A couple of months ago I decided enough was enough. The closet in our girls’ bedroom just was not working for them (or us for that matter). After pointing out the problem to our girls, they seemed quite happy to help make an improvement. Again, this closet transformation is not a “pat us on the back” post, but encouragement to those DIY-selfers.
I still have yet to get the hang of the before picture, but I think this one is an improvement over my first attempt at documenting the closet transformation process.
First disclosure: the wall colour in the closet represents the colour of all the walls when we moved in 6 years ago. I really do not like it. We have slowly been replacing it throughout our home, so with this project came the opportunity to do that. We used up leftover “Cloud White” from our livingroom make-over project. Before painting we removed the organizer unit from the closet and the doors.
Basically, on each side there was a rod with an IKEA closet organizer holding the girls’ clothes (the overstuffed drawers were usually on the floor unless an adult put them away), a middle section with books and various other toys and games on the shelves, and a top shelf with more toys, etc.
First, we had to decide if we wanted the closet split into sides for each girl or if we wanted to keep it a general space. We wanted this space to work long term for both girls, so we decided to put drawers in the centre, which they could customize, and a rod on each side (this was part of my inspiration). Since the girls are young and space is valuable in our small home, we decided to install three shelves above the clothing to house toys, games, etc. The shelves can be easily removed and replaced with another clothing rod, if necessary, in the future.
Second disclosure: David and I have had a black-brown IKEA 4×2 Expedit for about 7 years. It has been a book shelf, a change table when our first was born, and most recently taking up space in our bedroom. Finally, we decluttered and we were going to Craigslist it. However … I have these moments when I wonder if a thing can be repurposed instead of being sold or thrown away … I decided it would look great white and as a custom dresser in the girls’ closet. Thus, began the quest to solve how I could make it so.
Well, a 4×2 was going to be too tall for the kiddos, so it needed to be shortened to a 3×2. Cue the internet! The first step was to disassemble the shelving unit. Now, the thing is that we do not own any fancy tools, just a handsaw. So, my work-around for cutting the boards was to use painters tape to “chalk” my line and prevent the melamine from getting torn up. It worked well, but I knew I would be covering the faces in white, so was not too concerned if it didn’t work out so well.
I purchased white vinyl from Urban Source to cover the faces of the Expedit. Since I had already disassembled the unit to cut it down to size, the only time consuming part was covering each face in the vinyl. Once all the pieces were covered, I reassembled the 3×2 unit.
Next, we purchased white high gloss Kallax drawer inserts from IKEA. The girls enjoyed helping put together the drawers from IKEA. However, I think they had more fun using the instruction books as colouring books and the cardboard boxes for play.
Since I did not cover the sides of the 3×2 with vinyl (the cost can quickly add up), we used bead board (leftover from the other closet project) to cover the sides. Both girls also helped by hammering nails to secure the bead board.
Finally, it was time to install the custom dresser, shelves, and clothing rods in the closet. We used one leftover shelf (the top one) from the previous closet. We purchased two laminated pine boards for the other two shelves and white metal brackets (from Home Depot). We purchased one hardwood rod (from Home Depot) and cut it into two rods and reused the clothing rod brackets from the previous closet.
Although, each girl had space on the clothing rod and her own drawers in the previous closet configuration, the big wins for this one are that they get more space for clothes, can put their own clothes away, and can reach the toys and books they use most frequently. The lowest shelf also provides the potential for storing special items or projects. We already had the white IKEA boxes, so we put lesser used toys and games in them to store on the shelves. Everything has a place, making the room feel more spacious and tidy.