Closet Renovation

The upstairs closet has been on the list of projects for a long time. As you can see, I’m plugging away at some of those smaller projects that have been on the back burner for a long time.  The upstairs closet has been housing random project pieces from other upstairs projects- rug remnants, trim pieces, a few cans of paint, a couple boxes that still weren’t unpacked, etc. It was a mess, basically, and not usable at all as a closet. Besides, it smelled like old gross carpet so I didn’t really want to put much in there.

In my old house, I had lots of extra closets which I still miss. In that house, I had a front coat closet and a cleaning closet and upstairs I had a linen closet. Here I have none of those closets! But this particular closet – which is loosely assigned to the bigger of the two upstairs bedrooms because of its proximity, is rather large and I’m planning to use it as a closet for that bedroom and linen closet and maybe even a little reading nook for the munchkins. Having this closet wasted because it was gross and disorganized meant always scrambling to find those clean sheets that didn’t actually have a home. It meant all the guest bedding was kind of a scrambled mess in the kid’s room from their last visit. And it was perfectly good space that I need to use for its intended purpose. Time to make some progress!!

Before (and kind of during – the pink you see is the patching):

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There were a lot of holes in the plaster and this closet has two outside walls. Brrr. So I spent quite a bit of time patching plaster and caulking cracks—I didn’t do an awesome job with the patching- it all kinds of blends right into the rough texture plaster walls. And I had to keep reminding myself that it is the inside of a closet – no reason to be terribly particular- get the job done already. The paint needed refreshing. It needs some shelving that actually fits the space. The disgusting carpet needed to be ripped out – cringe. Not a ton of work because it is such a small space – but enough to make it a real project that needed some time.

In the process, as with so many projects in this dear little place, I found myself cursing the previous homeowners. I had hoped to just leave several of the shelf supports in place- why not, right? Several of them had to be replaced because them were falling out of the wall and the crumbling plaster needed repair. But some could stay, right?? Nope. Here’s why not:

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Not a single thing in this closet was level. So there I am measuring and installing my shelf supports carefully to make sure they are level, and then there’s the things the previous homeowner weren’t even close. Gah! I should have pulled everything out at the beginning and not even attempted to reuse anything (lesson learned). I thought I was ready to start putting the whole thing back together, I was building a divider for the middle of the closet, and suddenly realized the closet bar support and shelf support that runs the length of the closet was 2.5” taller at one end than the other. Are you kidding me??? Sigh. So I went to pull the existing crude 2×4 holder out, and the plaster literally came crumbling down. Do you know they used these monsterous 4 inch really fat nails to hold it into plain plaster?? Gah! So I evened the patch area out (combining two smaller areas) and had a large drywall repair to do before really finishing. Why not?

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Pardon the excessive photos. It is hard to show how this closet works because it is such a small space to photograph. Basically this is the closet you see from the hallway (two bars for hanging clothes). Then there’s a divider, and a single bar in the other half of the closet and shelves on the other wall in there. And a shelf overhead that runs the length of the closet.


Here’s what I’ve done:

  • Empty all the random crap out of the closet
  • Extensive wall repair – lots of patching the plaster and caulking cracks
  • Build divider / blanket rack
  • Rip out carpet
  • Paint the walls and ceiling
  • Install laminate flooring
  • Install “trim” around the perimeter (just 1×2 boards to hold the floor in place, nothing fancy)
  • Install shelving
  • Put things away


  • Paint for walls $5
  • Trim (1x2s) $8
  • Flooring & pad $30
  • Shelving $40 (I had a 4×8 sheet of melamine board cut to fit and then ironed on the edging)
  • Divider & lower rod $15
  • Drywall patch – free from my brother, exchanged for a scrap of beadboard from one of my previous projects
  • Drywall mud – leftovers from bedroom project

Someday when my life gets incredibly boring, I may go back and paint the trim and shelving supports. I wanted to do it, in fact. But the reality is that it is the inside of a closet!!! Get it done already! I’m giving myself points for leaving some of that wood bare.

I’m thrilled to have a linen closet at last!


And now excuse me, I’ve got to go do some post-project clean up.


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