How to Design and Customize Your Master Closet (2024)

Last week, I revealed our newly renovated and customized master closet. Click here to see. After gutting the original closet, which was dull, dingy, and unorganized, we used the IKEA Pax system to turn it into something beautiful and functional.

I had someone ask about the process that I used to design it. How did I piece it all together? How did I come up with the design? I thought it was a fantastic question, and I realized that it was actually quite a process to put it together.

So, I thought I walk you through how I was able to design and customize my master closet.

Find Some Inspiration

The first thing I did was look around (mostly on Pinterest) at photos of various closets in order to get an idea of what I liked. I wasn’t worried about brand or price when looking. I just wanted to create something of a vision board. After some browsing, I knew that I wanted white units, because I loved how bright they looked. I also loved the systems that had a lot of varied, and extra, options for organization.

Take Measurements

Before you actually start looking at individual brands and companies, you need to take measurements of your closet. You will want to measure the width, length, and height. Many companies also recommend taking multiple measurements along each wall, since sometimes walls are not perfectly straight or parallel.

Make a List of Your Needs

I literally made a list of all of the things I would need from a closet system. For instance, we needed plenty of hanging space, and I wanted to have a lot of drawer space. I also wanted space for at least two laundry hampers.

Some other things on my list were plenty of shoe racks, space for bag storage (as we store a number of duffel and small travel bags in our master closet), and organization for ties/belts/etc.

Know Your Budget

You need to know how much money you have to spendbefore you start looking around. There’s a huge range of companies and closet systems, as well as price points, out there that are available. If you’re not careful, you may be sucked into spending more than you can afford. So, know your budget and stick to it.

Begin Looking at Different Brands and Options

I did most of my shopping online. The first place I looked was Home Depot and Lowe’s. I knew they had closet organization options, and they were both companies that I have used and trust. Unfortunately, the closet systems that they had to offer didn’t have all the bells and whistles I was looking for. They were a bit too simplistic with not enough organization options.

I then googled something like “custom closet” and culled through a number of the options that came up.

Many websites that offer custom closets have a feature where all you do is type in your closet measurements, and they will create a closet for you. At first, I thought this was brilliant and totally the way to go. I realized, though, that the program that was creating these options for me didn’t have my individual list of needs in front of them. They were just creating an arbitrary closet that fit the dimensions I entered. So, that wasn’t going to work.

Then, I stumbled across the IKEA Pax system.

IKEA Pax System

An IKEA just opened in my area this past December. There was a ton of buzz surrounding it while it was being built, and everyone here is still loving it.

(True confession – I’ve never actually been inside an IKEA.)

Honestly, I had never even shopped there online untilsomewhatrecently. Over the last year though, I have boughta couple of things from IKEA and have been pleased with my purchases. When I discovered the Pax system online, I knew that I had found what I was looking for. Much of the Pax system comes in smaller units, approximately 3 feet wide, or less. So, you can piece together a number of smaller units to create something perfect for your own individual needs.

Refine Your List Even Further

You may need to refine your list even a bit more, at this point. For instance, my husband has more clothes than I do. (No, I didn’t mistype that. It’s actually true.) So, I knew he would need more hanging space on his side. I, on the other hand, have more shoes than he does. So, I needed more shoe racks.

Since I was able to piece together multiple units, I came up with a system that checked off every box on my list. We ended up with plenty of hanging space, lots of drawers, more than enough room for shoes, space for two laundry hampers, tie and belt organization, and overhead storage for travel bags.


Installation actually wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. I knew that we weren’t going to have much clearance between the top of the units and our ceiling. So, I worried that this would make installation really hard.

Because of the size of most of the units, we did have to assemble them upright, inside the closet. After bumbling through the first one a bit though, the rest of them went together smoothly and quickly. I found IKEA’s instructions to be simple and easy to follow.

Load Your Closet Up and Add Final Touches

Once everything was assembled and installed, we began loading the closet back up. One of the units we purchased had come with a tie rack. We decided it would be nice to have a second one that I could hang my scarves on. (Ok, fine. I confiscated the first one, so we needed a second for my husband’s ties.) We also decided to add the belt tray, as well as the canvas bins for overhead storage.

What’s great about the Pax system is that all of these items can be purchased individually, allowing you to customize even further. Also, everything within the units (shelves, hanging bars, etc.) is adjustable. So, again, you can design everything according to your own needs.

And there you have it. That is how I went from knowing absolutely nothing about closet systems, to designing one and fully customizing it on my own.

If you are looking to do something similar, I definitely recommend looking into the IKEA Pax system. So far, we love them, and IKEA’s customer service has been amazing.

How to Design and Customize Your Master Closet (2024)
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