DIY Built-In Closets

I’ve been brainstorming closet ideas since Brian and I first signed our lease.  One small closet for two people with quite a few clothes, I knew just wouldn’t cut it.

diy built in closet
I sought the wise advice of my favorite renovators, Sherry and John, from Young House Love. In case you don’t know of them, they’re DIY extraordinaires. They have now bought two homes and have put a lot of love into each.

In their first home, their bedroom had a very similar set up to ours along with the same problem,  limited closet space. Using Ikea wardrobes, they constructed built-in closets on each side of their bed. You can view their project here.

Sherry and John used crown molding to build in their closets. Since Brian and I are renting our apartment and can’t damage the walls, I knew Brian and I needed to be a little creative.

I googled around and found this diy wooden treatment, and thought it would be perfect for our built in instead of the crown molding.

And so our first DIY project begins.

DISCLOSURE: Before we begin, I must give full credit to Brian for this project. I was the idea girl but he was the action man. He made my adapted idea a reality.

One thing I’ve delightfully learned about Brian since moving in with him, is he’s awesome at putting things together. Where I would get frustrated just looking at the Ikea directions, he thrives. This newly discovered talent, my friends, was the key to this DIY project and will be for many more to come!



Ikea Supply List:

  • For our closets, we bought these Ikea wardrobes. We bought one Ikea Pax Wardobe off of Craigslist for $75 (included 4 shelves) and the other from Ikea for $150 (included 4 shelves). Ikea has tons of sizes of the Pax wardrobes, so you’ll just need to pick a size that fits snugly next to your bed.
  • We also bought the curtains to cover the wardrobes from Ikea as well  (I can’t find them online unfortunately). I believe they were around $40 for two.

Wooden Window Treatment

First we measured the room and wardrobes.  Our room is about 12 ft across and the wardrobes were about 4 inches  from the ceiling. I knew I wanted the window treatments to hang over the wardrobes a bit to cover where the curtains would hang. We decided a board 9 inches wide, and 11 ft 11 inches long would be perfect…andddd also would be a tight fit once in the room. Fingers crossed.

So off to Home Depot and JoAnn Frabrics we went.

Home Depot Supply List:

  • Wood: We found a board 1 ft wide, 12 ft long,  and 3/4 inches thick.  We had the friendly Home Depot man cut the board into three pieces so it would fit in my car. The three pieces totaled 11 ft 11 inches and were 9 inches wide.  If you have a truck,  you can skip cutting it into 3 pieces.  With the leftover wood, the friendly Home Depot man cut into 3 small pieces for the wood braces. These wood braces were 3 inches wide, 1 inch thick, and 5 inches tall.
  • Metal Joint Connectors: Since we cut the board into three pieces we needed 4 straight metal joint connectors to connect the wood together , along with 4 to connect the window treatment on each side of the wardrobe. You’ll also need 4 L-shaped joint connectors to connect the wooden braces to the board.
  • Curtain Rod: We bought two cheap metal curtain rods to hang the curtains.

Total Cost: Around $55

JoAnn Fabric Supply List:

Man o man. Let me pass on some advice, don’t go to any craft store the weekend before Halloween. I’ve never seen JoAnn Fabrics so crowded. We walked up to grab a ticket to have our fabric cut and we were about 40 numbers away from the current number. Womp.  Anywho here’s what we bought.

  • About 4 yards of light beige linen fabric
  • 1 bag of quilting batting like this.We bought one bag and then cut it in half to cover the whole window treatment.

Total Cost: Around $40


Wooweee I’m tired just writing about all the steps.

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Tape Measure
  • Electric Drill
  • Heavy-Duty Stapler (we used an electric one)

Construction Steps:

  • First Brian measured where he wanted the metal joint to connect (9 inches from the ceiling) and drilled matching holes on each side of the wardrobe.
  • Brian then connected the wood with the straight joint connectors. He used two connectors to connect each piece of wood.
  • Next he connected the small wooden braces with the L shaped joint connectors.
  • Then he attached the other four straight joint connectors to the wooden braces. These braces will then connect to the wardrobe.
  • Brian installed the curtain hangers inside the two wooden braces on each side.

diy wooden window treatment

diy wooden window treatment

Fabric Time:

  • Next we covered the wood with the quilt batting, using a staple gun to attach it.
  • I then cut the fabric into two panels to cover the wood, again using a staple gun to attach it. Make sure to pull the fabric tight. It’s best if you have two people. One to pull the fabric, the other to staple.

diy buit in wardrobe

Installation Time:

Finally it’s time to hang this baby!

  • It was a little scared of this step. With only about 1 inch to spare, I was worried it wouldn’t fit! Luckily it did though (cause Brian is amazing).  I held the piece (cause I gots muscles) while Brian drilled it into the wardrobe.
  • Then we hooked the curtains into the hooks and ta da! The finished project!

diy built-in closet

diy built in closet

Total Cost for this project:

  • $225 for Ikea Wardrobes
  • $40 for curtains
  • $55 for Home Depot Supplies
  • $40 for JoAnn Fabrics Supplies

Total: Around $360

I must say I’m ecstatic over the finished project. I’m so impressed with Brian’s skills!  Now we have his and hers closets that hide all our belongings too.

Thanks Sherry and John for your idea! This project took a lot of love, but was well worth the organization it brought to our young house.

My next diy projects for our bedroom:

  • Make roman shades for our windows
  • Paint Brian’s Ikea dresser

Don’t you worry, I’ll blog about it all.



Filed under DIY Projects

4 responses to “DIY Built-In Closets

  1. Susan Morrison

    Fabulous transformation of the space! Now I know of even more talents you (both) have. Can’t wait to visit and see the completed project in person.

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