IKEA’s PAX Closet System: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

IKEA PAX Wardrobe System - the good, the bad, and the ugly final

I love to organize. Especially closets. Always have. For our current home, I wanted to have something a little nicer than ClosetMaid and was planning to install an elfa system from the Container Store until I got an estimate and found that it was way out of our budget.  After exploring all of our options, we ended up choosing to go with a PAX wardrobe system from IKEA that we’ve now had for about three years. I did a big closet clean-out this past weekend so thought it would be a good time to take some pics and give a review of my experience with the PAX system.

First off – a quick tour: the size and layout of our closet is such that three 39″ wide PAX wardrobe frames lined up end-to-end perfectly fit the space along the far wall, leaving just a few inches between each end and the wall. On the wall to the right when you enter the closet is a fourth 39″ wide PAX unit.  

Plan for layout of PAX closet units

Unlike in the layout pic, the three PAX frames on the long wall are connected together with no gaps in between (unfortunately, without a wide angle lens, I can’t get a pic of them all together):

Our closet with PAX wardrobes

IKEA currently has three different PAX wardrobe colors to choose from: white, black-brown, and white stained oak effect. We went with the black-brown since we have a similar colored vanity and towel cabinet in the master bathroom that this closet is off of.  There are a lot of options for customizing the interior of the PAX wardrobe frames – the accessories that we included in our design are:

*KOMPLEMENT clothes rails for our hanging clothes (they also sell the clothes rails in white):


*KOMPLEMENT pull-out pants hangers (they also sell the pants hangers in white):


*KOMPLEMENT shoe organizer (Update!: IKEA has replaced this type of shoe organizer with pull out shoe shelves and trays)


*KOMPLEMENT drawers (which are now also offered with clear fronts as an option)

*KOMPLEMENT wire basket (they also sell the wire basket in white):

*KOMPLEMENT shelves:

*SKUBB boxes in white – three of them placed side by side perfectly fit a 39″ wardrobe frame. As you can see, they have front handles that make it easy to pull them down from a high shelf.

IKEA SKUBB boxes in white used in PAX closet

We also have a full-length mirror on the far right wall (the older version of the HEMNES mirror in black-brown) 

IKEA HEMNES full-length mirror

as well as an x-bench (from HomeGoods) on the left side of the closet:

Upholstered X-bench

Now on to my review including the good, the bad, and the ugly of IKEA’s PAX Closet System:

the good

*IKEA has a PAX Planner that allows you to create your dream closet online, providing you with the cost of your system and a printable list of the products you have chosen.
*The price of a custom PAX closet system is significantly less than most other custom closet systems including The Container’s Store elfa system and California Closets’ systems.
*It’s not difficult to put the PAX wardrobes and interior accessories together – they come with instructions that I thought were pretty easy to follow and require no special tools.
*The units line up and connect to one another well (we were able to connect our three PAX frames so that there are no gaps or spaces between them and they appear to be one continuous unit) and they are very sturdy.
*The KOMPLEMENT wood drawers, shoe organizer, and pull-out pants hangers all come with a sturdy track on which these accessories can be easily and smoothly pushed in and pulled out.  They all seem very sturdy and well made.  I’m also happy with the SKUBB storage boxes and love how the three boxes fit perfectly on the shelf for storage. 
*I think that the finished closet system has an attractive, custom, high-end look.

the bad

*While the PAX closet system is easy to assemble, it requires two people and takes quite a bit of time for a large closet.
*The PAX wardrobe frames come in only three sizes – in most cases, you can create a combination of sizes that will work for your space but you most likely won’t end up with a fully wall-to-wall system.
*The PAX system only works well for walk-in closets (it’s generally not feasible to use inside your typical two-door closet). 
*The wardrobe frames are made of particleboard so if you put a ding in them during assembly, the laminate could chip off (although we did not have this problem).
*The KOMPLEMENT wire basket/drawer is horrible – it comes with a totally different type of track than the KOMPLEMENT wood drawers and is very hard to slide in and out.  Also, it comes off of the track if pulled out too far.  I would recommend paying the extra money for the wood drawers.
*While I love my KOMPLEMENT shoe organizer, there isn’t a lot of space between the rows of shoes so I can’t use if for any of my shoes with big heels (Update! As noted above, IKEA now has shoe shelves and trays which seem like they would work much better!)

the ugly

*Take a good look at all of the finish choices before you order because at least one of them has a very “fake wood” appearance and isn’t (in my opinion) very attractive. (Update!: I guess other people agreed with me because IKEA no longer offers the PAX in the finish that I thought was ugly. The three that they offer now are all fairly attractive)
*One of the interior accessories – the KOMPLEMENT handwoven storage with compartments – looked great online for organizing drawers, but in person it is floppy, ugly, and useless. I would recommend that you learn from my mistake and look at all of the accessories in the store before purchasing them rather than going straight to the pick-up area with your list from online. 

