This PAX renovation is by far the biggest project we've done in our new house. It definitely warrants a product review that may help you decide to go with PAX or not in your own home. Our hall closet turned mudroom project was a game changer for getting out of the house faster and in a less stressful fashion, but it didn't take as long to finish, nor require as many trips to the store as this one. So in the end was it worth it changing a closet into a better closet? See the project building times, costs, my favorite features, and pros & cons below to decide for yourself and see what I think.
Day 1: Take before pictures, measure everything including your ceiling height, shop online at IKEA.com for ideas.
Day 2: Visit IKEA (trip #1), bring lots of snacks to distract your kids while you figure out what you actually need to purchase (totally not what you thought online), then grab everything on a huge cart (this is a 2 person job by far), wait in the long lines, and then feed your kids again - IKEA ice cream.
Day 3: Start installing the PAX frames, stop every 10 minutes to entertain your kids or give up and work at night when they are asleep. This is also a 2 person job because of how huge the wardrobes are and just plain difficult to lift into place. After you've got the frames in, put together the other parts you know you'll need (the clothes bars and at least 1 drawer and 1 shelf) and start placing your clothes, shoes, etc. back in to see what you really need. Your estimates will probably be off (i.e. you have more/less shirts than you thought) but that's ok and to be expected.
Day 4: Visit IKEA (trip #2), and return items you didn't need/purchase the ones you now know you need, and check out the lighting system. The wardrobes are very tall and do block out your overhead closet light a bit, so I would recommend extra lighting.
Day 5: Install more PAX pieces, fight with lighting, decide you hate lighting, go to Home Depot and find other lighting on clearance and pat yourself on the back.
Day 6: Visit IKEA (trip #3) and return lighting, purchase the fluffy stuff (plants, mirror, etc.) and more ice cream. Hang mirror, build a bench, patch walls, re-texture, paint, decide you did a terrible patch job and need to hide it better with big artwork.
Day 7: Travel to the ends of the earth searching for an affordable 7' long picture that doesn't cost $500. Then visit Home Depot and buy $20 worth of hooks and make a huge coat hook rack to hide your terrible patchwork and pretend it's on purpose.
Day 8: Install coat hook rack and locks on closet doors so you can dance in here getting ready for work without being judged by the kids.
The fact that my jewelry is all visible in one place, nestled carefully into felt organizers (not tangled in a jewelry box) just tickles me pink. We chose a more expensive glass shelf rather than wood to go on top of the jewelry drawer so I can see right into it without even opening it. I love that feature so much. My husband also angled our new lighting to shine into the PAX wardrobe so I can see everything better and that even makes some of my cheaper jewelry look impressive.
I love, love, love the way my shoe racks look versus just putting my shoes on a shelf or hanging them in an over the door plastic hanger. When I did the math afterwards and saw that I spent $76.50 on just my shoe racks, and considering I only own 10 pairs of shoes total, I wasn't as happy. However I am pleased that I didn't skimp on one thing like this and ruin the overall effect with a $10 shoe rack thrown on a shelf. I probably would have ended up changing it a few months down the road, so at least it's all done now in one shot.
Wow, was this tricky for us. We bought about $200 worth of IKEA lighting used in the PAX showroom at the store and ended up returning it all. It was a bit difficult to imagine how it would look until we set up the first piece, but once we did I did not like it at all. It seemed like there were too many pieces everywhere above and below and the shadows cast were strange in such a small space. We searched for about a week and found a light fixture at Home Depot on clearance for $10 and hooked it up so it turns on with the overhead closet light. Done!
I could have picked out a $100+ upholstered bench to go in here and I was this close to doing so. But adding in the tall, modern, angular PAX system seemed to warrant using a small width piece of furniture here, not a big fluffy job. So my brilliant husband fashioned together a bench using an IKEA shelf in the same black-brown finish for the seat and the legs of a LACK side table for the bottom. He reinforced it with some scrap wood and we were good to go for only $24.98.
Soft Close Drawers
The soft close feature comes standard on the KOMPLEMENT drawers for the PAX system and they really do make it feel more upscale and high end. Also, since we chose the glass front drawers instead of plain wood, it makes me feel better that they aren't being slammed closed.
