Closet Redo: More Function and Fun

August 18, 2010 § 5 Comments

Our house came with what I imagine to be basic (and dare I say, very blah) contractor closet fittings: a wire shelf and rod combo.

Closet Before Aug 2010

The same setup was repeated in every closet in the house; the two linen closets had wire shelving only. It was fantastic to get full-length rods, true. Mr. E was very happy with his dresser and shared rod space, so he was all set. I, however, missed our rental apartment closet with LOTS of shelves:

Rental apartment closet

Closet bliss!

I definitely prefer shelves in my closet, as crazy as the thought may be.

Screencap from Pride & Prejudice

โ€œShelves in the closet? A happy thought indeed.โ€ Pride & Prejudice BBC miniseries, 1995.

I also love knitwear, and I have a lot of them. Storing knits folded is better than using hangers. I wasn’t afraid of using it as an argument. ๐Ÿ™‚ After we decided on redoing our bedroom closet, including more shelving was pretty much a given. The rest of the closet layout required more inspiration. Fortunately the closet is large and in the corner of the room, so we only needed to change the innards.

Bedroom Floorplan

I grew up with European closets. They’re deep, about 50 cm (1’8โ€) and typically have shelves and rods, sometimes wire baskets. Like this:

Finnish closet

Skulltrio.vuodatus.net

While the shelving was awesome, I hated the awkward depth. Hated it. You might be able to stack four piles onto a shelf, but the two back piles were very difficult to access. (The wire baskets of course help, but they were not standard when I was growing up. You see a lot more of them nowadays.) After moving to the States, I used a dresser in out NYC rental. It never felt comfortable, though. I also tried a hanging canvas organizer to no avail. I find myself drawn to proper, solid shelving:

Closet with rods and shelves

Real Simple; photographer Bob Hiemstra.

Closet with shelves

Real Simple; photographer Jeff McNamara.

Closet with rods and shelves

Martha Stewart Living.

Measuring and drawing a few alternatives gave us a great layout for our needs. Mr. E would get two feet of rod space (double rods), and I’d get two feet of shelving plus a tall rod space a foot and a half long. We decided to use 1x12s for durability (solid wood, ahh!) and practicality (just one cut makes a shelf). Foot deep shelving was enough for me; in fact, it sounded perfect.

Closet remodel plan

Our high-tech plans drawn up with MS Paint.

I took the old shelf-and-rod system down, patched the drywall, and prepped the space; Mr. E built the uprights and cut boards for shelving. We hit a snag with the shelves, however, for some of the 1×12 lumber had blemished edges. Mr. E came to the rescue (woo-hoo!) and built two new shelves from leftover 1x4s and leftover stringers. They look different, with stringers holding the three 1x4s together on the bottom of the shelf, but dare say I’ll live with it.

Since we were messing in the closet anyway, I thought to mess a little more thoroughly. Inserting a splash of color in your closet walls is a fantastic idea. There are great pictures of fun, colorful, painted or wallpapered closets on the Interwebs. For example:

Small Closet

Better Homes and Gardens.

Girl's closet with wallpaper

Domino / Ruthie Sommers.

Yellow closet

Wrapping paper instead of wallpaper. Jenny Komenda at Little Green Notebook.

Lime green closet

A little matchy-matchy for my taste, but I love the bright closet wall. Real Simple; photographer Noah Webb.

I know myself well enough to discard the wallpapering option, so it was to be paint. Furthermore, I wanted to keep the costs of this project down. We still had the two blue sample cans for our bathroom wall color. I used the lighter blue (the one we rejected) to paint a section of the closet wall.

New closet almost ready

Uprights are in, rods are in, and the back wall accent has been painted.

I’m sure I’m partial, but I think this shade looks really, really good in the closet. After the blue dried, the uprights, rod supports, and shelves got two coats of white semigloss paint. Then for the fun part: filling your new closet!

Our new closet

Ta-da! I love having shelves! It’s so easy to see my options at a glance. In addition to the closet, I have a wardrobe with more rod space plus two drawers; this setup works for me perfectly. Mr. E loves his double rods, too. We were also able to insert an extra shelf above my tall rod. The existing closet space is better used this way, and there’s even *ahem* some room to grow. (After I recycled two small bags of clothing and moved a big, woolen winter blanket to another closet.) The best thing is that the redo cost us less than 60 bucks!

  • Lumber: $27 (1x12s, stringers, rods)
  • Blue flat paint sample: $3
  • White semigloss paint: $15
  • Roller, brush, and tray: $11
  • 4 angle brackets: $2.50
  • Screws and nails: already owned
  • Painter’s tape: already owned

Total: $58.50

This is my first home building project; Mr. E has a little experience assisting his parents with their big, old, New England farmhouse. Not bad for two newbies, don’t you think?

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