You’ll remember a year ago I built this IKEA PAX wardrobe for my clothes. I was expecting our third child and we were running out of space in the house. However, moving wasn’t an option so I turned our walk-in closet into a super cute woodlands themed closet nursery for my daughter. This way she has her own space, near us, and we still get to have our space as well. Since I converted my closet, I needed a wardrobe to store all my clothes and accessories. So, I built my own custom closet using the IKEA PAX closet system! After a year of living with it, here is my IKEA Pax wardrobe review. This is an honest review, and also, I have not staged the closet for this IKEA PAX wardrobe review. This is exactly as I use my closet daily.
Having used the PAX wardrobe system for a whole year now, I’ve made a list of the pros and cons of living with this storage option. I also created a Youtube video about the IKEA Preview the points I detail below.
You may also want to check out some IKEA PAX wardrobe hacks to give your wardrobe a more unique look and purpose.
Table of Contents
IKEA PAX wardrobe tour
The PAX wardrobe frame is composed of all IKEA pieces, except the mirror I added to the side. See this tutorial for my anthropologie dupe mirror.
When choosing the pieces for the build, there was a selection of options for the doors. Some had mirrors, sliding doors, different detailing, and of course there were also so many handles to choose from. I went with these TYSSEDAL doors, which to me looks timeless and classic. It also makes the wardrobe look more custom and it suited the decor of our master bedroom.
I love that you can choose from different styles to really make it your own. While everyone is picking from the same catalogue of pieces, they won’t necessarily all look the same because everyone is going to add their own little twist. Something to keep in mind when you’re at this stage is the colour. Be aware of the available colours for both the doors and the frame. Sometimes these don’t quite match, or they might not be in stock. This may not matter if the sides of your wardrobe aren’t showing, like if you’re placing it between two walls or closet. However, if you can see the sides and it matters to you that they match or have a certain look, just double check the colours for the doors and the frames.
A look inside the IKEA PAX wardrobe
When I initially showed my completed wardrobe, many people asked if I had enough hanging space for my clothes. In my opinion, yes, it is enough space for me and what I have. While I do have overflow items, these are mostly big sweaters, which I keep in the drawers anyway.
I will note that sometimes the clothes touch the bottom of the allotted space, because I didn’t think to measure the length of my dresses. It doesn’t necessarily bother me, but it would have been nice if I had just a few more inches for a neater look.
I have a quite a few drawers at my disposal in this wardrobe, which I initially tried to keep tidy with some organizers that I bought. These are useful but can be quite spendy, so in some cases I just repurposed some boxes that I was no longer using instead of throwing them out. They work fine and do keep items in their place. Of course, I’m not necessarily strictly in the habit of folding everything very tidily once the clothes are washed. Stuffing things in their place works for me – I’d rather go play with my kids anyway.
I did end up running out of drawer space for my purses, though I don’t have too many. I simply added a cute basket and that works well for me.
How I organize my jewelry
I may not have many purses, but I do have a lot – A LOT – of jewelry, so I made sure I have enough space in the wardrobe to store it all.
To keep things organized, I purchased some jewelry organizer from IKEA. I like that they have organizers for everything, so I have a spot to put my earrings, my rings, my bracelets, and my necklaces. And they work for all different sizes of jewelry which was useful for me.
I did, however, come across a few challenges with these otherwise great organizers.
Firstly, they don’t fit perfectly! Despite being make by IKEA and designed to fit their drawers, I was left with this huge gap, which was so annoying. I ended up getting little containers from the Dollar Store that fit exactly right, but it was frustrating to put all that time and effort and money into custom-fitting everything for it to not fit. In the end, though, I made it work. See the very right side of this jewelry drawer? That irks the perfectionist in me.
Secondly, while the IKEA organizers are made of felt and should therefore keep the jewelry in place, they do tend to move around. If I were the Hulk and sliding my drawers in-and-out at high velocity I could understand this happening. However, I am a normal human who just wants to look cute. I’m not throwing my weight into anything when I use my drawers. It’s not a big deal, but I find myself re-straightening necklaces and other pieces every so often.
Lastly, and this was partly my fault, I wanted to add another jewelry organizer, but I didn’t account for the height of the IKEA organizers. This meant that the drawer was too short, so they wouldn’t fit.
I ended up placing a multi-purpose liner from the Dollar Store in the drawer, which has a bit of a rubbery texture, and prevents my earrings from sliding around.
The bangle organizer
I’m giving this drawer its own little section because I’ve had so many messages from people asking me about the bangle organizer. I love it too!
The IKEA PAX wardrobe met a lot of my needs but sadly they didn’t offer this very niche type of organizer that I wanted, which was a drawer for all my bracelets. I did say I had a lot of jewelry. Because I have so many bangles, I made my own really neat organizer! It’s so useful and pretty clever, if I do say so myself. If you’d like to make one yourself, I created this little bangle holder tutorial you can check out.
