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How To Upcycle A Closet

Upcycling your own closet has become an increasingly popular topic among DIY'ers. With the growing awareness of environmental issues such as landfill waste, plus the desire for unique, personalized spaces, upcycling closets is not only a great idea but also eco-friendly ♻

In this blog post, we'll provide an in-depth look at how to upcycle your closet – from gathering materials and tools to selecting paint colors and hardware. We'll even cover valuable tips on painting that will result in professional-looking results without breaking the bank.

Finally, explore various finishing touches like decorative knobs or pulls that can elevate your newly upcycled closet to new heights. By following our comprehensive guide on how to upcycle a closet, you'll be well-equipped with knowledge and inspiration needed to get started with your own project 👷‍♂️

Table Of Contents:

    Why Upcycle Your Closet?


    We're all guilty of browsing new furniture rather than hacking at what we already have at home. Not only does upcycling your closet help save cash, it even helps the environment, as you're not dumping furniture at the landfill. Furniture is usually made from materials that aren't biodegradable, and some even release chemicals that harm the environment.

    So, whilst buying new furniture may be easier, upcycling your closet is much more responsible and rewarding. Whether it's an old IKEA PAX, or a thrifted find, we're here to guide you through how to upcycle a closet, with tips and tricks to help make the process a breeze 👌 


    upcycled green closet

    How To Upcycle A Closet

    1. Gather tools & supplies 🧰

    Get ready to upcycle your closet with these essential tools and supplies: 

    • Tape measure: Measure twice, cut once – or in this case, measure twice, paint once.
    • Screwdriver or drill: Say goodbye to old hardware and hello to new pieces 🌟
    • Sandpaper or electric sander: Smooth out any rough surfaces or old paint before applying a fresh coat.
    • Cleaning supplies: A clean closet is a happy closet – use a mild detergent and water to wipe down surfaces before painting.
    • Paintbrushes or rollers: Don't skimp on quality brushes for even coverage.
    • Masking tape or painter's tape: Protect areas not being painted and avoid any unwanted messes 🙅‍♀️
    Kepler in Antique Brass

    2. Remove old hardware 🗑️

    There's plenty to tackle before you start refreshing your closet. Start out by removing old hardware, then you can start sanding and priming. 

    1. Empty your closet of all clothing and items. If your closet has drawers or a top shelf, ensure that nothing is hidden away or out of reach. Lay the closet flat and open its doors.
    2. Take out any fixtures that are not secured in place or need to be replaced, such as drawers, shelves, and drawer runners.
    3. Next, remove the hardware by using a screwdriver to detach any pulls, knobs or handles attached to your closet that you plan on replacing 🔧
    4. Using the screwdriver again, unscrew the doors from your closet. To simplify reassembly later on, attach a sticky note indicating where each door belongs.
    5. Check for loose screws or pins in your closet before the next steps 📌

    If you intend to keep any existing hardware, store it separately in sandwich bags and make a note of where each item goes on a sticky note for future reference 🗒

    Later on, you'll be replacing your old hardware with brand new hardware. If your old hardware is made from brass, don't throw it out. Send it over to us and we'll recycle it for you ♻


    Closet with Kepler in Antique Brass

    3. Sand and prime your closet 🖌

    Preparation is everything when it comes to upcycling. A smooth and dust-free base will create a flawless base for painting. First, scour the closet with a mild cleanser and then buff out any roughened areas using fine-grade sandpaper. 

    These are the steps you won't want to miss:

    • Sand smooth: Use fine-grit sandpaper to finish smoothing out the surface.
    • Remove dust: Wipe down the surface with a tack cloth or damp rag to remove dust particles that could interfere with paint adhesion.
    • Apply masking tape: Apply masking tape on any places you don't want to prime and paint. This is especially if your closet is built-in, to prevent paint on baseboards or walls 🙅‍♀️
    • Prime: Apply a high-quality primer designed for wood surfaces to create an even base for your chosen paint color and prevent peeling over time.
    Closet with SCOTT in Antique Brass

    4. Paint your closet 🎨

    If you're interested in making your closet stand out while also enhancing the overall appearance of your bedroom, a fresh coat of paint is just what you need. 

    The color you select can either draw attention to your closet or allow it to blend seamlessly with your interior design scheme. To achieve a bright and breezy space, opt for white or cream paint that will reflect light.

    Alternatively, deep colors like dark green, blue, and burgundy can create a warm and inviting ambiance. Choose a high-quality, eco-friendly paint to protect against waste. For plenty of color palette inspiration, check out our project inspiration page 🖼

    The best part? Painting isn't a difficult task at all. Just follow these steps to paint your closet:

    1. Give your paint a good stir to mix all the ingredients together 👩‍🍳
    2. Begin with any detailing or slightly more awkward areas and use a brush to apply the paint. Use your roller again for the larger surfaces such as the top, sides, and doors. Work your way down while applying a thin layer of paint in a consistent direction rather than one thick coat. 
    3. Paint the inside of your closet and let it dry. To prevent your roller and paint brush from drying out, cover them in plastic wrap 👌
    4. After the first coat dries, lightly sand it down using your sanding block and sandpaper from earlier. This is an opportunity to eliminate any rogue drips or streaks of paint. Finally, wipe down your wardrobe with a damp cloth after finishing sanding and wait for it to dry. Apply another coat of paint following the same steps above. 
    5. If painting over a dark color, you may need to add a third coat of paint 🖌
    Installing LUDLOW on closet

    5. Choose your finishing touches 💫

    Elevate your upcycled closet with these simple, yet effective finishing touches:

    • Add shelves or hooks: Maximize storage space by installing additional shelves or hooks for hanging accessories.
    • Mirrors: Create a convenient spot for getting ready by attaching a mirror on the inside or outside of one of the doors.
    • Lighting: Illuminate dark corners and add ambiance by installing LED strip lights under shelves or around door frames 💡
    • New hardware: Upgrade your closet's appearance with stylish and high-quality closet pulls or knobs. You'll want to select screws that are long enough to go through both the door / drawer front and hardware, without being too long.

    Choosing the right details will ensure that your upcycled closet looks great and functions well for years to come.


    Green closet with brass LUDLOWs

    6. Install your hardware 🛠

    Installing hardware on your upcycled closet is easy with these simple steps:

    1. Determine placement: Choose where you want your knobs or pulls to go for both looks and function.
    2. Measure carefully: Use a tape measure or ruler to mark the exact spots for drilling holes. If you don't want to mark your closet, lay down masking tape first ✏
    3. Create pilot holes: Use an electric drill to create pilot holes at each marked spot to prevent splitting.
    4. Attach the hardware: Securely attach your chosen knobs or pulls using a screwdriver, ensuring they're tight but not overtightened.

    Step back and admire your refreshed closet. You really did that 👏

    Neutral closet with KEPLER in Antique Brass

    There you have it, a step-by-step guide covering how to upcycle a closet 🙌

    Gather your tools and supplies, prep your closet for painting, choose the perfect color, and add finishing touches to create a unique closet that reflects your personal style.

    Don't forget to add some hardware for that extra touch of style and convenience. Trust us, your closet will thank you. 

    We'd love to see how you get on. Remember to share your upcycled closet by tagging us at @plankhardware 📸