Looking for Ikea closet ideas? This guide is full of helpful Ikea PAX wardrobe ideas to help create your dream walk-in closet!

We love how our small walk-in closet turned out using the affordable Ikea PAX system. We’re so glad we got rid of our wire shelving and created a custom closet on a budget. Now we have a well-designed closet organization system that keeps our closet tidy!

In this post, we’re sharing everything we learned building the Ikea PAX closet system, including:

Also, check out our blog post about how we came up with our closet design including total cost and tips for designing a narrow closet.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a commission if you purchase through our link, at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure here.

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For reference, we ordered the 13” depth option since our walk-in closet is pretty narrow and the 93” height to maximize vertical space.

The Before

Our closet had the basic builder-grade wire shelves that were not functional at all and had tons of wasted space. The first thing we did was take these down and patch all the holes.

For more ideas, check out our post on easy DIY Closet Shelves to complete in one weekend!

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Helpful Tips for Assembly

1) Assemble All the Drawers First

We had quite a few drawers to make and had to wait for drywall patches to dry. It was very satisfying to install the all of drawers right after the frames were installed.

2) Use a Ratcheting Screwdriver

Using a ratcheting screwdriver is a LIFESAVER. We found these highly rated ones on Amazon and it’s been a game changer! These save time and effort for any furniture assembly project and trust me, you’ll never go back to a regular screwdriver.

Having one Philips and one flathead would be even better, then you don’t have to switch between the heads since you need both per drawer.

3) Get Your Own Anchor Screws

The wall anchors that come with the PAX units do not come with screws, so you’ll need to get your own based on what material your wall is.

We had many drywall anchors left over from our other mounting projects, so we already had them on hand.

4) Use Painter’s Tape to Mark Holes

Use painter’s tape to mark out which holes the drawers, accessories, and shelves will be going in.

The Ikea online PAX planner includes a summary of the hole numbers based on your design. I printed it out for reference during the build.

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Using painter’s tape to mark out the hole numbers

5) Use a Bar Clamp to Secure Ikea PAX Frames Together

Ikea recommends using a bar clamp to hold the frames together while you drill and screw them together.

We appreciated that Ikea included screws to line up adjacent frames so that there was no gap between each frame.

Ikea PAX system assembly tips, how to cover ikea pax holes, ikea pax closet rod, narrow closet 13 inch ikea closet, ikea closet ideas, ikea pax accessories, ikea pax hack closet, narrow walk in closet ideas
Use a bar clamp to hold the frames together during assembly

Helpful Tools For Assembly

Ikea PAX Wardrobe Hack: How to Create a Custom Size

Can you cut the Ikea PAX frame to fit a narrower space? The answer is yes!

In our closet, we have a little nook in the corner that was half an inch less than the 29″ frame. We were unsure if we could cut the frame to fit in the space, but it turned out great!

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Measure how much to cut off of the top and bottom pieces. We left around .5″ – 1″ of extra space to the left and right to make sure the fit was not too tight.

Use painter’s tape on the area that will be cut to prevent any splitting. We used a circular saw to make the cuts and ended up with clean edges.

Five screws seemed to be enough to hold the top and bottom boards to the side pieces. The frame still felt very sturdy compared to the other frames using the included hardware.

Cutting the backboard ended up taking a lot of time. We ended up using a box cutter, but a table saw would have made this much easier.

Tools Needed for Cutting the Ikea PAX:

  • Tape Measure
  • Drill & Driver to drill pilot holes and drive in screws for the custom-cut side
  • Speed Square for marking out perpendicular cuts
  • We don’t have a table saw (too big and too expensive), so we use a Circular Saw and a Track to cut wood, and we’ve had good results using this method.
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Using a speed square to mark out perpendicular cuts. Painter’s tape ensures a clean cut.
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Using a circular saw and a track to cut the PAX

Tools for Custom Fitting

How to Cover the Ikea PAX Wardrobe Holes

The product to cover the unused Ikea PAX holes is called VARIERA COVER PLATE and is found in the kitchen department near kitchen accessories. It’s only $1.29 per pack of 100 covers!

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I bought extra bags just in case. You honestly don’t need to cover every single hole, but we ended up doing just that because it wasn’t that much more work. Just make sure your shelves and everything are in their final position.

