IKEA Hack: Creating a Hidden Wardrobe with PAX

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Have you ever dreamed of having a beautiful “hidden” wardrobe that seamlessly blends in with your wall but are scared of the cost? Are you dreaming of a wardrobe that blends in with the panel moulding as you picture in a stunning Parisian apartment? This IKEA hack project will transform your pax wardrobe into a stylish and elegant piece of furniture that will elevate the entire room. I’m sharing the benefits of using a PAX wardrobe, the step-by-step process of the hack, and how you can customize the design to fit your personal style. Sharing how you can get the look for less by using IKEA Pax wardrobes.

Project completed in Spring 2021, post updated March 31, 2023, with more details and photos.

panelled wardrobe beside fireplace

PAX Wardrobe

The PAX wardrobe is an excellent choice for versatile and cost-effective storage solutions. This wardrobe line, produced by IKEA, boasts a modular design that permits customers to tailor their wardrobe to their unique specifications. With options for doors, drawers, shelves, and accessories, the wardrobe comes in various sizes and finishes. The PAX wardrobe’s popularity stems from its affordability, versatility, and practicality, making it an excellent investment for any consumer looking to optimize their storage space.

The PAX wardrobe also makes a great building block for IKEA hack projects due to its versatility and various customization options.

bedroom with armchairs by the window and wardrobe beside
Shop the bedroom: Rug, Armchairs, Accent Table, Curtains, Throw Blanket, Lamps.

Pax Wardrobe Sizing

The Pax wardrobe system is available in a variety of sizes to fit different spaces and storage needs.

  • Widths: The wardrobe widths range from 50cm (19.7 inches) to 100cm (39.37 inches).
  • Heights: The wardrobe heights range from 201cm (79.1 inches) to 236cm (92.9 inches).
  • Depths: The wardrobe depths range from 35cm (13.8 inches) to 58cm (22.8 inches).

You can further customize the wardrobe through the various sizes and styles of doors to ensure you get a perfect fit for your space. Please check here for details on the sizing I used for my IKEA PAX Hack.

The PAX wardrobe is a great option since it offers the basic standard sizes and allows you to choose from a wide range of customized options, such as interior organizers, doors, and accessories. This means that you will be able to create a wardrobe that is tailored to your specific needs and preferences. It’s the perfect way to get exactly what you want out of your wardrobe system!

pax wardrobe accessories with wire baskets, shelves

PAX Wardrobe Accessories

With an array of accessories at your disposal, the Pax wardrobe can be completely tailored to meet your exact specifications! Here are a few different examples:

  • Interior Organizers such as shelves, wire baskets, and pull-out trays can be added to the inside of the wardrobe to help you better organize your clothes and accessories.
  • Clothes Rails can be added to hang clothes from
  • Divider Frames allow you to create compartments which are great for storing bags, shoes, hats etc.
  • Interior Lighting can be added to make it easier to see clothing, and some act on a motion sensor so that it turns on when the door opens.
  • Drawer inserts can be added to drawers of the pax wardrobe to help organize smaller items like socks, underwear, accessories, etc.

For my IKEA PAX hack, I opted to use shelves, wire basket drawers, and pull-out shelves for accessories with felt organizers. We have a closet in the bedroom for hanging space, so that wasn’t a concern for us.

Built-in wardrobe hack with panel moulding using IKEA Pax beside fireplace with gold mirror

What is a Hidden Wardrobe

A hidden wardrobe is designed to seamlessly blend in with the wall or wall panelling, giving it a sleek and modern appearance. Unlike traditional wardrobes, hidden wardrobes are specially built to blend into your room’s architecture without compromising functionality. By fitting them into your walls or hiding them behind wall panelling, you can transform your room with an organized appearance that creates more space.

Hidden wardrobes are also customized to match your desired style and fit specific room measurements. They can be made from a range of materials such as metal or wood and finished with paint or wallpaper to blend perfectly with the surrounding walls.

For this IKEA PAX hack project, I created the look of a hidden wardrobe to maximize storage solutions while still respecting the age and style of my home. The moulding helps the wardrobe seamlessly blend in with the rest of the trim in this space.

Built-in wardrobe hack beside Victorian fireplace using ikea pax.
Shop the Bedroom: Curtains, Mirror, Art, Blanket.

The Steps for the IKEA PAX Hack:

Step One: Build your IKEA PAX

Start by building the IKEA PAX Wardrobes for this hack.

Step Two: Remove Baseboards

Remove the quarter round and baseboard from the wall on which the wardrobe will be installed. If you do not want to remove the baseboard, that’s okay. You will need to install a block behind the upper half of the closet to ensure the wardrobe is not leaning backwards. You want the wardrobe to be standing up straight.

Step Three: Build a Base for the IKEA PAX hack

Next, you need to build a 2×4 base for the PAX wardrobe to sit on. This is a key to my IKEA hack projects since it will allow you to install a baseboard around the PAX wardrobe at the end.

