Quick $50 Linen Closet Makeover

I’ve heard a few people refer to this past week as “the week that felt like a month,” and I couldn’t agree more. So much has changed in such a short amount of time, and my life “schedule” has been turned upside down. I hope everyone is staying well and trying to find a little joy in some of the new changes.

If, like me, you’ve suddenly found yourself with a lot of free time, then let me encourage you to tackle a quick and easy DIY project!

My husband and I completely transformed our linen closet for $50 in just four days. (It would have taken much less time, but we got a little lazy with painting the coats on the shelves, haha.) It was very simple, and I thought I’d share a short tutorial with you.

Before I get started, I wanted to share a photo of the “before” and talk about the space. When we moved in, this closet had only one wire shelf.

Since there is already a full-sized coat closet elsewhere in the house, I am kind of stumped as to what this closet was intended to be used for. Storing the vacuum, maybe? *shrugs* Since there was no linen closet anywhere in the house, we decided that this space would be the perfect place for one if we added more shelves. Meanwhile, our pantry was working overtime trying to function as a pantry and linen closet. It was not pretty.

We had to devote two of our pantry’s four shelves to storing things like paper towels, extra soaps and toothpaste, and extra cleaning supplies. It was definitely not ideal since (1) it left us with very little room in our pantry and (2) I hated storing chemicals and soaps in the same location as food (even though I was always careful to only put them on the bottom shelves and stored them in bins as an extra precaution). As you can see, we were very motivated to gain some more usable storage space!

Okay, let’s get into the tutorial.

DIY Linen Closet Shelves

This project requires very few materials and tools, and you might even be able to do it without going to the hardware store if you have any spare paint and wood. Here’s what we used to complete this project:

Tools & Materials

  • Three pieces of 1×2 in. pine
  • As many shelves as you need in whatever size you want (we bought one large piece of MDF and had a Home Depot employee cut it into four 26×19 in. shelves) (YES! You can have your wood cut for you for free at Home Depot and Lowes!)
  • Finishing nails
  • Spackle or wood filler
  • Trim paint (we used Behr Nano White in a semigloss finish)
  • Wall paint (we used Behr Nano White in an eggshell finish)
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Spackle knife
  • Saw (for cutting the 1×2 in. pine)
  • Sander (to sand the 1×2 in. pine)
  • Nail gun or hammer (we purchased this nail gun and compressor for this project, but we have several other projects planned that will use this tool)
  • Paint brushes or rollers
  • Paint cup or tray (depending on how you are painting)
  • Drop cloth
  • Pencil or pen

1. Gather tools and materials.

First, gather your tools and materials. We had everything we needed except the wood (and nail gun/compressor), so our trip to the home improvement store didn’t take very long.

Before you go, decide how much wood you will need. We determined our ideal shelf size and number, and then we determined how many inches of the ledge pieces we would need.

At Home Depot, we got three pieces of 1×2 in. pine (to serve as the shelf ledges) and one large piece of MDF, which we had a very nice Home Depot employee to cut into shelves for us. I recommend asking an employee to cut your wood for you, especially if you don’t have a truck or a circular saw at home. Home Depot and Lowes will usually do up to 12 cuts for free, and after that, I’ve heard it’s only a dollar or two per cut. Worth it!

2. Prep the 1×2 in. ledges.

Since we had a saw at home, we opted to cut the 1×2 in. pieces ourselves. First, Kendall measured out the pieces. You’ll need three pieces per shelf (two sides and one back).

Then, Kendall cut them using our circular saw. I was a good helper and held the ends still for him while he cut 😉 After cutting them, he sanded them down to make them nice and smooth. Since our shelves were MDF, they didn’t need to be sanded. But if you use plywood or pine for your shelves, you’ll probably want to sand those too.

3. Paint.

We wanted to give our linen closet a fresh coat of paint, so while I painted the closet walls, trim, and door, Kendall painted the ledges and shelves. It was chilly outside, so we laid down a drop cloth and used cardboard boxes to prop up the wood as we painted.

For some reason, we painted the first coat on the shelves with a paint brush, which took forever. I highly recommend using a paint roller instead. It’s so much faster!

We used a semigloss finish on the ledges and the shelves so they could be easily wiped down and cleaned.

4. Install the ledges.

Once you get two coats on the 1×2 in. ledges, it’s time to install them! These ledges will hold up the shelves, so it’s important to make sure you nail them into studs. We used a stud finder to locate the studs on the three walls where we would be nailing the ledges.

Next, start nailing! We nailed each piece in three spots: the ends and where the studs were. Kendall put several nails in each spot to make sure the shelves were very secure. He loved using a nail gun for this project since our closet is a smaller space and using a hammer would have been a little difficult, but you could definitely get this done with a hammer. Just make sure you are using finishing nails so you can patch the holes.

