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Planning for a PAX

One of the things we have been looking forward to most with the bedroom renovation is having a closet – for the first time! We haven’t had proper clothes organization since we moved in two and half years ago; remember when we ripped out the second floor kitchen? We picked up a couple of garment racks, one for each of us, and we lined them up along the plumbing wall to, quite simply, hide the exposed plumbing work:


Our bedroom plans called for a complete rearrangement of, well, everything, and with the chimney removal, we could see the light! As it stands, we had our contractor build out a rough opening for our soon-to-be closet. Although we wished the closet could remain on the wall where we had those garment racks, the minimum 24″ depth we needed wasn’t there, and it would have seriously cramped the door. And so, here’s what we have right now:


To know exactly what opening we’d need to have our guys construct, we also needed to know what we were doing for our closet, right? For years, Scott and I have had our eyes on an IKEA PAX wardrobe. Although we could have easily added a rod and thrown in some adjustable shelves, we really wanted to go all in and make it just right. After more than two years of swearing every time we choose our (dusty) clothes in the morning, we were ready to allow ourselves the luxury of a little AM pick me up! We have friends that love their PAX, we’ve devoured countless reviews, and really, IKEA knocks it out of the park with the customization it allows.

IKEA generously offered to help us on this project – from design to build – and when I say we are thrilled, I actually mean, is this real life? In other words, we’ll be partnering with them on this project, and we’re looking forward to sharing our experience with you! At the same time, it was important for us to dive into the whole experience first hand, and so we politely declined their build service (did you know they do that?!), mostly because there is an odd satisfaction in piecing together those flat packed items. We got started by allotting ourselves a full afternoon in the megastore, knowing that we’d want to take our time touching the product, seeing the options in person and narrowing down every last detail in their PAX planner. The process was so, so simple (and the IKEA team was so, so helpful – thank you, Meredith and Delra!), that from start to finish, we had our plans hashed out in under an hour. Yes!


Our hope was to build a wardrobe that would eliminate the need for additional dressers, and although our wall space was somewhat limited, we were determined to make that work. We discussed which items would live in which drawers, and we were sure to include space for shoes, purses and ties. Dreamy! In the end, we pieced together a 40″ wide unit for each of us (so, 80″ total), with a height of not quite 8′. I was a little worried that the width wasn’t quite the massive amount of space that I pictured in my mind, but those PAX drawers are deep. Our current dresser can fit one neatly folded stack of tees front to back, but we’ll easily be able to double that in the new wardrobe.


On a whim, we decided on the white stained oak for the entire interior (above), nixing the idea of all white and surprising even ourselves! In person, the color is warm and beautiful, and we topped it off with soft close hinges, LED lighting and four sleek white doors. Our plan is to trim the doors with simple molding, paint them bright white to match the rest of our home’s trim (Behr’s Ultra Pure White) and add these large 18″ pulls. So brassy.


We had 42 boxes, bags and bits delivered to our front door, and for now? Well, CC’s holding down that fort.


As I type, I’m looking over the calendar, and our optimistic self-imposed goal is to build our PAX wardrobe this month – but, we also hope to finish tiling the bathroom, install the plumbing fixtures and choose a bedroom paint color. So many exciting things to come!

Bonus: The entire PAX system is 15% off with IKEA FAMILY member pricing through January 26th. IKEA FAMILY is a free loyalty rewards program, and different items are discounted each month. Learn more about the program and sign up right here to start saving! A huge thank you to IKEA for partnering with us on our bedroom renovation!

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  • Danielle1.7.16 - 7:01 AM

    Hi K & S –

    Long time lurker here. Love your site! The Pax system is great! It’s been years since I’ve had one, but here are a couple things I remember. Leg adjustment. Critical in old houses with wonky floors to get the wardrobe perfectly level so it doesn’t warp over time. Pax comes with adjustable legs/screw feet make sure to take your time and use a leveler before attaching doors and double check after attaching doors. Attachment to wall/security. Pax comes with screws to secure wardrobe at top in back corners to the wall. I suggest you replace those screws with really long drywall screws for extra security. Cheap and easy switch out that gives you peace of mind. This may not be applicable to you sin spas is going into a closer let build out space not the more usual free standing space but I thought it would help to know that. I know you and the hubby are all about the DIY but I’ve used the Ikea building service and it is GENIUS! As you say there may be something satisfying about putting flat pack stuff together but there is something WAY more satisfying about going for a run and coffee and coming back to EVERYTHING being done. Those Ikea builders are really efficient and fast! They even broke down the boxes and stacked them outside before I got home. I was even allowed time to customize the pieces before they put it together and they helped me quick back another one! Awesome!! Considering your to do list you might want to reconsider…just a thought! Looking forward to seeing the finished rooms!! Best of luck!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.7.16 - 9:12 AM

