Considering IKEA Pax Wardrobes For My Studio Storage

Well, y’all. I thought that my living room was just about finished, and that I’d have lots of before and after pictures to show y’all this week. But then I went and rearranged the furniture and decided that the room still needed one last something. So I placed an order yesterday for that one last item that should be here on the 25th. Ugh.

I did go ahead and paint my door, in case you were wondering. It’s teal now. But I’ll wait to show you that when the room is finished and I get my final pictures.

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about my studio, and the fact that the cabinets in there are such a huge project that I absolutely dread. So I got online last night and was looking at random things on Pinterest, and I have no idea how or why, but I came across pictures of closets that had IKEA Pax wardrobes in them that had been completely customized to look like custom built-ins.

I’m sure you’ve seen one of these closets before. The wardrobes themselves are pretty simple and basic, but once you add trim, custom drawer fronts, crown molding, etc., they look totally custom. Here’s just one example from IKEAhackers.

Here’s an “in process” shot of the plain wardrobes and drawers with some customizations being added…

And here it is all finished…

You can click here to see that whole closet transformation from IKEAhackers.

I started wondering if this would be possible in my studio (i.e., if they had the right sizes), and if the price would be worth it. So I used their Pax wardrobe planner and played around with some ideas.

I started with the long wallpapered front wall.

studio progress as of 10-25-2019 - 6

When I was planning this room, this is how I imagined this wall looking…

studio plan - NE (front) wall

So I started out with three of the Pax wardrobe units and added drawers to them…

ikea cabinets 3

But in order to achieve the look I want, the middle one would have to be cut down…

Ikea Pax wardrobes - studio builtins - long front wall

I briefly considered just building that center section from scratch, but if I’m going to use the Pax wardrobes, I would want them all to match — same drawers, same drawer slides, same material, etc. And it really wouldn’t be a difficult task to cut that one wardrobe down to fit.

So this would end up being my starting point before customizations…

Ikea Pax wardrobes for builtins in studio - long front window wall

Those three wardrobes with the drawers and shelves come to $825.

Then there’s this area of wall between the breakfast room doorway and the back studio entrance.

studio progress as of 10-25-2019 - 7

For that area, I could use three of the shallow wardrobes (only 13.75″ deep) and fifteen drawers.

Ikea Pax wardrobes - studio builtins - entry wall 2

So before customizations, that would look something like this…

Ikea Pax wardrobes for builtins in studio - entrance wall 2

Those three wardrobes with the shelves and drawers would cost $665.

And finally, there’s the desk area.

studio progress as of 10-25-2019 - 2

Here’s how I envisioned that wall during the planning stages of this room…

studio plan - NW wall

And I think I could achieve that look with two wardrobes with drawers and shelves.

Ikea Pax wardrobes - studio builtins - desk wall

So before customizations, that would look something like this…

Ikea Pax wardrobes for builtins in studio - desk wall

Those two wardrobes with the shelves and drawers would cost $600.

So altogether, and before any customizations, the wardrobes, shelves and drawers would come to $2090. I could certainly build all of that from scratch much cheaper, but of course, there’s a huge trade off in the amount of time it would take, the sheer amount of energy I’d have to put into building all of that from scratch by myself, and the dread of taking on such a huge task.

I’m thinking that the extra money spent would be well worth it. It would be so nice to have cabinet boxes and drawers that are easy to assemble and machine cut for a perfect fit. Instead of dread, I would feel excitement to be so far ahead in a relatively short time, and then I could get on with the fun part, which is the customization.

With all said and done, I’d estimate the cost of the IKEA wardrobes, drawers, shelves, and all customizations to be somewhere around $3500. That actually seems very reasonable for such a large amount of built-in storage, right?

Of course it still might take to the end of the year for me to finish, because none of the IKEAs within reasonable driving distance seem to have drawers, and their website says I can’t order them and have them shipped, either. That seems strange. But if I can find a way around that particular hurdle, and I can find enough drawers, I think this plan is a go.



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


      1. I think you can find an IKEA piece to go in the center of the back wall. Then you won’t have to cut one up. It wouldn’t be PAX but there are some that it would be hard to tell the difference!

        1. Consider looking on local resale websites for used ones. I purchased a used Pax system for $25 recently from a college student who was graduating and moving out of state. It was in perfect condition so I snatched it up as quick as I could. Obviously it won’t be customized to your liking but just use the parts you need and take out what you don’t want. Also, if you consider putting IKEA doors on your cabinets, then maybe you could go with shelves instead of drawers. That route would be way cheaper. Hope that helps. Good luck and can’t wait to see what you decide on!

