This IKEA PAX hack adds sliding doors to a built-in closet, complete with budget-friendly DIY shiplap

Soft grey paint, sliding shiplap doors, and a bespoke built-in design give this modern closet a relaxing feel fit for a bedroom

An IKEA PAX painting in a soft grey with shiplap effect doors in a modern bedroom
(Image credit: Sam Dangeti (@BuildandBarks))

There’s no denying that the IKEA PAX is an iconic piece of furniture. With its simple design and customizable units, its possibilities are endless - as proven by this beautiful IKEA hack. With a lick of soft grey paint, some sliding shiplap doors, and a bespoke built-in design, the PAX has been elevated to new heights.

The DIY project is all down to the handiwork of home renovator Sam Dangeti (@buildsandbarks) who shares the renovation of her 1950s home over on Instagram. We love how her simple IKEA hack has resulted in a subtle design that looks right at home in her modern bedroom, creating a bespoke look on a budget. Here, she shares how she achieved the built-in closet of her dreams.

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. A personal fan of the Scandi-inspired interior, her job entails keeping up with everything there is to know about the Swedish powerhouse IKEA. Paired with her insight into the latest home renovation projects, she regularly shares IKEA hacks with readers to inspire their own DIY projects in home design. 

An IKEA pax wardrobe painted sage green with shiplap effect doors

(Image credit: Sam Dangeti (@buildsandbarks))

Long before Sam's IKEA wardrobe hack came to fruition back when she bought her home, she paid little attention to the details of her design choices. ‘I had no intention of making over any space when we bought the place. I mean how could I? I had absolutely no idea how to,’ she explains. Before long though, she was converted into a true home renovator. 

‘Originally all my DIY was focused on making a space pretty or aesthetic but after I got a hang of things, I started doing more functional DIY,' says Sam. This decision was in part in response to the features in her home that didn’t work for her everyday life. ‘One of the biggest issues for us was the amount of storage space available in the house,’ says Sam. ‘That's how the idea of “DIYing” a functional closet came to be.’ And so, her IKEA PAX project was born.  

An IKEA PAX wardrobe painted in a soft grey with half open shiplap effect doors

(Image credit: Sam Dangeti (@BuildandBarks))

As she developed a knack for home DIYs, Sam also learned the value of building on a budget. ‘After some research, I found that building this closet from scratch would cost me the same if I bought an IKEA PAX closet system and made it look more built-in, so I thought, “why not save some time and effort”,’’ she says.

Lamp Room Gray paint, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)
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Lamp Room Gray paint, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)

For a subtle and soft modern look, Farrow & Ball's shade Lamp Room Grey is the perfect choice. This traditional blue grey has softer more lived in finish than other greys and looks brilliant in well lit, neutral spaces like Sam's bedroom.

An IKEA PAX wardrobe painted in a soft grey color with shiplap effect doors

(Image credit: Sam Dangeti (@BuildandBarks))

With her newfound enthusiasm, Sam planned out the plan for her built-in wardrobe idea. She used two IKEA PAX units and the hardware provided, trimming one unit down to fit the closet size while still using all the available space in her recessed closet. ‘To make the PAX unit look built-in I cut down 1x2 boards to the right size and attached them using my Brad Nailer, filled in the holes and gaps with wood filler and then painted over them.’ The result is a beautiful shiplap effect that gives her bedroom a calming, coastal feel.

To add to the soothing feel of her space, Sam then painted her closet in Lamp Room Gray by Farrow and Ball (opens in new tab). ‘This color pulls so many different shades with different lighting and is an absolute show stopper,’ she says.

An IKEA PAX wardrobe painted grey in a modern bedroom

(Image credit: Sam Dangeti (@BuildandBarks))

The new closet has proven an excellent storage space solution to help keep Sam stay more organized despite her busy schedule. One unit is used to house jackets while the other has partitions for her linens. ‘As much as I love the closet and storage itself, my favorite part of this build is the fake shiplap doors because it cost me $0,’ notes Sam. ‘All I did was I took my original rigid core doors, set the depth of my circular saw to 2mm and cut lines on the door. After a coat of primer and paint, you get the look of a $200-$300 door and it costs nothing.’

To complete the look, she added bespoke black hardware for a contemporary feel, as well as some trim around the edges to give the closet a more professional look. 

Lilith Hudson
Junior writer

Lilith Hudson is the Junior Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news articles for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration that you need in your home. She discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. Lilith now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London (a degree where she could combine both) and has previously worked at the Saturday Times Magazine, ES Magazine, DJ Mag and The Simple Things Magazine.