Create your own DIY small walk-in closet with this step-by-step tutorial.
A walk-in closet system is an ideal set up for storing and organizing your wardrobe. Your master closet will usually have enough space for this type of closet plan. But most bedrooms have minimal storage space and require a little creativity with a walk-in design. Learn to build a DIY small walk-in closet that is functional for your space.
All of our bedrooms have a small closet, except for the master bedroom. I wanted to replicate the walk-in closet space and do the same thing for the kid bedrooms, but on a much smaller scale.
Materials and Tools for Custom Closets
- Bullnose particle board shelving board - the bullnose adds a nice rounded finished edge
- MDF shelf hook (ask for these at a hardware store)
- Wood glue
- Ryobi nail gun
- 1" brad nails
- Table saw
- Circular saw
- Tape measure
- Stud finder
- Closet rods and hardware
Small Walk-in Closet Ideas
Designing the Closet
Since this is a small space, it's a good idea to brainstorm all of your closet design ideas ahead of time.
Consider built-in storage like a shoe rack or shoe shelves, hanging clothes space especially for my daughter's room, and open shelves or drawers. You might want to think about purse hooks or even placement for a full-length mirror. I also wanted cubby space for bins in my son's room.
Think of how much space will be used and for what items to have the most functional walk-in closet.
Elements to Consider When Designing
It's all in the details. Don't forget to think about some of these elements that may require minor adjustments in your design plan.
- A closet door swinging
- A sliding door
- Drawers opening
- Adjustable shelves
- Width of hangers
- Walking space
- Placement of a light fixture
How to Build Your DIY Small-Walk in Closet
Step 1 - Form Your Design Plan
Create your design plan using all of the tips above. Be sure to include all of your measurements and available space when designing.
Step 2 - Use a Stud Finder to Build Out Shelf Hooks
Use a stud finder to begin building out from your back wall. Locate the studs and measure where you want your shelves.
Step 3 - Glue and Nail in Shelf Hooks
Shelf hooks are the horizontal slats that will be your main supports to hold up your shelving. First thing, you will put up your back support shelf hook. Do this by gluing it into place, then nailing your shelf hook into your studs. This will ensure your shelf hooks are nice and strong.
Continue putting up your back support pieces depending on your amount of shelves. If you are building shelves on a corner wall, go ahead and add your side shelf hook on the wall side. If not, proceed to your dividers in the next step.
Step 4 - Add Vertical Dividers
After you put up your back support shelf hooks, you will add your long vertical divider. Nail this divider into the shelf hook (in the back). When your divider is nailed in, add your remaining side shelf hooks and nail those in to the divider as well.
Step 5 - Add Shelving
When adding your shelves, make sure to set the shelf with a 1 inch overhang over the shelf hook, but flush with the front edge of the vertical divider.
Once you add your shelves, you will nail the shelves down into the shelf hooks (3 shelf hooks per shelf - 1 in back and 2 on sides) all the way around. This will hold the vertical dividers in place very well. It also makes for a very strong closet.
PRO TIP: When you are building make sure you have a level close by. Check and then double check to make sure it is all level. If it is not all level you will run into problems in your assembly. No one likes a slanted shelf.
This kind of small walk-in closet design comes together fast. I built all 3 of these bedroom closets in a few days.
Painting your DIY Small Walk-in Closet
Prepping for Paint
Caulk all of your shelves and any other gaps. This is a great way to get a polished finish. You will also want to use putty to fill in all of your nail holes.
Since this is a particle board it does need to be primed first. This will ensure for a nice paint finish that will last much longer.
Paint Your Closet
Now you are ready to paint your closet. The easiest way to do this is by painting everything the same color. This includes the wall, molding, ceiling and closet organizer. Because it is a closet, it doesn't make much sense to do the extra hard work for a two-toned look. Stick to a simple color palette. I used "Chalked" by Benjamin Moore.
After the paint is dry, add the hanging rods for extra storage. You will screw the rod into the shelf hook. For an extra organized closet you can use bins for your cubbies.
Building Drawers For DIY Small Closet
PRO TIP: Building drawers can be tricky. To simplify the whole process, my first choice would be to find a pre-made drawer set from Ikea and work around that.
Build Your Box
The first step you will take is to build your drawer box. Make sure your boxes are square and level. If they are not square your drawers will not close correctly, once installed.
Install Drawer Guides
After your drawers are built, install the drawer guides on the sides. Line up the drawers to where you want them and install the other side of the drawer guide.
Install Your Front Piece and Add Hardware
Create the drawer front piece to be secured on the front of your box. Screw it directly into the wood box. This will provide a clean and finished look to your drawer. Paint your drawer face before adding hardware.
There you have a completed closet with plenty of easy access to clothes storage. The perfect solution to functional closet space is creating your very own DIY small walk-in closet organization.
Lacking a closet? Try out our clothing storage solution with an easy DIY industrial clothing rack.
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