      2. Even getting them shipped can result in wrong pieces arriving.
        You seem to have done your research and if you feel they’d fit the bill I say go for it. The only other concern I have is that if you build them i thing they’d be sturdier. I’m a huge fan if IKEA and I’ve never purchased big cabinets, but I know they’re not solid wood. So if you’re on board with that pull the trigger. Can you do one wall first and see if you like them?

    1. You can also check out the IVAR components at IKEA. They are 100% solid wood – not pressboard. They come unfinished and use drawers, shelves and cabinets with doors in whatever combination you want. There are a lot of ideas/hacks on Pinterest and the IKEA hackers website of the IVAR system that you can check out.

      1. have to agree here. If you are going to use any of this storage to store your tools, press board is not going to hold up.

  1. Oh my gosh, what an amazing creative space that will be… a place for everything and gorgeous and you. I was about to suggest a corral for bolts of fabric, but I see you have that covered in you rolling work table.

    Fun, Fun, Fun!

    1. I use kitchen cabinets for pretty much everything because of the ease of the standard sizes and customization of the “guts”. You can get paxs for a song second-hand if you’re going to slaughter them anyway. The concern is the screws not gripping as well the second time, but all ikea stuff should be screwed and glued anyway, and you’ll stabilize it to the walls, so the loss is more than made up for.

  2. I’ve had a bunch of stuff in my IKEA shopping cart for a while now – and finally pulled the trigger yesterday. COVID is affecting everything and IKEA’s usual supply chains are no exception – that may be why you can’t order them for delivery right now. I’d put them all in your shopping cart and wait for a while to see if that situation resolves itself.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to go the Pax route with customization. I have lots of IKEA stuff in my home – a pile of kitchen cabinetry for a start – and I’ve never been disappointed. My kitchen cabinetry is just over 20 years old and the interior fittings and drawer slides are working just fine. My ex and I made custom door and drawer fronts way back then because at the time there was nothing that IKEA had that I really cared for. They are now on their third iteration of paint and second round of hardware. LOL.

    $3000 or so for that amount of storage strikes me as more than reasonable and as you say, it would save you a ton of scut work. You get all the fittings too, like drawer slides, shelves and whatnot and get to go right to the good stuff – embellishment. I say go for it.

    1. Have you also thought about like home depot unfinished wood cabinets. We got a linen closet for our bathroom for around $200 and it’s not pressed board.

  3. Oh yes, Kristy! Go for it. I’m sure at least one of your other fans will be able to suggest a work around for the drawer situation. This will make your life so much better.

  4. We looked at PAX too…but was disappointed with the lack of full extension drawers. Will you be modding them for full extension, or will the partial work for you? Interested in your thoughts!

    1. When I put in a new kitchen a couple years after I bought my house, I opted for the standard 3/4 pullout drawers rather than upgrade to full extension. It was my first house and my budget was really tight. I have kicked myself for that decision many, many times in the 28 years since. An upgrade is on the list if I only refresh the kitchen and don’t completely re-do it.

  5. Welcome back. Ana white now sells cabinets precut to your exact measurements so you only have to assemble. Perhaps that could be an option rather then waiting on IKEA. Plus they are wood

    1. I agree with Lucinda, check out Ana White’s new shop first before pulling the trigger on IKEA cabinetry. If you do decide to go the IKEA route, put a Craig’s list search for IKEA Pax. You’d be surprised how many people sell their units because they are moving and they won’t fit in their new place. And, if you can’t find drawers now IKEA will eventually have them and they will fit. I bought a set of office units almost twenty years ago. I have moved them to new houses, different rooms and they have held up great. And when I wanted to change the use of the units IKEA still sells doors and drawers that fit. Also check out their kitchen cabinets or a combo of Pax and kitchen cabinets.

    2. You could also look at Sektion kitchen cabinets. The tall deep pantry is comparably priced to the Pax, and a standard base cabinet could be used in the center of the run. More options for drawers and doors also.

      1. I agree with Pat!
        Sektion kitchen cabinets are amazing ,so many configurations ! And with your ability to customize it, they will end up fantastic! You can look into the countertops as well. I sew on youtube a sewing room ,where the lady used Sektion cabinets and explained, that they are much stronger,then Pax – I agre with that acctually. My Pax , I have in my craft room, are not as functional as I would like them to be.