Use a level to make sure the back and side ledges line up properly. Otherwise, you might end up with wobbly shelves.

After you’ve installed all the ledges, it’s time to spackle the holes. After the spackle dries, sand it lightly or go over it with a wet cloth to smooth it down, then give it one more quick coat of paint.

5. Install the shelves.

Once you install all your ledges, your closet should look something like this:

Even though there are no shelves, this looks so much better already! The new coat of paint really freshened it up.

It took us a few days to get three coats of paint on the shelves, so once your shelves are dry, gently fit them into your closet. If you’re having trouble fitting the shelves into place, sand the ends a little more. With any luck, your finished product will look something like this:

6. Fill the shelves and spend an hour staring at the beautiful result.

Did I stare at my finished closet for an hour? Maybe not 😉 But I do keep opening the door and admiring the transformation when I walk down the hallway.

Although the shelves made this closet 100 times more functional, the real MVPs are the storage solutions. Thankfully, I already had some storage baskets and bins, but if you don’t have any, you can get them for very cheap at places like the Dollar Tree, IKEA, or Walmart. Target also has a newer line called Made by Design that has some affordable and stylish storage pieces.

I sorted my items into several categories: dental items (floss, toothpaste, extra toothbrushes), medicines and bandaids, extra hygiene products (shampoos, soaps, deodorant, contact solution, etc.), extra cleaning supplies, and paper products. Then, I used the baskets and bins I already had to corral the items. This will keep things neat and tidy so we don’t have to dig around when we more shampoo or toothpaste.

I also already had a linen storage bag, and I highly recommend them! I can’t find the exact one I have, but this one looks nice. I use it to store extra blankets, seasonal throws, and other linens we don’t use often. The closed bag helps keep them fresh and organized, and I don’t have to have a haphazard stack of blankets precariously balanced on the top shelf.

And that’s how we transformed a wasted space in our home for just $50 and a few hours of spare time! I wanted to leave you with one last photo of a of the before and after side-by-side comparison…

Thanks for following along on Instagram! You were all so supportive, and I think some of you were just as excited as I was with the finished product 🙂 Feel free to ask any questions!

Have you worked on any projects during the COVID-19 quarantine? How are you keeping busy during these strange times? Let me know in the comments!

Hall Bathroom Plans + Design

We have been living in our house now for just over one month!  We are mostly settled in, and the longer we live here, the more it feels like home.  

And the more our project list grows 😉

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that we started our first room makeover this weekend!  We’ve decided to start with our least expensive room since this is our first real project. We’re taking a page from Young House Love and doing a Phase 1 renovation.  (Check out YHL’s great post about Phase 1 projects if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)  Since we don’t want to spend a lot of money and gut the entire room, we’ll mostly be making cosmetic changes so we don’t have to live with a really ugly bathroom for 3+ years.  Let’s take a look at what we currently have going on, shall we?

The Situation

Not pretty, right?  Like I mentioned in my home tour post, it’s a pretty tiny space, but overall, I like the layout of this bathroom.  It’s small, but practical. The vanity is large enough for a guest to put their toiletries on the counter, and there is a shower/tub combo.  Since this room won’t be getting daily use, we are going to make mostly cosmetic changes and put more money toward our master bathroom when we renovate it (one day).  

The Plan

Before we’d even moved in, we knew pretty much what we wanted to do with this space.  We wanted to paint the vanity and replace the light fixture and the mirror (goodbye, hot-glue-gone-wrong mirror).  We wanted to take the shutters off the window and install another privacy solution for the space. We wanted to update all the fixtures.  

Nothing too complicated or expensive.  

Originally, I wanted to paint the walls or the vanity a warm, dark green, like this:

(Source)

(Source)

However, the paint chips I’d picked up from Home Depot didn’t look good with the tan/grey linoleum floors.  If we went with a darker green, we would need to paint or replace the floors. We could have made room in our budget to replace the floors, but we didn’t want to if we didn’t have to.  Painting the floors was an option too, but we weren’t thrilled about the idea.  

Luckily, I saw Jenny Komenda’s Evergreen House Kitchen.  She used a beautiful sage green color on the kitchen cabinets, and the floor tiles are–you guessed it–tan and grey.  The sage color looks amazing with the mixed tones of her flooring. So, even though her floor was very cute and ours was not, I was able to visualize the sage color in the space with tan/grey flooring.  

(Source)

Sage was also a better choice because it fit into the overall color palette of our house much better.  (Post coming soon about how I chose our color palette!) A darker green would have felt disconnected from the color palette I’ve chosen.  

Kendall wasn’t hard to convince, so we ran to Home Depot and picked up a quart of Sage Wisdom by Behr.  We’ve already got a few coats on the vanity, and I can confidently say it was the right choice for sure!  It’s not too pastel and not too green. It’s a beautifully subtle color that will transition well if our tastes change.  