Overall, my husband and I are very happy with our PAX closet system and would choose to use it again in another home (even though I don’t relish the thought of spending hours and hours putting another one together…). I’d love to hear your experience if you have a PAX closet system or wardrobe and see if it’s the same as mine!

KJ Signature


  1. says

    I only recently started following your blog but I’m so glad I did. Thank you very much for posting up this review and photos. We’re really lacking in storage space but low on budget so the PAX has been the main contender for a wall of closet space. It’s nice to see it in action!

  2. erika barnes says

    I too am really glad you posted this. I have been going over and over the Pax system online, trying to configure everything and wishing there were reviews. This is great. Thanks!

  3. says

    I’m designing a master closet for myself, a shoe lover. I need to maximize the space for storage found using a deeper unit can fit more shoes. Most closet design places only allow for one deep shoe shelves and the PAX unit shows four deep, which is a huge difference overall. What if I used the PAX shoe rack pictured above and added roll out shelf/drawers for shoes to be placed flat to accommodate the higher heeled shoes and flip flop type shoes that don’t fit the regular shoe form? I thought I would also add a hanging rod to hang boots vertically. Are there any other limitations to the PAX shoe rack you have? Do shoes fit firmly? Does it accommodate a range of shoe sizes? Thanks for your review.

    • says

      Hi Debbie – that’s actually exactly what I did. In addition to my shoe rack, one of my KOMPLEMENT drawers is dedicated to holding all of my high heels and flip flops and it works well for me. The only issue with the shoe rack that I’ve had is with high heels – it’s otherwise great and fits my shoes firmly (they never fall off). Good luck with your closet design!

  4. says

    Oh perfect..it’s great to hear. I can’t wait to do the closets. My clothes have been begging me to let them out of the storage boxes for quite some time.

  5. says

    Thanks for this review. My holiday present from my husband is that we will demolish the two hideous reach in closets with brass and mirror sliding doors and replace the whole thing with 3 Pax closets and doors. I’ve seen some good hacks for making the Pax look built in, but no reviews on the Komplement interiors until this. Thanks for the reviews!

    I have two questions. How are the full size clothes rails holding up. If I load them up will they hold up well?

    Also, what have you done with boots? I have a few pairs and it doesn’t seem like Ikea has anyplace to put them.


    • says

      What a wonderful present! The clothing rails have held up very well and seem like they would support quite a bit of weight so I doubt you’ll have a problem. As for the boots, probably the best solution would be to lay them in a KOMPLEMENT drawer (I have one drawer dedicated to high heels and flip flops). I actually don’t keep mine in the closet – my boos are in a low profile storage bin on rollers under my bed.

  6. Anonymous says

    This is a fabulous review. I have been wanting to do drawers under hanging clothes for some time now, but surprisingly have not seen many examples of that configuration. Thanks for posting!

  7. says

    Oh, that’s a good idea to keep boots under the bed. I’ve been trying to figure out where I’d put them also, but I want a storage bed anyway, so that would be perfect. I’m working with quite cramped space as I moved back in with my parents due to my mom’s health, and they gave me the master bedroom/bath but I’m trying to make it feel more like an ‘apartment’ in that there’s the bedroom and storage but also a work area. I want to put the ‘office’ in what is now a walk-in closet, so I’m looking at a wall of PAX wardrobes in the bedroom to replace the lost clothing storage. (I’ve been mocking it up online and it just seems more restful if the desk isn’t in the same room as the bed.)

