Before and After: A $250 DIY Closet Redo Looks Like a High-End Custom Design

updated Jun 16, 2020
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Closets & Storage
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: beige closet with white shelves
Credit: Lauren Conner

Sometimes it’s not the size of the closet that’s the problem—sometimes it’s how it’s arranged. Even the smallest closets can be configured to maximize functionality, and even the biggest ones can be configured in a way that totally squanders their space. That’s what Lauren Conner was dealing with in her own closet: a space that wasn’t totally lacking space, but wasn’t exactly working for her, either. “The craftsmanship of our ‘before’ closet was… creative, we’ll say,” Lauren says. The brackets were installed upside down on the shelves, which were all different sizes and placed at weird spots all around the closet. “I was tired of fighting daily with shoe boxes, like a scene out of ‘Sex and the City’,” Lauren says.

Credit: Lauren Conner

Lauren knew she wanted the shelving to be able to accommodate her clothes and shoes without having to keep things in boxes in order to stack them neatly. She and her boyfriend Jorge did the work themselves, both designing and building the new closet.

Credit: Lauren Conner

After tearing out the old shelving, Lauren and Jorge got to work building a new set. The materials only amounted to about $250; Lauren and Jorge custom-cut all the wood pieces to build the new shelving. The longest part of the 10-day process, Lauren says, was staining the new shelving a deep espresso shade. “With a small garage, we were working with limited space,” she says.

Credit: Lauren Conner

The new uniform spacing allows for easy stacking and organizing, and—best of all—no shoe boxes! “Recycling all my shoe boxes was a real thrill, but I’d have to say that seeing Jorge excited about the ‘after’ is what I loved the most,” Lauren says. For anyone looking to take on a similar closet overhaul, Lauren has a couple words of advice: “Make it you,” she says. “Take the time to think through how the space is going to work for you daily and how to make it functional. Trends change so have fun with your current inspiration, but think about how the space will make life easier and also easy to change when you are feeling a new vibe!”

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