  6. We used a Pax wardrobe for kids toy storage in our family room and it has worked great. The only complaint I read when I was researching about them is that apparently they have downgraded the quality of some parts, especially the solid shelves. They used to be made of mdf, but are now cheaper particle board that can bow fairly quickly if you use them to store heavier items. If you’re using mostly pull out baskets, etc., that might not be as big an issue.

  7. The Makerista recently had some IKEA cabinets installed but had a local shop customize the doors. She found out that the local shop could have done the whole job cheaper than the cost of Ikea. Maybe look into a local shop.

  8. I have done some IKEA hacks too, and so far they have worked out great. My huge work table is IKEA cabinets with a rolling base and a huge solid top added. The kind they were you could buy shelves, doors or drawers to put in the “boxes” or leave open for storage baskets. I’m sure it saved up tons of work and maybe some money. Every once in a while there is a sale, or coupon so keep an eye open I saved a lot since I was doing a bigger project. Join their membership for free and get some savings once in a while. We also have to drive several hours to get to an IKEA, but make a day of it – eat lunch there and have fun looking at all their departments! PS) My cabinets were a beautiful teal/gray color! They were called EKET.

  9. I’m all for this idea!

    CHECK THEIR KITCHENS TOO, they may end up being cheaper, you can get more designs, you can get half-height units etc. Plus, they will probably be sturdier, and more suitable for a workspace!

    1. Agreed, their kitchen cabinets are another great option.
      But whether it’s PAX or kitchen this seems like a great way forward. Getting your studio finished will make such a difference and your future projects will be more stress free, so anything that brings that to fruition sooner has to be good.

  10. Sometimes if you go in to the store they can order it and when it comes in you pick it up at the store.
    We redid a whole kitchen in Ikea and I absolutely loved it. The drawer hardware is so smooth. I loved everything about it, except putting it all together. Lol.

  11. Hey Kristi! Prefab would be a great route for you especially since you will add on some really nice finishing trim. I want to challenge you to rethink the way you have the storage currently configured. It looks like there is a lot of display space and I see you needing a lot of closed storage for tools, fabric, foam, samples, etc. Just something to noodle around.

    1. I’ve been looking forward to seeing some more things done in this room it’s such a fantastic place. Love all that you have in store for the future. As I look at the cabinets on the floral wall one thing that I thought might look striking and may help, or not, with your PACs system is if you had your solid wood work surface continue between the upper and lower end pieces. I think that would make a great visual series g that sliver of wood. Hopefully that makes sense. Whatever you come up with it’s gonna be great!!

  12. I love everything I have done with IKEA cabinets: 3 kitchens and 6 book cases, 2 vanities and one built in bookcase! I just repurposed a 30 yr old cabinet and it looks just fine. Of course spending the money is tough, but saving the time is so rewarding when you can get on with other things. The assembly is sort of an adult puzzle and fun on its own. The hardest part is carrying all the flat packs in.
    I made a drawer front for one cabinet and cut a door panel to fit. I bought a special 200 tooth table saw blade for that and it cut so cleanly, so exactly with no chips, just a smooth line and a fine way to cut down that one cabinet. I got that from IKEA hackers (thanks!).

    It is fun to watch you move forward and reconsider some fine work you already did. I like the French door panels better than the excellently built pony walls. Both so well done !

  13. On the practical side you need closed deep cabinets for paint cans, tools, etc. Maybe a wall of kitchen cabinets with a counter top for sawing, painting and finishing.

  14. You might want to look at the IKEA sektion cabinets too. The kitchen ones. You can stack them to create tall cabinets or you can use the tall cabinets. This would allow you to have the same drawers for the middle as you do on the sides. They have the base cabinets that are 24″ deep and 13″ deep so you could use the 13″ ones for the other side. They have drawers of different types/sizes for both. I used the PAX and did built-in wardrobes for my daughters room, but when looking at your space it seem you can get easier and better customization with less work using the kitchen cabinets.

