IKEA Closet Progress

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Last month I shared my plans for ripping out our existing master bedroom closet and installing an IKEA PAX wardrobe system. You can check out all of my inspiration closets in this post. A couple of weeks ago we flew my mom into town, my partner in crime when it comes to projects, and we dove into it. You won’t believe this closet progress!

UPDATE: Be sure to check out the completed closet here!

Closet Before

This is really embarrassing sharing these before photos with you, but you’ve got to see where we started. Our closet is huge. We are truly not lacking any space in here. However, it is not at all functional for us. Here’s what you see when you walk in from our master bathroom.

unorganized master closet

This is my husband’s side of the closet, but obviously with my shoes on the shelves. You’ll notice there is plenty of hanging space, but not much room for storing non-hanging items. That top shelf isn’t easily accessible. What drives me bonkers about the hanging areas are that they aren’t long enough to accommodate his shirts and jackets without the bottoms of them hanging over the lower bars.

large unorganized master closet

The back wall was useless for hanging items since they ended up covering a majority of anything hanging on either side.

And here’s my side of the closet. Our dresser in the bedroom holds my husband’s tshirts, undergarments, socks, sweatpants, and workout clothing. There was no room left, and wanting all of my items in the closet, I placed my undergarments in the gray totes on the shelf. What a disaster that was. My workout pants, PJ’s, and sweats were on the top shelf (under the falling bag) and constantly fell to the ground.

The door to our closet is to the right. On this side you’ll find our “linen closet”, ha!

So, yeah, size doesn’t equal function.


In our excitement to get the existing closet torn out and the new one installed, I failed to snap photos of the demoed space. All I have is this screenshot of my Instagram stories. If you’d like to see more of this, I have a permanent story up here.

The demo went quicker than expected with very little damage to the drywall. Everything including the baseboards were taken out. We were cautious when removing the baseboards so that we could reinstall them where needed later on.

Closet Progress

These progress photos are before any trim work and crown have been added giving it a built-in look, but it’s already a huge transformation!

What used to be my husband’s side is now mine. Drawers now hold my undergarments, socks, t-shirts (folded all Marie Kondo like), jeans, etc. The glass doors will hold dresses and bags. There is also plenty of space for shoes and other items to the right of that. Further to the right, out of shot, is an area for our laundry and shelves for linens.

IKEA PAX closet makeover progress

My husband’s side now has drawers so he can move all of the items that were in our bedroom dresser into the closet. No more going back and forth in the morning. His glass door enclosure will hold shoes and sweaters. Oh, and not that you can tell from these photos, but the hanging areas are all now plenty long enough so that shirts don’t bunch up along the bottom. It’s the little things!

Installing the PAX System

Going into this project there was concern over how difficult and time consuming building and installation was going to be. Both my mom and I were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was! You definitely get into a rhythm and it gets smoother as you go. To give you an idea of time, Day One we had my husband’s side of the closet installed, including the large drawers.

Initially we thought carpet tacks would need to be removed and a platform built the for units to sit on so they would be nice and level. Luckily we didn’t have to do any of that! Each unit sat perfectly flush and was then anchored to prevent shifting and tipping.

Ok, so that’s it for now! The trim work is already added and painted at this point but I want to wait to share that until the final reveal. Well, actually if you can’t wait, you can check out a sneak peek on my permanent Instagram stories 😉 All that’s left now is to get a large mirror cut and installed on the back wall and to finish up organizing and accessorizing!


  1. Pamela Jones Avatar
    Pamela Jones

    As I always say “I love a good project”. Thanks for brining me in on this one. Gratification at each stage of accomplishment. So functional and then your custom details made it an awesome professional job, toot toot. Your mitering skills are the best.
    Loved working with you. Can’t wait for the final reveal.

    1. Shelley Avatar

      I couldn’t have done this without your mom! Best project partner ever!!

  2. Mallory Avatar

    Our closet is a carbon copy of yours and I cannot wait to show this to my hubby! This turned out awesome. I would love a general cost break down if you wouldn’t mind? Looking forward to seeing the final reveal 🙂

    1. Shelley Avatar

      I still can’t get over how much more functional it is now! All of the IKEA pieces and accessories came in at just over $3,000. There was additional wood trim we added (not yet shown at this progress point) that came in around $200.

  3. cassie bustamante Avatar

    ooooh shelley!!!! this is looking SOOOOOO good!!!!

    1. Shelley Avatar

      Thank you, Cassie! I am so excited about it!!

  4. Lisa Avatar

    What an awesome project Shelley. You are so right that a large size closet doesn’t always equal organization. This is going to be so much more functional! Love all the drawers and in here as well as hanging space! I am pinning this for a future date….definitely on my 2019 to-do list! Can’t wait to see more!

    1. Shelley Avatar

      Oh you will love this project, Lisa! It is so satisfying!!

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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