    Anyway – a question about the pants hanger. I want to do double height ‘hanging’ in one of the wardrobes – would you think the pants hanger or a second rail on the bottom would give me more storage space, having seen it in action? I do wear pants/trousers more than skirts. (I plan to also have a smaller long hanging space for my few dresses that need to hang up.) I was thinking the rail would be more versatile, but it looks like you can get a lot on the pants hanger…

    (Bummer about the wire baskets, though. I was pondering a couple for laundry of the dry clean/hand wash variety, since I don’t have a lot but it needs to collect somewhere and the wire seemed better since it’d let stuff air out more in case anything was still damp or something when it got put in the hamper.)

    • says

      I put two pairs of paints on each of the pant hanger rails in my closet so I think it fits more pants than if I had used a standard rail (but if you are only going to put one pair on each pants hanger, it will fit fewer pants than if you used a standard rail). As far as the wire basket goes, if you only have very light things in there, I think it would slide in and out ok. I was using mine for shoes so there was a decent amount of weight and it just didn’t work well. Good luck with creating your PAX system!

  8. says

    So happy I found this posting! I was wondering for men’s clothing & shoes. My husband is 6’4″ and wears size 14 shoe. Do you think there is a solution for storing his shoes?

    Also I was wondering how far the top of the system is from your ceiling – and has there been any issue with space on top?

    • says

      My husband doesn’t use the shoe organizer for his shoes – he just lays them flat in a KOMPLEMENT drawer – but I think the organizer would work for any size shoe. The only difference would be that you’d have to leave more space between the top of the shoe organizer and your next component (drawer or shelf) to allow for the taller shoes. As far as the space on top, there is only about 3″ between the top of the unit and the ceiling but we were still able to install it without a problem. The only issue I would foresee is if you have a walk-in closets with can lights or other ceiling lighting – the unit is so close to the ceiling that you wouldn’t want to put one of the PAX units in an area where lights are immediately over top of it. Hope that helps!

  9. says

    Thanks for the tips! I just scratched off the wire basket from my shopping list. That was really useful information! Thank you for sharing your experience.

  10. Anonymous says

    This is perfect! I’ve been planning and planning which Pax setup I’m going to choose for our new closet organization. I’ve been trying to decide if the 39″ KOMPLEMENT elements hold up to lots of use – namely, the drawers… I’m worried the drawers will sag over time (they’re just SO WIDE) or fall off the rails, etc. Have you had any trouble with the extra wide Komplement drawers?

    We had also considered the black/brown finish but were afraid it would scuff/scratch easily, so were thinking about the lighter birch finish. Have you had any troubles with this?

    Finally, I know the shelves create a really deep ‘pocket’ of a shelf. I had considered using those shelves to stack jeans/pants or sweaters. Would I be better off with drawers, baskets, or hangers? I’m thinking now that it’ll become a messy sweater pit. :(

    Thanks again for this review. I’ll ask more questions as I think of them. HAHA. But no really. :)

    • says

      We’ve had our PAX closet system for over four years now and have had no problems at all with the wood drawers (you probably read that I don’t like the wire ones though). The wood drawers aren’t sagging at all and still roll in and out smoothly. The black/brown finish hasn’t scuffed at all – it looks just as new as the day we got it. However, it is particle board and so if you were to get a gouge in it, it would be more obvious than it would be with the lighter birch finish. As far as the shelves go – you are totally right. There is a lot of area in the back that isn’t all that easy to access when you use the shelves. The only shelves that I have (other than the one dividing my hanging pants from a drawer) are those at the top of each PAX unit. I would recommend drawers rather than shelves at the bottom of the units because it is much easier to access your clothes. Good luck with planning your closet!

    • says

      As for the deep shelves, there’s a PAX shelf that’s only 13.75″ deep, vs. the full-depth 22&7/8″. I used some as the topmost shelves in a 29″ wide PAX system in my garage, and they make seeing things on the top shelf much easier. The 29″ ones are plenty strong for the yard chemicals, spray paints, etc., I have on them, so I suspect 39″ ones would be strong enough for clothes and stuff. The black-brown one is 602.469.33.

      And Kris, thank you so much for your article. I’ve looked and looked at PAX at the store (and we got a quote from The Container Store, wow), but after using PAX in my garage and reading your post I’ve decided to finally do my wife’s closet in it. Now I’m off ot read the rest of your blog!

  11. says

    “The PAX system only works well for walk-in closets (it’s generally not feasible to use inside your typical two-door closet).”
    Please tell me more. I have been planning to put the PAX in a closet wide enough for three horizontal sliding doors. What challenges would I face?

