With the PAX planning behind us, we’re happy to say that our IKEA PAX closet system is officially in, and despite a few of our normal house challenges (slightly sloped floors, for starters), it was surprisingly simple to build and install! It did take time, but we were able to get it in place in one very long, very rewarding day.
We started early (after lots of coffee and a Shark Tank episode, as usual), and we got right to work sorting through our forty-two(!) flat packed boxes, bags and baskets. Once we had a good feel for which box held which items, we laid out our tools – power drill, handheld screwdrivers and a hammer – and started on creating each box. One for Scott, one for me:
We attached the hinges and doors to the first closet before sliding it into the newly boxed out space. At this point, we wanted to see the exact depth, getting a feel for the swing of the doors against the new drywall. Although the PAX is about 24″ deep, our contractor created a boxed out depth of almost 26″ (as a precaution – just in case!), so we knew we’d potentially need a spacer behind the closet.
Our test fit told us that a single 2″ x 4″ spacer along the top back of the PAX would be just the right amount to kick the entire system far enough off the wall. We screwed it right into the studs, and then we pushed the first box into place and screwed that to the 2″ x 4″, just as we would if we were securing it directly to the wall:
Our floor slopes upwards towards the headboard-wall (enough to make us grumble, but not so bad that we need to re-level the whole room), so we started with that first box at the highest point and used shims to keep it level. It was most important to ensure that the PAX stayed level across the top, because we knew we’d be adding trim to the bottom eventually, which would completely conceal any shims.
The second box, though? This is where things got a little tricky. We had our contractor frame out the drywall with very – and I mean very! – little wiggle room. We wanted our closet system to fit like a glove in that empty space, and so we told him to account for no more than 1/2″ on the top and sides. I am sure he thought we were crazy (truth!), and he told me to double check our measurements (yup!), and once we were really, really sure (we are!), he would frame out that wall for us.
And so? The second box came with its challenges, but man, we made it work! The left box needed to be raised by almost 3/4″ to keep things level (I shake my fist at you, slopey floor!), and Scott rigged up a rail-system-of-sorts using wood scraps. Not only did those scraps keep the left closet level (they continue all the way to the back of the closet), but it aided in easing that big bear of a box into that perfect, not-an-inch-to-spare space. Yeah! Note: There are small feet on the bottom that can be adjusted for un-level floors, but we needed a bit more height than they could provide.
Scott used our Dremel to nip the exposed wood rails, and we had a closet! Well, we had our closet boxes! It was late afternoon by this point, and right as we were going to call it a day, we got our second wind and motored through on the organizational guts. The best part, really! This is around the time that Chunk jumped in to help, and I think she stood like this for a good five minutes before I insisted we could do the job without her assistance.
Once we completed two of the drawers, we could complete all of the drawers in a snap. When it came time to add the drawer slides, we referenced a number sheet that was given to us at IKEA when we designed the closets. The sheet told us how many holes from the bottom each drawer, divider and rod should go. One, two, three, four… fifty-five, fifty-six, fifty-seven…
HIS CLOSET. Scott preferred the smaller side-by-side drawers, with two pull-out trays for his shoes (see all the options right here). Despite being 20″ wide, they’re almost 2′ deep, which will allow for, say, two separate stacks of tees per drawer. He has a basket at the very bottom for loose-ends – aka, the knock-around clothes he used to toss on top of our dressers, ha! Above those two solid front drawers is a tie organizer, which we’re both really excited about!
HER CLOSET. The majority of my clothes get folded into drawers (tees and jeans all the way!), so I went for the longer single drawers, because I couldn’t get over how huge they were! I have a single, wider pull-out tray for shoes at the very bottom (I’ve always stashed seasonal shoes in our foyer coat closet), and we both opted for mostly glass front drawers so we could find That One buried t-shirt without pulling out every single item. The solid front drawers (in each of ours) are for those less-than-organized items: socks and, obviously, underwear.
When designing our PAX, we were set on double doors for a couple of reasons: 1) We knew we could both be rifling through our closets at the same time (no sliding doors to keep one of us waiting), and 2) although this room feels big to us, it still needed space-saving touches. Because each individual closet is 40″ wide, the double 20″ doors allow for clearance alongside our bed:
Don’t let my photos fool you; these closets are so tall (almost 8′) and wide (almost 7′) and deep (2′)! Our goal was to eliminate dressers in the bedroom, and these’ll do it, absolutely. We’re continual closet purgers, and when we eventually load these up, we’ve already discussed purging once more so that we have a closet full of only the items we love. No ifs, no buts. (This book instantly changed the way we organize and donate our clothing, and we’ve never looked back!)
I know that IKEA offers build services, but I promise that if you’ve taken the time to build anything more complicated than a LACK side table, you (+ a friend) can build your own closet! Really! We’ve held off on putting our clothes in the closet until we finish painting the doors, installing the LED lighting(!) and we’ll be adding big, brassy pulls, too. Oh, be still my organizational loving heart.
A huge thank you to IKEA for partnering with us on our bedroom renovation, and thank you for supporting our sponsors!