How to create an IKEA closet that looks completely custom (2023)

Giving your wardrobe a makeover can take a lot of time, effort and, let's face it, money. But if you're willing to get creative, you might face aupdate closeton a budget and you can still have something that looks completely custom. As? Making the most of IKEA wardrobe systems and adding details that visually enhance your spaceMuch more expensiveof what is

Of course, if you ever hadI bought it at IKEABefore that, you know the Swedish giant has a plethora of closet systems on sale, so figuring out what to buy is a challenge. Then you need to install your closet system, polish it, and match your space to your decor.

In other words, building your own IKEA closet probably won't be easy, but it will be an inexpensive way to get the custom closet of your dreams. To make your life a little easier, we spoke to three lifestyle bloggers who have first-hand experience with IKEA cabinets to find out what you need to know before building your own.

meet the expert

01from 08

plan your space

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The first step is easy: figure out what you want your closet to look like. If you are happy with the size and shape of your closet, you can leave it as it is. But if you're not, maybe you should consider it further.structural rehabilitation.

"When we bought our home, we decided to immediately update all the doors and trim to match our transitional style," Casey Finn, the blogger behinddo it yourself manual, it says. "Since we were already replacing the doors and frame, we thought it would make sense to also remove the wall between the two cabinets to gain a few feet of extra space."

Finn says he talked to his contractor to make sure the wall was non-structural and that the renovation was feasible. When he got the green light, he had the contractor take care of it.

The result? Two large closets that blended in seamlessly with the rest of her home. "If you're already making changes to a room, explore every option you can to free up more storage space and make it work more for you and your family," he says.

Once your closet is structurally how you want it, take a moment to measure it. You will need these exact measurements when purchasing your IKEA closet system.

02from 08

Commit to a closet system

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Once you've set up your canvas—in this case, the silhouette of your closet—it's time to fill it with stuff. Simply put, it's time to shop (online).

Well, when it comes to IKEA, shopping isn't necessarily an easy task: there are a lot of products on sale, and since IKEA sells products in collections, you might want to start there.opt for a closet systembefore going to the exact products you want. It might take some time to wade through all the options, but if you're looking for a start, check it out.Or IKEA PAX system(a true lifestyle blogger favorite).

“Personally, we prefer using the PAX collection because it feels premium and integrated,” says Finn. “It's also nice because once you install a PAX frame in a cabinet, you can easily customize it with rails, shelves, drawers, etc. If you want to change rooms later (eg.Deskfor a quarter), there's no need to rip everything out and start over.”

How to create an IKEA closet that looks completely custom (3)

(Video) 7 Ways To Customise Your Ikea Pax Closet To Make It Look More Expensive *get the luxe look for less*

IkeaPAX Wardrobe$ 465,00


And remember that you can always customize your closet system by combining and coordinating products from different lines. Jackie Hempel, the lifestyle blogger behindfind it beautiful, did just that. He used the PAX system as the basis for his wardrobe, then added a fewchest of drawers SONGESANDto give you more opportunities.

"For us, it comes down to cost," she says. “If you use the PAX system, you definitely have more spacing options, but you don't have a finished product. You have to buy the drawer and cabinet fronts to get that built-in cabinet feel. After doing the math, Hempel found that those drawer fronts and cabinets added up quickly.

“We figured we could line up two SONGESAND dressers that already had a Shaker-style drawer front and add some inexpensive finishes to the spaces,” says Hempel. "It felt like the finished, integrated product I was looking for for a lot less money."

03from 08

Take advantage of IKEA online planners

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Once you've decided on a wardrobe system, you can benefit from it.IKEA planning tools. Planners are not available for all closet systems, but they are available for some of the most popular closet systems:as PAX.

Start by entering the exact dimensions of your closet. Then drag and drop furniture until your closet is perfect. While planners only give you access to one closet system at a time, keep in mind that you can mix and match different options, which can take a little extra work.

Finn says it took him a few hours to fully plan his space, and he stopped by his local IKEA to see for himself the products he had in mind before purchasing.

“This was our first time wearing the PAX collection and we wanted to see for ourselves what it would look and feel like,” she says. "We also wanted to see any updates you could add to make sure we review all of our options before purchasing."

Finn says this process was helpful, but don't worry if you don't live near an IKEA. "It's just as easy to get a good picture of products online," he says.

04from 08

build your closet

How to create an IKEA closet that looks completely custom (6)

Once you have your IKEA products in hand, it's time to start assembling your closet. Keep in mind that while your IKEA cabinet can be customized a bit, it won't exactly fit your space. You may need to do some extra work to make sure everything lines up correctly.

For example, lifestyle bloggersErin Kestenbaumhe used wooden pads to lift some of the pieces in his closet system and make sure everything was level. "Most homes aren't built very square, regardless of age," she says. "So making sure to install the units level will keep the drawers, doors and more working as expected."

This approach may give you extra space on the bottom of your drives, but don't worry about that for now. You can handle this when adding the finishing touches to your space.

(Video) IKEA PAX Closet | Home With Stefani

Also, be sure to follow the instructions. "If you've ever assembled anything from IKEA, you know the instructions," writes Finn in aBlog post on how to assemble your IKEA cabinet. "You have no words. Rather, they are all illustrations that you must follow very closely."

She adds that while it's often tempting to get to work right away, it's worth stopping for a moment and reading the instructions carefully. "If you put the screw in the wrong hole, your entire piece is gone," he writes.

An easy way to save time and effort? Receive your IKEA finds at home. Finn shared that it's so much easier to pay a little extra and have all of your supplies shipped right to your door.

05from 08

add lighting

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lighting is a mustin every closet and DIY oneremodel closetin fact, you have the option of building lighting directly into your closet system.

Kestenbaum took this approach, adding recessed lighting throughout the closet. "In custom cabinetry, it's common to have additional lighting in the units so you can really see all of your items," she says. "The recessed lighting helped elevate things aesthetically and also provided some much-needed functionality, especially in this long, dark space."

How to create an IKEA closet that looks completely custom (8)

AmazonasDimmable AIBOO lights under cabinet$ 34,00


To complete the look, Kestenbaum drilled a hole in the top shelf of each unit. Then he filled those holes withdisc lighter. To make things even more convenient, Kestenbaum has wired the bulbs in the same electrical box so you can easily access them whenever you go into the closet.

“Alternatively, IKEA sellsLighting specially designed for the PAX systemthat provides the function,” says Kestenbaum. "It's not as simple as pushing a button."

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IkeaNORFLY LED light bar$ 35,00


06from 08

Customize your wardrobe with touches of luxury

How to create an IKEA closet that looks completely custom (10)

Your closet is built and recessed lighting is installed; It sure is time to put your clothes in the closet, right? Not exactly. Now is the perfect time to add luxurious structural details like baseboards,crown bar, custom drawer fronts and much more.

(Video) $800 DIY custom walk-in closet makeover! Using the IKEA PAX wardrobe system! Viral TikTok series!

After building your IKEA closet system, you may notice some extra space at the base of your units, and depending on the height of your ceilings, you may also have extra space above them. Since your closet system was not built specifically for your space, this is to be expected. Kestenbaum has a clever way to solve this all-too-common problem: installing baseboards and crown molding.

"We went to great lengths to customize the PAX units with the goal of making our wardrobe that much more premium (and expensive) than IKEA," she says. Kestenbaum's goal was to make his IKEA closet feel as individual as possible, and baseboards and crown molding went a long way toward making that happen.

Not only did they cover up the extra space above and below your IKEA units, but they also made your space feel that much more luxurious. "The addition of crown molding and baseboards made the units look constructed rather than thrown together, which is how IKEA pieces often look," he says.