It saves so much time to line it up along the hole and use something that has a soft backing to punch in the cover (we used the back of pliers). This way, it detaches from the chain while getting pushed into the hole at the same time.

At first, we broke off the cover and then pushed it into the hole with our thumbs, which we don’t recommend because your thumbs will get sore very quickly!

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Ikea PAX system assembly tips, how to cover ikea pax holes, ikea pax closet rod, narrow closet 13 inch ikea closet, ikea closet ideas, ikea pax accessories, ikea pax hack closet, narrow walk in closet ideas

BEFORE COVERING HOLES:

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AFTER COVERING HOLES:

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Covering the unused holes gives the PAX a cleaner, finished look!

Ikea Closet Rod Alternative for an Upgraded Look

You don’t have to use the Ikea rods!

We bought these chrome oval rods from Amazon and cut them to size.

At the time, they were selling a set of three 48″ rods for $29, so for around $10 each it was equivalent to the price of IKEA white rods also priced at $10 each.

For a little extra work, you can achieve a much higher-end look.

We placed the closet rod a little farther back than where the pax holes are so that our clothes wouldn’t protrude out too far. You can measure where your hangers would go and decide how far back you want it.

You’ll have to drill new holes for the rod if you do it this way, but it’s worth it to gain some extra space, especially if you have a tight closet like us. For us, our rod is placed 3 inches from the front of the unit.

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Using chrome oval rods from Amazon instead of Ikea PAX white rods

Cutting the Rods to Size

The rods were cut easily using an angle grinder. If you don’t have one already, a hack saw worked fine too!

  • For the 39″ width frame, we measured and cut the rod to 37 5/8″
  • For the 29″ width frame, we measured and cut the rod to 27 11/16″

These are listed for reference, but be sure to measure it out yourself too!

The rods don’t come with screws either. We used 3/4″ long tapered screws to make sure the screws wouldn’t come out the other end of the frame.

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Upgrade to a higher-end look by using chrome oval rods from Amazon instead of Ikea PAX white rods

How Our Upgraded Amazon Rod Turned Out

Ikea Pax System

At first, I was worried about how much the clothes would stick out of the 13-inch depth Ikea PAX wardrobe with the installation of an alternative closet rod.

For women’s sweaters, it doesn’t stick out too much at all and I was very happy with how it turned out!

Ikea Pax Wardrobe

However, men’s hoodies do stick out much more and we kept those to the ends of our wardrobe so that it wouldn’t feel too cramped in our narrow walk-in closet.

White Ikea Pax Wardrobe in a walk in closet
Ikea Pax System

Chrome Rods From Amazon

4 Must-Have Ikea PAX Accessories to Buy:

1) Komplement Pull Out Pants Hanger

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This pants hanger accessory is a must-have for any Ikea PAX closet to easily organize all your pants in one spot.

Ikea replaced this pants hanger with a new model. The old style had reviews that said the pants fall off easily. The new model fixes this issue with a frame in the front to prevent pants from sliding off.

We never slammed ours closed, so we never had an issue with this. But nice to see Ikea improving on the design!

Ikea Pax Pants Hanger

2) Komplement Pull Out Trays

Incorporating Komplement pull-out trays into your Ikea PAX closet design is great for storing jewelry, wallets, and other smaller or flat items. I also used pullout trays for multiple levels of shoe storage as well.

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3) Ikea PAX Drawers – use A LOT of them!

To achieve a clean look, utilize as many Ikea PAX drawers as possible! The more drawers you can use the better.

In our closet, we tend to fold more clothing than hang so drawers were easily a must-have in our walk-in closet design.

We have 17 total drawers in our closet, with the top row being glass drawers.

I’m including the height measurements here because this would have been helpful for me to know while deciding how many drawers to choose before ordering!

This measurement includes the shelf that would go above the drawers:

  • Height of 4 stacked drawers – 35 1/2”
  • Height of 5 stacked drawers – 43”
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4) Drawer Organizers

Ikea discontinued the organizers we bought, but they now have a similar model that comes in a set of 3 different sizes and comes in a darker gray color.

There will be a little gap at the back of the drawer, which can be viewed as wasted space but I was okay with it since I did like the overall look and functionality.

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If you’re not using enough organizers to fit the whole span of the drawer, the organizers will tend to get a little loose.

