Weekend Wardrobe Project

It all started with an IKEA catalogue. Uh-oh, you can see where this is going!

Closets SM

The master bedroom at our house is just under 10 x 14 feet with no en suite bathroom or walk-in closet. There is a standard closet measuring 4.5 x 2 feet, and another closet with only half that space. (You can see in the above photo, on the right, that the bottom half of the closet is inaccessible – that part is being used by a front entrance closet a floor below!)

# of sweaters on my minimalist wardrobe list = 9. Actual # of sweaters owned = 32. Not including hoodies!

Sweater shelf + Rom’s dresser

Dresser # 1. Beside it is my pin collection!

My dresser # 1

Dresser # 2 with Rom's toys on it

My dresser # 2

When Rom moved in, I had been using both closets and two dressers. I generously gave him the smaller closet and added another large dresser for his clothes. Fast forward 7 years and although I have pared my wardrobe by half, I was tired of navigating all that furniture and having no floor space.


I noticed in the recent IKEA catalogue that a lot of their bedrooms were shown with no closets, and often no dressers. Some of the rooms had hanging racks, and some had flat shelves for clothes (see photo above). I knew I couldn’t leave clothes on open shelving. Our heating source is in the hallway, so we have to keep the interior doors open for heat and air circulation. Therefore, the cats come and go from our room. I am scrupulous about keeping cat hair off my clothes, and could never allow them to turn shelves of my clothes into cat beds!


The other thing IKEA does, of course, is wardrobes (freestanding wardrobe closets). I gave a lot of thought to adding two wardrobe cabinets to the room. We don’t have an IKEA store locally (although one is on its way next year), but I looked around at comparable places. All of the wardrobes had a large area for hanging clothes, and we didn’t need any hanging space, just drawers and shelves. But doors were essential.


I could think of two options: metal cabinets with interior shelves of the kind used in offices and workshops


or pantry cupboards meant for kitchens. Or, I could buy wardrobes and have them modified, or get something custom built ($$).

I had all these ideas at the back of my mind for future reference when a sales flyer was delivered to the house last week and I saw just the right things. They were kitchen pantry cupboards with shelves and glass doors, only 12″ deep, suitable for any part of the house. So this weekend, we nabbed 2 and spent our time building flat-pack furniture and reorganizing our clothes.

Here is the result:

Cabinets SM

All of my clothes from both dressers fit into  my cabinet (on the left) with room to spare. Now that I’ve done it, I wonder why I didn’t realize before that drawers are rather inefficient. They don’t take advantage of vertical space (and I can reach to the top of the 6 foot unit). Even if I had Marie Kondo’d all my stuff, the drawers would still have been crammed. Yet I gave a lot of space to items that didn’t need much:

Sock Drawer before

Sock drawer before

Sock Bin

Socks – after

Here are some close-ups of the shelves in use:

Top: T-shirts, long-sleeve T-shirts. Bottom: lightweight cardigans, lighter weight pull over sweaters

Some of my stuff: on top, T-shirts, long-sleeve T-shirts. Bottom: lightweight cardigans, lighter weight pull over sweaters

Rom's stuff: on top, 2 bins of socks. Below: two shelves of rock T-shirts

Some of Rom’s stuff: on top, 2 bins of socks. Below: two shelves of rock T-shirts

The only “spanner in the works” is that I no longer have a mirror or a flat surface to put things on. I don’t do make-up, but I like to have some jewellery and sentimental items on hand, so I will be finding a solution for a particular corner, and keeping it small.

Finally, here’s the floor plan layout. There is a 4 foot space between the closets and the bed, 3 feet at the end of the bed, and 3 feet between the bed and the new cabinets when their doors are closed. Cozy!


So that was my long weekend, indoors despite the beautiful weather, but at least some gardening got gardened and ice cream got eaten 🙂


  1. Mel

    I’m actually reading “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo right now! Haven’t implemented any tips yet though.
    It looks like they are two separate cabinets, right? Would it work to pull them apart and put a small dressing table with a wall mirror in between?

