Everything You Need to Know to Design the IKEA Closet of Your Dreams

by Marlene Sauer

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.                 

ikea closet organization
Image: IKEA

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 in shape! 


JUMP AHEAD

Closet Systems from IKEA 

IKEA makes it easy to stay organized with their 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 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.

Check out these IKEA wardrobe options: 

IKEA TYSSEDAL wardrobe
Image source: IKEA

Best higher-end wardrobe: TYSSEDAL, $399

White and classic with a traditional build, this wardrobe features two mirrored doors, a clothes rail, shelf, and one drawer. The ledge on top prevents items from being pushed off when you're grabbing things in a hurry. 

 

IKEA BRIMNES closet
Image source: IKEA

Best bang for your buck: BRIMNES, $129

With two doors for hanging clothes, a full-height section for shelves, and a mirror, the BRIMNES provides the most clothing storage space in its budget. And it comes in black, too.

 

Blue and white wardrobe in colorful kid's room
Image source: IKEA

Best kids' wardrobe: STUVA, $229 

The STUVA is geared towards children and preteens, with its colorful FRITIDS doors available in blue, pink, red, or white.

 

IKEA TRYSIL wardrobe with dark wood and mirrored door
Image source: IKEA

Best compact wardrobe: TRYSIL, $199

The sliding doors of the TRYSIL make these IKEA closets a good choice for tight spaces. 

 

IKEA BREIM wardrobe
Image source:  IKEA

Best temporary wardrobe: BREIM, $29.99 

If you need something temporary, or to store off-season clothes in a spare room, the BREIM is super affordable at only 30 bucks!

 


Freestanding IKEA Closets

Sometimes a wardrobe is just too bulky for your room. Enter the freestanding 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.

Naturally, there is a wide range of modular IKEA closets to choose from:

ELVARLI 

How to maximize the ELVARLI closet
Image: Cosmopolitan

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).

Think you're too messy to make open storage work for you? Take a look at how much clothing Igor from Happy Interior Blog stuffed onto his ELVARLI:

Happy Interior Blog

It works, right??

Or, 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!

Sam Szabla ELVARLI walk-in closet
Image: Sam Szabla

 

ALGOT

IKEA ALGOT closet organization
Image: Just a Girl and Her Blog

The ALGOT series is one of IKEA's most modular storage systems. Think of it as the ELVARLI's more affordable, and more flexible, predecessor. 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 below costs only $152.50, and look how much clothing you can store!

IKEA ALGOT CLOSET
Image: IKEA

IKEA's ALGOT closet is a fabulous solution for small closets because of how much you can store in just a simple setup.

The ALGOT system is great for children's closets, too!

Here Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog breaks down how she designed a closet for herself and her husband. And she even shares how to measure for an IKEA ALGOT closet system:  

Related to the ALGOT system, the ANTONIUS wire frames and baskets can be used in addition to an ALGOT closet, or as an entirely separate closet organizer, as in this storage idea from Personally Andrea.

Those homemade chalkboard labels started out as wall plate covers!

 


IKEA PAX Closets

If you've never heard of PAX...you are in for a treat.  

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).

Built-in PAX wardrobe idea
Image: And Christina

 

How do you design and install a PAX closet?

IKEA PAX wardrobe
Image: IKEA

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:

 

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  

ikea pax planning tool
Image: IKEA

You can access IKEA's PAX planner two ways: click "Customize this combination" on any PAX product page, or navigate to "Planning Tools" in IKEA's footer.  

You can find the ALGOT and ELVARLI Planning Tools on the main tool page, too!

Once you've launched the planner, you can choose an existing combination to customize, or "Create Pax from scratch" to design your own custom PAX closet. 

how to use ikea pax planning tool
Image: IKEA

 

Don't forget to create an account so you can save your design!

The most fun part about designing your own closet is choosing interior closet organizers. These are the nitty-gritty organizing details that make me drool (yeah, I'm an organizing freak. You know you are too).

IKEA's KOMPLEMENT series has every kind of closet organizer you can imagine to maximize storage space in your PAX. 

ikea komplement organizer
Image: IKEA

But, 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 sort all the items by where they are located in the store. PURE. GENIUS.

ikea product list
Image: IKEA

 


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 life-long 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, ALGOT, 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 assembly services!

 


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:

Image: Braun + Adams

This hack is not for the faint-hearted --- a custom PAX installed under roof eaves!

IKEA PAX closet hack
Image: Ikea Hackers

This PAX wardrobe was raised onto a custom wooden platform and finished with floating shelves. The chunky knobs add a stunning touch!

raised ikea pax hack
Image: Design*Sponge

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!

