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CHIC IKEA hack - Wardrobe makeover

I will never say anything against IKEA. The Swedish giant has given us a lot of good quality furniture which can be mixed with vintage pieces, up-cycled, and generally made to look way more expensive than it really is. In this post I will show you how I added wallpaper on my IKEA PAX wardrobes to given them a totally different look.

Pax wardrobes are ideal for this quick DIY because they are flat and the width of each door is less than the width of the average wallpaper. You can also use fabric instead of wallpaper.

This post is a paid collaboration with IKEA UK. As always, all views are my own.

1/ The Background

In our previous home, which happened to be rented, the master bedroom was a massive 25 sq meters - enough for us to play football in. Surprisingly, it came completely bare of any furniture. Unsurprisingly, I felt like I had to fill it up. This is how I ended up with four (!) double door PAX wardrobes. Fast forward to 2014 when we purchased our current home which had fitted wardrobes, albeit not in all bedrooms.

Undecided about what I should do about the IKEA wardrobes, I took them to the new house and just put them in the garage for storage. Two of them made it into one bedroom which has no purpose or real use other than being the room where we dump a lot of stuff. I hated that. In the end, the wardrobes had so many jumbled up clothes in them, I felt like lighting them on fire.

Instead, I decided to de-clutter and give the room purpose. I removed all other furniture and turned this room into a reading space for my son, bringing his desk in front of the window.

2/ What you will need for this DIY

  • 1x roll wallpaper of your choice.

  • 1x roll of double sided tape - I got mine from Screwfix for £4.99

  • Scissors to cut the wallpaper to size.

  • A pair of door handles, as the PAX system does not include them.

  • A driller to drill holes for the handles.

  • Time to complete: 30'

  • Difficulty: Easy

I think geometric shapes work the best for this type of project, as well as stripes. If you choose something with a bit of shine, even better. For my project I chose Cole and Son's Hicks Hexagon which I purchased here. It has a wonderful shine but I did find that while I rubbed it down over the sticky tape with my hands, I dId get smudges on my hands. So just do it gently and wash your hands many times so as not to leave marks on the paper.

3/ How to wallpaper your wardrobe

Step 1

First clean the surface lightly, to make sure the tape adheres to it. the surface needs to be dry.

Step 2

Place the tape. Do this in long straight lines, 8-10cm apart. Run the tape over the top, bottom and inner side of the door as you will want to cover those as well. It should cover no more than 4cm on the inside. If you don't like that you can cut the wallpaper precisely to cover the front of the door only.

Do not uncover the top of the tape yet. Do a dry run of how you will place the wallpaper and cut the length roughly so you don't have to move the heavy roll while placing the wallpaper. Decide at which point you want the pattern to start and fold it over the door so you have a guide.

Step 3

Start removing the top of the tape 30cm at a time, to reveal its sticky side up. It is crucial that you don't remove too much of the protective film otherwise, the bottom half of your wallpaper might stick to it by accident. You also don't want to end up with air bubbles, and you don't want to have to rip it off. That's an expensive mistake.

Start with the right door and work from the top right corner and work your way to the bottom and left. Keep your right hand on the end of the right side to push the paper slightly in place so it is always straight. Do not rush. Once it is in place all the way to the bottom, cut the extra bits off. Or wrap the extra paper around the inside.

Step 4

Time to place the handles. Decide on the height and drill from the outside in. Start with the top screw, then screw it lightly in place. Let it drop straight and make a mark where the next hole should be. Repeat and you have your first handle in place.

Next measure on the opposite door and repeat. Do not take a measurement from the first door and repeat on the second (and subsequent doors) as your door may be slightly out of place (you can tell when one looks like it is higher than the other).

Trust your eyes. In the first go, my husband trusted his measure tape and I could tell one handle was going to be off from a mile away! Of course he didn't accept this but did correct the mistake. Pheww.

4/ Add handles!

The IKEA PAX wardrobe system does not come with handles. To give the wardrobe some extra oomph, I opted for antique brass long handles which I found on Cast in Style here. They come in various sizes, but given the size of PAX, I went for the extra long ones at 45cm.

Where can I find amazing wardrobe handles?

In the UK, you can always pick up fantastic designs like the Skyscraper knurled T-Bar from Dowsing & Reynolds, shown below.

The Result

Well how about it! The Pax Wardrobes are totally transformed and so is the room! Given the neutral wall colour, the busy geometric wallpaper really adds character to the space. I have to admit that I have often pondered whether I should paint the room in a teal colour but actually, I am growing fond of neutrals currently and maybe I want to take... a break from bold colours (shock, horror, I know!).



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