A Master Closet

We show you how to create a custom look for less than $200.
Melanie S. Gaines

A small master bedroom closet with limited space and sliding doors made access to clothes difficult. And to make matters worse, it also lacked organization.

A more organized layout offers double hanging space for the husband's side of the closet and multiple shelves for storage. Baskets used for drawers are a convenient place to store sweaters, shirts, jeans, and other items that do not need to be hung. (Tip: Wicker baskets were chosen for aesthetic reasons; they give the space a more customized look. However, plastic containers work just as well.) Bifold doors make it easier to access each side of the closet and create a more unified look in the room. Best of all, this new look cost less than $200. You can save money by installing the closet system and doors yourself. Both come with do-it-yourself instructions.

Quick-Change Artist
Thanks to new shelving systems, updating a closet is a quick and inexpensive project. Instead of spending a lot of money on a custom-made system, check out your local home-improvement store to see what they have in prefabricated ones. Our makeover consisted of two components: The first part was the installation of the closet system, and the second was the replacement of the sliding doors with bifold ones.

Before You Begin
Measure your closet carefully from the door facing to the back of the closet, from side to side, and from floor to ceiling. Also, take into account any oddities in your closet, such as recessed areas or places used to accommodate ductwork.

  • When measuring, draw a diagram of your closet, and add your measurements to the sheet. Take this diagram with you to the store to use when picking out materials.
  • For this project, an all-in-one boxed closet organizer was used. If you can't find a preboxed kit, you can create your own system by combining poles, shelves, doors, and drawers from the home organization section of your local home-improvement store. (Tip: While most of the accessories come with the closet kit, it's important to purchase additional screws, nails, and wall anchors in the correct sizes. You never know when you might misplace or drop a piece of necessary hardware.)
  • For a typical closet, the upper rod should be about 82 inches from the floor, and the lowest rod should be about 42 inches from the floor. (For exact spacing, measure your longest item, including the hanger, and add 4 inches.)

The Doors
Replace sliding doors with bifold ones for better access. This straightforward installation is easier than you may think.

  • When adding a new door, you will need to remove the hardware from the sliding door and replace it with a trim piece. This is where you will attach the hardware for the bifold door.
  • Door panels can be bought in specific sizes for standard door openings. (Note: Forty-eight inches is a common opening width for closets.) The door frame in this project was not as wide as the standard 48 inches, so the panels had to be trimmed to fit the frame. If you run into a similar problem, don't panic. The bifold panels are manufactured so that they can be cut or shaved off to fit your space.
  • Be very careful when cutting the panels. (Tip: When trimming, make sure that the cut is straight so the panels won't splinter.)
  • Once the bifold doors are cut to fit, simply paint and hang the panels according to the manufacturer's directions.
  • If the project seems out of your do-it-yourself range, then hire a professional. (Tip: To save money, paint the panels yourself, and have all the necessary supplies on hand before the pro arrives.)