Ever since we first walked through our new house, we’ve had a vision of a beautiful master suite, with a true master bath and big walk-in closet. We’re in the process of slowly getting there, but all of the demo is done and we’re actually starting to get new things in (like the new walls, which are framed now!). In our excitement, we decided to start envisioning our new master closet.
At first, we were planning to have a company come in to create an upscale custom closet for us. We had California Closets in the City House and they were great. But, the more I looked (and learned about the cost of custom closets), the more I started getting interested in DIY custom closets.
And then I found Erin Kestenbaum’s Pax Hack, and decided to start looking at Ikea options. I love the way she made these somewhat basic closet options feel luxurious and custom, so we decided to start building in the Pax planner and see if it was the route we wanted to go.
Now that I’ve played around in the planner and seen what the cost will be, it seems like a no-brainer—plus, we’re so excited to “hack” it a little bit so that they’re completely custom and unique to our home.
Just look at all the beautiful things people are doing with the Ikea pax system:
Today, I’m sharing what that planning process has looked like so far, and what the next steps for our Pax closet hack are going to be:
Our Closet Needs
Before you start planning out your Pax closet, you really should understand what you (and your partner, if applicable) are looking for out of your closet. For instance, here are some of our requirements for the new closet:
- We don’t really have a coat closet or great shoe storage spot in our house, so ideally I wanted to be able to store shoes and coats in our closet at least seasonally.
- I also really wanted a nice size mirror to be able to see what I’m mixing and matching—we had a small full length mirror in our last closet, but I always had to kinda squish in the closet to see a full outfit.
- Ideally, we’d have a place to sit to put shoes on, but I didn’t think we’d have enough room for that (spoiler: I’m probably right).
- I have some jewelry, accessories, and purses that I’d like to fit in the closet if we can.
- Dustin wanted enough drawers and shelves that we wouldn’t need to have a big dresser in our bedroom.
- Finally, we wanted to move our LG styler into the closet to free up some space in our laundry room, if possible.
Step One: Rough Measurements
To begin with, we took rough measurements just so I could start playing around in the Pax planning software.
(If you want to learn more about the Ikea Pax planner, Chris Loves Julia coincidentally posted a blog post today that gets more into the details of how the planning software works.)
This was actually such a crucial part of the process because it allowed me to play around with the different sizes and organization options. The way the Ikea Pax closets work, you have the cabinet boxes which are available in fixed sizes, and then you can fill them up with internal storage options like drawers, hanging rods, pull out pants hangers, drawer dividers, etc.
During this process I decided that we’re only going to use drawers, shelves, and normal hanging rods. While that might sound limited given all of the options that Ikea has, it’s going to make it easier to customize so it looks like a custom closet.
Plus, it gives the most flexibility. I thought about using shoe shelves, but normal shelves allow you to store shoes or purses or baskets with scarves, etc. It just made the most sense to plan flexible storage options.
Step Two: Exact Measurements
Once we got home from our trip, we took exact measurements with the newly framed closet wall. If you weren’t aware, we’re renovating this section of our house so that we have a new, bigger bathroom, and since we were removing the walls anyway, we stole a little bit of square footage for the bathroom from the closet.
We measured each wall and where the doors are on each wall. We measured around the door trim and I played with options if we kept the trim and if we took the trim down.
Step Three: Tape
Then, I got back in the pax planner and started over completely. I started by getting the walls to the right size and putting the doors in, and then I started playing with how many boxes could fit and where they could go. After messing around with every combination, we taped out the layout of the boxes on the floor in the closet.
Taping out the dimensions of the boxes gave a good sense of how tight the room will feel once we get all of the storage in there, and I think we found a layout that works really well.
We also measured to see how we would get the most storage: doing this option, which is T shaped, or doing more of a galley style with a row on each side. Here’s the overhead image from the Ikea planner, which will hopefully help you understand what I mean by “T-shaped”:
(Those open spots on the top and bottom of that image are doors.)
The T shape gave us just slightly more storage and I preferred the look of it. Plus, it left a natural space for my big floor mirror (on the left in the overhead image). We might be able to fit a small ottoman, but we’ll play it by ear.
Step Four: Storage Options
Once we liked the layout of the boxes, I started filling them up in the Pax planner. I let Dustin decide how many hanging rods, drawers, and shelves he wanted on his side, and I filled up my side in a way that I think will work for me.
Here’s the plan we came up with for now:
And Dustin’s side:
Ultimately, we’re still probably going to have to store coats and boots in the basement at least seasonally, but this closet is so much bigger than what was here before.
Now, we are just waiting on drywall in this room before we go ahead and order all of the closet parts and begin “hacking” them into something that feels glamorous and custom.
I want to know: would you be up for customizing your closet, or are you a turn-key kind of person?
PS—Addicted to pretty storage? Check out our farmhouse pantry!