These felt organizers come flat and you fold it to set it up, so I found that by pressing down hard on each fold FIRST before building it helped to maintain its shape without getting loose.

Ikea Pax Drawers with interior Komplement drawer organizers

So, How Long Did Our Ikea PAX Closet Take to Assemble?

The first frame took a lot longer to complete, but it became faster the more familiar we got with the process, and by the 5th frame we built it in 30 minutes!

All 17 drawers took 1.5 hours to assemble. These also got quicker the more we built them.

You can set aside a whole weekend to get it done, including all the prep if you have to remove existing shelves/rods and patch holes.

Here’s how our walk-in closet looked after assembling the five PAX wardrobe units:

Ikea PAX system assembly tips, how to cover ikea pax holes, ikea pax closet rod, narrow closet 13 inch ikea closet, ikea closet ideas, ikea pax accessories, ikea pax hack closet, narrow walk in closet ideas
Ikea PAX system assembly tips, how to cover ikea pax holes, ikea pax closet rod, narrow closet 13 inch ikea closet, ikea closet ideas, ikea pax accessories, ikea pax hack closet, narrow walk in closet ideas
Ikea PAX system assembly tips, how to cover ikea pax holes, ikea pax closet rod, narrow closet 13 inch ikea closet, ikea closet ideas, ikea pax accessories, ikea pax hack closet, narrow walk in closet ideas
Ikea PAX system assembly tips, how to cover ikea pax holes, ikea pax closet rod, narrow closet 13 inch ikea closet, ikea closet ideas, ikea pax accessories, ikea pax hack closet, narrow walk in closet ideas

After – Our Finished Closet

Ikea Pax closet system

We LOVE how our Ikea closet turned out! With such a narrow space, we were able to maximize the vertical space, and now our closet functions so well for us.

Ikea Pax Closet
Ikea Pax Closet System

We were nervous to cut the Ikea PAX wardrobe unit down to a custom size but it worked out great and we’d be confident to cut and customize the size for future PAX closets again.

Ikea Pax System

The shelves on the 13-inch depth Ikea PAX units provide plenty of space for folded sweaters and crewnecks.

Ikea Pax
Ikea Pax Wardrobe

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

It is a lot of work to set up and assemble, but these kinds of projects are a good bonding activity haha. We had fun figuring out how to work efficiently as a team!

Some of the pull-out trays and drawers tended to stick a little when pulling out and had a lot of resistance at first, but the more you use it the smoother it gets. Within a week, they all felt very smooth.

Our favorite part about the PAX are the soft-close drawers! They all come with this feature at no extra charge.

Ikea Pax Closet with clothes hanging in 13 inch depth wardrobe
Ikea Pax Wardrobe

We ended up really liking the Ikea PAX system! It’s a great value for the amount of customizable parts that you can get and is very cost-effective for achieving a “built-in” looking wardrobe.

We would definitely use the Ikea PAX for future closets and highly recommend this closet system as an affordable closet solution.

For more ideas, check out our post on easy DIY Closet Shelves to complete in one weekend!

Helpful Tools for Pax Assembly

We have a separate post on how we came up with our walk-in closet design that includes how much we spent on this project!

Follow on IG @vivandtim.home for more home inspiration!

PIN & SAVE FOR LATER:

Ikea PAX system assembly tips, how to cover ikea pax holes, ikea pax closet rod, narrow closet 13 inch ikea closet, ikea closet ideas, ikea pax accessories, ikea pax hack closet, narrow walk in closet ideas

Comments (104)

  1. Megan says:

    Looks beautiful! Your layout looks great! Wondering how you like hanging your clothes in the 13″ deep closets? I’m considering these as an option but can’t really find anything about how the clothes hang – like if they bother you sticking out, etc.

    Thanks!

    • Viv & Tim says:

      Thank you! My sweaters stick out around 5 inches when hung but it doesn’t bother us! We also designed the closet making the clothes that are hung to be on the sides of the closet so it doesn’t feel that cramped since our closet is narrow. So it worked out really well! Hope this helps 🙂

  2. Pica says:

    Hey team , great work. I have a 9 feet ceiling also and I wanted to stack a Besta Cabinet on top of Pax system that way it will look like a floor to ceiling single unit.
    Any reason why you didnt do it? The air gap above the PAX system looks odd. Thanks

  3. Courtney says:

    Your tips are easily the most helpful I’ve come across (and I’ve read a lot of blogs about the Pax)! Can you tell me how far apart your drawers are spaced? On the Pax Planner, it will let me go all the way down to a 7/8 inch gap. Is that enough space or would you recommend going to the next hole?

