By Jenny Komenda

Published on March 28, 2016

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Photography by Jenny Komenda

an ode to the pax

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Photography by Jenny Komenda

domino contributing editor—and resident DIY expert— Jenny Komenda shows us 6 steps for transforming IKEA’s modular closet system into a custom wardrobe and vanity.

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Photography by Jenny Komenda

We recently moved across the country, trading our cozy Brooklyn home for a house in the desert, with nearly triple the square footage. When we first arrived in Arizona, I told myself that all my storage woes were behind me–and then we unpacked our clothes and shoes. Despite the fact that we have ample closets now, we were still having trouble making everything fit. Piles were accumulating. Clothes and shoes were buried and lost to memory.

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Photography by Jenny Komenda

Here are a few ways to upgrade your Pax wardrobe to help make it a little less big-box and a little more bespoke. 1Paint, paint, paint. The superslick surface of IKEA’s furniture is notoriously difficult to paint, but Zinsser’s shellac-based primer works like a charm. Apply it with a miniroller, and follow up with your topcoat of choice. I like Benjamin Moore’s Advance line for painting furniture. I often paint my wardrobes the same color as my walls to help them blend into the room and feel unobtrusive. For this project, I used Benjamin Moore’s Knoxville Gray, a dark, moody blue-gray with plenty of green undertones. This color is one of my favorites, so I knew I wouldn’t tire of seeing it day in and day out.

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2 Trim it out. It’s amazing what a few inches of molding can do. I added dentil trim to the top of my wardrobes, and the crown made a huge difference.

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Photography by Jenny Komenda
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3 Mirror the doors. The Bergsbo-style doors are one of the least-expensive Pax options. And if you choose this model, you can use the money you’ve saved to have mirrors cut to fit by a glass shop. They can be safely secured to the doors with mirror glue.

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Photography by Jenny Komenda

4 Personalize the hardware. Most Pax wardrobes don’t have door hardware, but adding a few simple pulls can give the piece a whole new look. I found these chunky pulls at the hardware store and spray–painted them gold to provide a luxe touch.

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6 Create a vanity areafor jewelry storage. To keep my accessories organized, I created a vanity by installing one of the IKEA shelves at counter height above a series of drawers used for clothing storage and adhering a mirror to the back of the wardrobe. Then, I affixed 40 small brass hooks to a scrap piece of wood and hung it inside for necklace storage.

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5 Wallpaper the inside of the wardrobe. One thing I don’t love about the Pax is the exposed holes for the adjustable shelves. Wallpapering the interior surfaces solves that problem. I used an inexpensive roll of grass cloth from Lowe’s and painted it the same color (Benjamin Moore’s Knoxville Gray) as the wardrobe for a seamless look.

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Sunglasses and jewelry in a tray. 

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Since investing some time and money in these wardrobes, I’m feeling about a million times more organized. And that vanity? I’m loving it! Today, I’m wearing a pair of earrings I thought were long lost. But the best part of being organized is the time it frees up for tackling other things around our house.

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Jewelry in a tray and around the statues. 

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Photography by Jenny Komenda
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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Jewlery is kept on the table in either a case or in blue bowls.