Tearing Out The Bedroom Closets!

October 13, 2016

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A friend of mine was picking my brain earlier this week about how she could add more storage to her home. Closets and storage solutions make such huge difference in the quality of life in a home and it’s not always something we think about when looking at a home. While that’s all true, sometimes traditional closets aren’t the most functional answer for the space. The room that we’re turning into the girls’ room has a wall of double closets and we’re tearing them out–Eek!


The truth is, although these look like two separate closets, they are actually one big space inside, meaning there’s a lot of dead space in the middle where the wall appears to be and there’s no real organizational features inside either–just some rods with shelves positioned below them in a way that you couldn’t really hang anything on one of the rods anyway.



We decided to demo it all out and come up with a plan that fit the 9×12 room better and functioned for our girls, too. That’s how we landed on two built-in IKEA Pax Wardrobes, one for each of them.

Did you know, like their kitchen planner, IKEA has a wardrobe planner, too? This was our first time using it and you can customize every inch of their Pax wardrobes. Although we could have made each of them unique (If it were for Chris and me, one might include a tie rack for him, or a longer rod zone to hold dresses for me) in the end, Greta and Faye’s clothing storage needs are pretty similar, so we ended up making the two wardrobes identical.


You can see how we laid them out in the above photo. Both wardrobes will have sleek, black doors (we went with the UNREAL door–see below), but I left the one on the right “open” so you could take a peek inside. We decided on a 39″ wide wardrobe and put a divider in the bottom half so they could have a lot of smaller drawers as opposed to a few wider drawers–although we included one big drawer above the divider, too. I’ve noticed with the girls clothes, they have so many categories, especially since we don’t hang many of their clothes besides dresses–long sleeved tees, sweaters, short sleeves, pajamas, leggings, pants, underwear, tights and socks–that all those smaller drawers will come in handy for. We put two wire baskets at the bottom for shoes, one hanging rod and a shelf at the top for out-of-season storage.

Separating their closets also allowed us about 30″ in the middle to hang a mirror atop this wallpaper in the center with this double sconce above. And maybe this sweet stool for reaching dresses or sitting down to put on shoes (bonus: doubles as a stage in front of the mirror, haha!).


We went to IKEA with a plan, but we made so many tweaks and changes after we were in the store and we could poke around all their wardrobe examples and door options. We took time to study a lot of their samples–I couldn’t believe all the combinations–and landed on a mix that would suit our girls best. Luckily they had computers that we could use there to design our final wardrobes and then print out our shopping list. Unlike IKEA kitchens, the wardrobes you actually pull the pieces for yourselves in the warehouse.

I’ll break down the cost and more details on how we’re building them in once we get everything demo’d and then installed–which we’ll tackle as soon as we get the reading nook framed in.

Would you ever tear out a closet in favor of something like this?

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What do you think?

  1. Dayla Wilkerson says:

    Was there ever an after post of this project?

  2. Lindsey says:

    I am obsessed with this idea and can’t wait to do it to all three of my kids rooms! We just moved into a house with the ultimate in closet wasted space. I can’t sleep just thinking about it!

  3. Julianne says:

    I’m thinking about doing these for our living room that we never used and convinced my husband to do custom built ins for a fancy mudroom/multiple purpose room. They look so high end and will probably be cheaper than the custom woodwork quote!

  4. Angela says:

    I tore out the exact same closet set-up in my son’s bedroom, and divided the space into 2 closets and built a custom media cabinet in the middle, it is a major functional improvement but I still have to do trim work and hang doors, so not pretty quite yet…

  5. JL says:

    My youngest son’s room is, in the real estate world in our particular region, counted as a bedroom. Because it has a “closet”. Which is a joke because the “closet” also houses the door to our walk up attic. Needless to say, when you open the attic door, it consumes all the space inside the “closet”. We have PAX in his room. Best decision I think we could have come up with. Didn’t want to spend a fortune for a custom built in and we will probably convert his room to an office one day anyway. No issue with basket drawers ;). We purchased a nifty hanging bar just for corner spaces. That will allow us a little bit more hanging space. Just need to cut it to size and install.

