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A Tour of Our New Closet + IKEA PAX Closet System Review!

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Jeff and I have been sharing our small master bedroom closet for 7 years now so when we decided to take the plunge with a master bathroom addition (you can see our master bathroom reveal {here} if you missed it) you can bet I was including a walk-in closet in that baby! Our choice of closet system was an easy one because it’s what we installed in our old house and loved it – IKEA’s PAX closet system. It’s pretty much the Goldilocks of closet systems – so much better than a basic white wire system but not nearly as expensive as California Closets or The Container Store’s ELFA system.
Today I’m taking you on a tour of our new closet and also sharing my honest IKEA PAX closet system review with everything I love about it and the few things I don’t. Ready to check it out? (post includes affiliate links; full disclosure statement available {here})
When you walk into our bathroom from our master bedroom, our new walk-in closet is on the left behind a pocket door:

It’s a standard inexpensive 6-paneled door but we dressed it up by adding {this stylish rectangular flush pull} in satin brass instead of the typical small circle pull:

We’ll head inside in just a minute…

but first I’ll quickly share how you start the design of an IKEA closet. Their closet system is based on using PAX wardrobe frames (available in three width, two depth, and two height options) that you then customize with KOMPLEMENT accessories. Since part of our new closet is where our old bathroom use to be, the width of our closet was determined for us at about 6.5 feet. That meant we had room for the deeper 22″ wardrobe frames on one side but only the shallower 13″ deep frames on the other (if we did all 22″ deep frames, there wouldn’t be enough space in the middle of the closet):

We were able to customize the length of our closet in the building process – we designed it so that three wardrobes (two 39″ wide frames on the ends + one 19″ wide in the middle) on each side are a perfect fit. This is a quick iPhone pic of what it looked like when we had put only the PAX wardrobe frames in our new space:

The wardrobes frames were secured to the walls on the top back side of the frames with drywall anchors and secured to each other with binding post screws near the base and near the top (simply drill through one of the pre-drilled holes from one wardrobe into the pre-drilled hole of the neighboring wardrobe and insert and tighten the screw). A quick tip – be sure you’re putting the screws through holes that won’t be used by any of your interior accessories so you don’t have to redo them.

Now comes the fun part – building it out with all of the KOMPLEMENT accessories:

I’ll share how we customized the 13″ deep frames on the right side first:

KOMPLEMENT Pull-Out Clothes Rail

The 13″ deep IKEA wardrobes aren’t deep enough for a typical clothes rod but IKEA has a pretty genius solution for providing hanging clothes space – these pull-out clothes rails that give you the option to store hanging clothes facing forward:

It’s not as easy to find something with a quick glance when they’re hanging in this direction but it works really well for things that aren’t worn daily like my dresses. And the rails extend out which is a neat feature if you want extra hanging space to air dry a few things or hang the outfit you’re planning to wear the next day:

IKEA KOMPLEMENT Pull-Out Pants Hanger

Below the clothes rail with my dresses I have a 39″ KOMPLEMENT pull-out pants hanger with a standard shelf separating the two:

The 13″ deep size that I have fits one pair of pants per hanger (unless you layer them on top of each other) while the 22″ deep size fits two pairs of pants per hanger with a little bit of overlap. I keep all of my pants that tend to wrinkle on these pull out hangers but all of my jeans, leggings, joggers, etc. in drawers.

IKEA KOMPLEMENT Shelves

IKEA makes shelves that match their wardrobes in all of the width and length options possible. I used them in several places in my closet – over the top drawer in each wardrobe on the left side of our closet (it keeps what’s inside the drawers from getting dusty), over my pants hanger, at the top of most of the wardrobes to hold large storage baskets, and from floor to ceiling in the middle wardrobe along the right side of our closet to hold medium storage baskets:

I use them to hold travel bags & toiletries, bathing suits, hats & caps, tanks, belts, hair accessories, & flip flops – they’re a perfect fit! They’re {these white woven bins} in the medium size and I used {these bin clips} for labels:

IKEA KOMPLEMENT Shoe Shelves

At the far end of our closet system I filled the 39″ wide wardrobe with {these shoe shelves} and LOVE them – I was able to pack a ton of shoes in and they’re all super easy to grab:

IKEA has other shoe storage options too including {this pull-out shoe shelf} and pull-out trays with shoe inserts and rails. I had pull out racks in my old IKEA closet and definitely like these shoe shelves better but it’s all personal preference.

