Quick Closet Upgrade {Under $150}

Posted by Amanda Ostby on


        We built our home a couple years ago and although we love it, it started out as a boring, builder's grade house. It has been a blast infusing our style into this blank canvas. There are many pros and cons of purchasing a new build. One of the cons we've dealt with over the last few years is having to deal with some of the uninspired, basic elements. Our closet has been one of those projects that didn't quite make it to the top of the "to-do" list right away. Although it was somewhat functional, it never really met our needs. The time and energy was usually spent elsewhere.

        After nearly 2.5 years living here, we've finally made the time to make the change! What started with a text from my husband "You should pick out the shelf stuff for the closet. Force me to get going on it." -which turned into me pulling every article of clothing out and clearing it by the time he got home from work. After a couple days and a night or two of OT we wrapped up this functional and long awaited project... and redoing it all for less than $150* is even better! 

*with current lumber prices.



4- Poplar Dowel Rods 1.25x7

4- Pine Boards 12x1x6


Wall Paint

Spray Paint {optional}


Bracket with Rod Holder

Screws for Wall + Shelves/Rods

Baskets {optional}


Stud Finder


Sand Paper

Paint Supplies 

Tape Measure





Empty + Prep The first step is pretty obvious, empty out all of the clothes, shoes and give it a good cleaning. I'm embarrassed to say that my baseboards needed some love in the back! Then we gathered all of the materials and tools. It's a good thing this was a quick 2-day project, because things got a little cluttered.

Remove wire shelving + anchors Next, we got to work removing the boring wire shelves. Unfortunately, this always comes with removing giant anchors leaving holes in the drywall. Using a pair of pliers, we pulled each anchor and bracket out. I usually give the walls a good wipe down before moving on to patching and filling holes.

Patch and paint My husband took an knife and removed the ripped drywall paper and scrap around the holes before I came in with the spackle. It helps in the end to get a nice smooth repair. You can use your finger to fill the holes. Then I like to take a putty knife to smooth the excess a little. Your future self will thank you for less sanding! The walls were still construction flat white paint which made for a good primer to top with paint. Give the walls a good sanding and wipe down before painting. I used our leftover bedroom paint to give a nice eggshell finish and keep things cohesive. 

Painted closet with leftover bedroom paint
Color: Gray Mist by Behr

Paint and stain hardware, rods and shelves Throughout our home, we use dark metals or paint and pair with wood tones. To keep with that look, we wanted to use dark metal brackets with stained wood shelving and clothes rods. Typically, dark metal comes with a higher price tag and in the case of our brackets, it was significantly more. I decided a can of spray paint and some white brackets would be a little more cost effective. In our living room, we used the same idea with our set of IKEA hacked shelves. This spray paint is really user-friendly and looks great when its all finished. The shelves and rods were a little rough so I gave them a good sanding before staining.

Dowel we used for hanger rods

Boards we used for shelving

My helper

Shelving brackets painted with

Rustoleum Hammered Black Spray Paint

Measure height and find studs This step is NOT my strong suit... My husband typically does all the math-ing around here! Locating the studs gives stability while preventing more giant holes going into the walls {my husband HATES when we have to use anchors}. Choosing a height that will work for both of us while still giving us storage on each shelf and below for shoes took a little trial and error and some tippy toes pretending for me! The top shelf is hung at 82" and the bottom shelf is right about 41". Use a shirt on a hanger to get a good visual. Feel free to adjust this depending on your needs. We have 8' ceilings and this allowed plenty of room above, between and below for storage.

Aligning top and bottom bracket marks

Install We started by hanging all of the brackets and installing the anchors where we couldn't find studs. Once the brackets were installed and leveled, we measured for our shelves. Be sure to measure a few times and that your tape measure is level. It's important to be as accurate as possible for a good fit. Once the boards are cut and placed just right, secure by screwing them into the brackets from below. Next we measured the rods. We decided to miter the ends that meet for a more seamless look. {If our miter saw was larger we probably would have mitered the shelves as well.} Once the ends were cut to a 45° angle, we measured carefully and cut the wall end to length. After the rods were in place, we used the nail gun to keep the mitered ends secured together and screwed the rods to the brackets to prevent them from moving.

Mitered corner rods, filled with stainable wood putty


Fill Once everything is installed, the fun part is to fill 'er up! As I put clothing and shoes back in the closet, I took the opportunity to go through items I'm not wearing anymore and filled up a box for donation. Our main complaint before this project was having to store our pants on the very top shelf. {Which for me being 5'2" proved to be challenging} We both really wanted to hang our pants and shirts, but only having a single level didn't give us that option. Now with two levels we can not only hang our shirts and pants on separate rods, we can utilize the extra shelves for things like sweaters. Another issue I had about the single level shelf, was the dead space above the top shelf. There was almost 2 feet that was really just being wasted. We can now utilize our 6'x5.5' closet efficiently!

        I hope we've inspired you to make the best use of your closet space. This is a project that can definitely be handled by the beginner/intermediate DIYer. Are you ready to tackle your closet? Let me know below! Have questions? I'm happy to answer in the comments. 


Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.