I recently transformed our walk in closet space into a home office (to be revealed soon!), which meant we needed a new storage solution for our clothes. The IKEA PAX closet system has been on my radar for a while, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out! I replaced the dresser in our bedroom with an IKEA PAX wardrobe that includes hanging space, shelves, drawers, and room for small items like jewelry and accessories. In this post I will be sharing bedroom wardrobe design ideas as well as my honest review of the PAX wardrobes.

bedroom wardrobe design, wardrobe layout ideas, ikea pax review, gray pax wardrobes in bedroom
bedroom wardrobe design, wardrobe layout ideas, ikea pax review, gray pax wardrobes, dresses hanging

Spoiler alert: we are so pleased with the functionality and storage space of our new wardrobe. I will share all of the details below including what size wardrobes we chose, interior storage solutions, an IKEA PAX cost breakdown, and more. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment at the bottom of the page!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Introduction to Bedroom Wardrobe Design

cozy sweaters stacked on shelves in bedroom wardrobe, patterned pajamas, jeans on shelves, wardrobe layout

The Importance of an Intentional, Well-Designed Wardrobe

Ever find yourself overwhelmed by a full closet, only to realize you only wear a small percentage of your clothes? I’ve been there! Lately I’ve been slowly auditing our home so that we only keep items we truly love and use. Of course, this applies to our wardrobes as well.

Like many builder grade homes, our house came with basic wire shelving in all of the closets. This may work well in some cases, but it was not a good fit for our clothing. After fighting with tangled hangers one too many times, I couldn’t take it anymore! We needed a functional bedroom wardrobe design that would help us care for and wear the items we already have.

Overview of the IKEA PAX Wardrobe and Closet System

The IKEA PAX system is very popular, with good reason. It is an affordable closet system with plenty of customization options including many wardrobe interior designs (featuring rails, drawers, shelves, etc.), coordinating organizers, and three color options.

bedroom wardrobe design, wardrobe layout ideas, ikea pax review, gray pax wardrobes, dresses hanging

The PAX system can be used for a walk-in closet, or a bedroom wardrobe like ours. Additionally, you can opt for no doors, hinged doors, or sliding doors depending on your personal space. Glass doors and full-length mirror doors are both available too.

Later in this post I will share several ways that you can hack your IKEA PAX wardrobes, if you love DIY projects! The PAX system is a great option for custom wardrobes on a budget.

Creating the Designer Built In Wardrobe Look, On a Budget

If you love the look of bespoke built in wardrobes by interior designers, but not the price tag, look no further! Even without any hacks, IKEA PAX wardrobes look beautiful as free standing furniture. For example, I simply removed part of the baseboard behind our PAX wardrobe, and did not add any additional trim. However, if you are handy you can build in the frames so that they look even more expensive.

Getting Started With Bedroom Wardrobe Design

cozy sweaters stacked on shelves in bedroom wardrobe, patterned pajamas, jeans on shelves, wardrobe layout, ikea pax review

Questions to Answer Before Designing Your Dream Wardrobe

Before we get into the details of designing your ideal wardrobe, it is important to consider your specific storage needs and preferences. Here are some questions to think about:

  1. How many outfits (tops, pants, jeans, jackets, dresses, etc.) would I like to have?
  2. Do I prefer hanging or folding my clothes?
  3. Will shoes be stored in the wardrobe, or elsewhere?
  4. Will off-season clothes be stored in the wardrobe, or cycled out?
  5. Do I prefer no doors, hinged doors, or a sliding door wardrobe?

It can be tempting to skip this step, but answering these questions will make your bedroom wardrobe easier to use and mantain.

Bedroom Wardrobe Functionality and Organization

If you have browsed bedroom wardrobe designs online, you know that there are many layouts to choose from. I decided to go with the PAX system because of its modular wardrobe design which allows you to combine different elements. For example:

  • Rails are used for hanging storage. A rail near the top of the wardrobe is perfect for shirts, dresses, and coats. You can also layer another rail about halfway down for pants and jeans.
  • Shelves are a great choice for sweaters, shirts, hats, bags, and other accessories.
  • Drawers provide hidden storage for underwear, workout clothes, or anything you do not want to display in your wardrobe.
  • Organizers such as easy access pull-out tie and belt rails or shoe organizers are the perfect finishing touch.