    • says

      Hi Laura,
      The problem for many non walk-in closets is that once the PAX frame is built, it is so much taller than the door opening that you can’t physically get it into the closet. That was the case for our standard closets. I had a friend who was convinced that she could make it work in her house and she got the first PAX frame in her closet but couldn’t get the second one in. Really, it all depends upon the size of your closet. I’m not saying that it never works but you’d definitely want to do a lot of measuring first and/or consider putting the actual frames together inside of the closet (which I think would be pretty challenging!)! Good luck!

  12. says

    Hi Kris,
    I like the idea of hanging 2 pair of pants on each hanger. Do you remember the depth of your PAX unit? Can’t decide if I should go with the 26″ or the 23″.

    • says

      Hi Dan,
      Our PAX units are 23″ deep. My husband and I both have a pull-out pants hanger and put two pairs of pants on each hanger. The pants do overlap a little (his more than mine) but it still works well for us.

  13. Anonymous says

    Can you add to a pax unit once it’s built? ie, if you initially buy a 3 panel carcass, do you have the option one day of adding a fourth?

    • says

      Good question Laura. We did it both ways – on our long wall with three side-by-side PAX units we removed the baseboard so that the units could be flush against the wall but on our short closet wall with just one unit, we kept the baseboard intact because otherwise you would be able to see a small missing area of baseboard as you entered our closet (and I was too lazy to remove the whole thing and just recut a piece to put back in the area that shows). Both ways worked just fine. If it’s easy for you to remove the baseboard and it doesn’t leave any “unbaseboarded” areas obviously showing, that is preferable. If you want to leave the baseboard intact, when you are attaching the units to the wall (which you should definitely do!), use some kind of spacer between the unit and the where you are attaching it to the wall – that will keep your unit staying vertically straight. As far as the carpet goes, we kept the wall to wall carpet totally intact. Good luck!

  14. Anonymous says

    Now that you have had the PAX system for several months, have you found any problems with the shoe storage? I am trying to decide between the two Komplement units available. Also, can you tell me the assembled height of the units, unfortunately ikea doesnt give that dimension. Thanks so much!

    • says

      I had my PAX system for a few years actually and never had any problem with the shoe storage – the shoe organizer is great! Only wish that I had room for a second one because I have more than the 16 pairs of shoes that one shoe organizer holds. Unfortunately, I can’t give you the assembled height of the units because we recently moved and I had to leave my PAX closet behind :-(

  15. says

    HI Kris! LOVE this review! We have planned the closet and purchased the frames and components. Do you have any advice for installation? Not sure that the frame mounting brackets will line up with studs. Do you recommend using furring strips that would be anchored to wall and then frames mounted to strips? Or screw directly flush into drywall. Also, do you have any wall anchor (L-bracket) recs? Thank you!!!

    • says

      Hi Alyssa! When we installed our closet, the units had to go in a particular spot so we weren’t able to position them where they would line up with the studs. To secure the units to the wall, we used our own drywall anchors & screws (specifically, the metal Cobra Wall Drillers). Hope that helps – good luck with the install!

  16. says

    We just finished installing our Pax system. Boy those frames are heavy!! Once we got the first frame together, which took us 4 hours, the others went quickly. We thought it would be nice it Ikea would label top/bottom left right. It is obvious once one is complete, but while in the middle of assembly it’s a bit confusing. The video was very helpful. There are LOTS of pieces; I laid everything(not the whole system, just each drawer, chest, etc.) out first and then assembled it all We have 9’ceilings so there is plenty of room above the frames for whatever. I’m thinking all my Vera bags. Our frames are 93″ tall.
    It also would have been helpful if a template for installing handles on the chest of drawers would be included in the box. We made our own template, but since handles are necessary to open the drawers, an included template would be nice.
    I still have 5 more Komplemnt drawers to install, but they won’t arrive until Tuesday, they were back ordered. We had them pull the order and deliver it. It did add $180.00 (we live way oustside the cheap delivery area) to our bill, but it was well worth the cost.
    The unit looks great and was way cheaper than the “closet lady”, $1,800 vs.$3,700.
    If we ever move, we will install another system. Though we might pay to have it assembled. We are not getting any younger.
    Hope you new house is all you want it to be.
    Great Blog. I just discovered it while searching for Pax hints.

