DIY Closet Renovation

It all started earlier in the week when I stumbled across this on the internet.

Now, let me just tell you that this is waaaaay elaborate and far more DIY than I am capable of or even want to contemplate being. However, I started musing about how I might do something like it to our front closet which is almost always in a state of utter disarray. The bifold doors get left open. The kids drop their backpacks on the floor, kick their shoes off and leave them laying around (instead of ON THE SHOE RACK) and leave their coats laying wherever they happen to fall. Never mind that years ago I installed low-set hooks for them to hang up their coats. They never got used.

The shelf above the coat rail was always a mess of things, no matter how I tried to organize it and when I’d reach up to get something half the items on the shelf would fall off on top of me. It was ridiculous. The coat rail itself was full and had enough long coats that I couldn’t even SEE the closet floor and its mess half the time.

A typical before shot (minus the baskets – those were new and I forgot to take a shot before I organized that part). And this is actually better than it’s been in the past.



The plan was to remove the bifold doors, remove the hanging rail, paint the interior of the closet, cover the shelf with something less ugly, hang hooks on the back wall of the closet, and put a bench with storage in. Initially, I was planning to build a very simple bench and make a cushion for it myself. However, this would have entailed actually purchasing tools like, oh, A SAW. Then I found a bench at Target that was a good solution and cost less than building it myself would have.  Also, I was planning to carry the wall color from the hallway into the closet but unfortunately, the paint that the previous owners left us had turned into something solid and unusable so that was out.

So, I purchased four of these baskets from Amazon (which were Prime when I purchased and somehow are not now) as well as a polka dot motif contact paper to cover the shelf with.  Once I had the contact paper in hand, I went to Lowe’s and purchased a quart of paint in a coordinating color and the hooks I needed for the back wall.

Taped and ready for paint.

Taped and ready for paint.

The rail you see is where the shelf sits.

The rail you see is where the shelf sits.

You’ll noticed that once I got the doors off I found out that the previous owners painted juuuuuust enough into the closet to make it look good from the exterior with the doors closed and then quit. There was nothing resembling a straight line. In light of that and the fact that this tan color runs all over half my house, I made an executive decision to tape a straight line from top to bottom and just deal with the abrupt (if at least STRAIGHT) transition.

After coat number two (still drying)

After coat number two (still drying)


Pro tip: If you don’t have a liner for your roller pan, use Glad Press and Seal. I forgot to buy a liner so that’s what I did. Clean up was a snap!

Then, I covered the shelf so that it went from ugly to stylish.



It’s a little bit bubbly because the ugly contact paper underneath was also bubbly. As you can see, the paint I chose is pretty close to the darker of the two blue dots.

Once the paint was completely dry and I peeled the tape off (my favorite part of any home project!), I measured (and remeasured and remeasured and remeasured – math is not my strong suit) for placement of the hooks. Luckily, I had this lovely piece of wood already there to hang the hooks on so I used that to give me a strong backing for holding heavy coats. Then I pre-drilled the screw holes and hung eight fighting octopi.

Put up your dukes!

Put up your dukes!

I also bought some Command hooks at Target (the ones that just stick to the wall) and hung two on either side of the closet for the kids; one for coat, one for backpack at a lower height so they can reach on their own.

Jamie is already getting his stuff organized!

Jamie is already getting his stuff organized!


Baskets, newly covered shelf, hooks hung.

The very last thing I was waiting on was the bench to be delivered. It came last night and I got it put together this morning. I also sorted through the coats and only hung the ones we really use; the rest will go into a storage bin. The bench we bought is this one and as you can see, it has two integrated bins for storage so one bin has kid shoes and one bin has adult shoes.

Here is the completed “mud room!”



I’m really, really pleased with how it all came out. It’s not nearly as fancy as the one that inspired me but it works for our space and I was able to do the entire thing all on my own. It makes the space a) much more usable and organized as well as b) bigger and more open. Between this and the new front door, our foyer is a much easier place to navigate. The only thing I want to do now is figure a way to label the baskets and then it will be perfect.


9 thoughts on “DIY Closet Renovation

  1. Looks fantastic! Go you! 🙂

    As for labeling baskets… if you have a dead light colored tee shirt (or shirts), try using knit tshirt strips? Cut tshirt strips won’t fray badly and can be safety pinned to basket handles for easy labelling. A broad-tipped Sharpie or craft store fabric dye markers should label you up pretty good, and the fabric should resist manhandling better than paper. 🙂

    • Ha! You’re reading my mind, T! I made the labels today – a slightly more elaborate version of what you described. I’m planning on blogging it later. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Red Pen Mama

    • I didn’t do anything with them. There were no marks or indentations on the floor and I left the hardware that was screwed into the floor where it was in case I ever wanted to rehang the doors. If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll see the hardware.

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