      Hi Danielle, thank you so much for your advice! SO good to know about the adjustable legs. We will definitely have some work to do in that arena, as NONE of the floors in this home are perfectly level (old house woes!), so we’re actually not looking forward to that part… but it sounds like the legs will come in handy (rather than shimming everything like we thought we’d have to do). What a relief!

      Also, we had no idea they had IKEA builders, what a great idea, right?! Maybe we just like to torture ourselves, but there really is an odd satisfaction – I say now before we begin, haha. Because they’re getting snugged up in an enclosure, we thought it would be better to DIY the build and handle all the shimmying, but we’ll follow up with a progress report for sure. :)ReplyCancel

  • We just put in a huge PAX closet in our house and LOVE it! It’s incredible just HOW MUCH you can fit in those deep units.ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.7.16 - 9:09 AM

      We were amazed at how roomy they were when we saw them in the store!ReplyCancel

  • Stefani1.7.16 - 8:40 AM

    We had a Pax in our last (teeny tiny, closetless) apartment in NYC, and it was truly great. The only thing I’d advise against is the wire baskets. If you fill the with clothes, they get too heavy and fall off their tracks. It was the most frustrating thing ever! Once we upgraded to real drawers, it was a dream.ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.7.16 - 9:09 AM

      Oh, good to know! We have ONE wire basket that we added for Scott’s side. It won’t be to hold much – just some odds and ends that he typically leaves out on the dresser, so this will hopefully keep it tidy. Thanks for the input!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke1.7.16 - 9:14 AM

    I hope you don’t have the same issues we had with fitting the pax wardrobes into the closet area. Unbeknownst to us the concrete floors in our condo weren’t level and it meant the boxes ended up not square after they were fit into the closet area. The sliding doors were almost impossible to hang and when we finally got them they wouldn’t fully open due to the wonky floor.

    They system itself was great and I loved the idea of all the drawers etc but I couldn’t open half of the drawers because the doors wouldn’t slide open all the way. It was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever built from Ikea (and I’ve done something from every department in Ikea)ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.7.16 - 9:19 AM

      We had the contractors build the opening a little larger than we needed (not much, but fingers crossed it’s okay!), and we’ll be trimming the outside as well to hide any unsightly areas… but we are nervous about the un-evenness of our floors with EVERY project we do! With that in mind, we specifically opted for swinging doors rather than sliding doors. Thank you for chiming in though, so other people can keep this in mind! Walls and floors are rarely perfectly square.ReplyCancel

      • Brooke1.7.16 - 9:31 AM

        You were at least smart to stick with the swinging doors! I didn’t even thinking about what the floors or wonky walls would do to the cabinet. We should have just switched to those when we couldn’t get the doors to slide properly. lol it would have saved us a ton of frustration. We sold the condo shortly after the closet debacle so I’m not sure if the new owner ever switched out the doors or not :)ReplyCancel

      • Helen1.7.16 - 8:08 PM

        So one way we solved that issue when we built two huge Pax systems was by having our contractor build a platform to put the pax wardrobes on. Our old house is so uneven that it basically looked like a giant wedge, but it worked! Our doors only needed minor adjustments and it allowed us to add some beefy baseboard to match the rest of our space, making them look truly built it.ReplyCancel

        • Kim1.7.16 - 8:48 PM

          We considered putting ours on a platform to allow for baseboards, too! In the end, we nixed that idea so we could get a taller unit – and that little 5’3″ me could reach the hangers on the rod. ;)ReplyCancel

          • Kim1.7.16 - 8:48 PM

            I meant to add – I bet yours are beautiful!

          • Helen1.7.16 - 9:17 PM

            It’s not a solution for everybody but it worked! That’s the best thing about the pax system – it’s so versatile. We ditched our dressers too, and it makes our space so much bigger! We had customer doors made too (OMG SO MUCH $$$) but I love them, and the way they function in our daily lives.

