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.

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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

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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

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

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HELPFUL TIPS FOR ASSEMBLY

  • We assembled all the DRAWERS FIRST (because we had a lot) and had to wait for drywall patches to dry anyway, BUT it was very satisfying to be able to install the drawers right after we finished building the frames!
  • RATCHETING SCREWDRIVERS are a lifesaver!
    • We found these highly rated ones on amazon and it’s been a game changer! These save time and effort for any project in general!
    • 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.

  • The wall anchors that come with the PAX units DON’T come with screws so you’ll need to get your own based on what material your wall is. We had many drywall anchors leftover from our other mounting projects, so we already had them on hand.  
  • Use PAINTER’S TAPE to mark out what number hole the drawers, accessories, and shelves will be going in.
    • I did this while Timmy worked on installing other parts.
    • On the Ikea PAX planner online, it will include a summary of the hole numbers based on your design. I printed it out to reference during the build.
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Using painter’s tape to mark out the hole numbers

We appreciated that Ikea includes screws to line up adjacent frames so that there was no gap between each frame. Ikea recommends using a BAR CLAMP to hold the frames together while you drill and screw them together.

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

Summary
Helpful Tools For Assembly


CUSTOM LENGTH HACK

Can you really cut the Ikea PAX frame? The answer is YES YOU CAN!

In our closet, we have a little nook in the corner that was half an inch less than the 29″ frame. We were a little unsure if it would actually work to CUT the frame in order to fit but it actually turned out really well!

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CUSTOM FITTING THE PAX FRAME:

  • Cut the top and bottom portions to size (we left around 0.5 – 1 inch of extra space just in case)

  • TIP – use painter’s tape for a cleaner cut (shown below)
  • Use at least 5 screws to secure the pieces into place both at the top and bottom. The frame still felt very sturdy.
  • The more time-consuming part was cutting the backboard to size after (couldn’t really figure out a great way to do this but used a box cutter to get it done)

TOOLS YOU’LL NEED:

  1. Measuring tape if that’s not obvious 🙂
  2. DRILL & DRIVER to drill pilot holes and drive in screws for the custom-cut side
  3. SPEED SQUARE for marking out perpendicular cuts
  4. 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! It’s not exactly the best way to do it, but it gets the job done.
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
Using a speed square to mark out perpendicular cuts. Painter’s tape ensures a clean cut.
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
Using a circular saw and a track to cut the PAX

Summary
TOOLS FOR CUSTOM FITTING


How To Cover The 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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Tips for Covering Ikea PAX Wardrobe Holes:

  • 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 anything 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!

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. Basically, you can just 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 have one already, but if not, 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″ tapered screws to make sure the screws wouldn’t come out the other end of the 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
Upgrade to a higher-end look by using chrome oval rods from Amazon instead of Ikea PAX white rods

SUMMARY:
CHROME RODS FROM AMAZON


must-have PAX accessories

PULLOUT PANTS HANGER
I had read some reviews that said the pants fall off easily, but I did not find that to be true unless you’re truly slamming it back in, which I don’t know why you would be!

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PULLOUT TRAYS
for jewelry, wallets, and other flat or smaller items. I also used pullout trays for multiple levels of shoe storage as well!

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A LOOOOT OF DRAWERS
To achieve a clean look (aka to hide your messes better) utilize as many solid drawers as possible! The more drawers you can use the better. 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 SO helpful for me to know while deciding how many drawers to choose prior to ordering! This measurement includes the shelf that would go above the drawers too.

  • Height of 4 stacked drawers – 35 1/2”
  • Height of 5 stacked drawers – 43”
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DRAWER ORGANIZERS
These soft felt organizers come in a pack of 2 for each of the two sizes (small and large).

  • I thought they were a little pricey for what they are, but I felt they were pretty worth it since they fit nicely in the drawers.
  • FYI 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.
  • HOW TO BEST ASSEMBLE:

    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 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

So, How Long Did it Take?

  1. The first frame took a lot longer to complete, but it definitely became faster the more familiar we got with the process, and by the 5th frame we built it in 30 minutes!
  2. 1.5 hours to assemble all 17 drawers
  3. Definitely set aside a whole weekend to get it done, including all the prep if you have to remove existing shelves/rods and patch holes

After!

Our Finished Closet

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

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Our favorite part about the PAX are the soft-close drawers! They all come with this feature for no extra charge.
  4. We actually ended up REALLY liking the PAX system! It’s a great value for the amount of customizable parts that you can get and VERY cost-effective for achieving a “built-in” looking wardrobe. We would definitely use the PAX for future closets!

SUMMARY OF TOOLS MENTIONED:

If you want to read more about how we came up with our closet design including total COST and tips for designing a narrow closet, CLICK HERE!

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


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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

Comments (83)

  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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