Planning the Perfect Wardrobe

Building, Styling

Ever seen one of those AMAZING ‘instagrammable’ wardrobes, fallen a little in love and then said to yourself ‘as if it really looks like that!’ Surely it’s not possible to have a walk-in-robe that looks good but also actually functions well too, right?….I’m here to tell you that IT IS possible to achieve with a little forward planning. I’ve put together my top 5 tips on how to create the perfect wardrobe using the IKEA PAX system. I’ve used it in 2 of my builds and they really are worth the money and time you invest in getting them juuuuust right.

I’m hearing you loud and clear…I asked a little while back what was your biggest frustrations about your current wardrobe, and the OVERWHELMING response was that you don’t have enough space….and I guess there are three possible reasons for that:

a) the space you have is really limited

b) you have too much stuff

c) your wardrobe isn’t functional, so it feels overwhelming

One of those is really easy to fix (it’s time to ditch those neon leg warmers, Jessica) by some serious decluttering, Marie Kondo style. The other 2 take a little more leg work. So i’m going to offer you my 5 top tips for planning the perfect walk-in-wardrobe!

Get your mind out of the gutter girlfriend, it’s time to get jiggy with some numbers and figure out the actual space you’ve got to work with! If you’re a perpetual planner and if you are in the beginning stages of building a new home or renovating a current one, this is the perfect time to investigate and plan for the type of wardrobe that you want. If you know that you will be having a wardrobe custom made and installed by a tradesman, this makes things a little different – the cupboards can be made to suit your space. However, if you’ve decided to go down the path of installing an IKEA Pax Wardrobe system, start researching their sizing. The cabinet frames, or the ‘shell’ as i like to call them, is available in a few different widths and depths. If you can, plan the size of your wardrobe around this. I always opt to go with the 600mm deep shells, as they comfortably fit the size of your standard coat hanger inside it. Going anything smaller can mean that your clothes and hangers start poking out and that would send me and my OCD over the edge.

To give you an example, i’ve popped a plan below of a walk-in-robe i have designed.

To me, natural light is everything, and I wanted to make sure I had enough room for a 610mm window and it’s architraves, plus the depth of the IKEA PAX system which is 600mm.

If you’re already in your home and just looking at updating your wardrobe only, and not to renovate and reconfigure etc, grab your measuring tape and some masking tape and start mapping out some sizes. Physically taping the outline of the PAX system onto the floor will allow you to see if you will still be able to walk around inside of your wardrobe. Cause…you know, that’s kind of essential. As Shayna Blaze says, “…it really is all about functionality…”

While you’re measuring, be sure to check the height of your ceiling as well. The PAX system comes in a few different heights. We got stuck with this once as we had a bulk head in our walk-in-robe…shucks, we forgot about that bad boy! Luckily, Dave was able to knock the bottom of the wardrobe off with nothing but a hammer and a few choice words.

Another thing to consider when measuring – do you have skirting boards on your walls? If you need a tiny little bit more wiggle room to make that sucker fit, you can always ditch the skirting boards…you won’t see them behind the cabinetry anyway and it might give you the extra millimeters you need to make it work.

Functionality…I’m talking about FUNCTIONALITY! Now it’s time to figure out how you want to use your wardrobe. I like to do this by figuring out what is working well, and what is driving me BAT SHIT CRAZY about my current wardrobe. For example, my current wardrobe (we are in a rental while we build and it is literally KILLING MY SOUL!) has no place for me to store my winter wardrobe. You know, all the bulky jumpers, jeans, jackets and coats that take up all the room….SO in my planning for my next robe, I made sure I included some shelving right up the top to pack these things away. Out of sight, out of my way. I had this system in the last build and really loved that I could be a bit more seasonal with my clothing and rotate clothes in and out as I needed them, freeing up more space.

Another thing that is currently annoying me, is that i have nowhere spacious to organise my jewelry. I like to be able to see what i have so that it is easily accessible and is actually worn. No point sitting there collecting dust! So in this next robe, i have included some glass front and top drawers to display my bits and bobs.

Some things you might want to plan for, that I know are driving you guys crazy (thanks to your answers on my Instagram questions!): scarves, hats, shoes, jewelry, handbags. I’ve popped a few solutions below that might help:

Basically, turn your negative storage problem (current lack of jewelry organisation) into a positive by making sure you include a storage solution in your new walk-in-robe plan!

Instagram account featured on my phone is @rosaaalieee

Get pinning, lady! Don’t tell me you don’t have Pinterest…that’s almost a crime against humanity in this day and age. If you don’t *gasp* have an account – go immediately and set it up!. It’s free, but more importantly, your next inspiring pin is just a simple scroll away. Pinterest is LOADED with amazing inspiration on literally almost any topic you can think of.

