If you use wall space, even the smallest bedroom can offer optimal storage possibilities. If you utilize the wall space all up to the ceiling, you can still have a large closet and store all your clothing inside.
Before you learn how to build a small closet in a bedroom, think of the items you need to store.
The bigger the closet, the less visible clutter there will be, and the bedroom will look larger. You can afford more closet space even if the floor space is limited. Depending on the budget you have available, there are many bedroom closets you can consider. The choice also depends on whether you want a permanent or temporary solution.
Our guide on how to build a small closet in a bedroom
This article contains some excellent ideas for a DIY closet and tips on choosing the perfect closet wall location.
Choose a closet wall location and measure it
Built in closets are not that complicated – all it takes is to frame a wall with doors. You can create a great built in closet even if you are a beginner, and do so in a matter of days.
You will only need the basic drywall tools, carpentry, and a circular saw to frame the lumber. Make sure you have a drill to drive the screws, as well as a power miter box you can use to cur the trim. The basic hand tools and the miter box will help you install the doors. To make things easier, you can also use a pneumatic nail gun and a compressor.
Once you’ve decided where to install your DIY closet, measure the entire room to see how much floor footage you can use. Sketch the closet and write down the dimensions, making sure the DIY closet doesn’t block your bed or window area.
The size and location of your DIY closet are the most important factors, but you should also know the wall you are working on. Keep in mind that it will become thicker as you apply drywall on it, so dry the vertical guidelines plumb, and measure the additional space you will need.
Since you are about to attach a new closet frame to an existing wall, make sure you can still attach the screws to the studs behind the drywall. The new wall needs to be fastened to the drywall and the attic trusses so that it is stable. Before you go further, locate the studs behind the drywall and mark their locations.
Plan the inside for extra storage space
Image source: Closet Factory
There are many things you can do to optimize your storage space. Here are some ideas:
Hang some rails
Rails are the main storage units in any bedroom closet. Hanging clothes will be easy by using thinner hangers and closet organizers. You can even get a standalone hanging rack made out of PVS pipes and adapt it to your new closet.
You can even make more efficient use of the bottom plate by attaching casters to the rail tracks and pushing them towards each other on the wall. This will make it easier to locate and access your clothes. You will be surprised by how organized they look.
Install some drawers
Enabling maximal storage on minimal floor space is challenging, and that is where traditional drawer chests come in handy. You can also stack a bank of boxes and wire baskets which let air circulate easily. Better yet, they help you spot the item you are looking for right away.
You don’t necessarily need drawers to accommodate small items such as socks or ties. Instead, you can get a changeable pocket shoe organizer and put it on the closet doors. If your budget is limited, you can repurpose any box you already have at home.
Consider traditional shelving
Think of it this way – you are creating your very own DIY closet, and your options are unlimited. We recommend you to use all the space to the ceiling, and the best way to achieve this is to install shelves.
The shelves positioned on the top can be slightly wider, and you can use them to store out-of-season items or clothes you don’t wear that often. They are also the perfect area to pack extra bedding for guests or your hiking equipment.
Read on for a step-by-step guide to your perfect DIY closet space
Step 1: Fasten the upper plate to the ceiling
Mark the exact closet area you need based on the closet perimeter. Screw the framing next, so that the closet structure comes easily into place. Once you’ve planned the structure, build the framework and the interior storage units. You can also take your project to the next level and run overhead wiring for recessed lighting in the closet.
Keep in mind that the ceiling plate is the most important framing component. It secures the wall studs and it expands on the entire length of the wall, so don’t save on that one.
Once again, keep in mind that the screws go all the way through the drywall and direct into the joist. If they are only fixed to the drywall, the closet won’t be stable enough.
Step 2. Construct the wall framing for the closet space
You should screw or nail the end studs to each of the sidewalls, as well as the bottom plate and the ceiling plate. Few extra screws will be necessary for the door opening area, to fasten the studs to the bottom and top plates.
Most of the time, you can reach the studs at 16 inches or 40.8 cm. If the width is different, work with the space you have available, but make sure it is not less than 24 inches (61.2 cm). It may also happen that the studs are wider than 24 inches, so split the difference to improve the shelves support.
The next step is to frame the closet doors. The process includes trimmer studs on both sides of the closet doors. Both double doors and sliding doors are normally 6 feet, 10.5 inches tall when attached to the wall studs. You will also need a doubled 2 x 4-foot door header attached to the trimmer and the wall stud.