If you have small bedrooms with limited space, modular wardrobes such as the PAX system are an excellent choice! They allow you to design a wardrobe that will fit your specific needs and personal belongings.

Common Questions About Bedroom Wardrobe Design

IKEA PAX review, wardrobe hanging rail with dresses and shirts, affordable built in, bedroom wardrobe design and layout

Where Should a Wardrobe Be Placed in a Bedroom?

If you are reading this post, you probably care about your home interior design and aesthetic. The placement of your wardrobe will depend on the size of the bedroom, but there are many options to choose from.

For example, in small rooms you can place wardrobes in a corner to maximize floor space. One caveat here is that you may want to place a spacer next to the wall (so that it is easier to open the wardrobe door nearest to the wall). In addition, smaller rooms may benefit from a mirrored wardrobe to create the illusion of more space.

In a large room with ample space, you can center freestanding wardrobes in front of the bed. This is what I did! Or, create a long built-in wardrobe the full width of an empty wall.

Pro tip: See the PAX Hacks section below for ingenious ideas to make your wardrobes look built in and custom!

Is It Better to Hang or Fold Clothes?

Whether to hang or fold clothing items is a matter of personal preference that requires careful consideration. It is usually best to hang dress shirts, pantry, and dresses to prevent creases. On the other hand, t-shirts, sweaters, and jeans can be hung or folded.

bedroom wardrobe design, wardrobe layout ideas, ikea pax review, gray pax wardrobes, dresses hanging

Personally, I chose to hang only our dress clothes and fold everything else. Hangers annoy me and I prefer not to deal with them on a daily basis! I decided to fold my sweaters, t-shirts, pajamas, and jeans and place them on shelves for easier access. In addition, my athleisure and workout clothes, socks, and underwear are folded in drawers so they are out of sight.

Choose whether you prefer hanging or folding your clothes before designing your wardrobe to ensure that you have enough space for each type of storage.

Does IKEA Make Built In Wardrobes?

IKEA’s PAX closet system can be used for a walk in closet, reach in closet, or freestanding bedroom wardrobe. PAX wardrobes are always “built in” in the sense that they must be attached to the wall (and one another) for safety.

In order to make your PAX units look even more custom, you can remove the baseboard behind the wardrobe and caulk where the units meet the wall. To go even further, check out the PAX hacks section near the bottom of this blog post for ideas!

What Size Are PAX Wardrobes?

IKEA’s PAX wardrobes are available in a variety of sizes:

  • Width: 19 5/8 inch, 29 1/2 inch, or 39 3/8 inch
  • Height: 79 1/8 inch or 92 7/8 inch
  • Depth: 13 3/4 inch or 22 7/8 inch

What Colors Are PAX Wardrobes?

IKEA’s PAX system comes in three neutral colors: white, beige, and dark gray.

How to Design Your Dream Wardrobe Using IKEA PAX

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Measure Your Space

To begin, measure the bedroom or closet where you will be installing the PAX wardrobes. You will be able to input these measurements on the IKEA website while using the PAX Planner.

Using the PAX Planner Online to Create a Custom Wardrobe

The PAX Planner is an online tool that will help you design the perfect wardrobe for your space. You will choose from three options in order to start your project: “Guide me,” “Design from scratch,” or “Browse inspiration.”

The Pax Planner will then create a virtual room where you can drag and drop elements to build your dream wardrobe! If you are not prompted to enter your room dimensions, simply click on the “Room Design” tab to add this information.

Using the IKEA PAX Planner online

While using the PAX Planner, you will see that there are several tabs to choose from: Frames, Doors, Handles, Interiors, Organizers, and Lights. I suggest following this order when designing your wardrobe. It is important to choose closet doors before choosing interiors, as the door hinges will affect the placement of shelves and drawers.

