After we finished building our house, another thing on our to-do list was to finish the closet organization and add built in shelving. I’m going to show you how we designed our closets, built all our custom shelving, and organized the spaces so you can draw some inspiration for your own home.

custom closet with built in shelving

After we moved into our house we still had a lot of other finishing work to do, so the closets went to the bottom of the list. We had boxes of stuff piled high in every room, because we had nowhere to put it and organize it nicely. Built in shelving adds so much storage space to even the smallest closet, and is pretty easy to do if you have basic tools and skills. We finally finished up the closets this past month and I was able to unpack the rest of our boxes!

Bedroom Closet Organization

The two kids bedrooms have the same closet configuration. We used white melamine for all the shelving, and primed mdf for all the shelf supports. We added a center column with five shelves. On each side there are two closet rods for hanging clothes.

The shelves are 13 inches deep in the girls room, and 16 inches deep in the boys room. The difference in depth is mostly because we forgot to trim down the shelving before installing it in the boys room. We bought all 16 inch shelving at the same time that we bought the trim and doors, but that meant that we had to cut down the shelves to the depth we wanted. You can buy the depth of shelving that works best for your closet – generally 12 inches is fine.

Linen and Front Hall Closet

The linen closet is very basic with just four 16 inch deep shelves that we use for towels, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and other random things.

The front hall closet is mostly for guests since we have the mudroom for our own stuff, but we store our off-season coats and shoes in here as well. This was the simplest closet to finish with only one shelf, and one closet rod.

Master Bedroom Closet

The walk-in closet off our master bedroom is my favorite. We knew we wanted a large closet, but I think we probably made it too big (I’m sure I’m the only person who has ever said that!) The walk-in closet dimensions are 7 feet wide by 8 feet deep. There is so much storage in here! We have room for all our clothes, some shoes, bins and baskets, suitcases, photo albums, and there’s still a few empty spots. I think if we had known how big this closet was going to be we may have made the ensuite bathroom bigger and the closet smaller.
On the left side of the walk-in closet we built a shelving unit in the middle with four shelves that are 20 inches wide, and 16 inches deep. Then on each side of that are two sets of closet rods.
On the right side we built another shelf unit that is 30 inches wide. Then behind that is a closet rod for longer clothes.
On the back wall we added two other shelves that are only 12 inches deep. This is perfect for shoe storage, and we’re still able to get into the back corners of the closet. I’m still hoping to add a few things on the back wall, maybe a tie organizer or jewelry display. I’m not exactly sure yet what I’ll do, but I think it could use a little something else.

How To Build Your Own Custom Shelving

Here’s a general guideline and some tips for how to design and build your own custom shelving:
  • Measure your closets and make a plan. You can find a diagram of the dimensions we used for our closets at the end of this post
  • Measure your shelves and cut all your pieces. (You can do this in stages in case anything changes as you go!)
  • Screw the shelf support pieces into the studs, making sure they are level. We did supports at the back and sides of the closets
  • Install the upright pieces, making sure they are square to the wall
  • Install the top shelf next. Pre-drill holes, then screw into the upright pieces from the top down
  • Add the closet rods, then put the shelf pieces on top
  • Finish off the shelving by pre-drilling from the sides through the upright pieces, and then screwing into the shelves

17 thoughts on “Custom Closet Organization With Built In Shelving”

  1. We’re on the same project this week! We’re using the IKEA Algot system in the nursery, and we’re setting it up a lot like your boy’s closet. Yours looks great!!

  2. I LOVE this! Great job. I’d like to try building out our hall closet. It’s rather small, and it really doesn’t make sense to buy a closet outfit. This would be perfect.

  3. These look GORGEOUS. Our new house came with a few built in components in the closets. Eventually I’d like to customize them for our own use, but it’s been awesome. 🙂

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