Before and after: This IKEA PAX wardrobe is the secret to a stylish gray guest-bedroom

The minimalist staple is now an elegant closet that mirrors that grandeur of its nineteenth-century home

IKEA PAX after transformation
(Image credit: Malcolm Begg / @Designsixtynine)

While we have already lusted over several PAX transformations, our latest fling focuses less on a walk-in closet – and more on a fashionable guest bedroom. 

The IKEA hack in question is courtesy of designer Malcolm Begg (opens in new tab) – the owner of a Scottish Victorian terrace that deserved a guest bedroom as elegant as the historic property. 

Malcolm is slowly turning his home into a Scandi-cool wonderland following several successful transformations from the interiors powerhouse – so the PAX was in capable hands. But how did he turn these units from a flatpack to a bespoke space? Sharing his modern decor ideas via his blog (opens in new tab), Malcolm revealed what you need to know. 

IKEA PAX – before the transformation 

IKEA PAX before hack

(Image credit: Malcolm Begg / @Designsixtynine)

Armed with a PAX (opens in new tab), Malcolm revealed that ‘only one wardrobe required any demolition’ – which involved cutting down the entire top left section at an angle to fit under the eaves (as seen above). 

‘Although the cutting was easy enough, one wrong measurement would have rendered the wardrobe useless. I tend to measure about five times, just to be sure,’ Malcolm explains. Meanwhile, the second PAX remained intact – but was subject to a reshuffle of the interior fittings. 

IKEA PAX wardrobe before hack

(Image credit: Malcolm Begg / @Designsixtynine)

The outside was then framed up in MDF to slot into the walls and exhibit a more traditional look. 'I added cornice and skirting to make it look more bespoke and less flatpack,’ Malcolm explains.

IKEA PAX – after the transformation

IKEA PAX after transformation

(Image credit: Malcolm Begg / @Designsixtynine)

Malcolm continued to transform the PAX by cutting the deep drawer and removing the original drawer, and creating one that is the correct width to sit on the new runner position. He then added new front doors that were joined to the wardrobe by a piano hinge. 

IKEA PAX following hack

(Image credit: Malcolm Begg / @Designsixtynine)

‘Mouldings were added to the fronts using no-nails adhesive and clamped in position until dry,’ Malcolm adds. He then sanded the units and applied two coats of primer before drenching the PAX in Valspar’s French Pavilion in an eggshell finish – a marshmallow gray that adds a contemporary kiss to the Victorian home.  

IKEA PAX following hack

(Image credit: Malcolm Begg / @Designsixtynine)

Then, in a further nod to luxury, Malcolm added brass door handles to complement the brass details on the ornate fireplace. 

This is the guest bedroom idea we’re rushing to replicate – all we need is a PAX and a beautiful Victorian townhouse.  However, one is slightly more accessible than the other.  

Megan Slack
News Writer

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA. 


Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.