    1. totally agree with you. Kristi, I have the PAX wardrobes and love the pullout drawers but also explore the idea with their kitchen cabinets with more options etc. I designed an IKEA kitchen several years ago and the client is still thrilled. You could have white exterior and wood interior with some glass doors etc. Looking forward to what you come up with

  15. *long story*…So we have a long livingroom. Their STUVA was chunkier, but fit the Besta doors. We prefered these frames because they hold a lot more, and safer if kids climbed on it . So found three “landscape” STUVA frames/units across fit perfectly in the space, except we had a HVAC vent to not cover. So we got the stuff for two, to assemble and hacking. Modifying those with a cutout in the back for plugs was not easy on our jigsaw. Durring this process, I found their Micke desk was the same footprint but just 10-12 cm taller. I found the Stuva frames had a leg I could buy that did the trick for everything to line up. We had our first kid, and decided to wait to have a place to park bulky baby gear. Then the pandemic hit, and they were sold out (it was a cheap desk, and remote work was necessary). The desk last weekend, was back in stock. So just 3+ years after beginning. So long that STUVA was discontinued and replaced with SMASTAD.

  16. I’m happy for you thinking time saver! Unfortunately IKEA is not known for sturdiness. As mentioned have you thought about unfinished kitchen cabinets you can customize. No bookcases or dressers I have bought from IKEA have ever lasted more than a few years before the shelving or drawers start to split.

  17. IKEA Hackers is my favorite thing to find in my email on Saturday morning. If you wind up using their products, make sure they feature you!

  18. I think that’s a wonderful idea…getting ready-made, then just finishing them up yourself! Time and energy savings! Can’t wait to see what you do.

  19. I have a suggestion for the drawers. Perhaps you could ask your readers if they have an IKEA nearby that has the drawers you need, They could get them and mail them to you?? It would certainly add some cost and you’d have to trust a stranger! but perhaps it’s worth considering? You give a lot to many of us – I’m sure someone out there would love to give back! I know I would if I lived near one 🙂

    1. There are 5 IKEAs in TX. Grand Prairie, Houston, Round Rock, Frisco and Live Oak.
      Kristie, you have more in driving distance than I do! I live in the wasteland of the FL Panhandle BUT I can just get off the I-85 exit in Atlanta when going back and forth to family in SC. Check mileage to see which one is closest to you.

      1. Grand Prairie and Round Rock are really the only ones within a reasonable distance. They’re both right at two hours away, so a four hour round trip. Houston and Live Oak are almost 3.5 hours away. Frisch is pushing my limit for a day trip. It’s about 2.5 hours, so I could probably make that work if needed.

        1. I live in Frisco if you find some there and need a hand! Happy to help you out, we could meet in the middle somewhere! Let me know!!

          How are you doing with the weather and power outages?

  20. oh resources and notes. While investigating Ikea Hacks and options. Always check the instructions before buying to get a feel if you could hack it the way you like.

    There’s a website that lets you search by size for IKEA stuff. It’s finicky (length, width and depth can be mixed up), but interesting to explore options. Beware some stuff is not sold in US, or could be different, so always check what the US website says. Website:

  21. I’ve used alot of knock-down furniture over the years and ALWAYS use wood glue on the joints as well as the metal joinery products. I’ve told my kids not to ever try to take anything apart.
    I have a dilemma now in the MBR because we bought an oak corner TV kit cabinet years ago. This is 3/4″ oak plywood. Hubs and I assembled it IN THE BEDROOM! I stained it to match our heavy 1973 Drexel furniture. Now that I am a widow I am going to move my sewing/embroidery stuff in there and move the bed to a little BR. Problem: I’ve done measurements every which way and cannot get this cabinet thru the 30″ doorway even with the door off! Solution will be to dump the elderly humongous tube TV, make a flip-down door that I can use for my 2 sergers. The opening is over 41″ wide so the 50″ tall opening will be plenty of room for the 2 sergers. Cram them into the inside of the cabinet, flip the door and legs up and I’m ready to move one of my “on wheels” tables in place to work on.
    Kristi, I have learned so much about figuring stuff like this out from you that sometimes I can’t see straight! LOL Gotta check IKEA out now. I have 2 of the short wide ALEX drawer sets. They’re called end tables in my LR! With glass since the IKEA finishes are not real tolerant of liquids.

  22. Using premade cabinets/drawers to start with makes good sense, you can make them pretty. Maybe consider fewer open upper shelves, this room doesn’t seem like a place to display cute items but rather, a workhorse storage area for your tools, paint cans, etc. More closed storage means you don’t have to worry about how it ‘looks.’

  23. I have had IKEA pax wardrobes for the last 21 years, yes the same ones. They’ve moved house once and are still as good as new! I love how customisable they are so you can get exactly the right type of storage for your space. Love love love them! So reasonable and durable too x

  24. I have been so excited waiting for you to finish the studio. You had such a great start. I hope you can work out a plan with Ikea or some other prebuilt cabinets like from Home Depot or Lowes.

