How do I Build a Closet?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

The planning stage is necessary to build a closet effectively, and during this time, you will need to take careful measurements of the area in which you intend to build a closet, as well as carefully considering materials, cost, safety, and effective use of the space. Simple closet designs are not difficult to build, but you will need to consider the final look of the closet as well as any extra features such as lights that you want to install in the closet. Building materials are also important to consider, as some materials are better to build a closet with than others.

Once you have determined how big your closet will be and where it will go, you will need to purchase the correct amount and type of materials. Many people choose cedar to build a closet because it is a fragrant wood that naturally resists moisture damage as well as bug infestations. This is an attractive wood that will not need any extra treatment, though it tends to be more expensive than other types of wood. Pine is a good choice if the boards are dried properly and not warped too badly. Pine is relatively inexpensive as well, though it is not the strongest choice.

Framing comes next. When you build a closet, you will need to frame not only the walls, but also the doorway and supports for internal structures such as hanging rods. Try to measure where the rod for hanging clothing will be situated within the closet, and be sure to affix scrap studs there so the rod can be secured to something other than drywall when the structure is finished. The doorway will need to be framed correctly as well, and it is wise to research the best ways to accomplish this framing before you start the project.

Finishing the closet will require hanging drywall or cedar panels inside and outside of the closet. Before hanging any drywall or panels, however, be sure to double-check the structure for any errors you may have made, as the repair process will become more difficult once the drywall is hung. Also be sure to install any wiring, switches, outlets, and so on before hanging drywall or panels. Once the drywall is hung, shelves and poles can be hung inside the closet. Be sure shelves and rods are all secured to solid wood rather than just the drywall panels.

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Discussion Comments


My dad and I own a lot of rental properties, and some of them don't have quite enough space for a full closet. We have turned two-story houses into two separate apartments, and the challenge was figuring out where closet space would go.

We decided to put closets in any unused space, and directly behind the bedroom door was a decent space not being used for anything else. We put the closet in 3'x5' space and left it open to the room.

So, tenants would have to close the bedroom door to get to their closets. They had two drawers, a few shelves, and a rod across the top. It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing.


@LisaLou – My husband did a similar thing with our guest bedroom. I have been collecting clothes for years, and I needed a lot more space than our tiny closets in our new home offered. Now, I have an entire room for them!

We call it the “closet room.” He put up shelving brackets with hooks on the front for rods on three walls of the room. On top of those, he placed pine boards to serve as shelves.

I hang up my nice dresses and seasonal clothing on the rods, and I store my other clothes on the shelves. There is still enough room for my custom shoe rack and all of our comforters and sheets. It is the best and biggest closet I have ever had.


@honeybees - A few years ago we bought an older home that had been restored, and there is a cedar closet in the bedroom.

I have thoroughly enjoyed having this closet in my house. Not only is the cedar scent pleasant, but it also helps keep away moths and other bugs. It is a great place to store off season clothes, and smells so much nicer than mothballs.

I have found the cedar scent does not penetrate into the clothes. Maybe I am just used to the smell of it, but I have not noticed this.

You can also buy cedar planks to install over closet walls. This would give you the look and smell of cedar without building a whole new closet.

The only thing I would do different if I were to build this closet would be to build a closet organizer. An organizer would help keep it less cluttered looking.


Does anybody have a cedar closet, and how do you like it? This is something I have always dreamed of having, but have never lived in a home that had one.

The closest thing I have to a cedar closet is a cedar chest that I use to store some special items in.

Even though using cedar would be expensive, I think it would be worth the investment. To think of being able to breathe in the scent of cedar every time you walked in your closet would be refreshing.

Do your clothes smell like cedar too, or just the area inside the closet?


When we were building our house, there were some things I didn't have much input on, but when it came time for building closets, I had a lot to say!

There were two things I wanted the closets in the bedroom to have. One was a light inside the closet so you could see what you are doing.

When you think about it, the times you are usually inside your closet is when it is dark outside. It doesn't do you much good, if there is no light in there to see what you are looking for.

I was very adamant about this because I have had many bedroom closets that didn't have lights before.

The second thing I wanted were doors on the outside with vents in them. This way even with the closet doors closed, the air would be able to circulate inside the closet and it wouldn't get stale.


When my husband and I were first married we lived in an old house that didn't have very much closet space.

In our bedroom there was one very small closet that was more like a utility closet then something for hanging your clothes in.

We had quite a bit of space along one wall of the bedroom, so my husband built closet shelves all along this wall.

He left the center of the space open for the TV which had drawers underneath it to store movies an CD's.

On either side of this open space he installed doors so the rest of the closet space was not open. By the time he was done, I had rods to hang my clothes on, shelves for sweaters and jeans, and drawers for miscellaneous items.

I wouldn't have known the first thing about building a closet, but I knew how much space I wanted to have. My husband saved quite a bit of money doing it himself, but he has done carpentry work for a long time.

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