Pro tip: The door hinges will be offset by one hole on the right versus the left for the 79 1/8 inch tall PAX wardrobes. This confused me for a while during the design process, so I thought I would mention it!

Ordering Your Custom IKEA PAX Wardrobe

Once you are finished designing your PAX wardrobe, simply click on “Finalize” at the top of the page. This will bring you to a new page, showing your PAX design summary.

Ordering your custom PAX wardrobe built in closet

After that, you will be able to check the availability of the IKEA products for delivery or pickup at your local store. The page will display a list of all of the components for your bedroom wardrobe, as well as tabs showing images and an assembly overview.

Custom IKEA PAX Wardrobes

Finally, choose “Add to Bag” to place your order, or “Save for later” to receive an email with your design code.

Other IKEA Closet Systems

Browse all of IKEA’s storage solution systems if you would like to compare other options for custom closets and wardrobes, such as the AURDAL system or the BOAXEL system.

Our IKEA PAX Wardrobe Layout and Design Plan

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Next I wanted to share the details of our IKEA PAX bedroom wardrobe design, in case you are hoping to create something similar!

Which Wardrobe Frames and Interiors I Used

custom ikea pax wardrobe built in

Here are all of the IKEA PAX parts I used! Our custom wardrobe is made up of three frames. The center PAX wardrobe frame is twice as wide as the two outer frames.

Our Bedroom Wardrobe Interior Layout

Need inspiration for how to arrange your wardrobe? This is what I decided to do, but of course it will depend on your personal preferences.

custom ikea pax wardrobe built in

I used Canva to plan our wardrobe interior layout. This is a great way to make sure your closet will be functional for you! Simply take a screenshot of your bedroom wardrobe design and then insert text to label each section.

Total Cost for Our IKEA PAX Wardrobe Design

IKEA PAX wardrobe layout, bedroom wardrobe design, pax review

The total cost for our custom IKEA PAX wardrobe was $1,546.15. This includes $39 for delivery and about $100 for taxes.

Considering that a bespoke built in wardrobe can easily cost twice that, or much more depending on materials and finishes, I personally felt great about the price!

IKEA PAX Wardrobe Assembly and Installation in a Bedroom

IKEA furniture has a bit of a reputation for being difficult to assemble. While I would not call this project a breeze–altogether it took three days!–building the PAX wardrobes was relatively straightforward. However, I would recommend having two people to build and position the frames as they are large and heavy.

Remove the Baseboard Where the Frames Will Go

remove baseboard before installing ikea pax wardrobe

First, use an oscillating tool to remove a section of the baseboard where you plan to install the PAX frames. Alternatively, you can remove the entire piece of baseboard, trim it down with a miter saw or miter shears, and reinstall the baseboard.

Removing the baseboard is an optional step, but it will allow you to place the units directly against the wall for built in look. It will also make it easier to attach the PAX frames to the wall for safety.

If you do not plan to remove the baseboard, you will need to use a spacer behind the top of the frames that is the same depth as your baseboard.

Build the PAX Wardrobe Frames

Secondly, it’s time to get building! Follow the IKEA instruction booklet to assemble your bedroom wardrobe frames. This may require two people as some of the pieces are large and heavy. If necessary, protect your flooring with a blanket or cardboard so that it isn’t scratched or nicked.

After assembly, carefully stand up the PAX wardrobe frames and move them into position against the wall.

Attach Wardrobe Frames to the Wall and Each Other

ikea pax wardrobe assembly using clamps to attach units together

Next, follow the IKEA instructions for securing your wardrobe frames first to one another, and secondly to the wall for safety. You will need trigger clamps for this step.

toggle bolts to securely attach ikea pax wardrobe frames to wall in drywall

If you are unable to hit a stud behind your drywall, use strong wall anchors such as toggle bolts that can support the weight of the wardrobes.

Assemble Wardrobe Interiors

ikea pax built in wardrobe interior layout

Next, follow the IKEA instructions that came with each of your wardrobe interiors. I found it easiest to start with the bottom drawer and then work my way up to make sure I used the correct holes. Trust me, you do not want to make a mistake and have to move everything–I may have done this once!

