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How to Turn IKEA PAX into Beautiful Built-ins

Are you tired of looking at your plain, boring IKEA closet? Do you want to make it look like a custom built-in without breaking the bank? Well, you’re in luck because in this blog post, we’ll show you how to make your IKEA closet look like a custom built-in using some simple hacks and tips.

When we bought our 1929 Tudor there was much work to be done. From the things you could see like the bars on the windows to the things you couldn’t see, decaying 100 year old cast iron pipes, we really had so many projects.

One of our top priorities was adding a second shower/bath tub. The only tub was upstairs, but the room we planned to use as a guest room was downstairs. Very awkward for host and guests alike.

To remedy this, we took the closet space from the guest room for the adjacent bathroom and dropped in a tub/shower.

Then we replaced the closet using a DIY IKEA closet hack. Keep reading to see how we made the budget closet renovation look built-in and fit the style of our home.

Steps How to Turn IKEA PAX into Beautiful Built-ins

1. Add Crown Moulding.

How to Turn IKEA PAX into Beautiful Built-ins

The first option in making your IKEA closet look like a custom built-in is to add molding to the top and sides. This will give the closet a more finished look and make it appear as though it’s part of the wall. You can use wood or MDF molding, and it can be easily attached using a nail gun or adhesive.

The crown molding worked for us because we had wanted to add it in the room, and including it on the closet made sense to continue the line. Check out before photos of our guest room.

2. Add Baseboard.

Budget closet renovation

This is sort of a continuation on moulding.

We ran the baseboard along the side of the closet to keep the flow.

3. Invest in Hardware.

Add unique hardware to IKEA PAX

Next, don’t forget about the details. Adding hardware such as knobs and pulls to the closet doors and drawers can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of the closet. You can also add lighting inside the closet to highlight your clothes and accessories.

This was really fun to shop for! I found the three knobs at Anthropologie in the sale section! Our goal in renovating our house has been to bring back the 1920s charm that was stripped over the years, while balancing modern needs. I liked the warmth of the brass finish and the detail looked vintage to me.

Choose hardware that speaks to you and the style of the room.

4. Paint Your IKEA System.

Painting molding on IKEA closet

This is another great way to really customize the look of your closet.

The IKEA PAX wardrobe system is available in white, black and gray.

Make sure to use a really good primer that will create a nice surface for the paint to adhere to.

We chose to paint the closet the same color as our walls. I’ve been debating painting the closet and all moldings in the room a blue or green, but that’s a whole other topic.

You could also consider painting the closet a different color than the surrounding walls. This will create a contrast and make the closet stand out as a focal point in the room. You can choose a color that complements your existing decor or go bold with a statement color.

5. Order custom doors.

make your IKEA closet look like a custom built-in

We stuck with IKEA cabinet doors, but Semihandmade makes cabinet doors for IKEA and other brands, so you can further your bespoke look.

What we used How to Turn IKEA PAX into Beautiful Built-ins:

PAX Wardrobe frame – white, double

PAX Wardrobe frame – white, single

PAX Grimo Doors – white, three total

Cabinet Knobs – The ones I bought are no longer available, but I’ve linked similar options at the end of the post.

Zinser Primer – this will make a difficult surface ready for paint

Mullion Moulding – we used this on the vertical edges where the wardrobe frame meets the wall.

Crown Moulding

Base Board – this is the MDF version, but we actually used a wood version.

Caulk – covers any spaces between moulding and walls, ceilings, and the wardrobe frames. I linked caulk that is paintable.

Paint – we painted this color all over our house.

Paint roller – this one works well on IKEA composite materials.

Pin How to Turn IKEA PAX into Beautiful Built-ins

IKEA PAX Closet Hack Video Pin
How to Turn IKEA PAX into Beautiful Built-ins

Have you ever tried an IKEA hack? Let me know in comments!

If you like home renovation projects, see how we transformed our fireplace.

Shop knobs for your closet renovation.

I found options that resemble the knobs we have, but I couldn’t resist linking a few other styles! Just click on the photos for more details and fun!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via a provided link, we may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Feel free to read our disclosure.

42 thoughts on “How to Turn IKEA PAX into Beautiful Built-ins”

  1. Rachel - Tea and Forget-me-nots

    Wow the moulding makes all the difference. Love this idea. This makes me want to redo my awful shutter doors on my wardrobes!

    1. Thanks Rachel! I wish I had some before photos and in process of installing the closet. We were just in go mode trying to knock out projects when we installed it. Have a great day!

  2. I have never tried an Ikea hack, but you did an outstanding job! Love it, and it does look like it has always been there. The hardware you chose is beautiful. Thank you for sharing with Whimsy Home Wednesday Marie!

  3. This looks just like a custom piece! I love the way it came together. It looks amazing, you guys did such a great job on it and I know helps to keep you organized too! Hugs, CoCo

  4. This is a great solution for a room that doesn’t have a closet! I might add this to my craft room! Iโ€™m excited to tell you that this post will be featured in Tuesday Turn About Link Party this week! Thanks so much for linking up and we hope to see you this week! Pinned ๐Ÿ˜Š

  5. I love IKEA hacks, and this one is lovely, and pretty easy, too! Thanks for sharing the tutorial, Marie, and for linking at Tuesday Turn About! I’m delighted to be featuring your post at this week’s party! Pinned… and don’t forget to enter the giveaway throughout this week!

    1. Oh wow Julie thank you so much for including my IKEA hack post as a feature this week! Thank you for hosting ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to linking up this week and learning more about the giveaway.

  6. Pingback: Tuesday Turn About #199 Tips and Giveaway -

  7. The baseboard and hardware you chose is perfect. Love those small vintage details that make it look like it has always been there.

    1. Hi Terry! Great question. Yes, the closet is bolted to the wall. IKEA closet systems include a way to attach to the wall. I should include a photo of this! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great week!

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