  25. Every time I looked at your studio I thought of the work that awaited you and wondered if that was why you had put it on the back burner. That doesn’t matter anyway. But, I think once you get that room done the way you want it you are going to love every minute you spend in there.

    Your brilliant readers and watchers have given you some great suggestions about sources for the project. It will be worth every penny. I vote for as much closed storage as you can manage.

    Enjoy the process of analysis and execution. We are with you all the way!

  26. I don’t want to rain on your parade but I don’t think you will be happy with non-wood cabinets. Check out a local shop as someone else suggested to see what the cost would be or keep looking around at stock cabinets that you can customize. I think you will be happier in the long run.

  27. I have an ikea list going currently and have had some of the things not be available and now they are!! It may be that in a week or two everything will be available at your local store.

  28. We used Ikea Pax cabinets in our kitchen as pantries for
    many years, moved them, and they are still great.
    Definitely think buying something premade and customizing is a good idea.

  29. I think it’s well worth the money! I don’t think you need to worry about them being “non- wood” since they won’t be near water. But I agree it wouldn’t hurt to get a bid from a local cabinet shop, it can be surprising and usually includes installation. There are many companies now that make cabinet doors for ikea kitchen cabinets, not sure about wardrobes.

  30. There was just a post on Emily Henderson about Semi-Custom Cabinets! I’ll bet Albie would be thrilled to share some of her research with you!

  31. We have been happy with what we have gotten from ikea. We have furniture, storage shelves, and kitchen cabinets. But we haven’t tried the PAX system. Now Ikea can be a huge pain to get all of what you want at one time. Getting our kitchen cabinets (which are actually sold as a whole bunch of different parts, not cabinets) took us ordering everything at the store, multiple trips back to the store to gets the parts and multiple shipments to our house of random parts. it took several months to get it all and was frustrating, we did get a couple of busted parts we had to drive to the store to replace also. 45 min drive in heavy traffic both ways. Love our kitchen, but you just have to realize the supply system is frustrating and we did this the year before the pandemic, so it is worse now with some things we have recently tried to get. They will pull your order if you place an online order for you to pick up at the front, but they won’t pull items if there are only a couple in stock.

  32. middle daughter is pregnant with her first child and wants to order a WHITE Hemnes dresser – which is OUT OF STOCK (and has been for awhile – in EVERY STORE in the country) however, the white STAIN ones ARE available – which I thought was also strange. I finally called last week to see if I could find out what the heck is the problem, but didn’t really get an answer, other that COVID is affecting their stock. I told her today she should consider ordering the white stain, and painting it (which I agree isn’t ideal, especially if one is not Kristi, but it’s an option, LOL!) I hope it’s not the same for the PAX! Good Luck!

  33. I will say I’ve been looking forward to your posts about making these, but I also get it, that you’re a one-woman show, and would love to see how you would customize a Pax also.

  34. Hi Kristi – just wanted to share that Ikea Hackers and you are the first sites I look at on the computer for fun. Hawaii has no Ikea (they open stores by population, I think) but I still love to see all the ways people enhance the basic products. I agree with what some others have said, that the kitchen cabinet versions may offer better quality, strength, drawer extensions and internal options, plus they have definitely been tested in the market. Then you can be free to design all kinds of outside adjustments to pretty them up!
    Hope you all are staying healthy and warm!

  35. Sorry for the rambling…but avoid the click/collect, it never got its act together (at least at our store). For stock, it tells you where to find things in the App (bin location, marketplace, or ask an associate). I went to pick up a piece that was “ask an associate”. we had to order it in the warehouse, checkout then go to a website to check in to say you are ready for pickup. the extra website was difficult for me because I kept getting re-directed to Ikeas homepage when this pickup was a separate thing. additionally, It added 45 minutes after checkout waiting for them to pick it, & bring it out. It was extra frustrating, because, it was difficult to see progress and tell where you are in line waiting, some could be getting a kitchen, some could be getting legs for a bath cabinet. There are other options that are are solid wood (Hemnes, Hasta, more) vs particleboard too but those tend to be the wrong shape or have doors and not drawers.

  36. You might check I just redid my master closet with their cabinets and I’m very happy with them. They are having a 15% sale right now and shipping its free.

  37. May I ask where you got your white and green table on wheels for your studio? It looks so fun and practical.

  38. Also, I meant to tell you how much I love your hallway solution with the hot pink and orange.