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IKEA PAX wardrobe too tall, so we did this

The IKEA PAX wardrobe was too tall for our low ceiling. But we made it work.

So I was moving into a my girlfriend’s house and we were remodeling a room and the garage into a new master suite. At the time I already had 2 large 39” and a smaller 19” PAX setup for my closets which I already moved once. 

The room layout didn’t lend itself to having a big walk in closet or something similar. So we decided to use what I had and add to it for our new closet.

The only real problem was the ceiling height was only 7’6” or 90” which wouldn’t fit my 92+” frames.


Related: The 2 main problems with PAX solved


The IKEA PAX wardrobe was too tall for it. There were two things we did during our reno to make it work:

  • First was building a short wall that the frames started from.
  • Second was putting a couple 2x4s into the wall where they ended so I had something to screw into once we got the last dummy door in place.

I knew I would have to cut the ~93” frame down one way or the other. And I felt being able to pull a frame out was worth the ~2” I would lose being able to assemble on the ground and then install against the wall. And also I was not going to install one section flat against the wall.

If the wardrobe was too tall, why didn’t we get the shorter IKEA PAX?

My other option would have been to start all over and get the shorter 79” frame. With this option I would lose about 8-10” of space in the cabinets. And I would have to invest a lot more money into all the new frames.

So that was out of the question.

Besides, it wasn’t that hard of a hack.

I just had to be careful on the cuts not to screw up the finishes or usability. Moreover, I didn’t want to spend more money than necessary buying new frames or doors. 

Sadly, IKEA had stopped making the white oak color for the frames and organizers from when I got the originals.

So the corner frame and my girlfriend’s KOMPLEMENT organizers are in black. But not a big deal as they are typically not visible. 

Cost a lot less

The overall cost wasn’t a lot, maybe $100. I wanted some 1/4” plywood for better rigidity and some miscellaneous parts like a Forstner bit to cut a perfect hole for my new door hinge location.

The main part didn’t take very long. Took me a few hours to get everything marked and cut. However, the last custom door took several hours alone.  

I was just happy that I got to keep my PAX closets and didn’t have to go spend a bunch of money on new closets and organizers.

Our friends and family love the look of it. 

It is a bold look, a large wall of dark closet doors. It looks good in the space, and the tall LANSA handles break it up and give it a elegant look.

IKEA items used:

Main Parts PAX Frames:

  • White oak stained: 1 of 19x22x92 and 2 of 39x22x92, and old style corner frame in black
  • Doors (NEXUS) – no longer available
  • Handles (LANSA) – no longer available
  • Lighting was all Ansluta LED sized for the cabinets, turns on automatically with photocell they contain
  • Also used various KOMPLEMENT organizers, drawers and pull out shelves, standard shelves, valet trays, pull out pants hanger, etc.
Other items used:
  • 1/4 plywood for new frame back
  • Few pieces of lumber
  • Forstner bit
  • Misc hardware
  • Some dark stain
  • Leftover room paint

IKEA PAX wardrobe too tall for low ceilings

1. Checked instructions for PAX install. Saw that the height to assemble on the floor and then install was about 95” and the frame is about 93”.

So since I only have 90” of ceiling height to work with I would need the frame to be about 5” shorter. I decided to go with 5.5” just to be sure.

2. Carefully taped and marked the 2 sides of the frames. (3 on the old corner style.) And then, I cut with a circular saw after clamping a sacrificial piece of wood to the rear side. The tape and extra wood is to avoid chipping of the finish. 

IKEA PAX wardrobe too tall so we cut it down

Basically there are three pieces of solid wood/particle board in the side section of the frame where the screw holes are, about 3” wide each. Between those sections is honeycomb type material. It all cuts very easily. 

short wall to start with

The short wall where the wardrobes start

3. Re-assembled the frames as per directions. Then, added 1/4 plywood as a backing instead of original cardboard type just to give it a little more rigidity.

IKEA PAX wardrobe too tall

4. Since the longer section of frames was installed about 3” from the wall, I had to use long heavy duty screws (tapcons) to reach the wall and through into the block.

IKEA PAX wardrobe too tall

5. Since the old style corner section sits slightly off the wall on the short side of the frames I left off one of the two back panels to leave access and use the space for extra storage.  

6. Installed frames and got bolted into walls and made sure to use the sleeve anchor/screws the frames come with to attach all the frames together. 

7. Made sure it was all level and plumb. 

IKEA PAX wardrobe too tall

8. Doors fit nicely from floor to ceiling.

But bottom door hinge did not fit correctly with my organizer setup. I had to order a Forstner bit and measure very carefully ($90 doors) to get a hole in the correct spot so the hinge lined up with the frame’s mounting holes.

new hinge mount

9. I also had to chop about 1/4’ off the bottom of the doors since they scraped the carpet, keeping them from shutting correctly. 

Used the soft close hinges on all doors so they shut slowly. 

Making the frameless door

The last door to the left is very custom as it is only there to cover my electrical panel and some other wiring. 

1. I had to make a template by measuring every 6” along frame as it wasn’t perfectly even between the wall and the frame.

dummy door

2. I then cut a piece of 1/4 plywood to the measurements. After cutting a little more here and there to get the plywood to fit exactly, I taped up the real door, transferred the line over to it, and then cut it down. 

I ended up with approx 3 1/2” taken off, and was happy to find it was still the wood/particle board that far in.

dummy door

3. I used a dark stain on the cut edge to match the door color so it wasn’t noticeable. 

4. After that I installed the piece of door I cut off as a stop and used a pine 1×4” to mount the hinges to.

(I had preinstalled a couple of 2x4s in the wall when we were refinishing the room to have a solid surface to mount hinges/wood when I got to this step).

5. Painted the pine to match the wall so it’s as seamless as possible.

KOMPLEMENT

~ by Steve