Home » Hall Closet Make-over – the prettiest room in my home!

As I mentioned the other day, our hall closet received some much-needed love this past weekend!

With three kids at home and twice as many jackets – let’s not forget backpacks and briefcases – we are the poster children for needing a mudroom. Unfortunately, we do not have a mudroom. We, in reality, barely have a hall closet.

Here is the before. If I’d been keeping it real, I would have shown you the ten or so coats piled up on the banister behind me, or the other five or six in the neighboring dining room.

In the early days, I had added a shelf for shoes underneath the hanging bar, as well as a hanging pocket shoe holder to the door. The shoe rack wasn’t very functional, as it was set too far back in the closet to access. The hanging pocket shoe container worked fine, and the kids did use it, but it wasn’t great for adult shoes – mainly Shay’s – as they were too wide at the toe to fit in the pockets correctly. There was nowhere to store hats and gloves – an obvious need at this point in the year – and hanging rod, while standard, wasn’t used by the kids.

And by the way, If you have kids that hang their jackets on hangers in the closet, I will consider a trade for my kids who do not. Come to think of it; I might even buy them from you! Of course, I’ll need proof before purchase.

I am excited about this project because I completed it. All. By. My. Self.  I designed the layout; I cut the wood – I used both a chop saw and a table saw – I hammered the wood, painted, stenciled, and did all the stuff… Is it just me, or do I sound like the Little Red Hen? Shay was my consultant on a few things, but other than that; it was all me. And, if I can do it, so can you!

Here is how I did it.


Step 1: Look for Inspiration

Inspirational photos help you to figure what you want in your closet. It’s one of the most fun parts of designing.  Here is one of the inspirations I used for this project. I love to take bits and pieces of things and figure out how to make it work in my home.

Step 2: Figure out your needs

Do you need storage for yourself and your significant other?  Do you have a billion kids like I do, with all of their shoes and coats and bags and other stuff? Answers to those questions will determine your needs. Here is my needs list:
  • Coat hanging solution that everyone can use and reach – kids included
  • A shoe solution that doesn’t involve throwing the shoes into a gigantic pile on the floor of the closet, never to be found again
  • Add storage for out of season items like gloves, snow pants, etc.
  • Nice to have – A storage solution for the various bags we use on a daily basis as well
  • And.. I want it to be pretty enough to tie in with the front entrance design

Once you know what you need, it’s simple to plan the how part of getting what you need. See how easy this is?

 Step 3: Plan your solution

This was my mock-up design. Pretty professional, huh? Excuse me while I laugh out loud! It wasn’t pretty, and I had to make adjustments as I went, but it got me started off on the right foot. A simple plan can do the same for you. Pull out your measuring tape. Grab a pencil and paper and get to work! Remember to include the thickness and size of any materials in your calculations.

Step 4: Demo Day – but only if necessary!

 I pulled all of the shelves and rods out of the existing closet. I like to reuse materials if possible, so carefully removed the trim under the hanging rod. To be sure it pulled cleanly away without breaking or ripping the drywall, I ran an Exacto knife along the caulked edge and under the trim piece. Then, I used a wonder bar to pry the trim piece off gently, removed the nails and set the trim aside for later.

Step 5: Wall Preparation

Patch any holes or gaps left from the demo step using a light weight spackle. I like to use the kind that goes on pink and turns white so that I can see what I’m putting on. Mudding is a lot like icing a cake, so, if you can do that, you can mud! The key is to use thin coats and sand in between. To fill holes, I like to use my finger tip, but a putty knife is necessary for anything larger. It doesn’t matter if it’s plastic or metal, just keep it clean between coats, and you’ll do fine.

Step 6: Re-assembly

We planned to use 1″ x 1″ furring strips cut to size (one along the back of the closet, one on either side) as brackets for the top storage shelf to rest on.

Then things got interesting. I knew what a stud was.. I’m married to one. But more importantly, I know what a wall stud is and that it’s safest to secure the brackets wall studs. Using my handy-dandy stud finder, I located the studs on two walls.. and realized there was only one stud appropriately placed on the third wall. After consulting with my resident stud, we decided to extend the length of all the brackets on the left side to the entire length of the wall, to ensure it was properly secured. I will admit that I threw a hissy-fit, as this didn’t aesthetically fit in with my design, but after a few deep breaths, and a gentle reminder to myself that this was a closet, not Taj Mahal, I moved on, re-cut the left side bracket, then secured them to the wall.

Next, I re-attached the leftover trim piece slightly below the brackets for the top storage shelf and again, filled all the holes. To determine the distance between hooks, I measured 35″ for average jacket length and cut and attached a second 4″ baseboard trim piece 37″ below the top one.
Then, we painted the whole thing in Glidden Parchment White in Satin – I wanted a highly washable surface
Once again, 1″ x 1″ furring strips bracketed the bottom shelves, topped by 1″ MDF shelves for the bottom shelves. All the shelves were painted black and dried before placing them in the closet.

7: Stencil it!

We used the Large Moorish Trellis Stencil with Martha Stewart’s Gray Wolf in high gloss.

Step 8: Add Hooks

With the painting complete and dry, I attached three different sizes and styles of hooks.

Our interior doors are hollow. To ensure the coat hooks on the door were secure, we added a scrap piece of MDF to the door, one at the top and one near the middle and attached the wrought iron bird hangers to the panels instead of the door.
For shoe storage, I added two cloth storage cubes and three narrower Waverly baskets that I picked up at Joann’s on clearance. Each person has a personal shoe basket. For the upper storage shelf, I used two inexpensive fabric cubes in black. I still need to make a basket to hold gloves and hats as I’ve been unable to find what I’m looking for thus far. All in all, though, it’s finished and in working order as we speak!

Step 9: Step back and take in all of the pretty!

Here is the remade closet pre-coat deluge, IE: Before everyone came home and started putting stuff in it.

coat closet makeover view 1

I’m delighted with the results – I learned a lot on this project and am now looking around thoughtfully at the other closets in this house. Closets beware!

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    • Kim Young says:

      Thanks, Brooke. I do too. I've re-done more than a few dressers and always make a stop there for knobs. They are just so unique and.. cheap! Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Kim Young says:

      Thanks Kat! I was the same way – I've been looking at this for at least a year, but I'm glad I finally kept the door open and got it finished. I know it's just a closet, but it's strangely satisfying to look at it when I put my coat away. lol. Now the other closets.. well, maybe another day! lol

    • Kim Young says:

      Thanks so much, Jeannine! I appreciate your saying that. The stencilled wall was a bit challenging.. but it certainly "makes" it. Prettiest room in my house – I'm hoping it's contagious and the prettiness works its way outward. lol. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. My front closet looks very similar to your BEFORE except I added a vacuum cleaner, a few blankets, the leaf to my dining room table and a picnic blanket/roll. I've wanted to do do something with it for a long time and your post has inspired me. Hopefully the inspiration will translate into doing it!

  2. Alison Agnew says:

    What an amazing makeover for what is usually an overlooked spot in the house. Would love for you to share at Fridays Unfolded!


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