  6. Kathy says:

    We totally want 3 PAX closets. One for me, one for him, one for bed linens. Pre-existing closets are kind of the worst…bi-fold doors from hell and so much wasted space.

  7. Naomi says:

    I would definitely tear out an existing closet in favour of a custom closet!
    I’m a renter, so I only had one built in closet that came with the house. The owner wouldn’t demo it, so I had to reconfigure the inside hardware to create a completely new closet. Annoying to upgrade something I can’t take away – but I can testify it definitely upgrades the living in the youse!
    I am currently planning built-ins from IKEA for the other rooms – so many options! I’m glad for all the solutions they offer.

  8. Judi says:

    Ugh. In a bedroom we use as an OFFICE. Sorry!

  9. Judi says:

    I would absolutely do this. As a matter of fact, I took the first step…we have the same exact wall, plus a switch in between the closets (interior twin 4′ fluorescents), in a bedroom we use as a closet. I demo’d out the interior only and put in a wide Fjalkinge (books/files) on one side and a white PS cabinet (supplies/printer) on the other. So, still the framework of a closet but completely different function. Also painted the doors black so they look a little different from the standard bi-fold. It’s so nice to have the visual clutter accessible but behind closed doors! And we can always make it back into a standard closet (or demo the whole closet and put in Pax…so much nicer!) in the future.

    Here’s to making our homes work for the many ways we live!

  10. Kelly Laws says:

    I have been contemplating this exact idea for my/myhusband’s closet. It is only ONE closet with double doors and it juts out into the room anyway! I think these wardrobes are far more capable than half of a closet each. Can’t wait to see how it turns out–you’ll probably tip me over the edge to start demo!

  11. alex says:

    I’ve also loved what Jenny Komenda as well as Braun + Adams have done to make the doors feel custom – it would be a lot more work but I love the mirrors!

  12. i think my husband and I need to do this to our closet, and our kids closet! i wonder if we could do this without demoing much… the wheels are turning.

  13. Sadie Garland says:

    We used the Pax system in our master bedroom as well as our girls room. Our house is over 100 years old, so the entry to the closet is just a regular door. We were able to fit 2 of the frames facing each other (one deep and one shallow) and customize them to our needs. The dimensions somehow fit perfectly so they truly look custom. IKEA for president! ❤️

  14. I did and we love them!
    We ended up building our own doors for our extra short ceilings and building a custom hamper drawer in the middle. The quality has held up beautifully and makes the room way more interesting. We also added interior lights that turn on and off as the doors are opened and while at the time I thought it was overkill I love them. Now I don’t have to get dressed in the dark while the hubby is sleeping!

  15. Katharine says:

    We did the same thing in our master bedroom – built 2 side-by-side PAX units into the space that used the be a closet. They go floor to ceiling, with crown trim at the top and trim on the sides so that they have a truly built in look. They look super classy and actually helped sell our home a couple weeks ago! My husband and I each customized our own and we love them SO much more than a standard closet.
    We didn’t love the lighting options that Ikea offered, so we ended up installing directional recessed lighting in the ceiling in front of them, but honestly we don’t find ourselves turning them on much. They don’t seem to have the dark cavernous feel of a standard closet (although ours are white so they are brighter inside).
    I’m sure you and the girls will love them – they feel so fancy!

  16. Becky says:

    We used PAX wardrobes in our 100 year old house we used to live in. We added the lighting option and it was a game changer. Our young boys loved opening the doors to see the lights turn on “automagically.”

  17. Nancy Holec says:

    Great idea! Love it!

  18. Pamela says:

    We bought a pax system for my husband’s closet but ended up returning it. We felt like there was too much wasted space above and below and to the sides of the drawers. We were working in a very small space and couldn’t afford to lose any of it. We opted to go with a dresser that we found which fit perfectly inside the closet. I did love how far the pax drawers extended, though!

  19. Neale says:

    This is sooo off topic, but do you guys have an idea of when you’ll post the plans for the standing desk you made for the office? (I am dying to see it!!!)
    Love everything you do – including these closet plans!

