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

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

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.                

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! 


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: 

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. 

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.

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.

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 

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!

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’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!


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).

How do you design and install a PAX closet?

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!


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  

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. 

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:

A bed with white bedding is reflected in a wall of mirrors.
Image: Braun + Adams

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

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

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!


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:

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!

12 of the Most Colorful IKEA Hacks We’ve Ever Seen

12 of the Most Colorful IKEA Hacks We’ve Ever Seen

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

You like IKEA hacks? Us, too. At Apartment Therapy, we’ve shared everything from the best tips to achieving built-ins from BILLYs, to the optimal DIYs for plant and cat parenthood. So it’s no surprise that we’d once again turn to our very favorite Swedish retailer for project inspiration during Color Month.

For more content like this follow

IKEA is generally known for its neutrals, but a little bit of DIY magic can transform even the plainest of pieces into a color party. If you need inspiration on how to pull it off in your space, you’re in luck. Read on to take a walk over the rainbow and see 12 of the most colorful IKEA hacks around. You won’t be able to resist trying one out for yourself.

1. An Island with Tropical Vibes

An island is a great place to add color to your kitchen — it’s small enough that it doesn’t feel like a major commitment, but large enough that it packs a visual punch. Yes, you can buy, or, like Ananda of A Piece of Rainbow, you can DIY. Ananda used IKEA base cabinets and a wood countertop to create her mobile prep space, then completed the look with a vibrant seafoam hue.

2. A Peppy Retro-Inspired Bar Cart

Paint isn’t the only way to enhance IKEA standards. Another great option, especially if you’re a pattern lover, is contact paper or wallpaper. Here, Ariel of PMQ for Two wrapped her MALM dressing table in a stunning retro-inspired wallpaper to use it as a bar cart (oh yeah, she also added the tiniest, most adorable wheels). The trick to pulling off this DIY with a pro look is to take your time and precisely line up the pattern like Ariel did.

3. A Dramatic Gemstone Side Table

Malachite is a beautiful green gemstone with unique whorls when sliced, and it was a popular way to glam up furniture among 18th and 19th century nobility. In 2022, there’s no need to use the real thing. Instead, take a cue from Jewel of Jeweled Interiors. She achieved the same look by covering her plain MALM dresser with malachite-patterned paper.

4. A Whimsical Faux Sheepskin Rug

IKEA’s faux sheepskins are a classic for a reason: They’re affordable, they’re cozy, and they seem to go with almost anything. And while the standard white is lovely, it’s also a blank canvas to create the sheepskin of your dreams. Brittni of Paper & Stitch took up the call and turned hers bubblegum pink — but with fabric dye and some sweat equity, you can achieve any color you’d like.

5. An IVAR Hack with a Surprise Inside

The quickest way to make a simple cabinet look like a statement piece? Paint it the same color as the wall behind it. This trick gives the illusion that the cabinet is bigger than it is (and can even help free-standing furniture look a little more built-in). Here, designer Magdalena (@alloverthehouse) employed that very technique to this set of IVAR cabinets and shelves using an all-over robin’s egg blue color. For a little extra drama, she chose an equally vibrant tomato red for the inside of the open bookshelves.

6. A BESTA that Goes Bold with Color and Texture

Tried-and-true BESTA cabinets can hold their own against IKEA powerhouses like the BILLY and TARVA lines. And no wonder: Their boxy shape gives them a unique silhouette, and the option of doors makes them endlessly customizable. In the case of this hack from Kelly of Studio DIY, the new look is so fresh and unique that it’s hard to see the IKEA cabinet within (it’s there, promise!). Get the look with emerald green paint, statement knobs, new legs, and rattan inserts.

7. A Functional Storage System with a Funky Pattern

The TROFAST system is about as bare-bones as it gets: just a simple pine box outfitted with plain white slide-out tubs. But TROFAST is also a playroom MVP with its ample storage and customizable configurations. Leia (@henry.andhome) punches up the visual appeal of her impressive set with Potter & Mash decals applied over the tubs. In colors complementing the rest of the play space, these decals help the TROFAST look like a statement piece instead of just a workhorse.

8. A Monochromatic Set of Built-Ins

If the trick to making your cabinets look built-in is to paint them the same color as the wall they’re on, then the trick to making them look seriously luxe is to repeat that color throughout. Take inspo from this IKEA hack created by DIYer Tori (@va_va_room). Yes, she paints the wall behind the cabinets a matching sky blue color — but she also paints a half-wall accent on one side and a set of stripes on the other in the same hue. Sticking to a core color palette makes the whole space feel cohesive, not chaotic.

9. Cheery Color-Blocked VALJE Shelving

If you want to introduce maximum color with minimum effort, color blocking is the way to go. It’s easy to pull this technique off with any piece of furniture, but it’s particularly well suited to pieces that have divided sections of various sizes. DIYer Krys of Melodrama used the technique on her hacked VALJE cabinet-turned-bar to highlight each compartment with a different complementary color.

