Back when we built our current home, my husband and I were determined to save every penny possible, so the final price of the house would fit within our ideal price range. Among all the savings, the $3,000 closet service was the easiest one to give up on. We knew we could do better than generic wire shelves by doing the work ourselves.
We moved into the new house with completely empty closets. In the first year, we slowly designed and finished each of the closets in the bedroom, pantry, mud room and living room. This linen closet was the last one we tackled. For the longest time, it only stored blankets and sleeping bags. Early 2021 over one weekend, we were able to install custom shelves to maximize storage space and gave it an aesthetically pleasing look for less than $100. If you also have an underutilized closet in your home, try this DIY to bring it to the next level. It will make organizing so much more enjoyable.
Materials and Tools
1×2 Trim Board as shelf cleats (other scrap wood of similar sizes would do too)
¾” thick 4’ x 8’ Birch Plywood (you can also use MDF or melamine shelves)
Birch Veneer and Top Coat for plywood shelves
Flathead screws (1 1/2″) and Drywall Anchors (optional)
This DIY is super easy. Anyone can tackle this.
1. Map out stud and shelf locations.
Use painter’s tape to visualize where the shelves will go and adjust the spacing. I wanted to fit a laundry hamper under the bottom shelf, so I left 28” above the floor for the first shelf and kept the other shelves at 15” apart. Unfortunately, the stud was right in the middle, which meant I had to add anchors to both ends to support the shelves (step 5).
2. Measure the closet.
Measure the closet to determine the length and depth of the shelves.
3. Cut shelf and cleats to size.
You can have the 3/4″ plywood cut at the home improvement store, or do it at home with a circular saw (I don’t recommend using a jig saw like I did in this picture, it was hard to get straight edges). For each shelf, cut 3 cleats with a miter saw. One for the back wall, two for the sides.
4. Add edge banding (optional).
Apply edge banding to the plywood shelves. You only need to do that for the edge that will be facing the front. This gives the shelves a more finished look. It’s also a good idea to apply sealer (e.g. polyurethane) to protect the surface.
5.1 Attach the cleats.
If your closet has studs in the right location, you can attach the cleats directly to the studs. If you don’t have studs where you need them, make sure to use wall anchors.
An easy way to make sure the screws will line up with the wall anchors is to predrill into the wall through the 1×2 cleats.
5.2 Attach the cleats.
Hammer in the wall anchors.
5.3 Attach the cleats.
Screw in the screw to the cleat ever so slightly, so a small tip of the screw comes out of the opposite side. Then use the tips of the screws to fit into the anchor opening, before fully fastening the screws.
6. Finishing touches.
Paint the cleats the same color as the wall, so they’re less visible. Some people also like to glue and nail a piece of face trim to the front of the shelves to hide the cleats and the rough edge of the plywood shelves.
One thing to consider: If your shelves are long, to prevent sagging, consider adding a middle support that runs across the entire length of the shelf.
Notice the cute little tangerines in the pictures above? This DIY was inspired by the sponge wall trend in 2020. I love how I can quickly hack the high-end wallpaper look with just a few simple items. It’s easier than drawing freehand, and much more affordable than buying wallpaper. Total cost was only $7 in 2021. You can’t get any cheaper than that for this size of a wall!
Here are the materials:
Cardboard (doesn’t need to be fancy, cutouts from a cardboard box will do)
Paint and paint brush (sample size paint, I chose Mandarin and Perennial Green from BEHR)
Double-sided Tape or Glue
The steps are really simple.
- Draw the pattern on the foam sheet with pencil. I kept my tangerine branch at about 2” tall and tested the pattern on some paper.
- Cut out the shape of the pattern.
- Use a small piece of cardboard as a backing and tape on the cutout foam sheet to make simple stamps.
- For the tangerine, I first drew a few stems using the green paint. This makes sure the shapes are spaced out.
- Apply paint to the stamps with a paint brush and stamp on the wall.
If you have a large wall, this may take a couple of hours. For this small closet, it took me about 30 minutes. This idea not only works great for linen closets, but can also be applied to a laundry room, a playroom, or any accent wall that can use a splash of color. Don’t you love this kind of low cost big impact DIY?
Thanks for reading! You can click this link to see the process from start to finish on Instagram: $60 Easy DIY Linen Closet. Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram page for the latest project updates.