Before and After: This Budget Makeover Will Inspire You to Pretty Up a Spare Closet with Paint and Inexpensive Materials

published Mar 15, 2023
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Small kitchen closet before renovation.
Credit: Courtesy of Deb Foglia

“We called this the ‘anything goes closet,’” Deb Foglia, the founder of Seeking Lavender Lane and Vintage Keepers, says of her hall closet. It’s where Foglia’s family stores dog food, pet gear, paper towels, toilet paper, shopping bags, and cleaning tools. Sound familiar? Most homes have a closet like this, and it’s often one of the most unloved corners of the house. So Foglia decided to give hers a makeover, in part to elevate it to the same Old World-inspired ambience of the rest of her home, but also as a roundabout way to get organized. “I know I am such a better organizer when a space looks pretty, so I aspired to create a great design with the option to hide and store items that we use daily in here,” she says. The results are so good, Foglia says she even leaves the door open on purpose!

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An avid DIYer and blogger, Foglia had most of the supplies for setting up her space on hand, but you can find everything she used on a quick trip to the home improvement store or online big-box retailers. Here’s how she turned a disorganized, unattractive closest into a place that delights her every time she opens the closet door.

Credit: Courtesy of Deb Foglia

Be bold with paint.

“I chose a bold color, thinking that it would create a great impact — and it sure did!” says Foglia, who painted the interior of her closet “Haute Couture(MQ1-9)” by Behr Paint. It’s a russet hue that might be overwhelming in a larger room, but is just the thing to make this small space feel like a jewel box. “You can definitely get away with going out of your comfort zone,” says Foglia of going bold in a small space.

Add texture with beadboard.

Foglia happened to have some beadboard in her garage from a past project, which she cut to size and adhered to the back closet wall. Adding beadboard is also a smart way to conceal badly-damaged walls that you might have after removing old shelving or closet fittings. This hit of texture adds instant cottage vibes to the closet.

Credit: Courtesy of Deb Foglia

Install a counter-height surface.

Installing an upcycled piece of butcher block at counter height added major functionality to Foglia’s closet nook. By installing a counter within the closet, she now has a deep surface for storage (and more usable concealed space below). Plus, the effect is to make the closet look like it is more part of the nearby kitchen.

Conceal your clutter.

A tension rod and a simple curtain can work wonders on a less-than-lovely storage space. Here, Foglia installed the tension rod beneath the counter to hide all the items beneath, but you could also add one to a bookshelf or other storage unit that lacks doors. 

Credit: Courtesy of Deb Foglia

Style what you see.

Decanting her dog treats into a large glass jar might sound a bit fussy, but it’s both pretty and practical. Now Foglia’s dog treats are almost like part of the decor, and she can easily see when she’s running low. Storing rarely used kitchen and serving pieces, like a copper mold and a soup tureen, free up space in the kitchen cabinets and give the closet an extra dose of charm. Baskets hide other home items that aren’t as aesthetically pleasing.

Swap in a chic shelf.

Foglia replaced her existing wire shelf with a simple wood one fashioned from a board, a peg rail, and a pair of corbels that she picked up at The Home Depot. The wood was cut precisely to size so there’s no wasted space, and it’s a much more handsome solution than a utilitarian wire shelf. Likewise, the pegs are more practical than the unused garment rod they replaced.