How to Make Your Own Walk-in Closet

Perhaps you've always wanted a walk-in closet.

Only your imagination limits your walk-in closet's possibilities.Only your imagination limits your walk-in closet's possibilities.
The storage, space and luxury is something you will never regret. A walk-in closet adds tremendous resale value to a home as well. You can never have too many cupboards or too much closet space. You can create your own walk-in closet fairly easily over the course of a weekend if you have any experience building things -- or the courage to try. Several 2-by-4 boards, a door, some drywall and nails, and you will soon be planning what to put in your new closet. You might even want to show it off to all who come over.

Sketch out a design for your closet, using the dimensions of the room and your desired walk-in closet location and size. Choose a corner where two walls exist already for the cheapest, easiest installation. Plan for three walls if you are putting the closet in the middle of one wall, with room space on either side of the closet. Plan the location of the door.

Measure, according to your plans, along an existing wall to indicate where your first closet wall will be. Make sure a stud is present, then mark the wall at both top and bottom. Use a 2-by-4 board to draw a straight line; you will line up one of your walls with this mark. Repeat for any other walls, remembering you will have to construct at least two walls.

Create solid walls by laying a 2-by-4, cut to the length of the wall if less than 8 feet long, on edge so the wide side faces you. This will be your footer. Mark the edge of the board every 16 inches. Nail 2-by-4s through the footer and into the 2-by-4 studs, lining them up with the middle on each mark. Place another 2-by-4, cut to the wall length, across the exposed stud ends and attach similarly. This will be your header.

Construct the wall with your closet door similarly, laying the footer out and marking every 16 inches. Skip over the space where you wish your door to be, instead measuring over 24 inches, the standard closet door width; mark wider amounts if your door will be wider. Mark again, then continue noting every 16 inches until the end of the wall. Nail studs and a header similarly. Over the widest gap -- where the door will be -- nail a 24-inch section of 2-by-4 horizontally 82 inches above the footer, so it bridges the gap between the studs on either side. This will make a door header.

Lift each wall into place, lining it up with the marks and placing shims underneath the wall as necessary to fit the wall snugly in place. Use a level to ensure the wall is straight. Secure by nailing every 2 feet through the beginning stud into the existing wall. Nail between studs into both the floor and into the ceiling as well. Attach other walls similarly, making sure to nail them to other walls constructed as well.

Looking at your walls, determine where you will want extra structural support for shelves, poles and hanging items. Cut sections of 2-by-4 boards to fit between studs at these locations. Nail them into place, sideways (so the widest side of the board faces you), to provide places to nail into.

Hang paneling, drywall or other wall covering as desired. Hang a door in the entry and trim the door frame to complete the construction step.

Paint the walls, door and trim as needed, to match or coordinate with the rest of the room's decor.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • 2-by-4 boards
  • 16D nails
  • Circular saw
  • Shims
  • Level
  • Wall covering as desired

Tip

  • Cut all 2-by-4 studs about 1/4 inch shorter to fit in a standard house. If your ceiling heights vary, measure and cut studs 1/4 inch less than the ceiling-to-floor measurement.

Warnings

  • If you plan to build your closet walls to ceiling height, you won't be able to tilt walls into place. Build them in place instead, making sure that everything is plumb and in the same plane.
  • Hire an electrician to wire your closet for electricity. Electrical work is very dangerous and must meet exacting codes.

About the Author

Karie Fay earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in law from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. After growing up in construction and with more than 30 years in the field, she believes a girl can swing a hammer with the best of them. She enjoys "green" or innovative solutions and unusual construction.