Full-Length Brass Mirror

On the wall at the end of our closet I hung this large brass floor mirror that I stole from our guest room:

It’s unfortunately been discontinued but {this floor mirror} is almost identical in size and shape. Also check out {this mirror} if you prefer squared off corners.

Ready to check out how we customized the other side of our closet that has the deeper 22″ wardrobes?

KOMPLEMENT Clothes Rails

Starting at the top, each wardrobe has a shelf with 1 or 2 of {these storage baskets} in the large size that hold some of my winter boots, totes, larger travel bags, etc. Under them are KOMPLEMENT clothes rails:

I have all of my short sleeve shirts in the left wardrobe frame, long dresses and jumpsuits in the middle wardrobe frame, and long sleeve shirts in the right wardrobe frame. One thing I absolutely swear by are non-slip velvet space saving hangers like {these} (pic below is from the IKEA PAX units in our laundry room where we have {these pulls} on our drawers):

Not only do they look nice and your clothes don’t fall off of them but you can fit so many more clothes in the same amount of space versus using typical tubular plastic or wood hangers.

KOMPLEMENT Drawers with Framed Fronts

All three wardrobe frames also have a set of {these} framed front drawers – these drawers are new at IKEA and I love them! They definitely have a higher end look than the flat front drawers that use to be the only option:

They also have {these glass front drawers} that are stylish options but honestly I just don’t have anything pretty enough that I’m storing in my drawers to want to see through the front 🙂

IKEA makes some nice box set options to organize the interiors of drawers with smaller items like these:

Unfortunately they have been out of stock at our IKEA so those will have to be an add-on at a later date.

KOMPLEMENT Pull-Out Trays with Inserts

And finally my favorite part of our new IKEA PAX closet – {this KOMPLEMENT pull-out tray with inserts} that I’m using to organize my jewelry:

There are a lot of different customizations that you can make because there are different styles and sizes of inserts that you can mix and match (you can see all of your options {here}):

You can also remove the dividers within each individual gray insert which I did for earring storage. IKEA doesn’t have any insert options with smaller compartments that work well for earrings so on the far right I used {this insert} but removed the long dividers for watches and necklaces and replaced it with {this jewelry organizer} I already had, laying the two stackable trays next to each other:

I also did something different with the shelf above my pull-out jewelry tray and chose {this glass shelf} that allows me to see where everything is even before I pull the tray out:

The Finishing Touches

There are a few finishing touches that I added to our IKEA PAX closet system that made a big difference in the final look. For one, we had our contractor add crown molding along the top of our IKEA wardrobes on each side. Our crown molding is one I picked out at our local hardware store that was a good height for covering the gap between the top of the units and the ceiling. After install, we patched the holes and painted it in a white that’s a good match for the IKEA wardrobes (I had it left over from the laundry room cabinets we put in last year!). Here’s the exact formula (it’s a custom color) that we mixed in INSL-X Cabinet Coat in Satin (it’s important to use this same exact base):

I also added small decorative strips of molding to fill the gaps between the IKEA wardrobes on the ends and the wall and painted them this same color.

Another key thing to do is to fill all of the remaining holes once you’re done with your closet – it makes a big difference! IKEA has VARIERA cover plates that come in a pack of 100 for $1.29 to fill all of the holes that run along the edges of the PAX frames. It’s tedious work to plug each individual hole but worth it (I paid my daughter to do it 🙂 ). This in-progress pic I took during installation of our PAX wardrobes in our laundry room shows you the difference it makes:

(acrylic drawer pulls found {here})

There are holes at the top of each IKEA wardrobe that I filled too – I covered the IKEA cam lock holes with {these adhesive cover caps} and I covered the 3/8″ open holes at the top with {these hole plugs} – both are a perfect fit:

There are also some tiny holes at the bottom of each frame that I simply filled with caulk. And finally, I took a tiny paint brush and painted the heads of the screws holding the units together with the same white paint I used on the crown molding.