Important note: If you will be installing doors, mark the holes where the hinges must be installed so that you do not accidentally use them for something else! Check this page from the IKEA website to see which holes will be needed for your doors. I will also include a helpful table below:

PAX 236 cmPAX 201 cm left doorPAX 201 cm right door
1st hinge3rd and 4th from the top3rd and 4th from the top3rd and 4th from the top
2nd hinge32nd and 33rd from the top29th and 30th from the top30th and 31st from the top
3rd hinge38th and 39th from the top3rd and 4th from the bottom3rd and 4th from the bottom
4th hinge3rd and 4th from the bottomx

Hang PAX Wardrobe Doors

ikea pax built in wardrobe with doors, dark gray

Finally, if you included doors in your bedroom wardrobe design, it is time to install them! This is another step where it may be helpful to have two people as it can be challenge to hold the door while tightening the screws.

Pro tip: If you are installing the PAX wardrobe doors by yourself, use a stack of books to support the bottom of the door while you attach it to the frames!

My Honest Review of the IKEA PAX Wardrobe System

IKEA PAX wardrobe layout, bedroom wardrobe design, pax review

To sum up this post, I wanted to share my IKEA PAX review! Of course, our wardrobes are still new so I will update this post as the months go by, but here are my initial thoughts.


  • Budget friendly compared to bespoke built-in wardrobe
  • Lots of interior customization options
  • Good quality control and craftsmanship for what it is
  • Aesthetic wardrobe colors, doors, and knobs to fit your personal style


  • Made of particleboard, not solid wood
  • Only three frame sizes, not custom fitted
  • Assembly is time consuming
  • Sometimes parts go out of stock
bedroom wardrobe design, wardrobe layout ideas, ikea pax review, gray pax wardrobes in bedroom

In conclusion, I would personally recommend the PAX system for a bedroom built-in wardrobe (or walk-in wardrobe, if you have the available space). There are many ways to make it your own with interior choices or hacks (see below), and you cannot beat the value!

On the other hand, if you need a specific size, prefer different materials such as solid wood, or simply have the budget to spend, completely custom wardrobes may be better for you.

DIY IKEA PAX Hack Ideas for a Bedroom Wardrobe

As a bonus, I wanted to include some PAX hack ideas in case you want to customize your wardrobes even more!

Custom Built In Wardrobes (Fitted Wardrobes)

While researching the IKEA PAX system, I came across several blog posts about how build in the PAX frames for a custom look. Here are some great blogs to check out!

Painting IKEA PAX and Adding Molding

Another way to customize your IKEA PAX wardrobe is by painting it a custom color or adding decorative trim for a unique design. Here are some inspiring examples!

Are IKEA PAX Hacks Necessary?

Personally, I decided not to “hack” our IKEA PAX wardrobe. While I absolutely love the built-in closet look, I knew that simply assembling and installing the wardrobes according would be a big enough project for me. Maybe I will decide to further customize our closet down the line, but for now, I could not be happier with it.

Final Thoughts

bedroom wardrobe design, wardrobe layout ideas, ikea pax review, gray pax wardrobes, dresses hanging

To sum up, I hope you found this post inspiring if you are planning your own bedroom wardrobe design! You don’t have to be a professional interior designer to create a beautiful and functional wardrobe.

Have a question? Leave me a comment below!

More Organizing Ideas for Intentional Living

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  1. I had no idea you mentioned us here! I’m so honored Caitlin! This is an incredibly thorough post and you give such great insight to installing a pax wardrobe. I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you again.

    1. Joannie, thank you for your kind comment! Your wardrobe is gorgeous and I loved seeing all of the customizations that you guys included. Thank you so much!

  2. Sofas Perth says:

    Fantastic insights on bedroom wardrobe design and layout ideas! The IKEA Pax review is especially helpful for those looking to optimize their space. Thanks for sharing these valuable tips!

    1. So glad you found it helpful! 🙂

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