    • says

      I felt the same way – there was a big learning curve but once you got the hang of it, it was fairly easy. And definitely much, much less expensive than other options! Thanks for the kind words about our new house – I love it but I sure miss my old closet!

    • SpecialK says

      Thanks for your post. I was planning to have a contractor do a custom closet for me, but in his delay getting back with me, I found PAX. And I found this great blog article (thanks Kris!). BCGramma, your comments have convinced me that I will definitely go with PAX and not worry about custom closets from a contractor.

  17. says

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m planning to use the Pax in my dressing room. I had been especially wondering about how my high heels would work in the shoe rack.
    After reading all the comments and replies which all have been helpful I just have a few further questions;
    Will shoes with a medium heel work in the shoe rack?
    What do you recommend for purses? I had been thinking the wire baskets but after reading your review I am think I should use something else.
    We will be buying 1 corner unit and from what I can tell you can only get the pre-set items (hanging & shelves) Any other creative ideas for the corner unit?
    Thank You!

    • says

      Hi Elyse – I put shoes with about a heel of about 1 1/2″ or less on the rack and kept the others elsewhere. For your purses, I wouldn’t recommend the wire drawers (purse buckles and other metal parts could easily get through the large mesh and scrape your PAX unit when sliding the drawer in and out) but you could use one of the KOMPLEMENT wood drawers. Another option would be to select the narrowest PAX unit for one of your closet units and devote it to your purses by adding several shelves. As far as the corner units, unfortunately I can’t help you there because we didn’t have any in our closet. Good luck with the designing and hope you love your new dressing room!

  18. Joy says

    Thanks for all the great advise. We are moving to a new home with three units on one side of the room with another three facing it. The previous owner never installed any doors or sliders. We have purchased the larger sliding doors only to find that we cannot install a third. We are likely going to put a frosted pair of doors on the third unit. However, is it possible to cut and splice the tracks to allow all three sliders to close the units and avoid using two types of doors?

  19. says

    This is a great article and I too am looking at the PAX system to solve my issues with closet space. I intend to use it in a den and turn it into a walk-in closet a lot like the “apartment” set up from an earlier comment. Budget is an issue. I used the PAX planner and found that my system (gonna rethink the baskets now) without doors is $585 and with doors is $1230. Can I add doors after it is built?

  20. says

    Hi Kris! I am in the process of planning our master bedroom re-model. This is an older home, so I do not have much space to work with the master bath and closet. I “googled” the question: What is the length of the wardrobe bar in the Pax corner unit? and came across your article. You may have already answered this question, but do you know? It would help so much with planning if I knew how much hanging space the corner units provided, and there is not a store near me. Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      Hi Karen – our PAX closet system doesn’t include any corner units so unfortunately I don’t know the length of the wardrobe bar on those. I would give your nearest IKEA store a call – they can connect you to the right department and answer that question for you. Good luck with your closet planning! And BTW – love the little boston in your profile pic – we have one too – such great dogs!

  21. Anonymous says

    Aha! This could the answer to my riddle! Thanks for your article Kris, I actually found this having designed my perfect PAX wardrobe, only to discover that there were no wire baskets in stock, at all, in ANY of the the IKEA stores in the UK.The small size in particular…there are none whatsoever. Very strange. I wonder if they have pulled the product? It’s shame because I liked the look, but I’m less gutted having read your post about the flimsy track. So it’s drawers methinks! Thanks for sharing.

  22. says

    Thanks for this review…how much weight do you find that the clothes rod can hold? We are thinking about buying a PAX closet system, and I’m trying to decide if we can put all our hanging clothes in there or if that will strain the bar too much—


  23. says

    Hi there.
    I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere and am thinking i may just need to go to an ikea but do you know if the organizers i.e.: shoe organizer and pants rack, can be installed in my already existing non PAX closet system if the measurements fit?
    Thank you

    • says

      I don’t see why it wouldn’t work if the interior measurements of your closet system are EXACTLY the same as the PAX and you can drill matching holes into your organizers to attach the brackets that hold the shoe organizer and pants rack. But since both of these slide in and out on brackets attached to the units themselves, if your measurements are off at all, you’d have a hard time making it work.

  24. says

    I just wanted to comment that I love seeing your little Boston in these photos! We have 2 and are active in Boston rescue and I love seeing these little black and white pups pop up when I’m browsing for ideas!

