I purchased my first home a couple of years ago. Like most split-levels from the 1970s, it was built economically, but not luxuriously. The closets throughout the house—which were untouched when I bought it— had flimsy dark-stained doors on tracks that didn’t quite line up reliably. They each had disgusting carpet, and particle board shelves supported by DIY brackets that didn’t cut it.
While I could easily dream up expensive fixes for all of these closets—handcrafted custom built-ins, well-placed mirrors, and drawers—my main goal is to renovate within reason. So, I tackled all my closets with a uniform and simple approach: just make them look decent.
If you are in the process of KonMari-ing your closet right now, along with everyone else in the country, this is a good moment to take the time. Here’s what I did in my master bedroom, in just one weekend, along with some other ideas on how to improve your storage space.
Ditch the Doors
First thing I did was take off the old closet doors that were causing me problems. (I have them stowed away in the garage in case I think of a new use for them in the future). If you’ve never removed these kinds of tracked closet doors before, you don’t need a home improvement course to figure out how to do it, but it does require some patience and a lot of unscrewing.
Other options: I won’t keep a closet organized if I can’t see it, which is why I decided to keep mine door-less. But if you’d like a bit more of a partition, there are some great alternatives to traditional closet doors: beaded curtains, tasteful tapestries, salvaged glass doors, barn doors, or the perfect fabric curtain. Or, you can customize or makeover your existing door into something more fantastic.
Prime and Paint
My property is filled with trees, which I love, but it makes the house dark. I went with bright white to help offset all the gloominess, including the closet. The walls in my house are also white, so, even without the doors, there’s a cohesive flow between the open storage space and the rest of the room.
Other options: Although I prefer basic white throughout the master bedroom, there are some great examples of closets with stellar interior walls that are a nice surprise. Paint the inside a bright, fun color or add pattern with wallpaper.
I couldn’t salvage the old carpet in my house and removing it required lots of ventilation and a mask, along with odor-blocking primer on the subfloors to get rid of the urine smell. Where there was once pee-stained muted aqua-colored carpet, there is now medium brown bamboo flooring.
Other options: Closets generally aren’t very large, which makes them a great place to try out new flooring without breaking the bank, or making a huge project out of it. If you’re a renter, float vinyl hardwood over the existing floor, temporarily wallpaper the surface, or other removable options.
Upgrade the Clothing Rod
Instead of buying a new rod, I took my old one outside and lightly sanded it, then sprayed it with a metallic brass paint. It’s an easy project but, since the rod is cylindrical, watch for drip marks and smooth them out before the paint has a chance to dry, or sand out any drips, and repaint.
Other options: Aesthetics aside, you can also significantly increase your storage capacity with a double rod that takes advantage of all your closet’s vertical space. You can install a second one permanently, or buy an inexpensive hanging rod as an add-on, then take it with you when you move.
I have grand ideas for what I’d like to do to this closet long-term (a bottom-level wall-to-wall shelf for shoes, built-ins to replace the hanging storage, and a couple more high-up shelves), but I’m pretty happy in the short term. It’s amazing the difference one weekend can make.