Using Ikea Kitchen Cabinets as a Closet

osternas and veddinge closet |

Today I wanted to share with you how we ended up using Ikea kitchen cabinets as a closet and how we customized them to make them work for our storage space and aesthetic.

When we moved into our place a few years ago 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 into 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:

  1. Precise measurements of the space
  2. A list of the items you want to store in the closet
  3. Aesthetic preference in terms of colour/finish/pulls
  4. An understanding of how you will use the area around the closet

Here’s how we went about planning and installing the cabinets:

Using Ikea Kitchen Cabinets as a Closet

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.

Ikea osternas veddinge whole closet |

2. Decide which cupboards to use:

For us, the best option was to use 3 of their largest cupboards (60 cm wide and 2 metres high) with a 60 cm by 60 cm cupboard 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 Ikea 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 really need one – a shelf is much cheaper.

As you can see in the photo below, we picked some solid, shallow drawers to store little items like our keys, change, and sunglasses. We chose the wire basket drawers (which are cheaper than the solid drawers) to store bigger items like our kids’ outdoor clothes. Extra backpacks are on shelves (cheaper than the drawers and the only option that makes sense for storage at the top of the cabinet). A hook on the inside of door on the right side holds shopping bags. On the shelf below the coats, I leave my purse.

Veddinge Osternas Closet interior |

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.

Osternas handles and Veddinge doors |

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 could remove some shelves from our order).

6. Install!

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 you need that you hadn’t 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.

osternas and veddinge closet |

So there you have it, our Ikea kitchen cabinets as a 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). 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 it’s turned out to be just the right size. Overall it’s been a great investment and I’m curious to see how they hold up over time.

Veddinge Osternas closet |

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments!


Osternas handles and Veddinge doors |

24 Replies to “Using Ikea Kitchen Cabinets as a Closet”

  1. I was thinking about trying this for bedroom wardrobe closets in our house. Thanks for such detailed information, you helped me out! Your closets look beautiful. Cheers.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful. Good luck with your wardrobe!

  2. […] don’t have any natural light reaching our hallway (you can see pictures of it in our post about Using Ikea Cupboards as a Closet) so I wanted to make sure the space felt light and airy. Though I still like how it looks, I wish […]

  3. Hello Christina! I am looking for the solution to make a wardrobe “wall” in our corridor, and got exactly the same problems – though Pax wardrobe looks like the obvious choice, it leaves a lot of space on top – I need to use 201 cm ones due ventilation shaft, so then there is at least 30 cm unused… And putting extra cupboards on top is not an option as Pax is 50/75/100 cm wide, and most
    ther Ikea solutions are 40/60/80/100 cm…
    So I started looking into Method as well, and came over your article. Thank you a lot for it, a lot of good advice, ideas and thoughts! Will certainly use some of them!

    Have one question though – you have a coat hanger in one of the wardrobes – is it some standard Ikea one that just fits? Did you need to shorten it?

    Regards, Dmitrij

    1. Hi Dmitrij,
      So glad you found the article useful! Good question, you got me thinking about why we didn’t buy this at Ikea and I think it’s because they don’t sell the clothing rail for the Metod cabinets. We got ours at the hardware store and had to cut it to size. We used a small hacksaw to cut it but the hardware store could probably cut it for you too. It screws right into the pre-drilled holes inside the Metod cabinet that are intended for the shelves, so it was an easy install. It looks like Ikea sells an adjustable clothing rail for the Algot range which might work depending on the options for installing it? Hope this helps and good luck!

  4. What depth are the cabinets? Are they the standard 24 inches?

    1. Yes, 24 in/61 cm deep.

  5. Hi! I don’t think a rod is an option for IKEA cabinets. Did you have to do anything special (reinforcing the sides) in order to install a rod for hanging?


    1. Hi Leslie, You’re right they don’t sell a rod for these cabinets. We got ours at the hardware store and cut it to size. It screws right into the pre-drilled holes inside the cabinet that are intended for the shelves. (Ikea sells an adjustable clothing rail for the Algot range which might work depending what is needed for the installation.) We didn’t do anything special for reinforcing the sides for the clothing rod specifically, but we did screw all of the cabinets together for the overall stability which probably helps. Hope that answers your question!

