21 Cool DIY Closet Design Ideas to Organize Like a Pro
Whether you live in a tiny studio apartment, a sprawling suburban home, or maybe even Buckingham Castle, you probably could use just a “leeetle” more closet space.
Regardless of if you need to store clothing or cleaning products, a well-designed closet minimizes clutter and stress and maximizes usability. You can even take it a step further, and make your closet into your own personal boutique!
Of course, like snowflakes, no two closets are the same. There are, however, some cool basic closet design ideas that are worth considering for any closet.
Whether you need a place to store necklaces or hoses, ties or twist ties, check out some easy, adaptable methods for storage. We’ll start with the simplest closet organization ideas, then move on to some more complex DIY closet design projects with tutorials.
1. Use the Back of the Door
Image from Worthing Court Blog
Whether you need to store pot lids, wrapping supplies, or purses, the back of the door is an incredibly useful spot. Attach hooks, bins, hanging rods or shelving and suddenly double your storage possibilities. Learn more here.
2. Try Undershelf Shelves and Drawers
Image from Apartment Therapy
Like using the back of a door, you can also use the underside of a surface for added storage. Attach inexpensive baskets and gain a whole new perspective (as well as more space!). There’s a video describing how and more details here.
3. Store Sweaters in a Hanging Shoe Organizer
Image from Ask Anna Moseley
This is a brilliant, and brilliantly simple, solution to piles of sweaters or sweaters stretched out on hangers. Buy a basic hanging shoe organizer, then place a sweater in each cubby.
You can branch out further and try storing jeans, T-shirts, and, hey, maybe even shoes! Find out how here.
4. Add a Great Mirror
Image from Home Dzine
Save yourself tons of time and trouble by placing a mirror in your clothing closet. You’ll be able to examine your outfit without taking the clothes very far, which means you’re far more likely to any unwanted items BACK. Find out more here.
5. Repurpose a Tie Rack
Image via Real Simple
Just like using a shoe organizer for multiple purposes, you can take advantage of the convenience of a tie rack whether you wear ties or not.
6. Employ Shelf Dividers
Image from Suburble
This is a fast way to better organization as well as a much more neat and streamlined-looking closet. Use basic shelf dividers to separate out shirts from sweaters and sweaters from sweatshirts.
They’re also great to sort out purses as well. You can buy shelf dividers, or make your own using old wire shelving, cardboard, or even magazine holders. Learn how here.
7. Color Coordinated Storage
Image from Color Specialist Charlotte
Yes, you can organize your clothing by color, but take it a step further simply by picking the colors you use in the closet wisely. Match your hangers, either by buying in fashion colors or painting white or wire hangers.
Use light containers labeled with photographs and beautiful script for basic storage. Then, paint any additional items (tie racks, shelving etc.) in a matching or contrasting color for extra pop. Find out more here.
8. Have Your Outfits Ready to Go
Image from Make Life Lovely
How would you like an extra 20-30 minutes of time each morning? That’s enough time to hit the snooze button a couple more times, or actually have a sit-down breakfast with your family.
Earn more time when you need it most by setting out your clothing for the day, or, if you’re feeling extra organized and ambitious, for the week. This is also a great tool to use with kids to cut down on wardrobe meltdowns.
Let the little ones participate by selecting their own outfits and putting them together with labeled hangers – they’ll learn some great things about keeping themselves organized while lowering your stress level! Find more here.
9. Make the Most of “Wasted” Space
Image from Fab Everyday
Side walls, cubbies, corners, even the closet ceiling can be creatively used to maximize storage and keep everything clearly organized. Try hanging your sunglass collection on a side wall, or adding a narrow shelf or container on wheels into dark corners for out-of-season storage. Find out more here.
Image from Apartment Therapy
A super-creative variation on that idea is storing luggage (or other large objects and bags) above the inside of your closet door. Install hooks, hang, presto! Learn more here.
Let’s move into the slightly more “project-y” DIY projects now. Most are still very accessible to even a novice DIY-er, with a little patience.
10. Stop Shirt Slippage
Image from In My Own Style
Nothing leads to clutter faster than shirts sliding off their designated hangers. Use pipe cleaners to create a slip-free surface, and add an eye-catching bit of color to your design. Learn how here.
11. Double and Triple Your Hanging Space
Image from Shabby Creek Cottage
There’s a good variety of ways to do this; two of my favorites (they’re the easiest!) are hooking hangers together with a can tab to stack the hangers, or linking them using a chain.
For the can tab concept, pop the top of your favorite can, hang it around the neck of a hanger, then just attach the next hanger to it. More details here.
Image from Instructables
If you choose the linking chain option, it’s as straightforward as hanging a chain on the first clothes hanger hook, then just stacking as many hangers as will fit in your space by hooking them on the chain. Full details here.
12. Clothespin Those Tights
Image from Lana Red Studio
This idea is both practical and adorable. It takes advantage of space that is frequently wasted, and keeps everything organized. Plus, if you have a great tight collection, what a way to show it off!
You can also use this for light leggings, scarves, ties, or camisoles. Use wooden clothespegs, draw a line where you want them to be, then pick up that handy glue gun. Easy! Full details here.
13. Build a Closet Shelving Wall
Image from Imperfectly Polished
You can buy these (often at exorbitant prices) or make your own. The latter option allows you to tailor it exactly to your unique needs and space.
All you will need is some particleboard – or wood! – measuring and cutting tools, and a few brackets. Find out more here.
14. Enjoy Your Jewelry Display
Image from Overthrow Martha
If you have a box of treasures – necklaces, bracelets, rings etc. – think outside the box to create a beautiful exhibit in your closet while at the same time keeping every piece fresh in your mind, ready to wear.There are a wealth of possibilities (Pun! Sorry!) you can employ; these are just two of the easier ones.
Use a towelrack/bar, S-rings, toilet paper holders and baskets as shown above to create a custom jewelry wardrobe within your closet. Find out more here.
Image from Infarrently Creative
Or, keep it even simpler and cheaper by using paint sticks. Try painting them a bright complementary color, or just stain them to keep the look more classic. Details at Infarrantly Creative.
15. