Those Swedes sure do love to organize. Flip through any edition of the IKEA catalog, and the first impression you’ll likely get is a place for everything and everything in its place. But don’t our cluttered, modern, go-go-go lifestyles make it seem impossible to live up to this standard? Most especially in that most dreaded place in our homes — the closet. Chances are if you’re a Curbly reader, you love organization just as much as we do. And you may need a little help figuring out how to make your closet system work for you. That’s why today we are talking all about how to design the closet of your dreams using IKEA closets.
We’ll go over the entire range of IKEA closets, plus real-life examples of how they are used, hacks, tips for installing an IKEA closet, organizers, and more.
Let’s whip those IKEA closets into shape!
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IKEA makes it easy to stay organized with its large range of closets. From wardrobes; to children’s closets; to totally customizable, open clothes storage systems; and more organizing accessories than you can count, they’ve got everything you need to turn your closet into your favorite part of your home.
Let’s start with their simplest system first: wardrobes.
IKEA Closets and Wardrobes
Possibly the biggest conundrum a renter or homeowner can face when struggling with storage is: no built-in closets. The worst! Thankfully, IKEA has lots of options if you’re looking to buy an inexpensive, fuss-free wardrobe to create, or add to, your clothes storage.
Best higher-end wardrobe: IKEA TYSSEDAL
White and classic with a traditional build, the TYSSEDAL wardrobe features two mirrored doors, a clothes rail, a shelf, and one drawer. The ledge on top prevents items from being pushed off when you’re grabbing things in a hurry. Price: $429.
Best bang for your buck: IKEA BRIMNES wardrobe with 3 doors
With two doors for hanging clothes, a full-height section for shelves, and a mirror, the BRIMNES three-door wardrobe provides the most clothing storage space in its budget. Available in black, gray, and white. Price: $229.
Best kids or teens wardrobe: IKEA SMÅGÖRA wardrobe
Charming and functional, the IKEA SMÅGÖRA wardrobe is our top pick for kids and teens. With two selves and a hanging rod, this wardrobe is perfect for your little ones. Only available in white, but easy to customize with your favorite knobs and pulls. Price: $179.99.
Best compact wardrobe: IKEA HAUGA wardrobe with sliding doors
The sliding doors of the HAUGA make this IKEA closets a good choice for tight spaces. We also like the rails at the top. Perfect for keeping extra storage boxes on top in place. Price: $269.99.
Best narrow wardrobe: BRIMNES wardrobe with two doors
Not only is BRIMNES our pick for “most bang for your buck” but there’s also a two-door version that is just perfect for narrow spaces. Coming in at just over 30 inches wide, the BRIMNES is IKEA’s most narrow wardrobe option available. Available in black, gray, and white. Upgrade with your favorite style of knobs and pulls! Price: $159.99.
Best temporary wardrobe: IKEA VUKU wardrobe
If you need something temporary, or to store off-season clothes in a spare room, the VAKU is super affordable at only 15 bucks! Lightweight and easy to move around or store when not in use. Price: $14.99.
Best kids’ wardrobe: SMÅSTAD / UPPFÖRA, $198
The SMÅSTAD / UPPFÖRA is geared towards children and preteens, with its colorful doors available in white, green, pink, and gray. Entirely customizable and ready to mix and match.
IKEA Open Closet and Wardrobe Systems
Sometimes a wardrobe is just too bulky for your room. Enter the open closet system! A mix of open and closed storage is the key to keeping this type of closet organized and beautiful. That way you can display the pretty things, and hide the clutter. Most of these systems are infinitely flexible and will prove to be a good investment for years to come.
IKEA ELVARLI wardrobe system
Forgive the upcoming gushing, it’s just that I’m a little in love with IKEA’s ELVARLI line. Those clean, minimal lines all in white just make my organization-loving heart race.
The ELVARLI was designed to be completely customizable, so while you can choose one of the pre-made options from the website, you can also build your own using the ELVARLI planning tool. I’ll go into more detail on IKEA’s handy planners below. For now, just know that the sky is the limit! Or your budget. Your budget is the limit.
Check out how to turn your ELVARLI storage unit into a standing vanity with tons of drawer space:
And I’m dying over designer Sam Szabla’s walk-in closet using ELVARLI!
IKEA JONAXEL wardrobe system
The JONAXEL series is one of IKEA’s most modular storage systems. Think of it as the ELVARLI’s more affordable, and more flexible cousin. Once you’ve attached the upright brackets to the wall, the shelves can be easily rearranged using the pop-in brackets, without tools. It’s very inexpensive, too; the configuration above costs around $200, and look how much clothing you can store!
The JONAXEL system is great for laundry rooms and bathrooms too!
IKEA PAX Closets
If you’ve never heard of PAX, you are in for a treat. It is IKEA’s most versatile closet in that it can be freestanding, built into an existing closet, an open or closed closet system. PAX does it all.
The PAX is IKEA’s luxury closet line that starts at budget prices. And as always, it’s completely modular and customizable. We are talking OPTIONS. So many, in fact, that it can be a bit overwhelming to shop for a PAX system. So let’s break it down!
What are IKEA PAX wardrobes?
The PAX is a customizable closet system that can be used to organize an existing closet, as a stand-alone closed wardrobe, or as an open clothes storage solution (like in that stunning example above).
How do you design and install a PAX closet?
Okay, so you’ve decided you want to organize your life with a PAX closet system. Now what? Here are some key things you need to know to get started:
- You can opt for a ready-made PAX wardrobe.
- Use the IKEA planner to design your own.
- PAX frames come in two heights: 79 1/8″ or 92 7/8″
- And three widths: 19 5/8″, 29 1/2″, and 39 3/8″
- Corner PAX units exist!
- You can choose between sliding doors and hinged doors.
Now that we’ve covered the very basic basics, let’s design an IKEA PAX closet!
How to use IKEA’s Planning Tools
IKEA loves making things easy for us. That’s why the brilliant minds behind the home furnishing giant created online planning tools for its storage systems. So we, too, could have a place for everything, and everything in its place.
IKEA PAX Planner
You can access IKEA’s PAX planner two ways: click “Design it yourself” on any PAX product page, or from the main Planning Tools landing page.
Once you’ve launched the planner, you can choose how you would like to get started: Guide me, Design from scratch, or browse inspiration. Experiment with all three options and choose the path that feels easiest for you. The IKEA Planner will lay out all the options with prices, so you’ll make sure to stay within your budget.
IKEA’s KOMPLEMENT series has every kind of closet organizer you can imagine to maximize storage space in your PAX.
My absolute favorite thing about IKEA’s planners is that once you are finished with your design, the tool will generate a shopping list and let you know if the items are in-stock at your local IKEA store. You can add all the items in your list to the cart to purchase online for pickup or delivery. Any which way you go, be sure to select that ‘Save for later’ option, just in case!
Assembling and Installing IKEA Closets
So how hard is it to assemble your own IKEA closet system? Well, that depends a little on your level of patience. If there’s one negative association IKEA has, it’s that putting together furniture can be a pain in the [insert your favorite expletive here].
But remember, IKEA designs their furniture so that it can be assembled by absolute beginners, with a bare minimum of tools. So it’s really not THAT hard! In general, if you can follow directions, and know how to hang a picture with a nail and hammer, you can assemble an IKEA closet or wardrobe.
From my experience as a lifelong IKEA fan, and frequent assembler of IKEA furniture, here is my advice on how to install all types of IKEA closets as painlessly as possible:
- Don’t go it alone! Large items, like the PAX, JONAXEL, or ELVARLI systems, require two people.
- Triple-check your shopping list before you leave the store to make sure you have ALL the parts.
- When you get home, organize the boxes in the order that you will need them, with the first items (usually, the largest) easily accessible.
- FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER. I know that seems redundant to say, but often when something goes wrong, it’s because a step was missed.
- Check out IKEA’s instructional assembly videos for tips.
- Use an electric drill or driver to insert screws, it will save you so much time!
And don’t forget, if you feel stuck, you can always hire help through IKEA’s partner, Taskrabbit!
IKEA PAX Hacks
We love IKEA hacks around here! Here are some gorgeous PAX closet hacks to inspire your own closet makeover.
How to make a PAX wardrobe look built-in:
This hack is not for the faint-hearted—a custom PAX installed under the roof eaves!
This PAX wardrobe was raised onto a custom wooden platform and finished with floating shelves. The chunky knobs add a stunning touch!
A wallpapered back, plus framing added to the doors, make this PAX look like a totally different piece.
Or simplify this idea with squares of paper added to one of IKEA’s PAX door options:
This idea works for drawers, too!
Alternative IKEA Closet Hacks
So you’ve seen how to use an ELVARLI, JONAXEL, or PAX system to organize your bedroom closet. But if you are really out to DIY, check out these other ways you can use IKEA products to build a custom closet.
KALLAX closet hack:
BILLY bookcase closet hacks:
IKEA RAST wardrobe hack:
Check out more great closet ideas from Curbly
- Seriously Useful Apartment-Friendly Closet Organization Ideas for Renters
- How to Organize Your Linen Closet Like a Boss
- How to: Give Boring Closet Doors an Inexpensive, Architectural Makeover
- 5 Things To Learn From This Incredible Closet To Nursery Makeover
- Roundup:8 Clever DIY Closet Organization Ideas