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The Nursery Closet is DONE! This project seems like it took forever- a summertime project with no childcare and LOTS of life happening throughout will do that. But it's done and it's perfect.

I haven't written up a blog post in forever and didn't take as many photos of the process as I usually do so I'll be getting back to that with my next project, but I recorded the process and saved everything to my Instagram highlights so be sure to follow me there!

I used the IKEA PAX system as the bones of this project- I wanted to 'test' it before I begin our primary closet reno. I have to say after completing this closet I think it was absolutely worth it vs building everything from scratch. It's not perfect and there are a few things I'll change when doing our primary, but overall (and especially if you're just getting into DIY) I'd recommend!

I'll get to what I would do differently and total cost of the project at the end so scroll down for that, but here's the process!

This is where we started. The closet is connected to a bathroom that's attached to our nursery (Crew's room). I know it seems ridiculous to spend this amount of time on a closet for a toddler but this is my favorite closet in the house (the windows!!) and I wanted to practice before getting to our primary closet. Besides, if we sell this is the only upstairs bedroom with a private bath so the oldest (favorite) child will likely get it, not a toddler. ;)

I want to completely re-do this bathroom but it's pretty far down on my list right now!

I used (5) PAX units and decided I'd build out that section to the right myself. The windows aren't centered on the back wall (they're closer to the left wall) and bringing the units all the way to the window would have partially covered the left window.

I had to build the units inside the closet because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get them in! Even if your closet is bigger than mine, make sure you have the space to not only get them in your closet, but to also stand them upright before you spend the time building them all.

Originally I thought I'd keep the carpet but about halfway in I decided to pull it up and re-do the floors as well. Our ceilings are 8' in this room which didn't leave enough room to build a base for the units to sit on. It isn't an issue but when I have the height to build a base I usually do so the baseboards can wrap around and look more custom. I'm so happy with the way mine turned out but something to keep in mind if you have higher ceilings and want to go that route!

Once I assembled all the units and put them in their place, I took measurements and added spacers so there was the same amount of space between each unit and then the end units and the wall.

I first trimmed out the units themselves and then the shelves, drawers and shoe drawers. I used 1x pine for all of this!

I built a simple desk out of scrap 3/4" plywood. Mitered the edge and attached it to wood that I secured to studs in the wall.

I wood-filled all the holes and sanded them down. I found I had to do some of them twice- it felt like it took forever but is SO ABSOLUTELY worth it in the end!

The Ikea shelves and drawers are set back about 3/8" so I cut shims to account for it. I didn't add shims to the drawers but did for the pull-out shoe drawers.

I chose to roll/brush vs spray because I had 3 kids that could barge in at any moment and it was easier for me to do over a span of time. There's lots of natural light in here which can show imperfections in paint applications and even still, it looks SO GOOD and just like it was sprayed.

I used Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer before painting and used my favorite Sherwin Williams Urethane Enamel in Pure White with a satin finish. The walls are also Pure White but with a flat finish.

The painting process I use is:

  • Sand everything with a fine grit sandpaper (220)

  • Vacuum/Wipe down with damp tac cloth and let dry completely

  • 1 Coat primer

  • Sand everything again lightly with 220 grit sanding block

  • Use brush to paint all corners/crevices/places the roller won't roll

  • Roll all larger areas/any place it can get

  • Lightly sand down any areas if you have brush strokes/wipe off dust

  • Second coat with brush

  • Second coat with roller

The plan was to install tile that would carry through to the bathroom, but at the 11th hour I decided to switch to laminate (linked at the end of this post). This was my first time installing laminate but it was SO fast and I'm so happy with the result! My laminate required underlayment so I cut it to size, cut the boards as needed with my miter saw (one cut with my table saw to rip a piece down) and then it 'clicked' together. It's a floating system so requires no nailing/attaching to the floor itself. I used a silicone caulk for the perimeter where it meets the wall and then baseboards/quarter round on the sides to cover the gap.

And that's it! I hope this helps anyone who is looking to do the same or similar- it really is completely possible for a beginner to do this and obviously makes SUCH a difference in a closet.

What Would I Do Differently?

While I'm happy with the finished result, there are a few things I'd have done differently and I wanted to share!

  • Instead of using the backing that comes with the units, I'd cut my own 1/4" plywood backing. In addition to providing more support, it will get rid of the line that you can see with their backing.

  • I would have wood-filled all the holes BEFORE adding the shelves. Those top shelves were hard to get into with my sander once the shelves were installed. Basically finishing out all the wood filling while it's just the 'bones', then adding the shelves and caulking next.

  • Although the shoe pull-out drawers look good, I would finish them a little differently in my primary closet. Follow along for that project to see how I'd do them! Not a big deal, just something I will be changing next time.

That's honestly it! As with all my projects I put a LOT of thought into them prior to starting so I get everything exactly how I want it. Many hours spent researching!

How Much Did It Cost?

You cost will vary depending on the size of your closet and what you add to it. Drawer space was important to me and was a big chunk of the total cost considering that was extra product as well as trim (wood is still so expensive!), but it still saved me thousands by doing it myself. Here's the breakdown and final cost!

  • IKEA products (5 separate PAX units, 15 drawers, 10 pull out shoe drawers & 10 shelves) $2086.60

  • Wood, Trim, Shiplap $493.13

  • Paint + Primer $93.98

  • Flooring $250

  • Hardware $105

TOTAL COST: $3,028.71


Ikea PAX Units - Many of the the Ikea units are out of stock and take a while to get in, if you know you want to do this project anytime in the future figure out which sizes you'll need now and set up text alerts for anything you may be missing. It took a while for the shoe pull-outs and small drawers to come back in stock for me!

Wood Filler - I tried FOUR different versions of wood filler to fill the trillion holes and this was my favorite!

Primer - This is THE best primer for Ikea furniture. The paint really does stick so well!!

Paint - The paint I use for all my cabinetry projects- the best I've found!

Flooring (I purchased 3 boxes)

Underlayment (Not all laminate requires this- check the instructions)


Chris Hartman
Chris Hartman
Apr 22

Choosing Laminate Flooring Installation Specialists for our laminate flooring installation was the best decision we made! The team was knowledgeable, courteous, and worked diligently to ensure everything was perfect.


Oct 16, 2023

Awesome I will like to do my kids closest what were the measurements to cover the drawer and the spacing


Jack Ross
Jack Ross
Oct 27, 2022

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