How to Build a Free Standing Closet

Naima Manal

Build an “out of the box” free-standing closet to maximize your wall space and to create an alternative way to divide your living space. A free-standing closet gets its support from its cubicle construction upon a very strong foundation.

Build a free standing closet for your clothes.

When your free-standing closet is done, enjoy walking around your new storage solution.

Building the Closet Base

  1. Measure the desired area--width and length--of your free-standing closet.

  2. Cut pieces of 2-by-4-inch wood to frame the base of the closet on the floor. Leave an opening for the door--the door’s width plus 6 ¼ inches for the wood studs and door framing.

  3. Cut the same length pieces of 2-by-4-inch wood, without leaving an opening for the door, for the top or roof of your free-standing closet. Set this wood aside.

  4. Line up the 2-by-4-inch wood on the floor and screw it into the floor with a regular power drill for wood floors or with a hammer drill for concrete floors. Pre-drill the holes and place anchors in them before screwing them securely to the floor.

Framing the Walls

  1. Build each side wall of the closet on the floor. Use the height measurement of your closet wall, minus 4 inches for the base and 2 inches for the top--to cut your wall studs. Cut as many wall studs that are necessary to space them every 12 inches along each wall.

  2. Cut a base piece and a top piece of 2-by-4-inch wood for each wall using the same width measurement as the base plates already secured to the floor.

  3. Lay the 2-by-4-inch wood wall studs in between and perpendicular to the top and base pieces, space them 12 inches apart and nail them into the top and base pieces of 2-by-4-inch wood.

  4. Lift each wall onto its base plate secured to the floor. Screw these into the base plates at several places using heavy-duty 3- or 4-inch deck screws or bolts.

  5. Reinforce each closet corner with an extra 2-by-4-in-wood stud aligned against each wall’s end 2-by-4-inch wood studs. Screw the corner wood together, and screw the extra 2-by-4-inch wood into these studs.

Frame the Top

  1. Measure the length across the top of the free-standing closet from one side wall to the opposite side.

  2. Cut enough 2-by-4-inch wood pieces to space them every 12 inches across the top.

  3. Bolt them through the top framing of the side walls and screw 2-inch-wide 90-degree-angled metal plates into both sides of the ends of each ceiling stud and into the top of the side wall framing.

Insert Door Frame

  1. Build the door header just above the height measurement for the door by inserting a piece of 2-by-4-inch wood cut to the door’s width measurement and nailing it into the side studs.

  2. Measure the height between the base of the door header and the closet’s top plate. Cut three to four 2-by-4-inch wood pieces and evenly space them into the door header and nail them into place.

  3. Cut two pieces of 2-by-4-inch wood for the two sides of the doorway opening. Nail these into their adjoining wood studs.

  4. Insert the door framing into the closet door opening. Nail the framing into the wood studs.

  5. Hang the door to the door framing using hinges and screws. Bore a hole into the door framing for the door handle latch and screw the strike plate over the hole.

Finish the Free-Standing Closet

  1. Cut sheetrock to finish the walls and ceiling of the free-standing closet. Transfer each wall’s width and length measurements to the sheetrock, draw a straight line with a straight edge and a pencil and then score the line with a utility knife.

  2. Bend the sheetrock on the cut line until it snaps in two, and then cut through the backing with the utility knife to separate the pieces.

  3. Line up the sheetrock to the wall with each end falling on a wood stud and screw along each wood stud that the sheetrock covers.

  4. Smooth joint compound over the screw holes and the seams. Smooth paper tape over the seams, tack corner beads over each outside corner of the closet. Feather a smooth layer of joint compound over the paper tape with a putty knife and a feathering tool.

  5. Prime and paint your new free-standing closet.