It’s here! I can’t even describe how excited I am to share this project with you. We redid our master bedroom closet a couple of weeks ago and it has been life changing. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s so nice when you have a spacious closet to store your clothes in. I can find things when I get dressed in the morning and I even put things away now because it’s easy to do it (this is like a giant accomplishment for me, you have no idea). I just feel so organized!
Now I’m going to start this off with a huge disclaimer, we did most of the work ourselves as you will see below, but I did hire Closets By Design to help with the design and to install the shelves. Could we have done this ourselves? Probably. But to be honest, this is my first time working with a space like this and I really wanted to make sure we used the space to its fullest and I just couldn’t picture what that looked like in my head. Now that it’s complete, I don’t regret using them at all! I loved the designer (Mallory) and the installation team was super quick and really nice. The final look of the closet is amazing and it’s super functional. I don’t think I would’ve been able to utilize the space in the same way myself because I just don’t have experience in this area. Perhaps in the future we will be able to do other closets on our own, but this time I’m super glad I let a professional help me out.
Now back to the DIY part of this post (this is what you’re here for after all)…
Why I Needed a Closet Makeover…
This… yeah, just look at it, take it in. You get it.
Everything about this closet sucked. The left wall was good enough. We were able to hang a lot but both of us are super tall (I’m 6′ and Nick is 6’7″) and our clothes just did not fit right. I couldn’t use the shelf above my hanging section because his clothes went all the way to the bottom and my clothes were hanging on the floor which gave the cat a great place to sleep in and left me with gross cat hair filled clothes. This made getting ready super annoying since I’d pick things out of the closet and have to throw them in the laundry basket instead of wearing them because they were filled with cat hair.
The right side of the closet actually fell out of the wall in the middle of the night one night (and scared the crap out of me) which basically left that side of the closet unusable. We tried to put it back up and anchor it into the wall, but Nick put his clothes from that side in the guest bedroom closet because we were afraid to put too much weight on it. Next, do you see those awesome college dorm room style cubes that I have my shirts in? Super classy right? Aside from that, you can see the back of the wall was just unused space.
The thing I hated most in this closet, the door opened INTO the closet. Who the heck designs a walk in closet with the door going into it? So much wasted space! The previous owners attempted to hang a shoe rack behind there but that didn’t even begin to work. Oh and the previous owners’ dogs peed in the closet and that carpet just needed to go. So gross. Needless to say, we needed a BIG change!
Where to Buy the Materials…
Everything we used in this project came from Lowes. For our closet, we ripped down the current closet system, removed the carpet, had the installers put in the shelves and then installed the new wood floors and lighting ourselves. I’ll break it down into each section for what you need:
Closet System Removal: We did this the best we could with a drill, screw driver and pliers. You will need spackling paste, caulk and a spreader to fill in all the holes. A sanding block to even out the spackle and paint in the color of your choice (We used white paint and white semi-gloss paint for the door and trim).
Carpet Removal: You will need tools to remove the carpet and the tacks. We used a box cutter, hammer and crowbar.
Shelf Install: We used Closets by Design. Lowes does have closet sections though if you feel up to designing the closet yourself!
Wood Flooring: We used Sterling Oak Embossed Wood Plank Laminate Flooring for $1.92/ sq ft., a hammer and a towel (or in our case I used a sock because that’s what I had. A rubber mallet would probably be the best thing to use), quarter round and a threshold.
Lighting: Of course if you want to change the lighting you will need to find that somewhere as well! We went with a super awesome, crystal light from lowes.
Door: We replaced the door with a bifold, sliding door to give us more closet space. We purchased this door since it matched the rest of the house.
Creating the Closet…
First things first, we needed a design. That’s where the closet company came in. We told her what we wanted in the closet, how we wanted to use it and she took measurements and helped us plan out the space. Because of the size of our closet, we could only do hanging sections on the left side of the closet and the back. On the right side we decided to go with shelves. The first thing we did ourselves is take off that stupid, backwards door and put it in the basement. No more door taking up space in our closet!
Removing the Old Closet System
Once we decided on the design, it was time to rip out the old closet system. This was NOT fun for us because the previous home owners apparently changed the closet system but left the nails and anchors in the wall from the previous system. Instead of patching the holes they actually taped over the bigger holes! So we had to rip out two closet systems. They were not easy to pull out of the wall and we were left with some pretty big holes! We did the best we could to pull it all out without creating too much damage but we were still left with a ridiculous amount of holes:
Once that was finished, we took the spackling paste and spread it over the holes. We gave it a few hours to dry and then went back over the larger holes to make sure they were filled in.
Because this was a closet and most of the wall would be covered with clothes, we weren’t concerned about the wall being perfect. If it had been a wall that you see everyday, we would’ve needed a patch kit because some of these holes were too big to patch fully without being able to see it through the spackle.
