We recently moved into a home that’s a little over 1400sq ft with FIVE of us, it is TIGHT! One of the biggest downfalls was that since the house is older (1988) there is NO walk-in master closet and what it did have was so tiny. I knew right away we needed to tackle it fast to make it even somewhat usable (fun fact: when we bought the house they were using the garage as their closet. THE G-A-R-A-G-E I say. :-S So here’s how we used the IKEA PAX Wardrobe planner and some inspiration for those of you with small bedroom closets too.
This idea was our first time using the IKEA PAX wardrobe planner, and now I’d have to say the first hurdle in this process to get through is the planning! Your measurements need to be spot on, and you need to be able to design a small section of your home where you plan to put it. We would have loved to afford someone to build us a customized cabinet but even for our tiny space it was close to $5,000! So we really love the PAX system for its flexibility in pricing and convenient design.
A Few Things to Note Before Using the Planner:
There are a couple of important things to understand and know before using IKEA PAX planning tools:
First, they are in-browser applications built using Flash. For those of you who do not know much about processing you’re probably thinking, “ok, and?” While the rest of you might be thinking…Um, yikes!
So here’s a quick explanation: Adobe Flash is a programming platform that used to be super popular & really helped enhance your internet experience, but nowadays browsers hate it. It drains your battery super fast and has the potential for security vulnerabilities (in other words: it opens up your computer to the potential risk of malware and other Internet-based attacks).
But don’t panic! Do what you gotta do as fast as you possibly can with the learning curve that comes with it (it’s just how it is), and then closeout and save your code to your design to reference back to it when you’re ready.
Be patient with the planner. It is not the fastest thing in the world but it gets the job done and once you are finished adding everything you want to your wardrobe design you can add everything to your cart in a click!
UPDATE: From the time I used the Ikea Planner in October 2020 to now (January 2021) they have updated it! It’s a little more organized but you have to click on the info button to see the exact pricing amount according to your PAX size and it automatically adds it up for you in the cart. However I no longer see the option to build walls/paint and add some accessories, aside from adding in some dimensions. Maybe they will change that soon?
Best Browser to Use:
I found that using Safari was horrible with it, so try to avoid that one. You can add plugins like Firefox or Internet Explorer that work well. I found Chrome works best as of now, but heard they will be dropping support for Flash soon.
Be Patient With It:
Like I said the browser isn’t the fastest thing in the world so if you find it lagging give it a few seconds to catch up. If you try to work to fast it will play “catch up” and start adding drawers or accessories to areas you didn’t intend.
STEP 1: The Pax Layout
You can either layout the room according to your measurements or if your like us and kinda know off the top of your head after measuring what will fit and what won’t you can go from there.
Most people like to layout the room exactly the way their space looks especially with a walk in closet space (again not sure how that works now with the update). But if it’s going flush against a wall you can save the time and just begin designing (but know your estimated measurement space to work with!)
There are three different widths of the PAX boxes. We choose the largest frames at 39 3/8×22 7/8×92 7/8 ” ($105 each). There are also different color box options to select as well.
NOTE: It’s really IMPORTANT to plan for at least 1/2in of space between any cabinet box and wall, and 1.5in of space between a cabinet box and ceiling. Otherwise you can run into a situation like we did were once you place them into a space you won’t be able to move them back out or adjust them to make them level. And from experience this was the biggest pain in the a$$ ever so make sure to add that little extra space.
In order to make your cabinets look truly custom you can add trim moulding and trim to the PAX itself (if you are not using doors) to make them look customized and not so IKEA…if you know what i mean. This will also close up those gaps and the extra space you accounted for.
STEP 2. Add Interiors
This is where you really get to customize your cabinets and design how you want each IKEA PAX system to house your wardrobe.
This part is as simple as playing around with the interior options and dragging and dropping where you want everything to be placed. As you add in the interiors it will automatically add the measurements and price according to your PAX size and it won’t let you overlap areas to help space things out properly.
NOTE: I would definitely recommend that you leave spaces at the very top, middle and bottom of each PAX if you choose to go with door hinges otherwise you will run into having to move your interior drawers/organizers around from the hinge holes predrilled all the way down each PAX. It’s also best to add a shelf near the top.
STEP 3: Finishing Touches
Now it’s time to have fun adding in any interior lighting that you want to add and accessories. We followed these steps to achieve our exact layout. You can see our Ikea Closet Reveal here. Here’s what our render layout looked like:
Our total price came to roughly $1560 before adding in any lighting and accessories plus the extra $200 for the trim and wood to customize the look.
Not bad compared to the $5000 grand we were quoted to get a custom closet from a contractor!
Other Inspiring Small Master Closet Ideas:
Rachel from Shades of Blue Interiors transformed her small master closet with the PAX system as well. Since she already had sliding closet doors they fit their system directly into the closet and worked around the space.
This closet done by Casey at The DIY Playbook, and her husband is truly inspiring! You’ll just have to click and look at the before!
Jess from The Golden Girl really vamped up her tiny closet with closet storage from The Container Store. Another really great organization company with a mix of products devoted to helping people organize.
Robert and Lauren from Bless’er House did a really amazing job at updating their tiny master closet! They improvised their space using IKEA Billy Book cases and baskets.
Tags: ikea pax diy Master Closet small master closet small master closet reveal