  20. Tari says:

    These are great! I lived in Norway for four years and there weren’t any closets. Initially, I didn’t know how I felt about that, but after living with it, I was a complete convert. It was such a better use of space to have a pretty wardrobe that could be moved around than looking at ugly closet doors. If I were ever to build my own house, I’d use a system like pax over building closets for sure!

  21. amy says:

    I’ve been following your progress and its very exciting! I was wondering if you are removing the carpet or just building around it (beds/closets)?

  22. Stef says:

    I loved my Pax wardrobe in my last apartment. Be careful with the wire baskets though – I used those at first as they’re so much cheaper than the real drawers, but they would fall off the rails ALL the time. It got to be so annoying that I ended up replacing them out with real drawers anyway.

    • Julia says:

      The store associate told us that the very bottom won’t accommodate a normal drawer because of the door hinge, so that’s why we went with the wire ones. Hopefully we don’t have the same issue! :(

      • Liz says:

        Maybe you could opt to not install the track on the bottom and just sit two nice woven baskets on the bottom instead.

      • Katharine says:

        We have the wire basket on the bottom for the same reason – no problems here!

  23. Megan says:

    I’m so interested to see how this turns out! I’ve thought about doing this in my pantry and a spare bedroom.

  24. Sam says:

    We’re doing something similar in our sons closet (maybe ours one day?). The closet is 8′ x 2.5′ and the existing shelves don’t work for us so we bought the Komplement drawers with glass fronts and will install those on one side, replacing his standalone dresser, and then shelves on other side for toy storage and such. We’ll get to it someday…

  25. Karen says:

    You all have such great taste and I love seeing what you come up with next! I will say, as a licensed architect, that in most (maybe all!) jurisdictions a room is no longer legally considered a bedroom if it doesn’t have a closet. While I understand the issues with the existing closet, removing it completely for a furniture solution will knock a bedroom off of your bedroom count if/when you decide to sell your home in the future. Furniture/wardrobes don’t count as closets on the real estate market. Just something to consider!

  26. Kirsten says:

    I have a similar set up in my home and love your plan! I never thought to do that. I cant wait to see the final result and hear what the cost is.

  27. Katy says:

    I would have NEVER thought of tearing out a closet to install a PAX wardrobe! This is so brilliant. Your ideas are so inspiring and outside the box. I do have a question though – what happens when they get older and their clothes are longer. Will you have to remove the drawers so there is room? I still love this idea and would do it myself and just cross that bridge when we came to it. Just curious if you’ve thought about it.

  28. Jamie says:

    This is awesome! I would definitely do this – I think it makes so much sense for you guys, and will just function so much better. Can’t wait to see the finished result! :)

  29. Hilary says:

    We love the Pac wardrobe we put in for our daughter! What are you planning on doing for dirty clothes baskets?

  30. How you always find the perfect wallpaper !
    I was not a wallpaper fan before, but I guest I just never saw the perfect ones because each time you post one I see myself saying ‘well, I could have this one at home!’

  31. Nina says:

    Hey Julia,

    well, I’m a PAX addict and think this system is the best thing since sliced bread.
    Since houses in Germany (or Europe) don’t come with built-in-closets the IKEA PAX is pretty common here. I also love that they are adjustable… for clothes in the bedroom, coats and shoes in the hallway or “everything else elsewhere”.

    Can’t wait to see the finished space for your girls.

    Love from Germany

  32. Those Pax units are really nice. Ikea knows how to organize everything, and I always love their ideas.

    I have removed plenty of closet doors (Ugh! bi-fold closet doors!), but it would unlikely for me to remove an entire closet in favor of a wardrobe. I did like Yellow Brick Home’s idea of integrating the Pax directly into a space that looks like a closet. I’m not sure if that is more your plan or not. For me, reworking existing closets has always been the most cost-effective and ecologically friendly solution in our house. That is very important to us. Most closets are just giant rectangle wardrobes already. The guts of the Pax can be replicated in an existing space. (Loved the beds in yesterday’s post, BTW!)

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