Today I wanted to share with you how we ended up using Ikea kitchen cabinets as our front hall closet and how we customized them to make them work for our storage space and aesthetic.
When we moved into our new place last Spring it came with no storage space (i.e. not one single closet). Fortunately, our entry hall is big enough to accommodate a large wardrobe. We wanted to find something that would use as much of the available space as possible since it would be the main storage area in our apartment. It needed to be big enough to store our jackets, out-of-season footwear, cleaning supplies, tools, camping supplies, luggage…well, you get the idea.
We looked at a lot of wardrobes for sale at local stores as well as the Pax wardrobe system at Ikea. But, because of the limited size options for the Pax system, it would have left a lot of unused height and width that we needed for storage (our space is 185 cm wide and 220 cm high).
We’d already installed an Ikea kitchen so we started looking how we could use and modify the kitchen cupboards to meet our storage needs. Though more expensive than going with a Pax wardrobe, using the kitchen cupboards allowed us to maximise the space available with only a few unused centimetres around the perimeter.
(I had this AirBnB, that was shared on House Tweaking a while back, in mind when we did this. Their look was much more custom than ours, but served as some good inspiration!)
We’ve been really happy with how the closet turned out. I thought I’d do a detailed post about how we planned and installed our closet with Ikea’s kitchen cabinets. I hope it can be helpful to someone else!
First up, here are 4 things you’ll need to get started on planning your closet:
- Precise measurements of the space
- A list of the items you want to store in the closet
- Aesthetic preference in terms of colour/finish/pulls
- An understanding how you will use the area around the closet
Here’s how we went about planning and installing the cabinets:
1. Put the dimensions of your space in the online planner:
We used Ikea’s 3D Kitchen Planner to plan how we wanted to lay out the cupboards. First you need to put in the measurements of your space to plot out a rough outline of your room. This is a bit tedious but if you get these measurements right it really helps when you’re looking at what cupboards fit best.
2. Decide which cupboards to use:
For us, the best option for us was to use 3 of their largest cupboards (60 cm wide and 2 metres high) with a 60 cm by 60 cm on top of each of them to make use of our high ceilings. The planner is super helpful since there are things to consider that you may not anticipate, like the legs at the base of the cupboards and leaving some space around the edge of the cupboard so the doors can open.
You can also specify in the Planner how you want your doors to open. Seeing this online was really helpful as it made us think about what would be the most natural direction for the doors to open that would make things easy to access. If you’re using the larger cupboards, like us, you can also specify the number of doors that you want on the cupboards (there are a couple of options to choose from). We ended up using one large door on the middle cupboard and, on each end cupboard, a ¾ length cupboard at on the top and a smaller cupboard on the bottom. We often have things sitting on the floor in front of the closet (bags, shoes, car seat) so we wanted to be able to still open the top of the cupboard even when the floor is messy. Planning for future laziness is key.
3. Design the interior of the cupboards:
I’d recommend taking the time to carefully plan what you will need inside the cabinets (drawers, shelves, baskets etc.). My husband and I spent a lot of time doing different variations of this interior. We tried to think about where we would most naturally want to put things like our keys and sunglasses, how much space we’d need to for winter gear etc. I am surprisingly happy with how the interior lay out worked out and I think that it’s because we didn’t rush this step. I’d suggest listing everything that you want to store in the cupboard and then figuring out how accessible it needs to be (e.g. can it be stored up high or is it something you reach for every day) and then making a spot in the closet for it. Also, this part of the process can have a big impact on your budget. Things like drawers can really add up so you want to make sure you’re going to use one if you install one.
4. Plan the exterior finishes
When it came to picking the doors and knobs for the closet we selected the Veddinge door in white and the leather Osternas handles. I was really happy that Ikea came out with the Osternas handle options, I’d been thinking of doing a DIY leather handle so this saved me a lot of time! I think a closet is a great place to make use of the Osternas handles because they’re sturdy, add a bit of warmth, and won’t need to be cleaned like they would in a kitchen. Originally, I’d planned on using the grey Veddinge door with black pulls, but they discontinued the grey colour. The Uddevalla would also be a fun option for a closet, it’s a black matte front that doubles as a chalkboard.
5. Go to Ikea and place your order
When we were all done with our planning we headed to Ikea. We had to meet with one of their planners in the Kitchen section who reviewed our plans to make sure we had all the pieces we needed. The people at Ikea are super helpful and have often pointed out to us things that we’ve missed or extra things in our order that we really didn’t need to purchase (e.g. the tall cupboards we ordered come with a shelf in them so we had some extra shelves we could get rid of).
We were really eager to get these installed as soon as we got all the boxes home. Since we have a baby I wasn’t able to help my husband much, it would be easier as a two-person job but is manageable by one person. The top cabinets hang on the wall while the larger bottom cabinets have legs and stand. As is typical with all Ikea furniture I’ve assembled, give yourself some time to review the instructions, inevitably something will be assembled incorrectly and you’ll have to start from the beginning. There will also be some supplies that you need that you hadnt anticipated. We needed to purchase the rod for hanging our coats at the local hardware store and luckily we had the right screws on hand for drilling into our plaster walls. (If anyone wants more details on assembling and hanging the cabinets, let me know, we can do another post on that.)
As I mentioned earlier, we were inspired by a house that had a really built-in custom look with their Ikea closet and were trying to figure out a way to make our cabinets look built-in. We added a piece of plywood between the top and lower cabinets (it is just lying on top of the tall bottom cabinets and then the top ones are hung and sitting right above it). This serves a couple of purposes: 1) It matches the leather pulls and we like having a bit more of that caramel colour in the space to warm it up a bit, and 2) it helped push the top cupboards closer to the ceiling to help with the ‘built in look’. Eventually we’d love to also add a wooden kick board a the bottom and a bit of wood trim around the whole perimeter. Our walls are quite uneven so that will be a frustrating task that I’m not quite ready to tackle.
So there you have it, our Ikea kitchen cabinets as hall closet! We’ve been living with them for about two months now and we’re really happy with them. I’m still working on the internal organization of the cupboards. We went back to Ikea a few weeks later and I purchased the metal piece they have available to help you organize your vacuum hose (we store that in the far left hand cupboard). I’d like to add some command hooks to the inside of the cupboard for reusable shopping bags and one at my daughter’s height so she can hang up her own coat. When we were designing it we had some concerns, like whether we had enough space to hang jackets and store shoes, but for our family of three it’s turned out to be just the right size. Overall it’s been a great investment for what we needed and I’m curious to see how they hold up over time.
If you have any questions please leave them in the comments!