It is important to ensure that all of the points that the PAX would usually touch the ground have a 2×4 underneath it (side to side and front to back).

Put this base in place where the wardrobe will be installed and ensure it is level. If it is not, use shims to get it level (side to side, front to back).

Place the PAX wardrobe on top of it.

Step Four: Creating Studs

Build a similar 2×4 structure for the top of the PAX. This is creating “studs” or a structure that will allow you to attach the trim to that connects the pax to the ceiling. You will eventually attach the drywall to this, so it needs to be flush with the front of the PAX.

Use screws to attach this structure to the pax. Predrill holes into the top of the pax and screw up into the 2×4 structure.

Step Five: Key to the Built-in look

If you plan to build in this IKEA PAX wardrobe hack similar to how I did, adding sides to make it look like it is built into the wall, you need to add blocks to the sides. Adding wood blocks allows you to attach drywall or trim to the sides and provides support. I recommend using scrap pieces of 2×4. Predrill into the sides of the PAX and attach these wood blocks with screws. This is similar to the previous step with the 2×4 structure for the top.

Step Six: Attach your Pax to the Wall

Next, attach the PAX to the wall. Following IKEA instructions for this.

If you did not remove the baseboard from the wall so the PAX sits flat against the wall, you would need to add blocks to ensure it sits flat. Use scrap pieces of wood to put behind the wardrobe at the mounting points of the PAX. Use a level to ensure it is flat. Then, use longer screws and attach the wardrobe to the wall through these blocks.

Step Six: Install the Doors

Install the doors and make sure you are happy with the positioning. I’d recommend installing the cabinet pulls at this point to make sure they don’t rub on each other and close easily.

inside of pax

Step Seven: Drywall

Start working on the drywall. This is a key part to this IKEA PAX hack since it makes the wardrobe look hidden/built-in.

Cut the drywall to size. Use drywall screws to screw the drywall into the wood studs you created. Repeat this step for the sides.

pax wardrobe with drywall being installed around it

Ensure the positioning of the doors aligns perfectly with the doors. You may want to remove the doors to finish drywalling.

Use drywall tape where necessary (see video), and also a corner bead between the drywall and the top of the wardrobe. This part is a little tricky, but it’s what makes it look built-in. If you haven’t drywalled before, I recommend looking up some videos on how to do this! That’s what I did since it was my first time drywalling.

Step Eight: Prime and Paint

Once you’re finished with the drywalling and messy sanding, use prime to paint everything.

Step Nine: Trim

Add the crown moulding to match the rest of the room and panel moulding to the doors with No More Nails.

I recommend taping it out onto the doors with painter’s tape, then cutting one piece at a time. You need to be careful to ensure it lines up perfectly.

Step Ten: Install Baseboards

Install the baseboard

Step Eleven: Caulking

Carefully caulk any gaps between the moulding and the door.

Step Twelve: Paint your IKEA PAX hack Project

Paint your IKEA PAX hack project. I only painted the panel moulding (White Dove by Benjamin Moore) but didn’t paint the doors since the colour matched.

I personally believe it is best for durability if you leave the doors unpainted since that IKEA-manufactured finish on the door can’t be beaten. If you do end up wanting to paint the doors, I recommend using BIN Zinsser. I have used this to refinish other IKEA and furniture, and it holds up great!

Want to learn how to paint your IKEA Pax wardrobe and other furniture so that it doesn’t chip or scratch? Learn more here.

Step Thirteen: Quarter round

Install the quarter round. If your quarter round is painted, you will install it before painting in the previous step. I used stained wood quarter round and installed it after painting. I repurposed the quarter round I removed from the wall to ensure it matched the rest of the space and gave the hack that hidden wardrobe look to my IKEA Pax.

sitting on the bed looking at a fireplace with burning fire and gold mirror on top

Materials/Tools for the IKEA PAX Hack:

Here is a list of the main items you will need to complete this project:

One thing I wish I had to complete this project was a Mitre Saw. It was necessary to cut the baseboard for the project! I found a way around it that I wouldn’t recommend/wasn’t perfect!

Project Photos

Before

before photo of space with fireplace

 After

after hack project is completed with wardrobe installed beside the fireplace.

 

Videos of the PAX Wardrobe Hack:

It’s almost been almost two years since I completed this IKEA Pax Hack, and it’s holding up amazing, zero issues, and I still look at it in awe that I made it happen with Pax Wardrobes! If you are more visual, please check out the videos from this project. When I completed this project, I really didn’t know what I was doing and had to look up a lot along the way. I usually film vlog-style, so I apologize in advance for the non-DIY-related clips included in these videos! 

Project Video Part One

youtube video cover photo for pax wardrobe hack

Part Two

youtube cover photo for project video part 2

Part Three

youtube cover photo for project video reveal

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or on any of the YouTube videos, and I’ll get back to you!

fireplace decorated for christmas was pax wardrobe hack beside

More home decor ideas

built-in wardrobe with christmas tree to the left

fireplace with fall decor and panelled wardrobe beside
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