Bedroom Storage, Part 2

Since I’m currently living all by my lonesome until Eva moves in the fall, it’s always a little daunting and slightly depressing when those pictorial IKEA instructions show two people putting something together. There they are, working in tandem to achieve a common headache-inspiring goal, mocking me in black and white. But so far I’ve done just fine assembling a few big things without breaking my new furniture or myself. It’s been a long time coming, but the latest is completing my PAX wardrobe system.

When we left off, I’d decided after much deliberation to keep the existing 39″ wide and 93″ tall PAX wardrobe that came with the apartment, buy an additional 19″ wide unit to put next to it to create even more storage space, and try to really maximize that space with a bunch of KOMPLEMENT pieces that IKEA makes to go inside these things. To remind you (and me), here’s what I started out with.


This unit was left by a previous tenant who clearly wasn’t… me. Ikea makes these in a number of finishes, and they chose the dark brown-black, which just made it look more enormous and overwhelming. Seriously, the thought crossed my mind that it might spontaneously tip over in the night and kill me. And as it was, it didn’t provide nearly enough storage space to hold everything I needed it to.

I’m sure they were using this exclusively as a closet with maybe a few miscellaneous items thrown in. I should note that the average tenant in our building is middle-aged and uses the apartments as one bedrooms with an office as the second bedroom. So I’d guess that they used what is now Eva’s closet to hold most of their usual closet-dwelling stuff. But since there are two of us, I needed to be able to hold a lot more than clothes. So the single clothing rod, two shelves, pants hanger, and one wire basket wasn’t really going to cut it. Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the brief moment where I attempted to make it work– but trust me, it wasn’t pretty.

So the first project, which I showed in the first post, was to remove the doors, the basket, and the pants hanger. I sold them on Craigslist for a total of $50 ($10 for the basket and pants hanger, $20 each for the doors). I probably could have sold the stuff for more since the doors actually retailed for $110 each (crazy, right? I promise, they were still classically cheap-o IKEA stuff), but I didn’t know how much people would pay and I really wanted to get rid of them quickly. Then I painted the existing unit white and bought my new doors, all the KOMPLEMENT components, and the new unit in white to help minimize the visual weight of this enormous storage unit. And here’s the result:


While it’s definitely still big, it seems less big and more like it belongs here. For extra points, I painted the right side of the unit the same Benjamin Moore Moonlight White as the walls, which helps it blend just that much more. But you want to see the inside, right? I know I do.

Most people who know me know I love the show Clean House (the makeovers suck, but who couldn’t love Niecy Nash?), and I aspire to organize things much like Trish Sur, the “yard sale diva” who shamelessly plugs the Container Store Elfa storage system nearly every episode. And with this, I feel like I’m on my way there. This post is long already so I’ll do another at some point that delves a bit further into just how all my important things fit in here (I know you can’t wait), but check it out! Everything in its place, and with room to spare! To be honest, there are some things, like cans of paint and tools, that haven’t found their way in here yet because I’ve been using them too often to keep them really neat. But with the second drawer up on the right side completely empty and that whole empty shelf on the left, I’m not anticipating any problems with that.

For the hardware, I used IKEA METRIK handles (I found them in the kitchen section), and I think they fit the overall proportion of the unit quite well. Usually I get bogged down in some crazy John Nash-style math trying to figure out exactly where things like this should be placed, but I basically just held them at different levels until they looked right, attached one, and used a level to figure out where the other ones should go. I think they came out well and I like that they’re hung below the midline of the doors.

So that’s where it stands. It’s definitely an evolving space, but for the moment I like how all the components are laid out and excited that I finally have a functional place to put things that made me feel like a pack-rat before.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 7.13.10
    GS said:

    Hi Daniel, found you via Apartment Therapy post on your desk. The white is definitely an improvement over the dark monolithic-looking Pax you had to start! I was wondering, did the paint adhere to the surfaces okay, and did you prep the surfaces at all? Thanks!

    • 7.13.10

      Thanks! I did give the whole thing a pass with some sandpaper (I can’t remember the grit, but one of those medium ones), wiped it down, and slapped it with two coats of primer before I painted. The paint seems to be holding up fine! You’ll also notice I didn’t paint the shelves, however– I was worried about dragging things out and things sliding around and the paint getting scuffed up. But the frame itself (or doors, if you’re thinking of doing this) doesn’t really get too much wear and tear, so I’m not too worried.

  2. 8.3.10
    Becky said:

    Hi Daniel– I also found you via AT. I’m planning on upholstering my Fjellse and was thrilled to see that someone had a) already done it, b) put up instructions, and c) made it look good, thus proving that I’m not insane to think it’s a decent idea. Then I stumbled on this post and realized that you have the answers to all of my Ikea bedroom furniture problems.

    My question is this: did you disassemble the wardrobe before you painted the sides? I have no desire to attempt deconstructing my Dombas, especially since there isn’t room to lay it flat anywhere in my apartment, but am worried that I might end up with paint drips otherwise”¦

    • 8.3.10

      Nope, I didn’t disassemble at all except for taking out the shelves and drawers to paint the interior. For the outside, I just painted with a roller so that it would look similar to the walls (I even painted the right side of it the wall color so it would blend even more). Just remember to prime! Good luck!