To complete the framing, install cripples (shorter studs) between the ceiling pate and door header. They should be centered at about 16 inches (or 40.8 cm).
Step 3. Install the cripple studs and the header
To understand what exactly you are supposed to do, think of beam-like additional support to the wall. And yet, headers are typically used to span an opening for the closet doors.
The header should be placed on top of the trimmer studs, even if you only have a single stud. Set it a little bit backward to compensate for the thickness of the drywall, and to ensure it lines up with the wall in place. You can use drywall screws for the purpose.
Next, calculate the distance between the header and the top plate, and cut 5 cripple studs in the same dimensions. Drill a couple of pocket holes on both cripple studs, and install them.
Step 4. Install the plates
Measure the space you have available, and draw marking lines on the sheetrock to know how to cut it. Begin with the largest sections and gradually move to the smallest ones, so that you will have enough material to finish the task.
You can cut through sheetrock easily with a utility knife or scissors. Don’t forget to turn the drywall board upside down before you cut through it.
Once done, lay the drywall over the wall and use drywall screws to secure it to the studs. Repeat the process on each side of the closet.
Step 5. Mount the shelves
You are the master of your closet, so make the inner arrangements the way you want them to be. The standard case is to position the main dresser area in the center and lay longer shelves on top and in the middle.
If you want to be more organized, you can add smaller shelves between the frames, but make sure the closet doesn’t look messy or cluttered. You can install the shelves easily with glue or pocket hole screws.
Keep in mind that shelves need bottom support on both ends, especially if they are long. We would recommend fastening them to the studs with 3-inches long studs and support pieces.
Use a level to measure if the shelves are straight before you fasten them. If you are feeling especially creative, install corner bead in the closet for your other items.
Step 6. Paint the closet wall with multi-purpose compound
All-purpose mud is great for decorating bedroom closets, but you should apply it with care. For instance, protect the floors with plastic sheets and apply small portions at a time.
The initial layer of the all-purpose compound should be thin. The thicker it is, the bigger the risk it will crack when used more often. Use a 6-inch drywall knife to apply it to the drywall joints.
Let it dry, and smoothen it with sandpaper until there are no rough spots left.
To apply the second coat, you will need a 10-inches drywall knife. Feather is the all-purpose compound between the wall and the metal corner, preferably with texture to make it more appealing.
Once it is completely dry, repeat the sanding on all areas. After that, you will only need a roller to paint the closet wall to perfection.
Step 7. Install the closet doors
The installation of the closet doors depends foremost on their type and size.
Traditional double doors and prehung doors can be easily accommodated inside the frame, just the way they are in a walk in closet.
Next, use a level and shims to keep the doors aligned, and install some additional trim around the doors.
If you decided to use bifold doors, you need to trim out the door opening first. The trim should be similar to the one on the floor, and should generally match the rest of the room decor. Pick the bi fold doors up and adjust them properly, as advised by the manufacturer.
Leave the accessories for the very end – this is where the real fun begins!
Step 8. Additional considerations
The floor covering in your bedroom also plays a role, especially when it comes to installing door jambs. If the surface is hard, such as wood or ceramics, you should place and fasten the jambs directly to the floor.
In case the bottom is uneven and worn out, you need to balance the head jamb level by slightly scribing the bottom of the side jambs. You may have similar problems with carpeted floors, as the carpets cover the shims. For this reason, there should be at least half an inch of clearance to the floor or even more for thicker carpets.
If nothing else works, consider extra shimming and raising the door frames. If you measure properly and take all factors into account, this will be way easier than it sounds.
The price of your top bedroom closet and similar DIY projects
Designers estimate the budget for a small DIY closet somewhere between $350 and $1,200. The end amount depends, of course, on the materials and installation approach you use, as well as the size of your closet.
The price will also be influenced by the internal structure and the type of accessories you use. We encourage you to use funds and repurposed materials, as these can give your closet a true vintage vibe.
As you were able to read, the most important part of learning how to build a small closet in a bedroom is to measure.
Don’t make the room look busy and don’t block your window space. This is not only an aesthetic issue – you need to be able to escape through the windows in case there is a fire.
Make the most of your space, and build vertically. Even a completely custom closet can use elegant and store-bought if you devote enough attention.
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