Once the spackle was dry, we went through with a sanding block and tried to make the patches as flat and non-noticeable as possible. It turned out pretty good considering how many holes we had in this wall before. Now it was time to paint the walls! Before we started, we wiped down the walls to get rid of all the excess spackle dust and dirt. We taped off the trim and then painted the walls and ceiling white. We didn’t cover the floor at all during this project because we knew we were replacing it.
Removing the Carpet
After the walls and ceiling were dry, it was time to tackle the carpet! We used a box cutter to cut the carpet at the entrance of the closet and just ripped it up.
We then had to remove the padding under the carpet and the tacks. The carpet and padding ripped up pretty easily. To remove the tacks, we used a crow bar and a hammer to pry up the tacks. Those came up relatively easily as well!
We then vacuumed the room and it was ready for the installers to put in the closet!
Installing the Closet
Again, we paid someone to do this. Yeah, I feel like it’s a sin to this DIY blog to pay someone to do a project for you but part of doing things yourself is knowing your limits! We probably could’ve done this ourselves and Nick almost talked me into doing it, but at the end of the day I felt I would be happier with the result using a professional. I don’t regret it at all! I think they did an amazing job. The total install job took about 2 hours and it completely changed the closet!
Installing the Flooring
This part was not as easy as they make it look. These stupid floor pieces don’t just “snap into place” like they make it seem. We were excited to have such a small space to do because it was cheaper and faster, but the small space actually made it more difficult. One of the first things you need to do with the flooring is let it acclimate in your house for 24-48 hours. I did a lot of research on this and thought eh, we don’t really need to do this, but I also didn’t want to take the risk of the floor buckling or having extra space because I couldn’t wait a day. Soooo my impatient self let the flooring sit for a couple of days before installing it. When putting in a wood floor, it’s important to stagger the pieces. Since we had a super tiny space we basically just staggered it the best we could without having to make a ton of cuts in the wood. Nick used a miter saw to cut the pieces of wood in the sizes we needed and then it was time to install them! For the small corner pieces in the closet, Nick used a jigsaw to cut the pieces. I watched a few You Tube videos to make sure I had the wood in the correct direction. The row you are doing should lock into the row you have down already, you don’t want to do this backwards as it will make it super hard to install. When we put each row down, we had to take a hammer and a sock or a towel (A rubber mallet would be best if you have a big space). We lightly hit the edge of the floor until it snapped into place. It wasn’t easy and it was annoying but we did it!
For the pieces that go under the door frame, we had to cut out a small section of the door frame. We used a dremel and just did our best to take the smallest section out of the bottom so the wood could slip under it.
Once the floor was installed, it was time to install the quarter round. We measured our space and made a diagonal cut at the end of the quarter round so the edges would fit together in the corners. If it doesn’t fit perfectly, don’t worry! That’s what caulk is for. We lined the edges of the floor with caulk and stuck the quarter round to it. After laying the quarter round, we caulked the edges just to make sure everything looked uniform and there were no cracks. Nick used weights to hold the quarter round in place on the floor while the caulk dried, but this probably isn’t necessary. The cat tried to help but he wasn’t very good at it…
To finish the floor, we installed the threshold and viola! Closet floor complete.
We thought a lot about different door styles for our closet. We thought about making the door we had just open into the bedroom, but we didn’t want to hassle with making the notches in the door frame and we really don’t have a lot of space there. I also thought about the sliding barn style doors, but again we have no space for doors to slide into. I eventually decided a sliding, bifold door would be the best option and it worked great! It was super, quick and easy to install. For some reason, you can’t actually buy a white door so I had to paint it but that worked out because then it matched the trim. We weren’t able to find a handle that matched the rest of the closet doors in our house so I went with the crystal one. One of the key things when looking for a door handle is the width of the back. Most handles available have small backs to them and are meant for drawers or cabinets. The handles with a wider back are able to withstand all the opening and closing in a closet. We didn’t have a huge selection, so I picked the one I thought would be best for now. I will be keeping my eye out for future door handles!
To make the closet look more uniform we caulked the edges. We caulked the bottom edges next to the wall so there were no spaces and we caulked the sides of the shelves as well. It really made a huge difference in the look of the closet!
We then changed the horrible fluorescent light to this awesome crystal, sparkle light which really made the closet look elegant.
We then hung some hooks we purchased at lowes on the section of the wall that was empty for hats and belts and our closet was complete!
It’s a HUGE change from before. Our closet is obviously the same size but it feels like it has so much more room and it also stores so much more. I actually have extra space! I’m super happy we did this project and it feels so much better to have an elegant, organized space to get ready in in the morning!