I turned the IKEA PAX Wardrobe into a custom built-in closet. I purchased a 1980s condo, which hasn’t been touched since it was built. Among a complete refresher to the unit was the master closet.
Here it is when I visited the place for the first time.
And right away, after trying to open the doors, one came off its track. The closet is composed of 3-bifold closet doors with an opening of 85″
I looked online for new sliding doors, but everything from Home Depot or other stores was over-priced. Also, I couldn’t find any sliding doors that size, and I would still need to build the shelving. So, we devised an IKEA hack to make our own wardrobe since we already spent a load on the house down payment.
IKEA items used for custom built-in closet:
2 units IKEA PAX 50 x 60 x 201 cm
1 unit IKEA PAX 100 x 60 x 201 cm
PAX sliding doors
Wardrobe interior fittings
My thought was to reduce the enclosure width so that I could slide in a 60cm deep, 201cm tall PAX system and use the PAX doors as closet doors. This would make it budget-friendly and immensely customizable with the storage and doors.
The edges of all the closets in the apartment are built with drywall extending slightly past the opening, and I thought I could use this to my advantage, though this is not a requirement to make this system.
First thing, I had to remove the old doors and shelving. I also remove all the wall texture, but this is a different project altogether.
Now that we have a nice, clean area, we can start to work on some framing—apologies for the Snapchat potato-quality screenshot.
I had to reduce the enclosure by precisely 5 inches (85″ to 80″ and leave around 1 inch of wiggle room). Perfect. Screw 3 2×4 to the wall giving 1.5″ depth, then create a 2×4 partition wall on the floor and lift it into place. Screw that to the floor, ceiling, and the three 2×4 you placed against the wall.
I am in no way an expert in any of this. I had never built a wall before or installed drywall, but I was able to make it in one evening (excluding taping, mudding, and painting). It’s easy; give it a try if you haven’t.
Tape and mud.
Finally, paint (oh, and yes, new floors too).
Now, we have space 3 cm larger than the PAX system. I am utilizing a 2m long, 2 door system. For that, I will use a 3 part system, and not 2 for good reason.
As mentioned earlier, the closets have a drywall ledge to the side of the doors. Those measure a couple of cm, so I could not slide two 1m wardrobes in. By sliding the side ones first and the middle last, I could have all three units in with a couple of cm left on each side. If you don’t have the ledge I did, then two one-meter wardrobes will work fine.
Take note that I lost the space above by building this system. But I was not able to find a way of saving it.
The following steps are the same as with the regular PAX system. Follow the manual and build the shelves as you want. Don’t forget to screw the units together but don’t attach them to the walls yet. Do that after the doors are on to ensure you left enough space in front.
The complete wardrobe, including the doors, must sit behind the front wall. I will explain that just in a bit.
Here is my custom built-in closet complete. All smiles as the step-sister, and I are pleased with the result. I highly recommend that you build your own PAX wardrobe to replace your old bi-fold closet. It’s not as hard as it looks.
Here is why the new custom built-in closet needs to sit slightly to the rear. Adding trim/casing all around hides the gaps at the top and sides, giving it a clean look. It also provides a little room to put your fingers and grab the end instead of touching the glass to open and close.
Jules Yap started IKEAHackers.net in 2006 as a personal blog to showcase the most impressive IKEA hacks from all over the world. Since then, she has learned a lot more about power tools and DIY. Her site has helped thousands modify IKEA furniture with step-by-step tutorials, craft projects and home styling.