27 Aug 2020

How to turn a small room into a closet!

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In May my husband stumbled upon a gorgeous house back in our hometown of Cincinnati (we were living in Chicago at the time). I’m used to him showing me random real estate since he loves to peruse RedFin and Zillow, but this time we couldn’t let the thought of that house go. In a series of spontaneous and serendipitous events we made an offer on the house without having ever stepped foot inside of it and decided to pack up and move back home! And now, we are the proud owners of a 100 year old fixer upper – AKA our dream home!

You would think that one of the most exciting parts about transitioning from a small condo to a large home would be closet space, but apparently 100 years ago people didn’t have as much stuff! There are definitely plenty of closets in our new house, but they are tiny! I guess walk-ins weren’t a thing back then. So, I quickly decided that I was going to turn a small room into a closet. 

Luckily, the bedroom right next to the master is, shall we say, bite-sized, so perfect to make it into a little closet! One day we plan to knock down the wall between our room and the tiny room and make it one big room, but for now, the small bedroom is my closet. Since we have bigger plans for this room, I didn’t want to spend too much on custom closets or anything like that. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the room for now and just make the space work for my needs. I spent around $450 to turn this small room into a closet and here’s how I did it…

1. The big stuff you'll need to turn a small room into a closet

First I had to think about the overall layout of the room and where I could actually hang my clothes or put them into drawers. The room has a tiny closet already, but that wasn’t going to cut it for all of my clothes. I decided that a couple of wardrobes would be perfect for the space, much more affordable, and as close as I could get to a built in. 

If money weren’t an object then I probably would have purchased the Paxton closet system from IKEA to take this room to the next level. But since we are going to redo this space anyway, I wanted to save where I could. I actually LOVE secondhand shopping, it’s a hobby of mine, so I started perusing Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone was selling used wardrobes. I totally lucked out and got two IKEA wardrobes for $150. Such a deal! But still not enough space. 

Garment RackThe wardrobes have hanging space and shelves, but they aren’t super wide, so I wanted additional hanging space. This garment rack is perfect for additional hanging space and I love that it has shelves and is also somewhat decorative. I already had a jewellery organizer and shoe organizer so I was good to go on that front. 

I wanted some drawers for things like bras, underwear, camis, pjs – things like that, so I repurposed my old changing table. YES, you read that correctly. This is literally the changing table that my parents changed my diapers on, but it looks like a little dresser! I used chalk paint to cover the ugly brown and make it white and I changed out the hardware for cute gold/crystal drawer knobs. I love how it turned out!

If you’re on a tight budget then definitely consider upcycling, secondhand shopping, and looking for big sales to save when you turn a small room into a closet.

2. Clothing organizers

Turning a small room into a closet takes a lot of thought in order to maximize the space. Even after you’ve found your big storage pieces, your work isn’t done. You need to find ways to make those things work for you even more. I purchased A LOT of cloth bins to act as additional drawers inside the wardrobes and also to put on top of the wardrobes. Not only are they functional, but also cute and decorative! The bins hold my workout shirts, workout pants, swimsuits, cardigans, hoodies, panty hose, belts, and lots of hair accessories 🙂

I could have easily just folded things and placed them on the shelves inside of the wardrobes and on top of the wardrobes, but to me that would look so cluttered. This helps keep me organized and keep my clothes neatly folded and easily visible to find what I’m wanting to wear. 

I also decided to invest in better hangers. I found some great wooden hangers for my dressier pants. Since I don’t wear them very often I hung them in the little closet that is part of the house already. I also purchased some velvet hangers because they help avoid that hanger dimple in your shirts, which no one likes, plus they are pink and cute 🙂

I always struggle with how to organize my cute summer tank tops. Folding them and putting them away makes it so hard for me to see. I found these cool hooks that keep them all together and are much easier to sort through. They’re also great for hanging purses or belts!

