The IKEA PAX Wardrobe System - Explained
Everybody needs somewhere to store their clothes and one of the biggest and best pieces of furniture to store them in is the wardrobe.
Wardrobes come in all shapes and sizes, different materials and a host of colours. They can range from a basic free-standing wardrobe to one which is custom built to fit your bedroom perfectly. It would be great if we could all have made-to-measure wardrobes which fit our bedrooms perfectly, but these types of wardrobes cost thousands of pounds and not everyone's budget will stretch that far.
So what if you want a wardrobe which is designed around your needs but is within your budget? IKEA may have the answer for you in the form of their PAX wardrobe system.
The IKEA PAX wardrobe combination system allows you to design your next wardrobe to suit your requirements. Whether you need hanging space, multiple shelves or internal drawers, the PAX system can cater to your needs. You can even add and remove parts such as shelves and drawers at a later date if you wish.
To make the process of designing your own wardrobe easy, the system is made up of three parts:
3. Internal fittings
We'll run through these three parts so you know what options there are and how they may or may not work for your wardrobe design.
Every wardrobe needs a frame. The PAX frames consist of seven parts comprising of two side panels, a top panel, a bottom panel, front and back plinth and a back board. They are fitted together using screws, cams, dowels and nails.
Each side panel has over a hundred small holes lined up in three columns on the inside face, to allow the accurate fixing of fittings and accessories along the height of the wardrobe. These pre-drilled holes mean you don't run the risk of drilling holes in the wrong place. They are used to fit everything from hinges to drawers in their correct locations.
The frames can be screwed together depending on the width you want. They also come with neat wall fixing brackets so they can be securely fixed to your wall. Two brackets are located inside each frame, however screws for fixing to your wall are not provided.
The PAX frames are available in two different heights: 201cm and 236cm.
When choosing the correct size for your wardrobe you need to measure the height of your ceiling. Will your room accommodate a regular (210cm) or tall (236cm) frame? It is advisable to leave a gap of a couple of centimetres between the top of the frame and the ceiling. This is to allow for manoeuvring the wardrobe into place and to stop the doors catching the ceiling when they are opened. If you want sliding doors, then a minimum clearance of 4cm is required.
The frames are available in two depths: 35cm and 58cm. Most people will choose the deeper of the two frames as they are a standard size for the majority of wardrobes.
When choosing the depth of your frame remember to ensure that the doors can open fully. Don't forget to take into account where other items of furniture are located, such as your bed.
Once you have worked out the height and depth of your frame(s), you can then decide how wide the wardrobe should be. The frames come in three different widths: 50cm, 75cm and 100cm. It is possible to fit multiple frames together so you can have a wardrobe as wide as you like. Do you need a simple one door wardrobe or one which spans an entire wall?
When measuring, remember to take into account the thickness of the skirting boards, window seals and radiators etc. on adjacent walls. Then round this measurement down to the nearest 25cm. For example, if the gap between two walls is 3m 35cm, then you can fit a wardrobe which is 3m 25cm wide. This particular wardrobe would be made up of four frames, 2 x 100cm, 1 x 75cm and 1 x 50cm.
Don't forget, you can substitute one 100cm wide frame for two 50cm wide frames if the internal layout of your wardrobe requires it.
If you want to have an 'L' shaped wardrobe which fits into a corner then you can. The PAX system allows you to make full use of the layout of your room.
The PAX add-on corner unit can be fitted to 75cm or 100cm PAX frames and will fit with either depth frame. However, the add-on corner unit is only available in one width (50cm) and one depth (58cm). It can be fitted to the left or right side, depending on your preference.
IKEA PAX frames come in three colours: white, black-brown and white stained oak.
The doors are the focal point of any wardrobe and they need to match the style of your room. As such, Ikea have a range of different colours and patterns to suit any room and their doors are available in two opening types: hinged or sliding.
These doors are pretty self explanatory. They are hinged on one side and open out into the room. They are available in two widths (25cm and 50cm) allowing you to match them with any of the different frame widths. There are two height options to match the height of your chosen frame.
