My small linen closet needed a makeover, it was out of control. Can anyone relate? Sheets stacked to the top of shelves that weren’t high enough, blankets shoved in where they didn’t really fit, awkward open areas that were too big to be useful, and just generally too much stuff. I’m sure I’m not the only one who just gave up on my closet and started shoving stuff in there and shutting the door.
I wanted to create a space that felt peaceful, organized, and totally functional. Let me show you how I did it!
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Small Linen Closet Makeover: Step by Step Instructions
I’m so ready for this space to be clean and organized! Let’s get started.
Take it all out
The first thing I had to do was take all the linens out of the closet so I could get in there properly. This felt so good!
Take down the shelves
My linen closet had the standard builder grade wire shelves, and I’m not going to be reusing those. So I took them all down once they were empty. Unfortunately, they were nailed in instead of screwed in, so that means they were harder to get out.
I have found the easiest way to take these nailed-in shelving units down is to use a flathead screwdriver and some needle nose pliers. This method also causes the least amount of damage to the walls.
I started with the support bars. I pried the nails a bit loose using the end of the screwdriver, and then pulled them out with the pliers. This leaves a smaller hole than just ripping them out. Then I did the same with all the shelves.
Fill the holes
I had a thousand (give or take) holes to fill! I used drywall mud and a small drywall trowel. I put the mud over the hole and pressed down on it firmly to make sure it was filled, and then I removed as much of the excess as I could while still covering the hole.
I let this dry overnight and then I sanded it all down by hand with 220 grit sandpaper. I confess I only did one coat and I didn’t worry about it too much since the walls are just in a closet, and they will be filled with shelves and linens in the end.
Then I got to work on the shelf supports. I used 1×2 common boards, since they are a cheaper option and don’t have to be pretty. I held them up with 2” wood screws. I cut the supports to size and then screwed them onto the wall with my drill.
I put the boards across the entire wall where I wanted my shelves to sit. How far apart you put your shelves is up to you, just make sure you make them the right size to work for your needs. I used a level to make sure I was putting the boards on the wall straight. I screwed them into a stud where I could, and where they didn’t line up I used drywall anchors. It is important that these shelves have the ability to hold a decent amount of weight.
The next thing I did was cut all the shelf boards and front boards and then sanded them and got them prepped for stain and paint.
Paint the walls
You remember that I had a million (give or take) holes in the drywall that I filled and sanded? There’s also all kinds of scuff marks, and the whole thing needs a fresh coat of paint before the shelves go up.
I painted the walls and the shelving support boards the same shade of white, which is a nice closet color. It makes everything feel bright and fresh and as big as possible. Because it is just a closet, I bought a can of white paint from the “oops” section that only cost me $9. I painted the support boards the same color so they would blend in and not draw any attention once the shelves were in. I painted the boards and cut in around them and in all the corners with a brush, and then used a roller for the rest of the walls.
I also have an electrical cord running up the wall and across the baseboard in the closet. This cord has to be there and I had to deal with it. I just loosened it out of the brackets that were holding it and moved it while I painted underneath it. Again, since this is just a closet, I wasn’t too worried about a drop of paint on the cord here and there.
Stain and Install the shelves
Stain the shelves with your favourite wood stain, and remember to start with a wood conditioner. Next, it’s installation time! Some of the boards I used for my shelves were warped, so I put wood screws in the corners to flatten them out first and then I nailed the edges to the support pieces with my nail gun.
Then, I nailed some pieces of 1×2 select pine boards to the front of the plywood boards, flush with the top of the shelves, so the excess hung over the edge on the bottom. This creates the illusion of a really thick and luxurious piece of wood, without the price tag!
Paint the door
I decided to paint the closet door black on both sides. This is my plan for all my doors on this level of the house, and after the closet I’ve now done two, and have three left. I didn’t take the door off to paint it, but I did tape off the wall on the side where the door hinges are. I used a brush to cut in and paint all the recessed areas of the door design, and then rolled the rest. For doors, use a foam roller because it will show the least amount of lines and strokes.
Fill it up
Now all that’s left to do is get everything clean, organized, and put back together in the closet on my new, happier shelves. I am so happy with this upgrade and I can’t believe I waited this long to do it!
Let me know if you try this and give your linen closet a makeover! Tag me @designingparkside