10. A Playful Patterned Lampshade

With all the great furniture hack possibilities, it’s easy to overlook the other treasures IKEA offers. But lighting is another prime opportunity to bring in a little hint of color to your space. This VIDJA floor lamp project, from Claire of Picture Box Blue, features printouts of vintage fish paintings that are tucked inside the shade. Claire’s super easy hack shows how a little creativity can turn a plain floor lamp into a kitschy and whimsical piece of decor.

11. A Statement-Making Wardrobe Surround

The BOAXEL shelving system is a great way to organize a bare closet, but it can also be mounted to any wall with available studs for slim, space-savvy storage. Of course, without a closet the system also lacks a frame — but that doesn’t mean you can’t make one, as designer Judith Achumba-Wollenstein proves in this tween boy’s bedroom makeover designed for a client. The crafted frame packs a big visual punch with a bright red color and a playful shape.

12. An Eye-Catching Upholstered Sofa

Just because you tire of your IKEA sofa’s color doesn’t mean you need to throw the whole thing out. These streamlined couches are a great option for anyone looking to incorporate custom upholstery into their interior design. Designer Christene Barberich recovered her family’s IKEA sleeper in a self-described “1960s atomic Italian modernism” printed fabric for her daughter’s nursery to keep it in use but more in line with the style of the space. This is an especially great hack for reviving sofas that are starting to look a little worse for wear!

The 100 Best IKEA Hacks of All Time

The 100 Best IKEA Hacks of All Time

100 Best IKEA hacks of all time.

We’ve rounded up one hundred IKEA hacks that prove you can have champagne tastes on a beer budget. Each of these hacks illustrates the power of transformation – basic warehouse pieces are cleverly altered in beautiful ways that make them feel custom. This round up has me feeling like Aladdin on a magic carpet ride – so come along with me! I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder, over, sideways and under on a magic IKEA hack ride. All hacks are listed in alphabetical order by their original IKEA birth name. 

ALEX

IKEA Hack ALEX - filing cabinet
Sugar & Cloth
IKEA Hack ALEX - desk DIY
A New Bloom
IKEA Hack ALEX desk
The Lifestyle Directory
IKEA Hack ALEX storage unit
Full Time Fiesta

ALSEDA

IKEA Hack ALSEDA ottoman
Curbly via Mormorsglamour

BESTA

IKEA Hack BESTA credenza
Sugar & Cloth
IKEA Hack BESTA credenza
Petite Apartment – IKEA hacks
IKEA Hack BESTA
A Beautiful Mess  –  BESTA IKEA hack TV console idea (entertainment center)
IKEA Hack BESTA
Place of My Taste
IKEA Besta cabinet hack
The Vintage Guru Shop – IKEA cabinet with vintage legs

BILLY

IKEA Hack BILLY
The Makerista
IKEA Hack BILLY
IKEA Hackers– built in book case
IKEA Hack BILLY
Golden Boys & Me IKEA hack DIY kitchen island

BORBY

IKEA Hack BORBY
Thou Swell
Note: we tried to find all of these and make sure they’re still available on IKEA.com. Some models have been discontinued, but you can usually find a similar item to substitute.

DOKUMENT

IKEA Hack DOKUMENT
IKEA

EKBY

IKEA Hack EKBY
Teste De Lengo
IKEA Hack EKBY
Nalle’s House
IKEA Hack EKBY
Houzz

EKORRE

IKEA Hack EKORRE
Sarah Sherman Samuel

EXPEDIT

IKEA Hack EXPEDIT
Amy Krist
IKEA Hack EXPEDIT
Honey Bear Lane

FAKTUM

IKEA Hack FAKTUM
IKEA Hackers – platform bed with storage

FAS  

IKEA Hack FAS
IKEA Hackers – table lamp

FIRA

IKEA Hack FIRA
Curbly

FJALKINGE

IKEA Hack FJALKINGE
100 Layer Cake-let

FOTO

IKEA Hack FOTO
Lulus – floor mirror 
IKEA Hack FROSTA
Design Sponge

FROSTA

IKEA Hack FROSTA
Coroflot
IKEA Hack FROSTA
Vtwonen
IKEA Hack FROSTA
Apartment Therapy

GRUNTDAL

IKEA Hack GRUNTDAL
Just a Girl and Her Blog
IKEA Hack GRUNTDAL
Apartment Therapy – wall mirror

HEAT

IKEA Hack HEAT
Curbly – IKEA hack gold wall mirror with

HEMMA
 

IKEA Hack HEMMA
Curbly via Instructables

HEMNES

IKEA Hack HEMNES
The Vault Files

HYLISS

IKEA Hack HYLISS
Remodelaholic
IKEA Hack HYLISS
Proverbs 31 Girl

INBJUDANDE

IKEA Hack INBJUDANDE
Poppytalk

INGO

IKEA Hack INGO
East Coast Creative
IKEA Hack INGO
IKEA Hackers

IVAR

IKEA Hack IVAR
Nur-Noch
IKEA Hack IVAR
IKEA
IKEA Hack IVAR
Nur Noch
IKEA Hack IVAR
Style by Emily Henderson