  2. The cupboards look great, I love the idea of separating them in order to add a table and wall mirror.

  3. I definitely prefer shelves for clothing to drawers. That being said, like anything, they need re-straightening a bit, so I like I can roll out solid doors shut on mine. Though almost never as we don’t often have company. Drawers are good for socks and jocks though. But you’re worked around that.

  4. Kris

    Who would have thought kitchen cabinets can work so well in a bedroom! Nice job!

  5. Fiona

    That is such a great idea for bedroom storage! It looks great and is so practical with the amount you can fit in it (without cramming or over-packing.) I especially love the fact that you can open individual doors for the different compartments. It seems less likely that things will be pulled out of place that way (compared to having one big door on a standard wardrobe.) It sounds like your relationship has also survived a flat-pack build – not to be sneezed at! (Mr D and I always come close to divorce when buy anything that needs assembly!) A very cool project (and I’m glad you still could still garden and ice-cream!)

    • Thanks. I have built a lot of flat-pack stuff in my time. However, when it is poorly built or doesn’t line up properly, I don’t have the skills to fix it. Rom is very patient and willing to build methodically and problem-solve as he goes along. So I was the “assistant” for this build. Interesting, because we have a lot of “role reversal” going on (e.g., I do the lawn and Rom does the laundry).

  6. I love the cabinets – the glass fronts make them seem larger than they are, and keep things feeling open rather than closed up and taking space. Also love the idea of a small table between them with a mirror above. Besides trying to find an appropriately-sized table (which might or might not be difficult), you could also consider just putting up a shelf (on brackets) with a mirror hung above. There are so many beautiful options in shelving today; some are actually furniture-like.

    • I like your idea, too! I will have to keep my options open. If I had bought from IKEA, I probably could have found matching pieces. Since I saved at least 50% by buying elsewhere, I will now have to scrounge for something compatible!

  7. Margie in Toronto

    These look wonderful! I am a firm believer in making furniture/closets etc. work for you and just because something is referred to is a “linen closet” doesn’t mean it has to hold your linens. My friends laugh because when I get bored I move furniture from room to room and rearrange things. I have IKEA free-standing wardrobes and a couple of dressers, plus a couple of glass front cabinets with shelves – all of them have had different uses at various times.
    I currently use one dresser at the entrance to my apt. as my “Landing strip for keys/mail etc” and the dresser itself holds office supplies, dvd’s and small electronics. The wardrobe next to it is my coat closet and holds my boots, heavy shoes, umbrellas, mitts/scarves and totes. That’s because my coat closet is now my pantry! The only limit is our imagination! 🙂

    • Hi Margie, I used to have two IKEA cabinets that took up a whole wall, but they were configured for knick-knacks and weren’t very practical. Nevertheless, they lasted me 25 years and were re-purposed several times depending on where I lived. I passed them along to someone else and replaced them with bookshelves. The way you have things set up sounds great!

  8. EcoCatLady

    Wow! It looks fabulous! I have to say that as a person who can’t find anything she can’t immediately see, the glass doors are the perfect touch.

    BTW – if you want incentive to pare down your wardrobe, I highly recommend a carpet beetle infestation! Actually, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy (well… maybe on Donald Trump… but nobody else) but it certainly has given me a whole new lens through which to evaluate how many clothes I actually need! 🙂

  9. I love your new cupboards. They look swish. I can’t judge how tall they are? Roughly how tall? Too tall to put things on top?

  10. The cabinet looks good. Very chic. You also reminded me that our IKEA catalogue never arrived this summer so I just ordered a print copy! Time to oogle!

  11. I was admiring your sweater shelf and then you kicked it up a notch. I love this idea of closed glass door shelving.

  12. Pingback: Mini Decor Project | An Exacting Life

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