Other things I love about the IKEA PAX wardrobes
Here are things that I love about my wardrobes that don’t necessarily have to do with their everyday use:
Cover up the holes
Even though it’s inside and you can’t really see them unless you open the doors, I didn’t like the column of holes left after completing the build. The simple fix to this was just to add little VARIERA plastic plugs in the same colour as the wardrobe. It’s just a small detail, but it looks much more finished once those are covered. Just make sure you count the wholes properly to buy enough!
I love that there’s extra storage space at the top of the wardrobe. The height of the wardrobe allows me to have an extra shelf at the top for things I only need a few times a year. Stuff like my kids’ hand-me-down clothes and out-of-season stuff.
We’re not reaching for these daily, weekly, or even monthly, so they don’t need to be taking up prime real estate in the wardrobe. Having them at the top means that they are out of the way when we don’t need them – which is most of the time – but easily accessible those few times we do.
IKEA’s warranty gives you peace of mind
This wardrobe has a 10-year warranty. I think this is so great. While it’s not one of those $20,000 custom closets, it’s still quite an investment for us so it’s really reassuring that we have this warranty if ever something comes up in the next decade. I suppose the only thing about this that I don’t find convenient is that if something does need replacing, it’s a lot of effort to exchange things AFTER having built it.
For example, there is this not-so-soft-close hinge on one of the doors. This means everything in the wardrobe closes smoothly and softly except this one door, which bangs loudly. I don’t know which hinge is not working so I’d have to take the door off, remove them from the frame and take to IKEA to exchange, then come back and put that door back together. It just seems like a lot. At this point, it’s a standoff between me and that door to see who cracks first. I may be losing.
What I would have done differently in designing my IKEA PAX wardrobe
While there are so many things I love about it, this IKEA PAX wardrobe review can’t only be about the positives, because as we all know, nothing is perfect, and hindsight is 20/20, right? Here, I’ve listed some things I would have done differently to hopefully get you to keep some things in mind when you’re designing your own system and to help you avoid some mistakes I made.
Be mindful of the space around the wardrobe
The doors bang together – If you’re going to put two wardrobes side-by-side, this can get awkward and annoying when you have the two middle doors open at the same time. They’re opening basically “back-to-back”, so the handles bang together and get caught, and sometimes stand in the way of opening the drawers completely.
As a solution to this, think about adding a spacer in between the wardrobe if you can or installing smaller handles. If this doesn’t bother you, then just try to get in the habit of only having one of those two doors open at a time.
Leave space from the wall – Don’t position the side of the wardrobe right up against the wall or door. This is something I did that was wrong, I’ll admit it. I thought it would be fine to have the side of the wardrobe up against the wall, but this doesn’t allow for quite enough space when the outer door is opened to pull out the drawers. Often, it’s difficult to pull it out without banging against the door or getting stuck – the hinges have gotten loose because of this.
Measure your clothes
Then there’s the pants issue. I loved that there was a tray option for hanging pants. How cool is that?! However, perhaps in my excitement, I did not account for enough space for the actual hanging of the pants. They drag on the ground. I can live with it, but it sucks.
And lastly, my shoes.
I really wanted to maximize all the space in the wardrobe and liked the idea of having a drawer for shoes. Useful right? But because I was too efficient in using up all the available space, the sliding drawer I have for my shoes is too short to actually fit the shoes properly, or upright. Instead, they always have to be flat so I can close the drawer.
Is it worth the price?
Customizing my own IKEA PAX wardrobe cost me close to $2000. While this may not sound like a lot to some, it was a big expense for us. Despite this and the few issues I encountered, I would say that yes, it was worth it. This wardrobe was a very practical and affordable option for our needs at the time and continues to be now. It was definitely much less expensive than moving houses in order to get more space.
I won’t lie, it was a time-consuming project, because of all the custom pieces. Sometimes what we needed wasn’t in stock which made it a bit of a mission to get it all done. I finally put in the very last piece 9 months after starting it.
Do I think the IKEA PAX Wardrobe will last?
I do. I did not build this wardrobe for my kids; I built it for myself. And, as an adult who is conscious of taking care of their furniture, it should absolutely last. It’s like anything else; if you take care of it, it will have a longer life.
So overall, I’m still super happy with our purchase and the result.
I hope I was able to answer most of your questions in this IKEA PAX wardrobe review. If you’re wondering about anything else, please don’t hesitate to comment below with your question!
IKEA PAX design and dimensions – make your own!
Following this IKEA PAX wardrobe review, I hope you’ll be convinced to take a chance on this kind of storage solution. If you love how I designed my wardrobe system and you want to replicate this design, here are the exact details so you can make your own.
I would love to see you build this kind of wardrobe and make it your own. If you do, be sure to share with me. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more budget projects!
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