This IKEA Pax Hack Turns a Kid's Closet from Basic to Bespoke — 'It's Totally Transformed the Space!'

A built-in closet was made possible in this awkward space thanks to IKEA's pax system and some simple DIY

An IKEA PAX closet painted a cream color with open shelving decorated with kids' toys and baskets
(Image credit: Ashley Rack)

IKEA's PAX closet system is a DIYer's dream. The affordable flatpack is fully customizable, and its pared-back Scandi design offers limitless possibilities to add a personal touch. Even if you're faced with an awkward space, this piece of furniture can bring your bespoke built-in vision into reality. 

That's exactly what happened when DIY guru Ashley Rack (@east_shore_home) decided to get creative with her daughter's bedroom. A dab hand at DIY, Ashley knew that she wanted to upgrade the awkward space with a seamless closet to streamline the whole room, and an IKEA hack was the obvious answer. The finished result looks so chic and totally transforms the space - not to mention it cost a fraction of the price of a regular bespoke unit! Here's how to recreate Ashley's stunning closet in your own home.

Before creating her IKEA built-in hack, Ashley says that her daughter's bedroom lacked storage, and had no closet. 'On a limited budget I wanted to create a fun yet high-end look,' she says. 'The IKEA PAX units are perfect for customizing, and the open shelves give a playful look that's perfect for styling decor.'

A narrow alcove space in the corner of her daughter's room offered the perfect space for Ashley to build the small closet. To begin, she used CLS timber and 12mm MDF to create a base for the wardrobes to sit on. This allows the PAX wardrobes to be elevated high enough to run a piece of trim across the bottom, creating a seamless built-in look. 'I used my hand saw and jigsaw to cut the wood down and my screwdriver to fit the base together,' says Ashley.

Pax hack during image

(Image credit: Ashley Rack)

Next, Ashley assembled the flat-pack PAX units and placed them onto the base, securing them to the wall behind them for stability. 'Once in situ, I used some 6mm MDF to frame out around the units,' says Ashley. 'I screwed leftover construction timber to secure the MDF to the wardrobe carcass, before sealing using flexible caulk.'

Ashley then primed the closet units and MDF using Zinsser BIN, an industry favorite for painting IKEA furniture. This ensures the paint adheres smoothly to the laminate surface of the PAX units. 

For a decorative effect, Ashley then used a leftover panel from Orac Decor in Valley Loop to add a neo-deco vibe to the back of the closet. 'It adds interest to the back of the open side,' says Ashley. 'I cut this using my multi-tool and used caulk to create a seamless look.' Ashley also used wood filler to fill in the holes of the PAX unit for a finished look. 

Ikea hack detail

(Image credit: Ashley Rack)

Once the primer had dried, Ashley painted the closet. A fan of neutral color schemes, she went with the shade 'Pampas' from COAT Paints. 'It's a lovely soft gray beige color, perfect for complimenting the rest of my daughter's bedroom decor,' says Ashley. Once the paint had dried, Ashley hung the doors and added some gold handles to elevate the look and add a luxe feel. 

Ikea pax hack after transformation

(Image credit: Ashley Rack)

'The main challenges were scribing out the profile of the skirting board to ensure it fit neatly, and filling every hole with filler,' says Ashley. 'It was a monotonous job and the sanding was tiring, but well worth it in the end!'

This kids' room is now a super calming space, with a closet that can grow with Ashley's daughter. It serves as an example that with an IKEA PAX system, a little bit of patience, and some DIY prowess, anything is possible. 


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Ottilie Blackhall
Trainee Writer

Ottilie Blackhall is a master’s Magazine Journalism student at City, University of London. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, with a degree in English Literature and History of Art, she decided to pursue her love of writing and develop her passion for writing about literature and art. Having started a book review blog during lockdown, at City she is working on her portfolio.