Before and After: A $1,000 IKEA Closet Makeover Looks Like a Custom Job

published Mar 28, 2022
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Credit: Hope Conner

Pictures of Hope and Ted Conner’s “before” depict a dark closet with dingy walls and a bunch of wasted space. Clothes are crammed together on wire shelving and mismatched, ripped shoeboxes are stuffed on top. Unsurprisingly, Hope says that it only functioned “marginally okay.”

She and her husband lived with it for years, but it was a constant source of stress. “It was extremely frustrating to get any clothes in and out of the dresser because no matter how neatly they were folded there wasn’t enough room,” she remembers. “Things were constantly wrinkled and pushed aside, and it was difficult to find what you were looking for.”

It wasn’t until the closet literally started falling apart that the couple decided to make a change. “Over time, and because there was too much stuff, the shelf on the back wall became overloaded and fell off, taking a chunk of drywall with it,” Hope explains. “This was the point that we knew we had to do something.”

Credit: Hope Conner

Hope and Ted knew they didn’t possess the DIY skills to build a closet system completely from scratch, so they opted for IKEA Hemnes components, a Hemnes five-drawer dresser and two Hemnes bookcases. “The challenge was making those pieces fit into the space, improve the function, and look a little more custom than a store-bought system,” Hope explains. “We relied entirely on YouTube tutorials and woodworking blogs and websites for advice on how to construct it.” They also repainted the Hemnes pieces (they could only get them in a black-brown color), and added new pulls to make them look a little fancier.

Credit: Hope Conner

In total, it took seven months to complete and total cost of $1,081, which accounts for the IKEA pieces, additional wood, screws, shelf pins, and crown and baseboard molding.

Credit: Hope Conner

The closet now looks like a custom extension of their bedroom. “There’s a whole new feel to the bedroom — it’s organized and calm. Peaceful. It went from chaotic and messy to a space that feels comforting and a little bit luxurious.”

Credit: Hope Conner

They’re proud to have completed the entire closet makeover with minimal DIY skills and tools. “It was quite challenging to do it this way,” she says, “but it forced us to focus on every little detail.”

And she has encouraging words for anyone who is thinking of undertaking a similar project. “Don’t give up. When you start to get overwhelmed, stop for a few days, or a week, or a month. It’s amazing what a little time off will do for you,” Hope says. “There were quite a few 3 a.m. ‘That’s how to do it…’ moments for us, too. If we managed this, you absolutely can.”

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