Here in Spain it is quite common to have built in closets or wardrobes, especially in newer buildings. The problem is they usually come “empty” when you buy a new apartment – and getting them fitted by a carpenter (what everyone does) can cost +1000€ for a 1.5 meter wide closet. We have 3 closets, one in each bedroom and one in the hallway, so that was a lot more money that we could spend.
After giving it some thought we decided to do it ourselves. When you have a carpenter do it they normally put MDF on the walls of the closet as well as the floor and sometimes even the ceiling, but to cut down on costs and thinking it would be easier (although it really wasn’t) we decided on getting some wallpaper for the walls. Also, we figured it would give us a chance to be a little more creative than just white boards.
So here’s a little recap of what our final plan was:
- Buy a wallpaper for the closet walls. We ended up buying a vertical gray and white striped one which, although it isn’t very creative nor punchy, it gives a different looks to the inside of the closet and matches the white trim/doors/shelves and gray walls (painted) of the bedrooms and hallway perfectly. And it was also really cheap! About 6€/roll and we needed 6 rolls. We could’ve gone with 5 rolls, but it was our first time using wallpaper so we wasted quite a bit (about half a roll or so…)
- Paint the floor white. We use leftover paint from the trim and doors for this and it worked beautifully.
- Install a small “baseboard” so the joint between the wallpaper and floor and ceiling looked seamless. This was actually one of our best ideas, as it looks more professional, and it makes it seem as if we put up the wallpaper perfectly (which believe me, we didn’t. That thing was a pain to put up, we almost gave up and ordered more MDF!)
- Carefully plan the layout of the closet based on our needs (sweaters, shirts, pants on our bedroom one; jackets in the left side and cleaning supplies in the right door of the hallway closet; and shelves for other miscellaneous items in the guest bedroom/office). I’ll do a sketch and upload it when I talk about how we installed the MDF boards so you can picture it better. We decided against putting drawers because we already have a huge chest of drawers in our bedroom and a taller one in the guest bedroom. Also, there was some space we would lose we added drawers and we didn’t want that. Of course, there was also the reason that drawers were harder to make. And we wouldn’t want that either! So anyway, we measured everything and made a list of all the MDF boards we would need and what size it would have to be. We bought some antihumidity boards and everything ended up costing about 300€ (for all closets) with all the cuts already made for us. The cuts were about 0,50€/cut but I think it was worth it because some of the boards were huge!
- Lastly we decided on the accesories. The bars for the hangers were actually bathroom towel bars (my boyfriend’s got a family business that sells those so we didn’t have to pay for them). The actual hangers were some cheap but nice looking wooden ones from Ikea (sidenote: I think one of the things that makes a closet look organized is having all matching hangers). And we also got another two accesories for the pants, at 12€ each (on sale). They sell similar ones at Ikea but the sizes weren’t good for us so we got these at our local hardware store.
So that was our master plan. It was a lot of work but with all the nails, baseboards, MDF, wallpaper and accesories I don’t think we spent a lot more than 400€. Which is a lot better considering the estimates of around 3000€! In my next post I’ll talk about how we tackled the wallpaper. I’m just gonna say that of all the DIY projects we’ve done, that’s the only one that I wouldn’t do again. Stay tuned!
Our hallway closet “before” here on the left (without doors):