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Credit: Ann Danilevich

If flawless folding is not your forte, roll your towels and stack them in baskets or compartments

How to turn a dated linen closet into a well-designed functional space for $125

After months of stuffing sheets, towels, bags, toiletries, and other items into a dated linen closet in my new home, I decided it was time for a linen closet makeover.

Every linen closet makeover is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. My challenge was achieving a functional, coherent design in a tight space on a small budget.

Here are the general organization and design tips I followed for my closet. You can customize these to work for your own linen closet makeover project.

Before-Closet-3.jpgStep 1: Empty Your Linen Closet

Start by emptying your linen closet, and assess the kinds of items you currently keep in it. Is the linen closet the best place for these items? Could they be stored somewhere else? Declutter and throw away or donate items you never use. Sort the remaining items by type, size, and/or use.

Step 2: Plan Your Closet Design

Space, time, and budget will determine the scope of your project. One option is to hire a closet design company to customize your linen closet. However, revamping a linen closet is something many DIYers can do themselves.

Linen Closet Design Tips

  • Paint: Paint the inside of your linen closet a darker colour if you are using light shelving, or a opt for a lighter colour if you are using dark shelving.
  • Wallpaper: Wallpaper or stencil the back wall to add pattern to your design.
  • Shelves: Replace dated shelving or give your old shelves a fresh coat of paint. Most hardware stores sell inexpensive slabs of wood that they can cut to your dimensions. You can create a more custom look by staining the shelves and putting on a coat of varnish.
  • Drawers: If space allows, install drawers in addition to shelves. IKEA has a good selection of closet drawers.Spackling-3.jpg
  • Dividers: Install vertical dividers to create compartments for items like rolled towels (see photo).
  • Door: Change the closet door and/or doorknob to revamp the exterior look of your linen closet.

Step 3: Implement Your Linen Closet Design

Remove your linen closet door for easier access. Fill in any holes, dents, and other imperfections with spackling paste. When the spackling is dry, sand the surface until it’s smooth.

Wipe the walls with a cloth to get rid of any remaining debris, and then apply a coat of paint to give you linen closet a fresh look. Once the paint is dry, install your shelving and/or drawers.

Step 4: Linen Closet Organization

Consider not only what you will store in your linen closet but also your storage habits, and organize your closet accordingly. Choose an organization style that you can maintain.

If flawless folding is not your forte, you can still achieve and maintain an organized look.

  • Roll your towels and stack them in baskets or pre-designed compartments.
  • Place linen sets inside large wire baskets to draw attention away from folding imperfections.
  • Tie twine around seldom used bulky items, like duvets, to keep them compact.
  • Use storage boxes, baskets, and shelf dividers to categorize items.
  • Put seldom used items on the top shelf.

After-Closet-3.jpgStep 5: Mind the Details

Minding the details and sticking to a unified style will enhance the aesthetic appeal of your new organized linen closet. Decide on the type of storage containers you'll use (e.g., weaved baskets, metal bins, plexiglass storage boxes, etc.), and avoid commonplace plastic containers.

To finish off your project, label your shelving and containers so everyone in your household knows where things now live.

My Linen Closet Makeover Specs

  • Painting the inside of the closet and doors (cost: free – I had leftover paint from a pervious project)
  • Filling in holes and imperfections (cost: free – I had leftover spackling paste from a previous project)
  • New pine shelving (cost: $50 – two slabs of wood, cut to size at Rona)
  • Wood stain and varnish (cost: $20 at Rona)
  • Wire baskets (cost: $40 at Winners and Home Sense)
  • Black cloth baskets (cost: $15 – for a set of 7 at IKEA)

Total project cost: $125