          • Kim1.8.16 - 9:48 AM

            There are some things worth the splurge, that’s for sure! So happy you’re loving the system + custom doors. We are SO excited that we get to ditch the dressers, too! Space for days!

        • Brooke1.8.16 - 9:20 AM

          That might not have been a bad idea if we’d had higher ceilings :) Something to think about in our new house where the closest need some work. Thanks for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • angela1.7.16 - 10:45 AM

    I’m SUPER excited to read about this! We have a closet area currently with about 95″ width to work with and up to 30″ or so depth to work with. I was looking at PAX and it was so overwhelming to try and figure it out (probably better to go in person and talk to someone, eh?) I was also looking at elfa systems online (and love their planning site), but it seems like you can fit so much more in the PAX.

    Hopefully this isn’t super rude to ask, but would you be willing to do a cost breakdown of your PAX system? If we decide to go with PAX, I’ll need to start budgeting and I have no idea how much to budget for it right now!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.7.16 - 11:43 AM

      Hi Angela!

      Thanks for asking (and you’re absolutely not rude at all)! If you’re near an IKEA, going in to the store was HUGE for us. You can also plan online, but we were able to make fast decisions because we could touch the doors, feel the way the drawers slide, play with the hinges and look at how the LED lighting works.

      The pricing can change based on drawers vs. baskets vs. shoe glides vs. tie racks, etc, etc, etc! There’s a lot you can play with. Our unit for two 40″ closets at almost 8′ tall came to about $1200, and that includes all the drawers, soft close hinges, some organizational components and nice white doors. That said, I would guess that if you go with a PAX wardrobe, you should estimate about $1500 for the width you have to work with. It seems like you could add one more system to your overall width than we were able to add, and you could do so much with it! Maybe it could be all shoes, or all your accessories, or whatever you wish!ReplyCancel

  • julie1.7.16 - 12:12 PM

    Gotta say Chunk looks a bit doubtful but I am sure even with all the work planned the PAX will be up and in, not to mention fabulous to boot.ReplyCancel

  • Dani @ Danielle and Co.1.7.16 - 2:10 PM

    I’m so jealous of your beautiful, plain, clean slate of a spot for a closet! Our bedroom has an entire side of the wall turned into a closet… but for some reason they made only 1/4 of it an opening where you can reach it? Most of the space is impossible to get to without taking out everything then crawling back into it! The inside is slanted because it’s a Cape Cod-style home. At a minimum, we want to widen the doorway of it by a LOT and put in some better doors. Fingers crossed we have that opportunity this year!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.7.16 - 2:17 PM

      But can I be jealous of your Cape Cod style home?! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Emily1.7.16 - 3:35 PM

    Oh man, THANK YOU for the 15% IKEA Family heads up. I got my pax six months ago but still haven’t pulled the trigger to buy the sliding doors($$$) It might finally be time :D

    Also – super random, but when I was trying to assemble the pax there was one step that I didn’t quite get(hammering in the screw receiver for the adjustable legs)and I ended up on youtube looking for tutorials. It worm-holed me to this surprisingly helpful/isthisreal? gem:

    Can’t wait to see how your closet turns out!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.7.16 - 4:19 PM

      Emily, that video is hilarious! AWESOME. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle1.7.16 - 5:11 PM

    I’m so curious to see how it comes out. We have a typical wall closet and I had thought about using the Pax system but wasn’t sure it would work on an existing closet (I thought they were freestanding)? I have a lot of shoes and even more purses, I wonder if they have a solution for that. Can’t wait to see how yours goes!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.7.16 - 5:29 PM

      They are freestanding, but we wanted to create more of a built-in look. :)

      And yes, they have trays and all sorts of things to corral every last item for a closet!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M.1.8.16 - 9:06 AM

    I’m so excited for this!! I’m an organization fanatic. Give me all the drawers and hooks! ?ReplyCancel

  • Shavonda@SGStyle1.17.16 - 11:19 AM

    Yaaay. So exciting! We dont have a “legit closet” in our bedroom either so when we moved in we created one along a wall with the PAX system and we LOVE it. I know youre going to love yours too. Cant wait to see it installed.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon12.7.17 - 8:32 AM

    Thanks for this info about the pax! Thanks to your info and review, we purchased one last weekend! I’m looking forward to getting it set up and organized. Hope things are well in your last days of pregnancy!ReplyCancel

    • Kim12.7.17 - 9:04 AM

      You’re gonna love it! And thank you :)ReplyCancel

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