Another repurposed spot of brilliance on my husband's part was adding a "sound system" to the closet. He had the walls open already to move the alarm system currently on the wall, so he rewired a few things (he's a licensed electrician and super handy man), hooked up his old phone to the wall, and plugged in a wireless speaker above the PAX system. Now I can listen to Pandora and check the weather on my own little smart system for $0!
I have wanted a full length mirror for the last several homes we've lived in. Previously I stood on a chair in the bathroom to check my shoes with my outfit - not the best approach, especially in heels. So this tiny addition is a big one for me. Bonus: I love that it reflects right into my laundry room connected to our closet so I can have a dance party while folding clothes. Yes, I do this and I'm proud about it. 80s music sounds the best in the new acoustics so far and involves a lot of fist pumps into the mirror.
Hiding Your Mistakes
Taking down the old rails and shelf resulted in a huge long line of untextured wall and lots of nail holes. I can spackle with the best of them, but my wall texturing technique was just not cutting it, especially with such a large space to fill. We debated about artwork but ultimately we put up a huge 6' long stained board with hooks right in the place where the old rail had been to hide the texture issues. I like how useful the hooks are versus just a piece of artwork. Plus I plan on hanging some artwork above the hooks sometime in the future when I find something I truly love.
These IKEA PAX items were purposely purchased during a sale, netting a savings of $161.25 using my free IKEA Family Card!
(3) 39" wide PAX Wardrobe Frames = $255.00
(4) 39" wide KOMPLEMENT clothes rails = $34.00
(7) 39" wide KOMPLEMENT wood shelves = $89.25
(4) 39" wide KOMPLEMENT Glass front Drawers = $170.00
(1) 39" wide KOMPLEMENT Glass shelf (for top of jewelry drawer) = $25.50
(1) 29" wide PAX Wardrobe Frame = $80.75
(1) 29" wide KOMPLEMENT clothes rail = $8.50
(2) 29" wide KOMPLEMENT wood shelves = $25.50
KOMPLEMENT Pull-out hanger (for ties, belts) = $12.75
(2) KOMPLEMENT Drawer Liners (for shoe shelves) = $8.50
(2) KOMPLEMENT Pull Out Trays (for shoes) = $51.00
(2) 2 Packs of KOMPLEMENT Shoe Rails = $17.00
KOMPLEMENT Jewelry Tray Insert = $8.50
Jewelry Stand (from Michaels) = $12.59
Set of 3 KOMPLEMENT Trays (to organize lingerie/hose/small items) = $21.25
Mirror (IKEA STAVE) = $49.99
LACK side table + EKBY JARPEN Shelf (used to make a bench) = $24.98
Coat Rack Hooks: 5 x $3.97 = $19.85
Coat Rack Board & Stain repurposed from garage = FREE
Plant (IKEA FEJKA) = $34.99
Plant Pot (from Target) = $3.00
Misc. hardware, spackle, touch up paint (we had on hand in the garage) = FREE
Total costs with sales tax: $1031.52
Pros and Cons of the PAX System
Whenever you build IKEA furniture, have an organized system in place to keep track of all of the many, many pieces.
The construction was much more intensive than my usual IKEA bookcases.
Building 4 huge wardrobes inside a closet was not fun.
It was definitely a 2 person job.
It required many trips to IKEA and Home Depot.
The PAX system was confusing to figure out and you were on your own at IKEA. However we found a super helpful employee that made it much easier, so thank you whoever you are.
We had to cut out a portion of one wardrobe to fit around a strange ceiling jut out and I don't recommend doing it yourself if you are not familiar with power tools. IKEA did not recommend we do this (it compromises the integrity of the piece) but after bolting everything together and to the wall, it works just fine.
When you organize clothes, shoes, purses, or jewelry remember to group by type first, then by color (light to dark) within each category.
I got exactly what I wanted.
I now know the ins and outs of the PAX system with confidence and it doesn't seem so overwhelming and difficult now.
It was much cheaper than hiring a closet installation company.
Organizing my clothes/shoes/jewelry is a no brainer when I can see it all at one time in the PAX wardrobes and everything has a permanent home.
We saved some money buying during the January PAX & KOMPLEMENT sale.
My husband and I both have a great sense of pride over creating this entire room. Well, him more than me, but I did my fair share. Plus we didn't fight while building it at all - it is possible folks!
Would we do it again? YES! I absolutely love getting dressed every morning and putting away clothes is a breeze now. If you would like advice on organizing and/or building out your own closet, please contact me at any time.