Sliding doors are brilliant. Unlike hinged doors which open outwards, sliding doors glide past each other making them perfect for rooms which have limited space. The PAX system offers two types of sliding doors: solid or panelled. Both types are sold in pairs and are available in two different sizes: 150cm wide and 200cm wide. You can use multiple sliding doors but they must be used in pairs.
The solid type of door such as the Hasvik come as a pair and have all the rails and fixings required to fit them to your wardrobe frames. These are cheaper than the panelled doors and are much easier to assemble as they only require you to fit the running wheels and brackets to allow them to hang on the rails.
The panelled doors, such as the Auli, are more expensive, but they offer the buyer the ability to personalise the style of the doors by changing the panels (see images below). Each door comprises of four individual panels and the frame which houses these panels. The frame is aluminium and is available in three different colours: aluminium, white or black so you can match the wardrobe frames and panels to get the best possible finish.
The panels are available as solid colours such as white, light grey or oak effect. Alternatively, you can have mirrored or even frosted glass as an option.
The Auli doors require assembling and they can be quite fiddly and can take a lot of time to build as they have over twenty pieces to put together. Don't let that put you off though, they look great once they are fitted.
A quick tip if you choose the panelled doors and don't have much space in your bedroom is to build the doors before the wardrobe and stand them up to one side until they are ready to be fitted.
To give your sliding doors the finishing touch, IKEA can also supply you with a soft close mechanism. The Komplement soft closing device does exactly what it says on the tin. It softens the speed of the door when it shuts so that it doesn't slam – how clever!
IKEA offer a host of internal accessories from their Komplement range so once all the measuring has been done and you have chosen the frames and doors, the fun can really begin. Let your imagination run wild with the internal layout for your new wardrobe. You want hanging rails? You can have them. Shelves? Of course. Built in drawers? Certainly. You can have them all and more. The only limit is your imagination.
OK, so hanging rails are not exactly exciting, but they are very practical. They allow you to hang your shirts, trousers and dresses so they won't get creased. The Komplement clothes rails come in two different styles depending on the depth of the wardrobe you choose.
The most common is a rail that runs from one side of your wardrobe to the other and you hang your clothes side-on. This type fits the deeper (58cm deep) frames.
The other type is a pull-out rail which has been designed for the more shallow (35cm deep) frames. With these you hang your clothes front-on as the wardrobe is not deep enough to hang your clothes side-on. This rail pulls out, allowing you access to the clothes hanging up at the back. Both of these rails come in either white or dark grey.
With the PAX system, you can have as many shelves as you like. If you want a whole section of your wardrobe to be designated for shelves then you can. The Komplement shelves come in three different sizes to suit the width of your wardrobe. They also come in different colours including white, black-brown, stained oak etc. to match your wardrobe frame. For that extra touch of style, you can even choose glass shelves if you want to view items such as watches or jewellery (see below about pull-out trays).
Drawers and pull-out trays
Drawers are a valuable asset and are a brilliant way of keeping everything neat and tidy. Like shelves, the Komplement drawers are available in different sizes and colours to suit your requirements. If you are tidy enough, you can even choose to have glass-fronted drawers!
Most people who have internal drawers tend to choose three or four drawers at the bottom of their wardrobe and top them off with a shelf to keep everything nice and neat, allowing room for hanging space in the top half of the wardrobe.
IKEA also make a Komplement pull-out tray which is more shallow than a regular drawer, but can be used to store your smaller items that don't require as much space in your wardrobe. If you want to be extra organised, IKEA offer inserts which fit the tray and allow you to organise smaller items such as jewellery. It's great to pair the pull-out tray with a glass shelf.
One thing to bear in mind when choosing your drawers is that they won't fit where there is a door hinge. This means they won't fit at the very bottom of a wardrobe with hinged doors. However, IKEA offer solutions for this such as the pull-out basket or pull-out shoe shelf.
Like drawers, baskets are a useful way of keeping your clothes neat and tidy. Baskets are made of metal mesh in white or grey and come with pull-out runners allowing you to access them easily.