3. Makeup and hair accessory organizers

My small bedroom turned closet also doubles as my vanity/getting ready area. At some point I plan to buy a cute vanity, but for now I use the top of my changing table/dresser. I have a decent amount of makeup (read more about my fave makeup hereMakeup must-haves for a fresh-faced look) and A LOT of hair accessories that I wanted to be sure I could see clearly, but also keep organized. I found this clear acrylic makeup organizer that spins – the spinning is super handy for small spaces. Also this acrylic hair accessory/headband holder is great and while it doesn’t fit everything, it fits my favorite things for now!

Makeup organizer I organized all of my makeup and other beauty products into this organizer and anything that I don’t use as often I stored in the top drawer of my little dresser. These little drawer organizers are the perfect size for hair clips and miscellaneous makeup. I’m obsessed with these little organizers and have them everywhere in my house! You wouldn’t think they’d be handy since they’re so small, but they are amazing for things like random batteries, screws, hair clips, chapsticks, coins – everything!

My curling iron, straightener, and hair dryer stay in this top drawer to make getting ready super easy and organized. This awesome makeup mirror that has a light feature, which is super helpful since I don’t have the nice bathroom lighting in this bedroom. I also have a tiny little fan here because it gets HOT blow drying all of this hair right after a shower. Can’t recommend this enough if your room doesn’t have a ceiling fan.Makeup mirror with lights

4. Jewellery organizer

One idea/life hack that I’m super proud of creating – is turning a lipstick/nail polish holder into an earring holder. It is a life saver for keeping all of your earrings, especially little studs, organized and easily visible so you can find them quickly. 

This jewellery stand is one of my favorite pieces, unfortunately it’s from Pier1 and they’re going out of business 🙁 but I found a similar one! This is a pricier investment for turning a small bedroom into a closet, but so worth it. And depending on which one you get, it could definitely be an heirloom piece – I know that’s what I plan for mine to be! 

This jewellery stand just holds SO much. I have no need for anything additional. All of my necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and even travel organizers are stored in this awesome piece.

5. the final touch to turn a room into a closet?! Decorate!

Turning a small room into a closet is definitely about functionality, but it was also about aesthetic for me! I wanted this to be a very girly, peaceful, fun space that I look forward to being in. The first thing I wanted was a white rug to brighten up the space since the floors are so dark. I also knew that I wanted a really cool standing mirror. They’re just such statement pieces and functional to be able to see your whole look.

I also wanted to display some of my favorite bags, so I used the shelves on the clothes rack for that since they are a bit narrow anyway. In the future I plan to add some floating shelves to display more bags!

I added some white, sheer curtains to keep it airy and feminine and am planning to hang some fun wall art, but I just haven’t found the right thing yet. More to come on the decorating portion. Ultimately, just make this space a reflection of you! A place that feels good and gets you in the best mindset  for the day 🙂

down to the nitty gritty

How to fold or roll clothesOnce you have everything you need to turn a small room into a closet then you just need to make sure that you use all of those things wisely. Here are a few more nitty gritty organizational tips:

  1. Separate your summer clothes from winter. I put my summer dresses on my clothing rack and winter dresses in one of the wardrobes. I plan to swap these out seasonally. 
  2. Separate clothing types: dresses from shirts from pants, etc.
  3. Color code – I have everything divided by clothing type and then also color coded. It makes getting ready for the day very easy breezy.
  4. Roll instead of fold, this saves so much space in your drawers!
  5. Where rolling isn’t possible, stack! I stack my bulkier items like jeans and hoodies.

HAVE FUN WITH IT! You’re lucky enough to be able to turn a small room into a closet! That’s so awesome!! So make it a space you love to be in and remember you don’t have to break the bank to make it an amazing space. You can upcycle, shop secondhand, and search sales to stay within your budget. 

If you end up turning a small room into a closet PLEASE share pics and tips with me! I would love to see your new space and I hope this served as helpful inspiration to get you started!

xx, Ashley

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