    • says

      Thanks so, so much for all that you do with the BT rescues! Our Boston was a rescue who came from an abusive home and she is the sweetest, most wonderful dog ever! She always shows up in pics because she sticks to me like glue :)

  25. says

    Well, it’s been a while since you installed this closet system. How’s it holding up? My experience with IKEA furniture is that it looks and behaves great for a while, then slowly starts to fall apart, with drawer tracks exploding in a shower of tiny ball bearings, handles coming loose, and screws digging their way out of the “fall-aparticle” board. How has the PAX system survived with daily use?

  26. Jo says

    My husband and I are, at this very moment, building a PAX unit for what will be my walk in closet/dressing room. We have a 100, two 50s and a corner unit. Because of the corner unit, we have a great distance between the wall and the unit itself at that part, and because of the baseboards, we have some distance between the unit as a whole and the wall along the entire unit. Can you make any recommendations about maintaining safety and solidity? We are planning on attaching the complete unit to the wall (still trying to determine what screws we need – we’re about an inch out from the wall so it’s a bit tricky, and we’re not at the studs at every point), but I’m wondering if we should stuff something between the backs of the units and the walls to create some sort of stability. Any ideas? If so, what would you recommend?

    • says

      Hi Jo – we also had concerns about the units not being flush with the wall due to the baseboards. Here’s what we did – before we installed the units in our closet, we figured out where the studs were located behind each unit and then we took those measurements and marked the corresponding locations on our PAX units. We then drilled two holes in the back of each unit at those marks and after putting the units in their final locations in the closet, we secured them to the wall using wood screws that went through the drilled holes in the units, then a wood spacer (the same thickness as the baseboards) and then into the wall where they hit studs. This kept our PAX units stable and upright. Hope that helps!

    • Anonymous says

      Thanks, it does help. Unfortunately ours are already assembled and installed. We couldn’t find our studs so we made do and attached to the wall as we best we could with the recommendations of the hardware pro at the local hardware store. Here’s hoping the big one doesn’t hit any time soon (we’re in California). So far, though, I’m LOVING my Pax closets. Thanks for your blog – it’s beautiful and very inspiring. Take good care.

  27. Anonymous says

    I paid Ikea (who outsources it) to put it together. I think it crazy to do it yourself. $350 to assemble. Money well spent.

  28. Anonymous says

    With regard to those silly wire baskets (which we were forever rescuing from collapse in our previous Pax system), I may be able to solve a mystery for your commenter of last December… We are also in the UK and, having moved house, purchased a new Pax system last weekend. Having been fairly sure we would avoid the baskets, we were pleased to find they have been redesigned! This may explain their temporary disappearance – the rollers are looking much sturdier now so we’re giving them another chance, although our system is the half depth one so I may have remained wary of the deeper baskets…

  29. Anonymous says

    This is super helpful; I’m so impressed that someone would take time to help out so many strangers. I’m trying to figure out if I can put the ikea complement interior chest of drawers http://www.polyvore.com/ikea_komplement_interior_chest_drawers/thing?id=36675519 (can’t find it on Ikea website) inside built in reach in closets. The closets have hanging space with a shelf above so they aren’t very useful. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • says

      I don’t think that the Komplement interior chest of drawers is available any longer (I haven’t seen it at our IKEA for a while now). If your closet system is a PAX system, I would just buy individual Komplement drawers to add to the PAX units. Good luck!

  30. Knelson says

    Trying to decide if I should go with the white Pax wardrobe or the black/brown. I have a walk-in closet and plan on installing four wardrobe units. I’m concerned the darker color will make the closet seem small or dark, were you satisfied with the black/brown color?

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      I’m happy with the black/brown we chose for our closet but that was because it went best with our space. Our closet is off of our master bathroom which had vanities in the same wood tones so it all ties together well and I think that the black/brown. That being said, there are other closets in our house where the white wardrobe would have tied in with the rest of the room better and I would have chosen that. I do think the black/brown makes the overall closet space seem darker than the white would have which was fine in our situation because we have a lot of overhead lighting but if you don’t have much lighting, you may be happier with the white. Hope that helps!