A good start is searing for ‘IKEA Pax wardrobe‘. Heaps of ideas and different layouts will crop up. You could also get much more specific and search for ‘jewelry organisation‘ or ‘shoe storage‘ etc. Maybe also try the style or theme that you’re looking for e.g. ‘luxury walk-in-wardrobe‘, ‘boho walk-in-wardrobe‘ or ‘hamptons walk-in-wardrobe‘.

Once you have searched, scrolled and pinned, go back and have a look at what you’ve been drawn to. Is there a similar theme? Colour? Layout? Try and find similarities in the things that you like and pin-point what it is that you love about it. It might be something as simple as all the cabinetry was white. Or all the pics included lots of drawers. You might like that the shoe organisation was on show. Or that there were shelves to display your favourite pieces. Make a ‘Wish List’ of these specific things – it will definitely help when it comes time to draw up and tick off your wish list.

Be sure to take inspiration from yourself too…sounds a little corny right? But take note of your own wardrobe to guide you. What type of clothes do you have a lot of? You might be a real dress kinda gal, and therefor need more room for longer dresses. Or you might have a real thing for shoes, and want to show them off in all their glory on a display shelf rather than sitting on drawers. This wardrobe is being DESIGNED FOR YOU so your preferences for certain clothes and accessories should be what guides you.

All images sourced from Pinterest

If you’re really set on getting your wardrobe EXACTLY right, i would highly recommend creating a design board. You can create a physical design board, where you print or cut our pictures and pin them on a pin board together, or glue them on a piece of cardboard. Alternatively, you can create a digital design board (what i prefer to do for each space) and collage your images there. I’ll pop below the design board i have created for my walk-in-robe.

Grab a pencil and a piece of paper (yep, get old school) and start drawing! Check that ‘Wish List’, refer back to your Pinterest inspo and get going. It might take you a few drafts to get it just right, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t turn out perfect first go around. Label your drawing so you know exactly what you were including when you come back to refer to it later on. Be sure to include dimensions and heights of the space you’re working with – trust me – these dimensions will come in handy later on down the track when you are doing that final check.

When you’re drawing, some elements you might want to include are:

  • drawers
  • drawers with glass fronts
  • drawers with a glass top
  • shorter hanging space for tops
  • longer hanging spaces for dresses
  • pull out shoe drawer
  • pants organiser
  • overhead storage
  • open shelving
  • scarf organisation
  • jewelry organisation

If hand drawing isn’t your thing, you can definitely head to the IKEA website and create your dream wardrobe from there. however, i prefer to do it a little differently…..

In my opinion, go in-store with your final drawing and have the wardrobe assistants at IKEA do the ordering. I’ve heard too many horror stories of people who have ordered the items themselves online and they’ve come to assemble it and found that they forgot to order the shell, or thought they had ordered enough drawers. and lets face it, cabinetry is expensive, so it’s not something you want to muck around with.

In store, you’ll sit down in front of a computer and they will create a 3D mock up of what your walk-in-robe will look like. I’m a visual person, so this gets a big thumbs up from me.

Another advantage of going in store is being able to see the colours of the cabinetry in person – this is never a bad thing! You might also see some other options that you didn’t see online that will assist with making your wardrobe the perfect place to prepare for the day ahead.

Once you have finalised your design, you can also choose to have your order delivered to your door. DO THIS! In the wardrobe i just ordered a few days ago, i have 72 pieces coming. yep, that’s 72 boxes. Imagine trying to fit them into the boot of your car…oh – that remind me of a little cautionary tale I have…..

….last build I decided that it would just be easier if I went and picked it up myself. Listen to me when i tell you THIS IS A BAD IDEA. Long story short, I got there late (surprise surprise!) when IKEA was about to close and was left with a 14 year old attendant who, out of the goodness of his own heart, made his mum wait in the car when she came to collect him while he helped me load up a SHIT TONNE of boxes into Dave’s ute. Those boxes are DAMN heavy, and between the two of us, you would have seen more muscles on a mosquito. In the process, I managed to get my finger jammed in between two enormous boxes and I felt so bad for this kid stuck helping me out that i didn’t want to say anything.

So trust me. Put the keys down and step away from your vehicle.

I REPEAT, STEP AWAY FROM YOUR VEHICLE. Get it delivered. It’s worth every damn cent.

I hope this little blog has been of some use to you. I have my delivery coming in the next few days, so between now and my next blog, my hands will have permanently transformed themselves into Allen keys from putting all 72 boxes together……

Happy PAX planning,

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