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The Basics of Building a Closet

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Carpentry > The Basics of Building a Closet
The Basics of Building a Closet

If you’re suffering from a lack of closets in your home, it will be an ongoing challenge to keep your possessions organized. If the chaos mounts to the point where you need to solve your storage problem, building a new closet may be the solution.


If you possess basic construction and home-improvement skills, you can build your own closet to solve storage problems. Visit the Oregon State University for a helpful overview of the closet-building process. It’s important to analyze your needs as you plan a new closet to ensure that the closet you build will hold all your items.


With a comprehensive closet build guide, you can plan and execute a closet-building project to create a useful storage space in your home.

  1. A header sits horizontally over the doorway with cripple studs sitting vertically over the doorway between the top plate and the header.

    1.Analyze Your Needs

    Take a good look at the items you need to store and then plan accordingly. Whether you need a spot for off-season clothing or sporting equipment, the best course of action is to gather together the items you need to store so you can see how much you have.

  2. 2.Plan the Design

    Consider the dimensions you need as well as the available space in a room. Think about both width and depth of the closet – a narrow closet or one without depth may not be very useful if you need to put large items into it.


    Use a tape measure to plan the dimensions you need, making sure it will fit efficiently into the space available in the room. Draw a diagram of the closet plan, labeling each dimension with the corresponding measurement.

  4. 3.Build the Closet

    If the closet will have full height from floor to ceiling, build the walls in place. It will not be possible to build the walls separately and then position them in place because they will not fit properly between the floor and ceiling. Another solution would be to build the walls separately, but make them about ¼ inch shorter than the floor to ceiling span. Once you get the walls in place, you can add shims to make up for the extra space between the top of the walls and the ceiling.


    Mark the placement of the walls of the closet along the ceiling and the floor with a chalk line. You’ll start by framing the closet walls. The sole plate goes along the floor with an opening for the doorway. The top plate goes along the ceiling along the entire expanses of the closet walls. Studs sit vertically between the sole plate and the top plate, 16 inches apart. A header sits horizontally over the doorway with cripple studs sitting vertically over the doorway between the top plate and the header.


    Plan the position of shelving and rods within the closet and install 2 x 4 blocks between wall studs to provide support for mounting these fixtures.


    Once you’ve finished the wall frame, the next step is attaching wallboard or drywall sheets to finish the walls. You’ll also need to tape and add compound to the seams and then paint. Hanging the door will be the final step in building a closet.


    Although building a closet takes a little time and effort, even a novice carpenter can complete this job with high quality results.

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