Hanging your trousers is now easier than ever with the pull-out trouser hanger. It consists of several rails which allow you to hang your trousers neatly and access them easily. They have between 5 – 12 arms allowing you to hang 10-24 pairs of trousers. They come complete with runners so you can pull them out and slide them back away with ease.
What if you want to keep some items organised in drawers at the bottom of your wardrobe, but you also want a space for hanging long dresses? The Komplement divider could be just what you need. It allows you to split the bottom part of your wardrobe in half. You can then have 4 drawers or baskets etc. on one side and full length hanging space on the other side.
A divider is also required if you want to use accessories which are narrower than your wardrobe frame such as the pull-out storage bags (see below). Dividers are available in the same colour options as the frames and drawers.
Pull-out storage bags
Pull-out storage bags are a pair of material bags sitting one behind the other. They pull out on rails making it easy to access the one at the back. They are great for storing bulkier items such as gloves and scarves or alternatively for your laundry. They can be lifted from their frames and have convenient handles to make them easy to carry. As an added bonus, they are also machine washable.
However, they are only available in 50cm widths, so if your frame is wider than this a Komplement divider will be required.
You know what it's like, all your shoes are piled up in the bottom of your wardrobe making it hard to find a matching pair. Ikea have two solutions for this problem. One is the standard Komplement shoe shelf which is a metal shelf with a lip on the bottom edge. It sits at a slight angle in your wardrobe to allow you to pick a pair of shoes easily.
The other solution is the pull-out shoes shelf. These staggered shelves allow you to store more shoes in the same amount of space as the fixed shelf, but you can pull them out and get to the hard to reach shoes at the back. Both of these metal shoe shelves are available in either white or grey.
The Komplement pull-out mirror is a great feature if you need a mirror that you can hide away. When it is folded away it takes up very little room in the hanging section of your wardrobe. When you need it, just pull it out and swivel it to the correct angle with ease and once you are done, just slide it away again. It even comes with a handy storage section on the back of it for your jewellery. Like most of the Komplement range, it comes in two colours: white or grey.
This mirror simply screws to the inside of the PAX wardrobe frame using one of the many fixing holes, allowing you to fit it at your desired height.
Pull-out multi-use hanger
This little gadget is perfect for ties, scarves and belts. The pull-out hanger mounts to the inside of the wardrobe frame and has a number of hanging knobs along its length. Simply pull it out to access your accessories and push it back in when you're done. Again, this is available in either white or grey.
This small but convenient hanger sits outside of your wardrobe and has three good sized hanging holes. It is perfect for airing your damp clothes or when you need to choose the correct outfit. It is neatly fixed into place using two screws on the inside of the wardrobe and can be fitted at just the right height for you using the pre-drilled holes in the frame. The valet hangers are available in either white or grey.
It can sometimes be a struggle to find the right outfit because it is dark inside your wardrobe, especially if you have chosen the black-brown frames. To overcome this IKEA offer a couple of lighting solutions.
The first is spotlights which fix to the top of the wardrobe and shine down over the front. These can really enhance the look of your doors when they are closed. However, these type of lights don't offer a vast amount of light inside the wardrobe to help you pick the correct outfit.
The other type are strip lights which fix inside the wardrobe to the underside of either the top of the frame or a shelf. These have three settings: on, off and auto. The first two settings are self explanatory and the auto setting allows the light to switch on and off automatically when the wardrobe doors are opened or closed, just like the light in your fridge. These strip lights illuminate the inside of the wardrobe much better than the spotlights.
Both of these lighting types simply plug into a plug socket.
It may seem somewhat daunting to design your perfect wardrobe from all the different options you have just read about. To help you, IKEA have an online programme called the PAX planner. It allows you to pick and choose from all the items listed above and then puts them into a visual form so you can see how your wardrobe will look and function. This programme gives you the ability to change colours, door styles and interior layouts quickly and easily, so you can order a wardrobe which is perfect for you.
Happy wardrobe shopping!