KALASA

IKEA Hack KALASA
Teste Di Legno

KLUBBO

IKEA Hack KLUBBO
Deko

LACK

IKEA Hack LACK
Hommie UK
IKEA Hack LACK
Triple Max Tons

LAPPLJUNG RUTA

IKEA Hack LAPPLJUNG RUTA
The House that Lars Built

LERBERG

IKEA Hack LERBERG
Weekday Carnival
IKEA Hack LERBERG
Burlap & Lace

LINNMON

IKEA Hack LINNMON + LERBERG
Advice From A Twentysomething  – simple desk
IKEA Hack LINNMON
Curbly – music production desk

LUDVIG

IKEA Hack LINNMON
IKEA Hackers – standing desk

MALM

IKEA Hack MALM
A Beautiful Mess
IKEA Hacks MALM
Curbly
IKEA Malm bedframe hack
Sugar & Cloth

MARIUS

IKEA Hack MARIUS
The Kitchy Kitchen 
IKEA Hack MARIUS
Curbly

MINNA

IKEA Hack MINNA
IKEA

MOPPE

IKEA Hack MOPPR
IKEA

MYSINGSO

IKE Hack MYSINGSO
Kristi Murphy

NORNAS

IKEA Hack NORNAS
A Beautiful Mess – bench
IKEA Nornas table hack
 Kicsihaz – bar cart

OLEBY

IKEA Hack OLEBY
Curbly – simple cutting board

RACKA

IKEA Hack RACKA
A Little Bit OCD

RANARP

IKEA Hack RANARP
Lovely Indeed

RAST

IKEA Hacks RAST
Bliss at Home
IKEA Hack RAST
Hello Lidy
IKEA Hack RAST
Decor 8 Blog
IKEA Hack RAST
Style Me Pretty – campaign dresser
IKEA Hack RAST
Redbook
IKEA Hack RAST
Addison Meadows Lane
IKEA Hack RAST
Hawthorne & Main
IKEA Hack RAST
Midwestern Girl DIY

RIBBA

IKEA Hack RIBBA
Curbly – under bed storage
IKEA Hack RIBBA
Lindsay Stephenson

RORT

IKEA Hack RORT
The Every Girl

SELJE

IKEA Hack SELJE
Curbly
IKEA Hack SELJE
See Kate Sew

SINNERLIG

IKEA Hack SINNERLIG
Curbly

SJOSLEV

IKEA Hack SJOSLEV
Hayley Photography

SKOGSTA

IKEA Hack SKOGSTA
Style Me Pretty

SKOGSVAG

IKEA Hack SKOGSVAG
Farm Fresh Therapy

SODERHAMN

IKEA Hack SODERHAMN
Petite Party Studio

STALL

IKEA Hack STALL
House Tweaking

STAVE

IKEA Hack STAVE
Curbly

SVARTAN

IKEA Hack SVARTAN
A Beautiful Mess

TARVA

IKEA Hack TARVA
In My Own Style
IKEA Hack TARVA
Cheaper and Better DIY

TRADIG

IKEA Hack TRADIG
IKEA Hackers – ceiling pendant lamp

TUPPLUR

IKEA Hack TUPPLUR
Curbly

VIKTIGT

IKEA Hack VIKTIGT
Curbly

VITTSJO

IKEA Hack VITTSJO
Little Green Notebook
IKEA Hack VITTSJO
Style Me Pretty
IKEA Hack VITTSJO
Style Me Pretty – bar cart
Vitttsjo Ikea hack coffee table
Simple Details

VURM

IKEA Hack VURM
Curbly – simple indoor herb garden
IKEA Has a Perfect Tiny Bedroom, Space-Saving Nightstand for Under $40

IKEA Has a Perfect Tiny Bedroom, Space-Saving Nightstand for Under $40

Savannah West

Home Assistant Editor

Savannah is Assistant Editor for the Home Team at Apartment Therapy. When she’s not writing about style tips, product launches, or interviewing designers, you can catch her re-watching Gossip Girl or on Facetime with her grandma. Savannah is a proud HBCU graduate and Clark Atlanta University alumna who believes there’s nothing good food can’t fix.

Follow Savannah
This Is How to Avoid the Dreaded IKEA Couple’s Fight, According to Therapists

This Is How to Avoid the Dreaded IKEA Couple’s Fight, According to Therapists

Kara Nesvig

Contributor

Kara Nesvig grew up on a sugar beet farm in rural North Dakota and did her first professional interview with Steven Tyler at age 14. She has written for publications including Teen Vogue, Allure and Wit & Delight. She lives in an adorable 1920s house in St. Paul with her husband, their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dandelion and many, many pairs of shoes. Kara is a voracious reader, Britney Spears superfan and copywriter — in that order.

Follow Kara