Thursday, March 14, 2013

Working With: A Small Master Closet

This post comes to you 100% courtesy of my desire to participate in my first link-up party. Thanks to Emily at Emily A. Clark for offering the opportunity!

After many years of wishing and hoping, my husband and I finally bought our first house this summer. Although there are many, many things I simply love about it, one thing I am just "working with" is our tiny master suite, including our envelope-sized master closet.

Read on to find out how I made the best of our 60" wide and 34" deep storage space.

The Problems:

1 very small master bedroom (10' 6" x 10' 6")

1 tiny master closet (60" wide & 34" deep)

1 58" long hanging rod
1 60" wide & 12" deep shelf
the only attic access in the house

2 full-grown adults with lots of clothes
& (almost) nowhere to put them

The Solution: A Total Closet Re-Design

What We Did:
  1. Strategize The first step to re-designing a closet is analyzing your needs. My father (who did all the shopping & carpentry work) kept pushing a built-in drawer system, but I knew what we really needed was more hanging space. On top of that, I knew we needed more short hanging space (shirts & blouses) than long hanging space (dresses, skirts, & pants) and tons of shoe storage.
  2. Maximize hanging space To do this, we divided the right 2/3 of the closet horizontally and installed two hanging rods--one at 40" and one at 80" (D). As a result, the less-essential long hanging space is condensed into the left 1/3 of the closet.
  3. Include shoe storage My dad installed a short shelf above the long hanging rod, and then he added a custom-built shoe shelf (B, H, L). The design of the shelf is basic--2 shelves spaced about four or five inches apart--but I love it because it is very flexible. On the right side of the closet,  we hung my shirts on the 80" rod (they're shorter than my husband's), which left plenty of room for additional shoe storage on the shelf beneath (J).
  4. Use every cubic inch wisely In the leftover space beside my husband's shirts, we added a three drawer-nightstand for additional storage, and I placed a cloth-lined basket on top to act as a hamper for my hand-washables (G). The floor space beneath my dresses is perfect for my husband's shoes, and on the right-hand side of the closet, we installed an IKEA tie-rack and a peg board in the small space between the hanging clothes and the sliding doors (C, D, F, K). Finally, using tiered skirt & pant hangers helps maximize the long hanging space on the left side of the closet (E).
  5. Build it to last All of the brackets we used are metal, and they are supported by wood backer-boards. Backer-boards and shelving were cut from pre-primed engineered wood. Whenever possible, screws were anchored in the studs. (A, I, J)
  6. Provide access to the attic To maintain clear access to the attic, we had to keep the top two-three feet of the closet free of any permanent obstructions. Rather than have wasted space, we got creative.
    • The 80" high hanging rod spans the width of the closet. My father used a u-shaped bracket to make it removable (A), and since it is metal, it did not require a center bracket.
    • The custom-built shoe shelf is a modular unit that can be picked up and moved out of the way when needed (B, H, L).
Make sure to check out all of the other great posts on Emily's link-up party:

A few more storage tips for small bedrooms:

  • Drawer dividers help keep tight spaces organized & reduce the tension of sharing your jewelry drawer with hubby's dress socks
  • Tall, tests of drawers (a.k.a lingerie chests) have a relatively small footprint but offer great storage
  • Rolling sweaters and cardigans makes them more compact and much easier to sift through when you want just the right one
  • Make decor (and collections) do double duty (e.g. storing jewelry in my box collection)
  • Never overlook the space under the bed or the potential of any box
  • Small metal brackets and a flat piece of wood cut to size make it easy to add an after-factory drawer divider
  • Use different colored hangers to separate clothing by style or season

As featured in...

Working With What You Have: Adding Moulding to Plain Cabinets

Update (3/30/13): Hooray! This post was just featured on Emily's latest post, My Favorite "Working With What You Have" Projects, at Emily A. Clark. Check out the links to see her other fabulous favorites!


Swing by my new blogging "home" if you get a chance, My Superbia.

Shortly after participating in Emily's link-up, inspiration struck, and I created a new personal blog. Not only is My Superbia much prettier to look at, but it also better reflects who I am and what I love.

Or follow my organization board, Because I'm a Tad Obsessive Compulsive, on Pinterest to get more great organizing and cleaning tips.


  1. Great Job, looks so good and so many great tips.

  2. I love this post--such practical advice! Thanks for linking up :)

  3. I found you from Emily. Great job, and I love all of your advice.

    1. Thank you! I left a few comments on your beautiful blog. I'm now a follower, and I am so glad I found it!

  4. Saw you on Emily's blog today... awesome, awesome job with your closet!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I hope you found something useful!

  5. Nice!! We just did the same kind of thing in our EVEN TINIER master closet. I measured actual used pole length in our previous closet for short hanging and for long hanging, and managed to fit those inches into our 54" wide closet. I go over it quickly in this post:

    1. I just checked out your closet, and it looks great. You are lucky to have a husband who is so gung-ho about home improvement. My hubby is very capable, but he is not nearly as project-oriented as me. : )

  6. Hi Lisa! So sorry it took me so long to come over for a visit.

    I love what you did with your closet. You made great use of the space you have. Such a wonderful makeover.

    1. Thanks! It works really well for us, and I guess I can't ask for more than that. : )


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