  31. Marv says

    Hi Kris! You blog was one the top returns when I googled seeking ideas for our master br walk-in closet. Great write up, enjoyed! If you have a moment, I would like to ask some questions before we proceed with our project. We have not purchased anything yet. Our closet accessed through our master bath, shaped like yours (a notch to left of door taking up some space in the closet. It is 13.5 ft wide by 9.5 ft deep with two windows on opposite wall of the door. Plan right now includes on one wall (left side of the room) a combo of a 30″, a 20″, and 30″ (rounding to nearest inch and all are the taller 93″ and 23″ deep). There will be about 1″ space left on each end so a near perfect fit. On front wall and right side will be a 30″, a corner unit, a 40″ and a 30″. This will end up with about 7″ of left over wall space. The back wall, between the two windows, we plan to put a thinner 13″ frame, 40″ wide, and 93″ tall and fill 80-90% of it with the metal shoe shelves.

    My questions are: 1) since we need to replace the carpet, we’re contemplating ceramic tile (like the bath has and make continuous through closet (wife does not like that option) or re-carpet. My concern is how well the PAX frames will set on carpet and remain level and maintain a uniform look from one frame to another? 2) Since the frames don’t have a notch in the back bottom to fit around baseboards, did you remove / re-cut baseboards, or cut a notch from the back of the PAX frame, or just sit against the baseboard and managed to secure to the wall while keeping vertically straight? Thanks in advance and sorry for long message! – Marv

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Marv,
      When we did our master closet, it was part of an addition to our house and so we debated ceramic tile vs. carpet too and ended up going with the carpet. We were able to make the PAX frames sit completely level and uniform from one frame to another by doing a few things. First of all, along our long wall where our frames almost completely covered the wall, we removed the baseboard so that the frames sat flush along the wall. For our other wall where we only have one unit and it would be obvious if there was no baseboard, we rested the PAX frame up against the baseboard and then used a small square of wood that’s the same depth as the baseboard as a spacer between the PAX unit and the wall where it was attached to the wall (our screws went through the PAX frame, then through the spacer, and then into the wall – we made sure we did it where we would hit studs). Then for the walls where you have more than one frame, we attached the frames to one another so they lined up perfectly and stayed lined up over time. Good luck with your closet!

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Shauna,
      We’ve moved from the house where we installed our PAX closet so I don’t have the exact dimensions but you can get a pretty good idea of them from the second image in this post. Thanks!

  32. Zeese says

    Good review. Question: What specifically makes it not feasible to use inside your typical two-door closet? I have a typical two-door closet that desperately needs better organization than the wire closet maid kits can give. I thought if I removed the closet doors, and installed a couple of PAX wardrobes in there, it might work (for an open-closet look).

    Thanks again.

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      The issues with installing a Pax system in most standard two-door closets are that (1) the Pax units are taller than the closet doors so they need to be angled into the closet and then stood upright. Many closets just aren’t deep enough for you to be able to do this. Also (2) many standard closets have a return (there is closet space to the left and the right that goes beyond the space of the closet doors). In this case, unless your closet is at least twice the depth of your Pax unit, there is no way to do a wall to wall install because you won’t be able to fit your last Pax unit through the door and into the remaining space. I guess you could try to build the Pax units inside the closet but I think that would be incredibly difficult to do. So, it’s going to depend on your specific closet and I’m sure there are some two-door closets where you could make it work, but I would do some careful measuring and give a lot of thought to it first. I had a friend who was convinced she could make it work in a standard closet and it wasn’t until she had put all of the Pax units together and gotten all but the last unit in her closet that she realized there was no way she could get the last one into its space and she had to scrap her plan. I hope that you have better luck if you give it a go – let me know if you’re able to make it work!

  33. JC says

    Do you see many PAX units used outside of the closet on freestanding walls within the bedroom? That’s what I am going to have to do. Any website references, tips or tricks for that?

  34. Jessie says

    Thank you for all the information. Really enjoyed your article.
    I have a couple of questions:
    1. Can you provide a review of the new wire baskets? Are they better than the old ones?
    2 We live in a cold place so we have plenty of fall and winter coats to hang. Are the smaller units more sturdier for hanging heavy clothes or are the bigger ones just as sturdy?
    3. I have the option of going with 2 large units or 1 large, 1 medium and 1 small. Any benefits of going one way or the other from your experience?

