I have always been a massive fan of PAX wardrobes. They are astoundingly cheap by comparison to any other kind of ‘fitted’ wardrobe and brilliant quality. I also think the varied interior options are incredible, especially if you’re like me and crave a place for everything, and everything in it’s place. We had 2 PAX in our old house, although they didn’t fit the alcoves either side of the fireplace in our bedroom then and we sold them with the house. There were two hold ups to us finally getting our dressing room sorted and installing the fancy ‘wardrobe of dreams’; One being money (isn’t it always?!) and prioritising other bits ahead of what seemed like a bit of an indulgence, and Two, until they developed the corner unit, I just couldn’t make the units fit and give us adequate storage.
We lived with a couple of old Billy bookcases (also IKEA) as shelves, and a John Lewis hanging rail for 4 and a half years, before we got around to buying and fitting the wardrobes and at the same time we papered the walls to provide a fun feminine contrast to the bedroom and papered the back of the open shelving too. So here is what we did!
We created this dressing room or walk in wardrobe when we moved in. It used to be accessed from the hallway and was its own room so we bricked up that doorway and knocked through the double doors into the bedroom. That means one of the long walls is out of action for putting any wardrobes against and there is also a beautiful, but rather large window. It’s a narrow room and the window is almost the width of the wall at that end, so we were limited by not wanting to block that at all, and only having an L shaped run of wall to work with.
IKEA has a brilliant PAX online planner which allows you to create a virtual room with your dimensions then fill it with different wardrobe options and even add the interior fittings you want. After a bit of tweaking, we printed out the plan and took our list of products to IKEA to buy them, then got them delivered.
PAX are pretty easy to assemble, but be warned, you often need to assemble them in situ as they would be too big to move. Pete put ours together during nap time one day, in the room itself but didn’t add the backs because we wanted to paper them before installing the back panel for a seamless finish. This then lead to much swearing and sweating trying to move them out of the room to lie them flat and add the back panel, despite the double door access and our relatively high ceilings!
To paper the back panels we simply treated it like wallpapering, but had to do it in situ in the bedroom again. The back panels are kind of bifold for the double wardrobes and that was NOT easy. Should you be planning to attempt this I would strongly suggest doing the panels first and allowing them to dry. We applied the paper then installed straight away which caused a lot of stress about the paper slipping on the panels because the paste was still wet. Slight rookie error but it all came good in the end and it would have been impossible to create a decent finish papering it with the back panel already on. The paper by the way is Harlequin Standing Ovation Exuberance in Heather/Indigo, chosen for the blush tones and near perfect match to our bedroom wallpaper (Dulux Denim Drift) along with smudges of khaki, another colour I love. I did look at some of the murals available online and Bluebell Grey’s wallpaper murals too as I thought they would look stunning with big blousy florals draped around the window and double doors from the inside, but it was impossible to find one with the correct pattern placement so as not to loose the majority of the design in the window and door areas. I also had to accept that the majority of the view of the room would be from outside it, so the priority was making those areas look good.
We went to town and papered the whole room, (well all the room that can be seen – It would have been a gigantic waste of money to paper behind the wardrobes, probably £200 worth of paper would have been lost so we did the top couple of feet behind them only.) It wasn’t easy, and is a bit slapdash in places because our walls are anything but straight so the doors, corners and windows in a short space was hellish. Words were had. But I can confirm, we are still married. 😉
Finally the wardrobes were put into position and (using the provided kit) all bolted together. I’m so pleased with the quality, rock solid and the pale oak finish is calming and restful. We haven’t bolted to the wall as we felt they were so heavy all bolted to each other that even a climbing child wouldn’t be able to topple them. Frankly we cant move them! To solve the issue of the wide window and not wanting to obscure it, the wardrobe closest to the window is a reduced depth one, designed for hallways and narrow spaces. its is still deeper than the available wall space (less than 20cm!) but the wardrobe doesn’t go all the way up to the window and the front of the wardrobe being set back from the central one actually works well with the same arrangement on the opposite side. At least I like to think so.
Of course the fun bit was arranging my shoes and bags, hanging all the clothes, finally having space for everything and everything in it’s place!
A quick note about interiors. We do have wardrobe space in spare bedrooms upstairs which I tend to use to rotate my winter and summer clothes. This was mainly because of the lack of space we had before though, as I dislike having my clothes where I can’t see them. I find I just forget about them! So I planned the interior space very carefully. We have 3.5m of wardrobe space (if they were arranged in a straight line,) and only 2m of hanging rails. I much prefer folding clothes on shelves, and use drawers for things that don’t hang well, so hanging was 1/4 long hanging, and 3/4 half height. We put a full wardrobes worth of shelves either side of the central wardrobe, for symmetry, and deep drawers in the middle with hanging above. The side/corner wardrobe is also split with a set of smaller drawers for underwear etc. We also kept the height of the top shelf identical across the whole width of wardrobes, just the right size for their SKUBB storage boxes for a neat look. I splashed out on one of the fancy wide shallow drawers with the inserts for jewellery etc and now have all my sunglasses, hair slides, earrings and belts laid out so nothing gets hidden away. It brings me immense joy every day!
I hope you like what we have done, and feel free to hit me with any questions about installing PAX! The wardrobes cost between £6-700 if I remember correctly, which was vastly less than most fitted wardrobes and freestanding ones too.
Of course we still have bits to finish in here. Theres a couple of corners of skirting that never got put back when the original room was created, then waited for this project to be done and still haven’t been sorted. I also wish we had done the radiators (its in the plan to change the rads in this room and the bedroom to the old victorian style but again, time… money… soon!
I hope you have enjoyed the tour!