Obviously one other finishing touch was putting in our carpeting – I chose Kaleen’s Peter Island Stripe in Graphite:

While we chose to install our IKEA PAX wardrobes first and carpet after so that the wardrobes were sitting on the wood subfloor where they’re most stable, in our old house our wardrobes were installed on top of the carpet and that worked fine too. As long as your carpet is fairly low-pile and your wardrobes are appropriately secured to the wall you should be good!

Phew… I think that about covers the tour of our PAX closet! Just one last thing – here’s my quick review of the IKEA PAX closet system with what I love and what I don’t love about it:

IKEA PAX Closet System Review: The Pros (+ Cost!)

  1. The price of an IKEA PAX closet system is one of the biggest pros. You can create a pretty amazing closet for significantly less than other closet systems including The Container’s Store Elfa system and California Closets’ systems. My total cost (without tax) for everything I bought at IKEA for our closet is $1630. While that’s a lot of money, it is far less than higher end closet systems.
  2. IKEA offers delivery of your closet components at a pretty reasonable price (if you’re doing a large closet it’s worth it!) and they offer returns with a receipt for a full year for anything you decide not to use. My advice is to get an IKEA Family Card and use it when making your purchase – they can then always use your card to look it up if you need to return something down the road and don’t have your receipt.
  3. It’s not difficult to put the PAX wardrobes and interior accessories together, it’s just time consuming. They come with instructions that I think are pretty easy to follow and require no special tools. Putting the wardrobes together and installing them is a two person job but one person can manage the rest. You can also hire out for assembly too (IKEA partners with TaskRabbit for this)
  4. The wardrobe frames line up and connect to each another well (we were able to connect our three PAX frames so that there are no gaps or spaces between them and they appear to be one continuous unit) and they’re very sturdy. The IKEA PAX closet we had in our old house was over five years old when we sold our home and it was still in amazing shape.
  5. I love that the KOMPLEMENT drawers have soft close drawer slides so that they close full close with just a little push.
  6. The finished closet system has an attractive, custom, high-end look, especially if you add the simple detail of crown molding along the top.

IKEA PAX Closet System Review: The Cons

  1. IKEA has an online PAX Planner that allows you to create your dream closet online but honestly it’s a pretty clunky program to use. I found it easier to just draw it out myself. The one big benefit of using the online PAX Planner though is it gives you a full list of everything you need for your closet once you’ve designed it in the planner.
  2. It takes a lot of time. I enjoy organizing so the hours spent figuring out the design of our closet and putting it together is right up my alley but if it’s not up yours, you might want to at least get someone to assemble it for you. The pro of using companies like The Container Store and California Closets is that you can pretty much have it all done for you from design all the way through to install (we used The Container Store for our garage organization that you can see {here} and it was such a stress-free way to go).
  3. The PAX wardrobe frames come in multiple sizes and in most cases, you can create a combination of sizes that will work well for your space but depending on your closet size there might not be a combination that fits completely wall-to-wall like you can get with more expensive closet systems.
  4. I wish that IKEA made well-priced, stylish baskets that worked well with their closet systems. I love the ones that I found and the two different sizes were perfect fits but they weren’t cheap and that cost really added up.
  5. The drawers and pants rack aren’t full extension – I really wish they were to make it easier to access things in the far back.

So now that you spent half your day reading my post (ha – this was definitely a long one!), do you have any questions? If you happen to be wondering where the heck all of Jeff’s clothes are, he now has our old master closet to himself (you can check out the upgrade we gave that closet {here}). Considering he used to have clothes spread out between that closet, our guest room closet, upstairs closet, and chest of drawers in our living room, he’s not complaining :). Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

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