    • Viv & Tim says:

      So glad it was helpful for you! 🙂 For our drawers, we stacked it as close as it would let us. For looks, I think it looks better close together and it hasn’t been an issue for clothes storage. But if you need more space to store certain larger items then go ahead and do the next hole up.

    • Patty says:

      Your closet looks beautiful and I am inspired to cut the Pax to make use of every inch of my closet and to make it more fitted. I have heard that the panels are made of MDF and corrugated cardboard (center). Any idea how deep one would need to cut from the top and bottom panels to hit the cardboard? I’ll need to take off 1-2” from a 29 7/8” wide frame and want to make sure that I don’t hit the cardboard.

  4. Joanne says:

    This is one of the MOST helpful blogs I’ve read about designing a narrow walk-in closet. Thank you for thanking the time to describe the process in such clear detail.

    We are considering building a 4” x 14” walk in and didn’t know if it would be realistic, but from your post I now know that it’s totally doable!

  5. April says:

    This is fantastic. I love all the details and information you shared! How are you storing your sweaters? I hate stacking and unstacking (and they have to be in color order). I’ve tried so many different ways of storing my sweaters and haven’t found a way I like. I’m hoping to redo my closet soon (we moved into our new house last fall), and that’s my biggest question mark.

  6. Pri says:

    Thanks for sharing. We were planning using regular rods (not front facing) meant for 22″ on a 13″ frame as well. The guy at ikea said if you drill holes anywhere what it’s going to disintegrate since it’s hollow. Seems like you have been able to do that without issue with the chrome rods.

  7. Debbie Cundell says:

    We are in the process if putting together our pax closet. This is extremely helpful. We purchased the rods from IKEA and seems they have not provided the screws. I note you indicate screws not provided but didn’t know if that was ikea or the chrome rods you purchased? Can you let me know?

    • Viv & Tim says:

      Hi! I think we meant the specific chrome rods we got (non-ikea rods) didn’t have screws included

    • Jam jar says:

      While I am installing my pax system, the ikea rods had the screws in a small bag inside one end of the rod. Are you having trouble getting all your pieces? Everything I need is out of stock.

  8. Lindsey says:

    Thank you for this post! It has been the most helpful as we plan our new nursery closet! One question for you on the 13” depth, do the drawers pull out far enough to put clothes in? My biggest concern is that it would be too narrow to put and pull things out of.

    • Viv & Tim says:

      You’re so welcome! For the 13″ depth drawers, it will be a little difficult to get stuff from the very back of it, especially if you have the drawer organizers in. We just put stuff we won’t reach for often in the back. For our master closet the 13″ was all that would fit without overwhelming the walk-in closet, so we still appreciate the drawers even though they’re not as ideal! In our nursery closet, we have the 22″ unit and the 22″ drawers definitely have easier access to the back and able to see everything. If you’re able to fit the 22″ and it won’t be too big I would go for that for basically double the storage space.

      • Gina says:

        I noticed you have a corner piece of wall where it’s recessed. Is that smaller than the 13”s? Like does that smallest wardrobe stick out? Also. Do u have any pictures of clothes hanging? I will have to do 13”.

  9. Lauren says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for this helpful post. I am looking at redoing one of our walk-in closets right now, and this really helped our process. Do you mind if I ask how much this all cost?

    Thanks!
    Lauren

    • Viv & Tim says:

      You’re so welcome! For ours, it was around $1300 and we paid $69 in addition to get it shipped to our house.

  10. Margaret says:

    Thanks for the detailed post and great photos. I need 6” to make the 100cm one fit but want that tower to have drawers. I am confident I can adjust the unit itself but my question is, do you think the drawers could be adjusted 6”? I have to order everything online so I can’t see it in person. Returning would be a pain since the nearest store is a few hours away.

    • Viv & Tim says:

      Glad you found the post helpful! I think it would be a challenge adjusting the drawer width unless you have an accurate table saw. All of the cuts will need to be the exact same size. We already found it a little challenging customizing the width of the PAX frame 😅

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