Monday, July 18, 2011

How we fixed our Ikea wardrobe after the bar fell

Our apartment has no bedroom closet space. There are two coat closets and a linen closet all clustered in the same wall between the living room and office and near the bathroom, but there is no storage in the bedroom. So a while back, we bought three large Ikea wardrobes that fit nicely next to each other down one of the walls of our bedroom. This particular wardrobe model was one of Ikea's budget options (i.e., it was not one of their crazy customizable types; it basically came as a complete unit). The closet bar (shown here without the shelf that is usually above it) should attach to the closet using a plastic insert like this (click on the image for a larger and clearer version):
As you may be able to see, there is a large vertical scrape a few inches beneath the plastic insert. That scrape came into our lives when the plastic insert on the left side of the bar failed ("wardrobe malfunction"), which sent the awkward-shaped metal closet bar (and the clothes hanging on it) into the floor of the wardrobe. As you can see, there is a cantilever-type support jutting out from the plastic insert that sheared off (pretty clean cut, actually):
Ikea often keeps spare parts like this on hand that you can grab for free in bins from the store, but we didn't want to drive all the way to West Chester to look for them, and we were pretty sure these wardrobes were discontinued and these (likely specialized) parts were not available. So we went to Meijer instead (it was too late to go to a hardware store to find real closet accessories) to look for a way to hack together a good pre-fabricated furniture fix.

Just before we were about to give up, we found these corner braces that looked like the perfect size and shape for our problem. They were about $2.50 for a pack of 2 (in case any of the other supports ever break later).
So here's how we used a corner brace to support the closet bar:
As a bonus, the screws that came with the corner brace were short enough to not protrude out the side of the wardrobe. They were self-tapping screws, but I didn't trust them in the Ikea-style formica-covered particle board, and so I pre-drilled some small holes first, and that worked pretty well. We used a zip tie to fix the bar vertically; however, we also experimented with binder rings that we had stowed away in our office supplies. The binder rings actually provided a much tighter fit so that the bar didn't wiggle at all; however, as strange as it sounds, the zip ties were a little more discrete as they hugged the corner brace snugly.

[ I should note that I took off the shelf to get easier access to the closet. That meant pulling out the three small brads/nails attaching the masonite-ish backing. Because the area moment of inertia of that backing is very high, I think it provides significant support to the closet structure as a whole. So afterward, I pulled the closet out and put the nails back in a different spot. I probably could have left the shelf in through the whole fix. ]

I almost like the look of our fix better than the Ikea insert (which looks like it has a tenuous hold on the bar anyway).

[ You can also find this post at Ted's personal blog. ]

2 comments:

MrsNguyen said...

Hi Ted!
I have the exact problem. Is the solution just called a corner brace? It looks like there are a lot of screws in the pack and only two holes. What brand or are there any other details. I don't think the local home depot will understand what I want by saying "corner brace" I can't make out the brand on your picture. Any suggestions?

Bud Furn said...



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Wardrobe Accessories