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Jessie,
      Unfortunately I haven’t seen the new wire baskets yet – the next time that I’m at IKEA I’m planning to check them out and will add some info about them to this post. As far as the sturdiness of the units, the smaller ones would be slightly sturdier since the support bar would be shorter but I still doubt that you would have any issues with hanging heavy clothes on the bigger units – we had ours packed with clothes and never had any issues. And regarding your choices in the unit sizes, I think it just all depends upon what you are using them for. If you’re just hanging things on them, having two units instead of three will give you a bit more hanging space. However, having a small unit is great if you need a space to put shelves for accessories like scarves, hats, etc. Hope that helps!

  35. Milja says

    The first time I read this was before they renewed the Komplement-series, and I was very pleased to see the updates made now. Thank you! (I’d be interested in a review of the new wire baskets as well. The old ones were indeed useless – they went too cheap with them, I think.)

    It seems, though, that some things come into different countries at very different times. The grey-and-rose cardboard boxes pictured in the Komplement drawer weren’t available here until recently.

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      You’re so right Milja – IKEA rolls out some things in the US first and some things overseas first. I haven’t seen the new wire baskets yet but will look at them the next time I’m at IKEA and add some info to this post!

  36. Marc says

    I just bought a Pax system to store office file boxes in. I have the 39-inch-wide closet. At first I was just going to pile the boxes up, but then thought that would be a bad idea since the cabinet is about 8 ft tall. I looked into the Komplement shelves, but was told it only carries 44 pounds. Then I thought about instead using 1/4 inch stainless steel or aluminum round bars that can be inserted into the holes inside the cabinet. It should carry a lot more weight, as long as the sides of the cabinet are able to withstand more than 44 pounds. I am still trying to find info on that. Of course the downside of going that route is I have to insert the rods as I’m putting the closet together, and can’t move the shelves around after that without disassembling the unit. Do you have any suggestions that may solve my dilemma, or info on how much weight can be loaded per shelf using round bars rather than the Komplement shelf? Also, do you have any idea if the 39 inch Komplement shelf can carry more than 44 pounds?

    Thank you!


    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Unfortunately I don’t have much information to help you out on this dilemma Marc. The only thing I can say is that since the PAX frames are made of particleboard, I would think that there is going to be a limit of how much weight they can handle even if you used round bars. If you’re going to be adding over 44 pounds of weight per shelf, you might be better off going with some other sort of heavy duty shelving.

  37. Michelle McCabe says

    I am just about to buy the PAX wardrobes so it’s been great timing to find your blog. I see you have kept the system ‘open’ without doors – I have thought of this but do your clothes not get dusty? I have a temporary rail at the moment and they tend to get quite dusty so I thought doors would be a must! Any thoughts?

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Michelle,
      I really never had a problem with my clothes getting dusty but my PAX wardrobes are in a walk-in closet that’s carpeted so there’s not as much dust getting kicked up as there would be if you had the wardrobes out in your bedroom. Hope that helps!

  38. Dita says

    Hi, thanks so much for this review, it’s really helpful! It’s been a few years since you wrote this..I was curious if the closet is still holding up? We’re considering having our contractor drywall around it to give a built-in look, but that means if it breaks afterwards, it may be expensive/painful to replace. So we really want to get a sense of the quality beforehand. Thanks!

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Dita,
      Yes, it’s been about five years since we installed our closet (it was done well before I wrote this post) and it has held up really well. I would definitely go with a PAX system again. However, you do have to be aware that it is particle board so it can chip and, if it does, it’s not very patchable. If you’re treating it well that shouldn’t be a problem but in a more rough and tumble space like a kids closet it’s more likely that it wouldn’t hold up as well or for as long.

  39. BJ says

    Many thanks for your blog! I want to get the ~39″ wide PAX unit (the shorter one, which is ~ 79″ high i believe). I’d like to add 6 drawers, and a few open shelves, but have only seen four drawers used. Is it possible to install 6 drawers? I can’t find that info anywhere! Thanks! – BJ

    • says

      Hi BJ,
      Unfortunately we’ve moved from the house where we had our PAX closet system so I don’t have a way of looking at it to answer your question. I would recommend that you give an IKEA store a call – they have specialists in their closet/wardrobe organization section who I’m sure would be able to help you out!

  40. Gina says

    Great review! I agree with nearly all your points. I recently installed 2 PAX closets in my home; one for a standard size closet originally with sliding doors and another for my walk-in closet (in the process). You’re configuration looks beautiful! How has the closet held up for you and your husband over the years?

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