Of course, Kestenbaum didn't stop there. She also swapped out IKEA drawer fronts with custom options (which she made herself) and added custom hardware to each drawer.

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AnthropologyAgarre Graham$ 2.230,00


07from 08

hide imperfections

How to create an IKEA closet that looks completely custom (12)

At this point, you're probably ready to fill your closet with clothes and call it a day. But resist the urge a little longer and take a few final moments to cover up any blemishes you see.

A favorite starting point? Plug any unused holes you find in your closet. Because IKEA closet systems are designed for flexibility, they are lined with holes that let you insert drawers, shelves, rails and more. These holes are useful, but you might not be able to use all of them. Fortunately, IKEA sells plugs that you can use to fill in any unused holes.

"Once your closet is fully installed, you'll want to wrap it up and breathe a sigh of relief," says Finn. "However, we felt it was important to take the time to add the 'extras' to really finish the project." finn usesIKEA cover platesto plug all the unused holes, and she used it tooscrew capsCover visible screws.

How to create an IKEA closet that looks completely custom (13)

IkeaVARIERA cover plate pack of 100$ 3,00


If you want to take things to the next level, you can also cover the seam. which is in the middle of many IKEA wardrobe products.

"We wanted to hide the seams on the back of the PAX that reveal it's a flat piece of furniture," says Kestenbaum. "Adding the textured wallpaper was a quick and easy way to hide that seam and add a little more interest." He points out that if you don't like the wallpaper, you can use a piece of plywood.

How to create an IKEA closet that looks completely custom (14)

heimdepotgrass paper removable wallpaper$ 125,00


(Video) IKEA PAX Hack. My DIY Step-by-step wardrobe guide to customising - UNDER £500

Another step you can take to complete your wardrobe? Add a layer of paint. Kestenbaum painted his closet system an elegant dark blue that made a statement and looks great paired with his carefully selected brass hardware.

"I knew I wanted the space to feel like a defined space unto itself, and color is the easiest and most dramatic way to change the overall feel of a space," says Kestenbaum. "Choosing a bold, dark color in a small space can create that drama without the same level of commitment as a room where you spend a lot of time."

08from 08

Finish things off with the decor.

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Your wardrobe is finally complete. Now all that remains is to fill it with material. Stocking your closet with clothes, shoes, and accessories is an obvious first step, and take a fewessential organizationcan help you keep your space in top condition.

Finn filled his drawers with inserts and pull-out trays, a move that made his closet look luxurious and organized, and added a few baskets to hold things like purses and scarves.

This is your ultimate guide to closet organization.

“We like to find the best feature for a drawer or shelf and then look around for the best items,” she says. "For example, I have a jewelry insert from The Container Store in a master bedroom closet drawer and it works perfectly for storing all my goodies."

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the container storeAvera jewelry organizer trays$ 2.999,00


If you have a walk-in closet, you can tie your space together with decorative essentials like a rug, a little art, and a littlestatement lighting.

"I created a layout board for the closet and looked for decorative features to give the space a cohesive yet unique feel," says Hempel. She completed her wardrobe with woven baskets, elegant hardware, a patterned rug, and a beaded chandelier.

"Matching the lighting surfaces with the hardware brought more cohesion and an individual, sophisticated feel," she says. "Adding quality lighting was also a way to give the space a luxurious feel."

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AnthropologyCarys Rattan-Kronleuchter$ 1.198,00$ 900,00


Hempel knew from the start that it wanted these items, so it included them in its closet makeover budget early on. Knowing how time-consuming DIY projects can be, she took her time shopping for these items and kept an eye out for what was on sale.

"Give yourself a break," she says. "Every DIYer takes a lot of time, but especially when you're making IKEA bookshelves and dressers, you just have to give yourself a lot of time to adjust."

"Assembling IKEA furniture and cabinets is definitely tedious, but totally doable," says Finn. “You don't have to be a seasoned DIY enthusiast to tackle a project like this. What we can do, so can you!"


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