A Closet Makeover

closet makeover - including a bit of an IKEA hack

My girls have long been in need of a major closet makeover.  Whenever they ‘cleaned’ their room most of their stuff could be found by opening the closet doors.  Everything that wasn’t stuffed under the bed that is.

I had an idea what I wanted.  Shelves of some sort along the back wall and a closet rod running along the short end instead of along the front like a normal closet.

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I was tired of their dresser (which was in the back of the closet) looking like this.  It was way too small for 2 girls, especially when you have winter and summer things in the same space.

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And the rest of the room and closet looking like this.

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I knew it would never be perfect but when there isn’t room to store all the clothes two girls possess something must be done. (This photo is during the makeover process so everything from the closet is out in the room and some of the shelving can be seen on the bed)

closet makeover  using IKEA shelf cubbies

You can see the bottom of the side piece in this photo – because the ends of the pieces were thick wood Travis was able to just cut the side pieces down one shelf to create a unit that would fit with our short wall space in our upstairs.

Travis was going to build shelves.  You know, in his spare time.  But I always come up with other projects and odd jobs to fill his spare time if he ever has any.  So I was considering just buying some sort of shelving at a home improvement store.

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But then Travis and I went to Cincinnati for a weekend to attend the Homeschool Convention.  Because, you know, I do try to homeschool my kids in my spare time 😉

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On the way home we stopped at IKEA.  The route to Cincinnati takes us right by IKEA.  NOT stopping is just not an option.  My hubby loves IKEA about as much as I do so it’s really not even discussed – it’s just a fact that we WILL stop at IKEA.

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In the AS-IS section, where everything is marked way down, there were several sets of wood wall cubbies.  There was an all-white set that was only $105.  I really wanted it and thought it would be cool in the girls closet.  It would need to be shortened a bit to fit but all it needed was cut down, put together and shoved in the closet.  No cutting, building, figuring, measuring, re-measuring, sanding, painting, and whatever else goes into building your own set.  Travis thought it a good idea too but by this point he was done.  I was buying the place out of their pillow forms and had added a few other things to the carts (yes, we had to have 2 carts to hold all my pillow forms and they were piled high)  All he could see at this point was dollar signs – and a car full of feathers 😀 And he wasn’t in the mood to figure out if we could get it all in the car.

Now I must insert here that I knew we could get that set of shelf cubbies in the car.  All of IKEAs stuff is built to be compact to haul.  They just needed taken apart and they would go in first and then all the other stuff we had could go on top.  It was very do-able.  I’ve packed that car full so many times I DO know what I’m doing.  But I held my tongue – well I DID tell him that stuff in the AS-IS section moves quickly – but I could tell it wasn’t worth pushing it so we, and our mountain of pillows, checked out and headed home.

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Next Morning:  First words out of Travis’ mouth were something about those shelf cubbies.  He couldn’t get it out of his head how much time and money that would have saved him to just buy them.  And after a good nights sleep he was more in the mood to think about it too.  In the end he headed back to IKEA to get them.

He called when he got there.  Want to know what he said?!  ‘You weren’t kidding when you said this stuff moved fast’!!!  Snicker snicker.  Don’t you love it when they admit you were right?!  So the white one was gone but there was a natural wood and a black one.  I told him to get the natural one and to get it on a cart fast!

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 He got it, brought it home, hauled it in, cut it down, put it together and had it all installed that night.  He hung the new closet rod and viola!  Closet makeover complete.  And it has helped a lot.  We went through all their clothes and made some discard piles.  One to put in the garage sale this fall, one for goodwill, and a few things to give to our friends down the street.

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 The girls are thrilled with it and they love the doors on this one.  The white one didn’t have the doors.  This one cost a bit more – around $130 I think, but totally worth it.  And it only took one day to get it all in place.  Win-win!  Now if I can just get their fabric-covered bulletin board hung and a piece of artwork made we will have all the projects we planned for this room complete!


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  1. says

    That is so cool that your husband likes to go to Ikea with you. My husband has never set foot in one and probably never will. My teenage son likes to go with me though….but it is because he likes their food! :) The cubbies look great in the closet!

    • says

      I raved about IKEA the times I went before my hubby had ever gone. He was a bit skeptical but once he’d been there he loved it too. The prices are great and so far anything we’ve bought there he’s been very impressed with the way it was built and how easy it is to put together.

  2. says

    Smart woman to hold your tongue!!! Great job on the closet – I need to do something like this myself!!! But my kids are all gone and I need to make their old closets more user friendly for me!!!

  3. says

    It looks great! I love the rod to the side. It looks so much handier to get to. I despise trying to get to something and I’m banging my head or leaning sideways.

    I love the girl-in-the-shelves. Those shelves look super!

    And I love that I feel like being online again.

    • says

      We love these shelves. They have room for all their stuff now and even took all the stuff out of the bathroom that we kept in there cause they didn’t have room for it upstairs. They have much more play room now in hte closet if they want to use it for that too.

  4. Red Hot Nana says

    Great makeover–and even more so because it is simple! We live in a 60-year old ranch-style home, which we plan to put on the market soon. It is a pretty, livable house, but closet space is a BIG drawback. They just didn’t build big closets in the 50’s, and we have done away with several of the ones we DID have while we were re-arranging walls, etc. Your project inspires me to tear into ours and make them more user-friendly.

    • says

      Thanks so much! Our house didn’t really have any closets when we moved in. We’ve added them to all the bedrooms. Makes for smaller rooms when you take the space for closets but closets are a must in my book!

    • says

      I wish too your hubby liked going with you! It is really nice cause I don’t have to beg or then feel like I have to rush cause he’s all bored!

  5. says

    I do the same thing with the pillow forms when I go to IKEA…I usually buy at least a dozen! Glad it all worked out and the closet got finished. Whew!

    • says

      I cleaned them out of the 16×26 size – and still didn’t get as many as I needed in that size. And I bought a ton of the 20×20 size too. I bought 42 forms altogether I think! I was buying them for a friend too so I needed a lot!

  6. JaneEllen says

    THat must be such a relief to have their closet done. Congrats to you for tackling a hard job. Looks like there’s much more room in their closet now. If you have older home closets weren’t built big as people didn’t have many clothes. Our walk in closet is a joke. Hopefully seeing you do the girls closet will inspire me to do ours. Then there’s the sewing room closet, EEEEKKKKKK.
    Cubbies are great, we have one in our bathroom for all our towels, toiletries. Need to have hubs build a base for it with casters so when I’m cleaning can move it to clean under. Our house gets so dusty dirty all the time, no matter how often or well I clean.
    You are so lucky to have an IKEA fairly close to you. Think closest one to us is Denver, forget it. They had a great metal table I wanted couple years ago but they don’t ship it. Ah well.
    Haven’t been on their web site for long time, why bother, just makes me want things can’t have. Hubs is mad enuf cause I bought that couch instead of giving him the money for new roof. Guess $100 was really gonna pay for it. He keeps harping at me to stop buying things at thrift store, like my books, so we can have new roof but then he’ll want to go out to eat,talk about dbl standards.
    And you were smart not to say anything, have to pick our fights when we really need to, lol.
    Have fun this week, go someplace, maybe all of you when hubs comes home. Summer goes too fast and it’s for sure life does.

    • says

      We are all loving the cubbies – so glad we got them from IKEA instead of making them. We would have spent more on wood to build them than we did on this set!

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