Before and After: A “Dumping Ground” Closet Gets a Multifunctional New Life for $500
A closet is only as good as its organization. If there’s a functional system in place, it’s a practical use of space; if not, well… it can end up being a dumping ground. That’s exactly how homeowner Shelly described the closet in her spare room, where she deposited her art supplies, off-season clothes, sewing supplies, master’s coursework, and her teaching work. “It was dark, uninviting, and not a user-friendly space,” Shelly says.
Shelly wanted to turn this closet from a messy place for stashing stuff into a more organized space that would actually be functional for her. So as part of the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, Shelly sprung into action to give the one-time storage space a brand new life.
Shelly started by pulling everything out of the closet and taking out the existing shelving and doors. The walls left behind required a lot of repairs, Shelly says: “That ended up being the most time-consuming part of the project.”
Once all the holes were filled and sanded down, Shelly gave the closet a new paint job — this time a soft green, rather than the cold gray that was there before. The color didn’t turn out exactly as she’d anticipated, she says, leaning a little more yellow than green. Her advice for anyone else making over a space with no natural light is to do a test run before committing. “Paint a chunk of the wall with the color you are considering to really see how it looks in that space with that lighting,” she advises.
For her desk, Shelly co-opted a hallway table; removing the front bar between the legs allowed her to push a chair all the way under. “I am most proud of the brilliant idea to repurpose the hallway table into a desk,” Shelly says. “It fits perfectly, goes with the office chair, and cost $0!”
Here’s where Shelly’s reno gets really great: Rather than turning the whole closet into an office space and losing out on storage, she made the area do double-duty. Installing rods on the sides of the closet — which extend past either end of the doorway — helped take advantage of otherwise unusable square footage to hang off-season clothing. “I am also so pleased that I figured out a way to still have a clothes hanging area for my off-season clothes without hindering my workspace,” Shelly says.
The final touches: shelves above the desk to store office supplies, a plug-in pendant lamp to give Shelly some practical task lighting. All told, the project came together with four days of work and about $500.
Now, Shelly’s closet way more fitting for her needs, since it has both a practical storage area and a functional work space. “I love having my own space to sit down and focus on writing my thesis,” Shelly says. And bonus: She’s able to easily print from her laptop, since the printer is tucked away on the lower left shelf underneath the rack of clothes. This savvy DIYer truly thought of everything!
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