Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Linen Closet DIY

Upstairs in this house there is one closet on the hall that would be an obvious place to store linens, but it was only outfitted with one top shelf and a rod for hanging clothes.  In the absence of another coat closet downstairs, I suppose this spot was the default best place for jackets before.  But now that we have installed a new closet underneath the stairs (read the whole post here) on the first floor, we can put this upstairs space to better use.  

We are about to host some guests later in the month, so I decided it's time to get myself organized!  And there is nothing more satisfying than tackling a messy, chaotic closet and turning it into something functional-- somehow it makes me feel like the rest of my life is falling into place, too:).  My first step was to clear out everything that had been stashed into this closet up to this point and find a new home for it.  Then I considered my options for adding shelves and decided, in order to take advantage of the depth of the closet, to build in custom wooden ones instead of buying wire ones from the hardware store.  I like the look of the solid built ins better, too, and the whole project really didn't take long at all.

Here is a shot of the closet in the middle of the process (sorry, I forgot to take a true before photo!), where you can see the original top shelf and hanging rod.

I chose some straight 1x2 inch boards to support the shelves, measured and cut them down to fit along the back wall and on the sides.

For the shelves I chose some high grade plywood that we had left over from our built in bookcase project, which I cut down to size with a circle saw.  To be sure the supports will hold, I screwed them into the studs behind the drywall and then just positioned the shelves on top.  After a coat of primer I painted the whole inside of the closet with two coats of white semi gloss to freshen up the space.

The new storage we gained from the built ins turned out to be perfect, but I wasn't happy with the unfinished look of the two new shelves.  The edges of the plywood, despite my sanding efforts, just didn't look clean, so I picked up some 1 1/2" decorative molding to face them with, as well as some metal label holders from JoAnn's fabrics.  I printed off labels for each stack of sheets and towels to help identify what should go where, and cut them out to fit.

After nailing in the new molding, I took the extra time to fill the holes with wood filler and sand it once dry.  One more round of primer followed by two coats of white semi gloss paint, and the shelves were finished and ready for the labels to be tacked on.  I am happy with the way they turned out now, and we finally have a place for all of our sheets and towels, blankets and extra pillows.

I swear I'm not usually this organized (I don't know what got into me!), but I think with this project, even Martha Stewart would be proud:)




  1. You're an inspiration. I can't even begin to explain the mess that is my linen closet... I even attempted to tap my mom for help, but after one look, she got to overwhelmed and refused!

    Cute labels might just be what I need to get my act together!

  2. Thanks so much, Cate! This is the first time I have used these cute labels, and it's also the first time I have ever come close to an organized linen closet... I pretty much just did it for the labels:)


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