The amazing Jenny is back again today to show how she completely transformed and upgraded her hall closet storage — so many smart organizing ideas in just one closet! See Jenny’s other brilliant and beautiful ideas here.
Our home has plenty of living space for our family of 6, but insufficient storage space for all of our stuff. I’ve been thoughtfully renovating the closets in our home, one by one, to maximize the available space. (You can see how one closet became a pantry here.) And now it’s the front hall closet’s turn for a makeover!
The front hall closet in our home is a workhorse. I use it to store umbrellas, vacuums, backpacks, coats, jackets, shoes, lunchboxes, winter boots, and snow bibs, year round. Everything you see in the picture below has to fit in a cramped, odd-shaped hall closet. . .
When we purchased our home, the closet came with a single wire shelf and one hanging rod—hung too high for my children to reach, which meant they couldn’t hang up their own coats. That simply wouldn’t do!
How to Maximize Hall Closet Space
Tools & Supplies:
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(will vary depending on the scope of your project)
- beadboard paneling
- crown molding
- assorted lumber for floating shelves, securing hooks
- hooks and pegs
- wood filler
- construction adhesive
- brad nailer
Step 1: Envision
I drew out a sketch of what the closet would look like if there was a space for everything and most importantly, space that was accessible to my 4 kids. (The look of the closet and the floating shelves were inspired by the wonderful “Sawdust Girl” closet you can find here.)
And then I built it.
Step 2: Start with a Clean (Pretty) Slate
To start, I ripped out the existing wire shelf and hanging rod.
Then, just to make it pretty . . . I put up sheets of beadboard on the closet walls. (I bought the beadboard paneling that comes in 4′ x 8′ sheets for around $20/sheet at my local hardware store.) So it would better fit in my car, I had the hardware store employee cut a few pieces to size on the panel saw at the store and then I cut the rest using my table saw at home. To attach the beadboard paneling, you can use a strong construction adhesive or brad nails. I nailed the beadboard sheets to the studs in the wall using my 18-gauge finish nailer. (Note: I did not rip out my baseboards as the beadboard sheets rested flush on the lip of the baseboards).
I also added some crown molding. You know, just to make it pretty.
I used wood filler on the nail holes and caulked all the seams between beadboard sheets and the trim.
Knowing it would be much easier to paint at this point than after I’d installed the shelving, I painted the baseboards, crown molding, ceiling, and beadboard panels.
Here’s a helpful hint: Wrap your roller and paintbrush—and even your tray—in Saran wrap to keep it from drying out when you take a break from painting.
Step 3: Install Hooks
When the paint dried, I measured and cut the boards for my hooks. Being careful to get everything level, I nailed the boards in place—temporarily—with my 18-gauge nail gun to test the fit of the corners where the boards meet. Once everything was level and in place, I used 3″ screws to secure the boards to the studs in the closet walls.
Step 4: Build & Install Floating Shelves
Then, I turned my attention to the shelves. Now, I could have done what I did for the storage shelves I built for my kids’ Lego collection (see photo immediately below)—attach cleats to the walls and put a piece of plywood down on top for the shelf, but I decided to try my hand at something new this time—floating shelves.
I took my measurements and then cut 2 x 2 boards to size. I nailed them in place first, using a level and a nail gun, just to be sure all the angles in the corners fit together properly.
I used 3″ screws to secure the 2 x 2 frames to the studs in the closet walls.
And then I added 2 supports to the center of each 2 x 2 shelf frame for added support, screwing in both ends to the existing 2 x 2 shelf frame.
I used 1/2″ plywood for the top and 1/4″ plywood for the bottom of each shelf. I made a template by putting a large piece of paper across the shelf and using a crayon to trace each shelf’s outline. If the shelves had been squares or rectangles, a template would have been unnecessary—I could have just measured the dimensions and easily cut the shelves. However, my shelves had wonky angles and I determined a template would be the easiest way to get the job done.
I cut the paper template along the crayon lines and laid it over the shelf one last time to make sure it was accurate.
Then I taped the template to my plywood (be sure you keep in mind which side of the plywood you want facing up when tracing the template) and traced the outline. You can see that I also numbered the templates so that I would know which template was for which shelf. I made a top (out of my 1/2″ plywood) and a bottom (out of my 1/4″ plywood) for each shelf.
I test fit each shelf as I went along and sometimes had to trim a little off an edge here or there to get the right fit. (Keep in mind, that if this is a painted project, it doesn’t have to be as precise as you might think because caulk and wood filler can make small gaps or inconsistencies disappear later on when you’re doing the finishing work.)
Next, I sanded and primed the one side of each board that would be visible. Remember to number your boards on the side that won’t be painted so that you know which shelf they belong to. (I often paint on my lawn because the grass grows so quickly where I live that none of the paint that gets on the grass during my paint job will remain after the next lawn mowing).
I attached the tops and bottoms of my shelves to the shelf frames with wood glue and a 16-gauge nail gun.
I used a nail gun to then attach the shelf face to each shelf frame, taking care to ensure each piece was level. (The shelf face is 1 x 3 pine).
Then I used wood filler on the nail holes, caulked all the seams, and painted. (The paint is Benjamin Moore White Dove in semi-gloss).
Step 5: Install Shoe Storage Pegs
Now, for my closet’s secret weapon . . .
I wanted to make the most of the 2′ x 3′ space above the door and decided it would be the perfect space to store winter boots (since they’re only used 2 or 3 times a year). I made peg boards and hung them above the door—space that would otherwise go unused. (I was inspired by Organize-n-Store’s great ‘how-to’ post HERE). My pegs are spaced 3.5″ apart—perfect for storing boots, but the pegs can also be used for regular shoe storage, too.
I added 30 double-hooks to the closet, too. Plenty of room to hang umbrellas, hats, coats, jackets, and whatever else needs a home. (I found the hooks at Lowe’s hardware store). I maximized the space by installing hooks immediately below the crown molding, all the way around the perimeter of the closet and on all sides of the closet.
Just the right size!
Now, the vacuum no longer competes for space with the coats hanging above it. My kids can hang their own coats and don’t have to use hangers to do it. I can open and shut the closet door freely without having to shove everything back in the closet first. There are shelves for storing gloves and hats and scarves, all within reach of my kids. And, in the summer months, I can hang the heavy winter coats up high, out of the way. And, in the winter months, I can move the kids’ backpacks to the side hooks and bring the heavy winter coats down to the lower hooks where they can be easily accessed. A place for everything and everything in its place.
More smart closet ideas: