seem to find if you ended up having to paint anything in the closet? If so, what color matches the Ikea white?! (Currently planning my own pantry redo!!) Thanks!!

  11. Linds says:

    It looks amazing! I love the organization! Where did you get the white caps to cover the extra holes? I love that idea. Do you think it would work with a standard kitchen cabinet as well?

      • Dana Beyert says:

        Hi! Question on that actually, if you don’t mind… I’ve done some research on those ikea white hole covers, and it seems that once you put them in, they are not coming out. Did you try and remove them and if you did, did you find it easy/challenging? Thank you so much!

  12. Karen says:

    Fantastic closet! I’m just in the process of designing my own Pax closet and am wondering, how much vertical space did you leave between the two pants hangers? I’m debating putting one of those in, but it looks like the pants need a lot of room to hang. Do you like that system?

    • Chris says:

      Jules uses shelves and loves those. I use the hangers and love them. We each have our preference so it’s really up to you. But I have about two feet between the pants hangers.

  13. Kate Humphrey says:

    Still drooling over these before and after photos! Could you please share a link tk the hangers you purchased for the new closet?

  14. Louise says:

    It looks so good! Such good timing as we are doing to Pax for our own (very small) closet. I can’t find the height of the base anywhere though. Our builder has already installed baseboards and I’m trying to figure out if we can cut the side panels around them and shorten the backing panel or if the base of the pax will be too low to allow this. Would you mind telling me how high the front base panel is?
    Thanks!

  15. Jamie says:

    Love!! Where are the storage boxes from?

  16. Jen says:

    This looks so great! A few years ago, I organized my closet by color and when shopping afterward actually found myself thinking “would this look good hanging in my closet/go with my other things?” It inadvertently helped me hone my style and buy fewer things that appealed to me in the moment but weren’t really “me.” Keep up the beautiful work!

  17. Kelly says:

    Your closet looks great! I’m curious what product you used to fill the unused holes in the Pax system. I haven’t seen that done before but it cleans up the look a lot!

  18. Vic says:

    I love it so much. Do you have another linen closet where you store extra sheets etc? We need space for those in our closet.

  19. Aimee says:

    Love the bathroom/ dressing room make over! The dressing room is such a transformation and so affordable!

  20. Melanie says:

    From the photos it looks like you added recessed lighting but I don’t think you included that in the breakdown cost. Can you add this? Thanks!

  21. Emily Jane says:

    Incredible!!! I’ve been waiting for this before I pulled the trigger on my own pax closet. We have similar dimensions but I would have to do the shallower depth version.

    Question- would you be able to share details on your door casing? It looks great!

  22. Jean says:

    Looks like a dream! Perfect size, looks so clean and organized, I feel like the calm look of the dressing room would help me to calmly get dressed in the morning and start out my day right. Well done!

  23. Joan says:

    I would love a tutorial on trimming out the closet. We have two PAX closets at home that have yet to be trimmed. Yours looks great!

  24. Merri says:

    This is amazing! What are the dimensions of your closet? I think mine might be a tad smaller, but really need to look into the Ikea options!

  25. Jackie says:

    Hi, I think I recall you wanting all glass front drawers but that they were out of stock. Do you think you’ll change out the two glass ones for a more streamlined look now that you can see your clothes in them? Also, do you think you’ll change your light fixture? The pleated shade looks like it’s almost smushed on the side by the door. I like your idea of keeping that back wall streamlined so that your clothes are the focal point but I am definitely surprised by your choice in mirror. Congrats on finishing the space!

  26. Carly says:

    I’m so ready to redo our closet to make it more functional! Does Ikea help you plan the closet like their kitchen or are you on your own?

  27. Lorraine says:

    Hi, did you do a serious edit of your clothes after the before pics and before the afters or did reorganizing just make it look that way?

    • Julia says:

      I edit my closet after every season and a lot of the clothes never made it back in because I donated A LOT. (It’s the best feeling!) But the after photos weren’t styled or edited to remove clothes we actually do wear. Everything you see in our closet includes all of our clothes.

  28. Emily says:

    Beautiful! But where do you put your dirty clothes? I remember you mentioning maybe putting a hamper in the linen cabinet, but it doesn’t appear that’s what you did. Do you have a stand-along hamper in the bathroom or bedroom somewhere?

  29. MARA SMITH says:

    I organize all of our closets by color too, but follow the (white) ROYGBIV (black) pattern. That way if I make the kids put away their clothes and they only have one or two green shirts, they know where they go.

  30. Tiffany says:

    I think I’ve convinced my hubby to do this in our closet after showing him all your pictures and videos. So pretty! Also, I really need to get rid of stuff.

  31. Patricia says:

    You’re going to need an updated house tour! Now you can include the new bathroom / dressing room (yes, I agree you can call that closet of wonder a dressing room). Love it all. It wouldn’t work for everyone but it’s perfect for you. Seriously, I need to do more editing in my closet … since I could take over your entire closet just for me. It’s not that I shop so much (including underwear and pjs, I’ve bought maybe 10 items in the last two years?), it’s that I don’t edit. I do the one thing in, two things out. Maybe need to make it five out for every one item in…

    • Nicole says:

      I’m thinking the same thing! My closet IS that size and it’s still bursting at the seams. I like the idea of getting rid of things if you haven’t worn them in a year but pregnancy/breastfeeding make that tricky. I also have a lot of shoes….and I only get rid of them if they wear out which never happens….

  32. Ginger says:

    Your whole space is beautiful and the closet is so well thought-out! Would you be able to say a few words on where you store coats? Perhaps you have a hall closet somewhere else… jacket storage is always a challenge for an everyday closet because they take up so much space! Just looking for some alternative perspectives. Thank you :)

  33. Allison says:

    Love the streamlined look; you settled on a great configuration. Having a space function optimally makes SUCH a difference, and that it looks so nice is a bonus for sure.

    How do you feel about IKEA‘s white? I know you have an eye for color/undertones; does IKEA’s white work with the other whites in the space, or would you have opted for a white that matches your linen cabinet?

  34. Kelly says:

    So, so inspiring!

    Just curious – why did you decide to forgo a closet door? I know you said it was like that before, and I don’t necessarily think it was the wrong decision. I might have added one assuming it was the default option. Is there a specific reason?

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