Before and after: A designer transformed her IKEA PAX into a stylish built-in closet

This century-old Philadephia home now boasts a chic boudoir with Scandinavian roots

White IKEA PAX hack
(Image credit: Christina Blake)

The iconic IKEA PAX has served as storage space globally, but this fashionable flat-pack has potential behind its minimalist façade.

The most current of our IKEA hack crushes comes in the shape of Christina Blake, an interiors enthusiast who is renovating her historic Philadephia property with assistance from the Scandi-cool powerhouse. Among her transformations is the PAX, which she changed from a conventional flatpack to a built-in worthy of its timeless postcode. 

In her blog (opens in new tab), Christina walks through the design process, so you can recreate its aesthetic on either side of the Atlantic. 

IKEA PAX before 

IKEA PAX before hack

(Image credit: Christina Blake)

Christina (opens in new tab) explains how she first decided to transform her PAX (opens in new tab) as she craved its functionality, but similarly wanted a bespoke-style furnishing that complimented the bedroom. After picking up the units, she began by assembling the frames and screwing them in place. 

IKEA hacks PAX during rennovation

(Image credit: Christina Blake)

The doors were specially adjusted to ensure they were suitable for the home’s design quirks. Most notably, her high ceilings meant that there were around 14″ of unused space which detracted from the desired ‘built-in’ effect. 

Therefore, Christina invested in hardwood boards to design a frame around both sides of the unit which eliminated gaps from the back of the wardrobe to the walls. She then redefined stylish storage ideas by creating boxes to sit on her open shelf – before nailing them to the top of the wardrobe.

IKEA wardrobe hack

(Image credit: Christina Blake)

IKEA PAX after 

After completing the structure, Christina repainted the unit with Valspar’s Ultra White semigloss (opens in new tab) – the color she uses throughout the property – to maintain the quintessential scheme. She then added crown molding to the top of the PAX – before designing the baseboards to run between the back to the walls effortlessly. 

IKEA hack after transformation

(Image credit: Christina Blake)

‘We were originally planning on making the crown molding so that it touched the ceiling but ended up liking the little space between the molding and the ceiling – it leaves a soft shadow that really highlights the height of the wardrobe,’ Christina adds.  

This is the walk-in closet idea of the moment. Now, all we need is a PAX and a beautiful Philadelphia townhouse.

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.