  6. What about the bottom? You didn’t have space for legs. Wht did you put under the cabinets so the door have clearance over the rug?

    1. Hi John, Good catch – I made an error in my post, I’ll have to fix that. Our ceiling height is actually close to 280cm so we used the little black plastic legs that came with the cupboards. They’re not visible unless you crouch down and gives some clearance for opening the door.

  7. Thanks for your insight. We decided to use the Sektion cabinets in our front foyer as well and then doing higher end custom fronts from Dunsmuir that match so it looks cohesive. The one issue we are having is the clothing rod for the 30″ cabinet. I’m trying the Komplement accessories from IKEA which have a clothing rod that may fit. Not sure until we try i guess. Any experience with that? We liked using the Sektion pieces so we could use the Pantry for winter accessories and some household products we need for outside.

    1. Hi Robyn,
      No, we haven’t used the Komplement accessories in our closet. I’d be curious to hear how they work out for you! We bought a generic clothing rod from our hardware store that we could cut to size. It’s worked out well for us.

    2. Did you get the Kompliment shoe shelf to work in Sektion cabinets?

  8. I just came across this post and find it so useful! We are thinking about using Ikea Sektion cabinets for our Laundry / Mudroom. I am drawn to the interior organization options that the Sektion provides for cleaning supplies & other household items, but was also wondering how it would accommodate a clothing rod. You have answered my questions!

    1. Thank you for your comment! We’re so glad you found it useful.

  9. Are they still holding up well after a year? What was your budget for this project…


    1. Hi Michael, They’re still holding up well. We have a scratch on one of the cupboards from when we bumped it with some boxes we were moving around, but it’s fortunately not too noticeable. I don’t remember the exact budget, but we used IKEA’s online kitchen planner to pick out the cupboards we needed, so if you use that it will give you the exact price.

  10. Hi,

    Thanks for your blog. We are trying to fit a cabinet on our bedroom wall and found PAx system does not fit. We are inspired by your blog but are unable to find your upper cabinet which is on the high cabinet in the IKEA website. Can you please guide us.

  11. Hi,

    Thanks for your blog. We are trying to fit a cabinet on our bedroom wall and found PAx system does not fit. We are inspired by your blog but are unable to find your upper cabinet which is on the high cabinet in the IKEA website. Can you please guide us.

    1. Sorry for the slow response. It looks like IKEA has changed the cabinets a bit since we built ours. Try looking under the ‘Wall Cabinets’ section of the website. Something like this may work:

  12. Hi christa ,

    I’d been searching the web to see if anything me had used sektion/besta cabinets for closet designing, and had almost despaired when, thankfully I came across your post.
    Love the look of your closet. Looks so hi-end.

    It’s just that the sektion/besta series gives so many options for the face panels/front finishes as well as the 1/2-3/4 size cupboard door frames, compared to the limited 3 PAX finishes and full length door sizes, that it just completely alters the look of your closet, giving it more visual interest abd a more high end look.

    Just curious though—- do the maximara drawers fit into the PAX frames ? Do the maximara or any other drawer fronts fit into the kompliment drawer faces ?
    We want to have the look of drawers where there’s no space between them. The framed/unframed kompliment series of drawers in the pax leave an unsightly space between them when installed, which in my opinion takes away from the high-end look of the wardrobe.


    1. Hi Rita, Sorry for not responding sooner. You may have already installed your closet, I hope it looks great! I would imagine the maximara drawers don’t fit into the pax wardrobe as I think the dimensions are different. We’ve since made a pantry in our kitchen with sektion and are still happy with using the system.

  13. Hello, thank you for your information (still super handy this long after!). We purchased two metod cupboards and two wall units to make an over bed wardrobe. Just curious if you used the kitchen suspension rail to attach it to the wall? We have skirting board which doesn’t allow to do it but wondering if she should cut it off or if there’s a better way. Thanks

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