Sage Wisdom by Behr

The color looked great with all the other elements I had picked out in my head…

The Design

I created a quick moodboard to help myself visualize the space. Here’s my final draft. Fun, right?  I love the soft, earthy look it has.  I also love that we don’t have to replace the floors!  Finding ways to work with what you have is such a financially smart decision.  I’m so glad we’re saving around $300 and putting it toward our upcoming master bathroom renovation.

I’ve decided to mix my finishes in this bathroom.  It’s really trendy right now, and I love the way it looks.  However, I think I’ll be too scared to try it in my kitchen or master bathroom, so I wanted to get it out of my system in the hall bathroom.  I’m mixing black and brass, and I think the end result is going to be amazing.

As with every project we’ll take on in this house, budget plays a huge role.  Most of the money in our budget is going toward new fixtures for the sink and shower.  Amazon offers a lot of cute, cheap fixtures, but a lot of the customer reviews are mixed.  Lots of good ones, and lots of bad ones. We decided to spend a little extra money and go with Delta fixtures because we know Delta is a trusted brand.  We were just too nervous to skimp on something as serious as plumbing. So, we’re scouring places like eBay to make sure we get the best price. (I totally recommend installing a Chrome plugin that will search for the best price for you.  We used Wikibuy from Capital One, and it seriously saved us hundreds of dollars and a lot of time!)

We’ve already started painting the vanity and patching the giant hole where the old light fixture was, and I’m really excited to share the final results with you soon!  

10 Things We Accomplished at Our House in One Month

As of Monday, we have owned our house for one whole month (and lived here for three weeks)!  As I was making a list of all the projects we’ve done since closing, I felt a little proud of all the hard work we’ve done.  So, I thought it would be fun to share little snippets of the progress we’ve made in just one short month! (These are just quick iPhone snapshots, so I apologize for the quality.)

Let’s get started.

1. Painted all the rooms (except the bathrooms)

I’ll start with the highest-impact item.  Like I mentioned in the “before” empty house tour, the colors in this house were BOLD (and also not our style).  We knew we didn’t want to live with red, yellow, chocolate brown, and dark green walls for any length of time, so we decided to delay moving for one week to give us time to paint.  This was honestly such a smart decision for us. With the help of our family and friends, we were able to paint all three bedrooms; the living room, dining room, and kitchen; and the hallways.  It was A LOT of work, but it felt so good to move in and unpack immediately instead of leaving everything in boxes until we painted.  Painting first helped us settle in quickly.

I feel lame not sharing any photos yet, but things are still a little crazy over here. Soon! 🙂

2. CLEANED EVERYTHING

While some were painting, others were helping us clean.  As for the state of the house before we moved in… Let’s just say cleaning was not a priority for the the previous occupants.  I recognize that I am a clean freak and that not everyone cleans as much as me, but I think most people would have been surprised by how dirty our house was.  If we had waited to clean until after we moved in, cleaning would have become so much harder. Just like painting, cleaning prior to moving allowed us to unpack and settle in quickly.  

3. Unpacked everything

On Day 1, we were 80% unpacked.  Can you believe it? It only took us a few hours to move, so we had most of the afternoon to unpack.  Plus, our family was really helpful. Because everything was already painted and clean, they were able to help us get the furniture in place, our clothes in the closet, and all of our kitchen items unboxed and put away.  As for the remaining 20%, we took care of it over about two weeks. So, we were totally unpacked in less than three weeks. That’s a huge accomplishment in my book!

4. Replaced the entryway light fixture

Now I get to talk about the fun stuff!  One of the first things we did aesthetically (besides painting) was replace the entryway light fixture.  The existing one was essentially just a “fancy” dust catcher, plus it felt too large for the space. We replaced it with a really simple (and affordable) pendant light that is much less flashy.  It fits the scale of the space much better.

5. Replaced hallway light fixtures

In our house, the master bedroom is separated from the other bedrooms by the living room, dining room, and kitchen.  This means we have two short hallways–one on each end of the house. Both had dated mushroom lights that really made the space feel drab.  After a lot of research and investigation, we finally found an adorable light that fit our budget. My goal was to find something updated but not too modern, and I think this light fits that description perfectly.  We are using these amazing LED Edison-style bulbs, and they provide so much light!  Plus, they are also super affordable and last for 13 years.  Not too shabby.

