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In this closet makeover project, Josh transformed a chaotic coat closet into an organized and beautiful space. Come see how you can create an organized storage area that fits your needs!

  1. Establish Your Needs
  2. Make Simple Shelves
  3. Use Storage Containers

1. Establish Your Needs

In Josh’s home, he has a coat closet that he doesn’t use for coats (he made a separate area for that) but instead uses it to store family board games. The problem with a coat closet, is that the only organization found in these spaces is usually a simple wire rack. And the contractor-grade wire rack is placed high in the closet so it can hold coats. This arrangement is pretty terrible if you want to use the space to hold anything else. Josh’s kids end up piling games on the floor, spilling the pieces, and creating a huge mess. This irritation doesn’t need to persist and he’s going to make a complete closet makeover.

While your needs may differ, it is important to list the space’s requirements before you begin the project. Josh’s needs are efficient game storage that his kids can access; storage for a vacuum and space folding chairs; and shelving for other items that his kids don’t need to easily reach. The solutions to his problem include a uniform, low-level storage unit, floating shelves, and a nice counter that makes room for the vacuum and chairs. Next, he’ll break down the raw materials into their individual pieces.

2. Make Simple Shelves

The shelving for this closet makeover will be broken into three sections. First, floating shelves; second, a counter top; and third, a low-level storage unit. The floating shelves, which actually aren’t floating, we made from 3/4″ cherry plywood. Josh cut a gentle radius on each of the four shelves to add a decorative touch to the space. These wooden panel were supported from underneath by thin wooden supports on either side and the back. In most shelving units, the front of the shelves have a face frame attached to add robustness and some structural stability. Because these shelves have a rounded front, Josh cut 1/2″ strips of cherry hardwood and slowly bent the strips over the curve. Using glue and brad nails, he secured the face frame to the plywood shelves and hung them in the vertical space.

The counter top, while not necessary, was made to create a notable partition between the upper floating shelves and the lower storage unit. Josh made the counter top out of some thick cherry hardwood, matching the wood veneer of the upper shelves. To create the counter, he milled the wood and glued them into a thick panel. He used the curved template and cut a matching radius on the new counter to match the other shelves. This process required some delicate router work to make use of the template while cutting through the thick material. After a coat of tung oil, he installed it in the space using under-mounted supports.

3. Use Storage Containers

Lastly, the low-level storage unit was pretty straight forward, something that I Like To Make Stuff has made in many instances. Josh cut the two side panels out of plywood and used a dado stack to cut in shelf recesses. The small bookshelf-looking unit could hold nine separate 3-inch tall boxes. The size of these boxes was determined by the average kid’s game they had. With this storage solution, his children could pull out a box containing one of their favorite games, play with them, and then put them back easily. He made the nine boxes using the laser cutter for ease of repeatability. If you don’t have access to a laser, you can simply cut and glue boxes together just like we did in the Murphy Bed video.

To make the ugly MDF boxes look nicer, Josh’s used some Modge-Podge to adhere and seal decorative paper to the fronts. In order for his kids to know what game is in which box, he added some metal label holders and inserted images from the specific game. The completed boxes can easily be stored in the shelving unit because of the additional shelf width. To make room for the vacuum cleaner and additional chairs, the unit had to be mounted against one of the walls. Since there is a door frame right in front of the unit, the boxes couldn’t be removed from a form-fitting space. The extra room allows his kids to remove the boxes at an angle that can easily clear the doorway.

Beautiful, Useful, & Organized Space

Josh and his family are so happy with the new closet makeover. His design addressed his family’s issues with the space and the storage solutions accommodated each one. His kids enjoy using the new storage boxes and the actually clean up after themselves! The counter top is beautiful and holds some decorative baskets for smaller items. The transformation is so enjoyable that he even considered removing the closet door altogether so he can show it off. If you have a space in your home that doesn’t fit your needs, you have the power to change it. All of these upgrades are reversible, so if you live in an apartment or a rental home, then you can still affect change in your space.