Image: Made By Girl

 


Alternative IKEA Closet Hacks 

So you've seen how to use an ELVARLI, ALGOT, 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:

billy bookcase ikea closets
Image: Coop and Home

IKEA RAST wardrobe hack:

 


Are you ready to make your own IKEA closets? Which system do you think you would pick? And which closet in your house is the biggest disaster zone right now? We'd love to hear what you think of our IKEA closet design guide!

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A cup of tea

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Learn to make these minimal clothesline baskets.

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If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen my story about adventures in DIY basket land. No lie, it was a little rocky at first. I did have to start over twice, but hopefully my floundering can help you succeed. Here's what I learned: The key to a successful clothesline basket it to not rush. Take your time, and whatever you do, don't be forceful! Just sit back and let the machine do the majority of the work. Okay, let's get started! Watch to see how this basket came together, and follow the full tutorial below.

 

Materials

 

  • Cotton clothesline, which can be found at your local hardware store
  • Thread to match the clothesline (I chose a colored called "natural")
  • Sewing machine and notions
  • Floss or yarn (optional)
  • Thread to match the floss or yarn (optional)

What you'll need to make clothesline baskets

Step

How to sew a cotton coil clothesline basket

To begin, set your sewing machine to a zigzag stitch, and load it with the neutral thread color. You will want a wide enough stitch to join the edges of clothesline together. Next, coil one end of the clothesline in a snail-shape. Keep the coil in place using straight pins.

Use a zigzag stitch to start the base of the coil rope basket

Using a zigzag stitch, sew around the coil starting from the center, following the snail-shaped path. Your zigzag stitches should reach across the divot between the edges of clothesline. Go slowly as you begin. As needed, leave the needle down and rotate after releasing the pressure foot to make tighter turns.  

Step

Continue the clothesline to form the base of the basket

Continue following the coil shape, stitching the clothesline to the perimeter of your initial coil. Make sure that the zigzag stitch is catching both sides of the clothesline, otherwise you'll end up with holes in your basket. Do not pull or push on the clothesline as you stitch it in place - this will make the shape warp! The dogs of your sewing machine will feed the clothesline through as you go, keeping you at a good pace and tension. All you have to do is feed the clothesline through and keep it on track. Continue sewing until you've reached the desired size for the bottom of your basket.

Step

Turn the bottom of your basket at an angle

When you're ready to start working on the sides, rotate the bottom of the basket up, and continue stitching as before. Try to force the bottom of the basket at an angle as you stitch, but again, don't pull or push. Stitch at an angle as you continue, and the basket will begin to curl up and take shape. Once your basket has successfully turned, stitch as before. Keep sewing around and around until your basket is as tall as you want it to be. 

Step

Use thread or floss to wrap your cording as you go to create stripes in your clothesline basket.

If you want to add a little extra detail to your basket, you can wrap the clothesline in floss, thread, or yarn intermittently before stitching it in place. I paused 4-5 rotations from the top to wrap the clothesline in floss, creating a stripe. 

Use alternating thread to create different color patterns while sewing your clothesline basket

After wrapping the clothesline in floss, use matching thread to carry on the zigzag stitch.  

Step 

How to make a basket from cotton rope

When the basket has reached the desired height, it's time to add handles. Carry the clothesline away from the basket in a handle shape and pin in place, as seen above. Continue the zigzag stitch up to the point where the handle starts. Backstitch to tie off, and pick the zigzag stitch back up where the handle ends. Repeat for the other handle.

Make This: The Clothesline Basket

Stitch around again, and when you meet with the first handle, sew along the top of the handle, carrying your clothesline along the handle. Continue around, and repeat for the second handle. Repeat this type of rotation as many times as desired, depending on how thick you want your handles to be. 

Step

When you are finished, cut the end of the clothesline 1-2 inches away from the stitch. Sew the end in place on the inside of the basket. 


And voilá! A clothesline basket!

Make This: Simple and versatile clothesline baskets

Details from a DIY clothesline basket

Use cotton rope to make baskets of unique and varying sizes!

 

Make this simple Scandinavian-inspired clothesline basket
Share this on Pinterest! 

 

After getting the hang of the process, I could see marathoning a Netflix show and making a whole slew of these. Once the basket starts to take shape, it's kind of relaxing and cathartic. Basically the perfect rainy day activity. Happy sewing!

 

 

Watch as we transform a plain IKEA organizer into an adorable picnic basket!

IKEA hack picnic basket

 

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