6. Replaced all the outlets and light switches

During our home inspection, we discovered that not all our outlets were up to code.  We were missing a few GFCI receptacles. However, we knew this would be a simple fix for us since Kendall’s dad is handy with wiring.  After we closed on the house, we realized that the previous owners had mismatched outlet and light switch covers all over the house. They weren’t even consistent in the same room!  Plus, they had accidentally painted over a lot of the plus and light switches, making them look pretty awful. We decided that since we were wanting to replace all the outlet and switch covers to make them uniform, we might as well replace the actual outlets and switches too.  The old switches and outlets were yellowed, and we wanted white so they wouldn’t clash with our freshly painted white walls. So, we have been replacing all the outlets and switches a few at a time since we moved in. They look so much better.  Having mismatched switch and outlet plates was really jarring to the space.  

Mismatched cover plates.
Painted over outlet.

7. Replaced hall bathroom mirror and towel rod

We haven’t painted this bathroom yet, so I was hesitant to show anything.  But, I decided any small progress was worthy of sharing. As you may remember, the mirror in this bathroom was a hot glue DIY gone wrong.  Someone had hot glued tiny tiles around the mirror (except they left holes where the mirror screws and some of the corners were). We tried prying them off, but it left glue on the glass.  Luckily, we had planned to replace the mirror eventually anyway, and I happened to already have one that would work! We hung this round, gold framed mirror in its place, and I think it looks so much better. 

(Please ignore the half-painted wall, haha.)

We also hung a hand towel rod, since the owners had apparently taken it with them when they moved, for some reason. I chose this modern black one, and I love how it looks with the gold. I’ve decided to mix brass and black finishes in this bathroom so I can get it out of my system, haha.  I think I will keep our master bathroom just brass. Speaking of…

8. Replaced master bathroom toilet, towel rod, and toilet paper holder

I wish I had taken a photo of the old toilet before we replaced it, because the comparison between the old and the new is striking.  (Okay, maybe I’m the only one who thinks that, haha.) The old toilet in our master bathroom was a dated almond color and also so dirty.  No matter how hard we scrubbed, we couldn’t get the stains out.  Plus, the handle was wonky and had to be held down for longer than normal for the toilet to flush.  After a week of living with an annoying toilet, we decided it was worth the money for a new toilet. We’d known we would have to replace it soon regardless, since our home inspection had revealed that it was leaking.  So, Kendall watched some YouTube videos, and we went to Lowe’s to get a new toilet! We had planned to get one of the cheapest ones, but then I saw this one… It has smooth sides for easy cleaning! It didn’t take long for me to realize it was worth the extra $60.  So far, I have not regretted our decision at all. I am so much more comfortable in a space that I know is clean, and cleaning the awkward shape of the toilet has always been annoying to me since I’m never entirely convinced I got every nook and cranny.  Plus, let’s be honest… Isn’t this new one just aesthetically pleasing? Lol. It’s about four inches thinner than the old one, so you can see where the owners painted around the toilet like, four times, haha.  

We also replaced the hand towel bar and added a toilet paper holder (there wasn’t one for some reason).  Both were very affordable on Amazon, and they are super high quality, IMO.  

9. Replaced all the smoke/CO detectors

I know this one isn’t fun, but it is really important.  When we moved in, there were around 7 smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house.  Every single one of them was original to the house and was therefore expired. Every. Single.  One. None of the battery-powered ones had working batteries. Some were hardwired, but even a hardwired smoke detector needs replaced every 10 years.  I don’t know how the previous owners slept soundly at night! The water heater, stove/oven, and heat are all powered by gas, so it was even more important to have a CO detector.  We replaced all of ours with detectors that integrate with each other, which means if one goes off in the office, they will all go off. It’s a nice safety feature!  

10. Hung the TV over the fireplace 

Let me preface this one by saying I did not want a TV over the fireplace.  I had imagined hanging a beautiful piece of art over the mantel and styling it with candlesticks and vases.  I would rather not have a TV than give up my lovely mantel. I am perfectly contented to watch TV on my laptop for the rest of my life, haha.  However, I wasn’t able to convince Kendall we could live without a TV, especially since the previous owners left us one for free (they had at least three, and I guess decided they didn’t need them all).  Due to the layout of the room, the only place we could put the TV was right over the mantel. Sad day. But, Kendall loves me very much, because he worked very hard to make sure there wouldn’t be a mess of wires.  With some help from my brother, Kendall crawled around the in attic and behind the fireplace to add an outlet above the mantel. It looks pretty good, for a TV above a fireplace 😛  

That wraps up what we’ve accomplished in the one month we’ve owned our house!  We’re going to start Phase I renovations soon, starting with our hall bathroom.  We are so excited to get started! More details coming soon 🙂  

Oh, one more thing! I just created a guide for how to create a cohesive and curated thrifted wardrobe. I’m so thrilled to finally share it! Just click here to download! 🙂 Enjoy!

Xo Lizzie

What are some projects you knocked out the last time you moved?  Which ones do you feel like always have the biggest impact? Let me know in the comments!