Project By Blair Korchinski

There are plenty of walk-in closet organizing systems on the market today. While these systems are fairly adaptable, if you want something slightly different or have an odd-sized space, you can design and build your own walk-in closet. Building your own components for a walk-in closet can also save you money or allow you to use the materials you prefer.

Step 1: Plan Your Closet.

Think about the space available and what features you want in the closet. Once you have decided what features you want, draw several possible designs on graph paper and pick the design you like best.

Since you are building your own units, it is highly recommended that you also draw each unit complete with measurements before you begin building.

In this case, to demonstrate a variety of options, we are going to assume a 10×12 closet and dressing room for a working woman with a large wardrobe. We will require a dressing and make-up area, as well as storage for a variety of clothing, shoes, accessories, and jewelry.

Step 2: Build Supporting Units and Storage Pieces.

To build strong shelves, make a dado cut so that one piece of material fits into the other. A dado cut is simply a groove cut into the wood. To make a dado cut, install a dado blade set to the proper width on a table saw, set the blade depth to the required measurement and make your cut. It is important that you measure very carefully because you will need to make a matching cut on the material for the other side of the unit. You will require one set of horizontal dado cuts for each shelf.

Since the taller units will be attached to the wall, you will also require vertical dado cuts inset ¾” to accept the back of the unit. This will leave room for a cleat that can be attached to the wall. (see step 4)

Once you have made your dado cuts, place a bead of carpenter’s glue in them and insert the back and shelves. Once the shelves are in place and the unit is square, drive screws through the side and into the shelves.

Step 3: Install the Supporting Units

Before you install the unit, you must install the cleats. Simply cut a piece of 1×4 or 1×6 to fit, and attach it to the wall studs with screws. The cleat should be four to six inches below the top of the unit you are installing.

Once the cleat is installed, move the unit into place and attach it to the cleat.

Step 4: Install Rods

For a neat, clean look, use a hole saw to drill holes through the upright units, and simply slide the rod into the holes. Attach a piece of wood slightly larger than the hole to the end of the rod inside the shelving unit.

Step 5: The Lower Units

Building the lower units is the same as building the taller units, with the exception of the drawers. Since solid drawers are difficult to build and require the use of specialized tools, it is recommended that you buy pre-manufactured drawers and install them in cabinets that you build yourself, following the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

The lower units simply sit on the floor, so installation is just a matter of setting them in place.

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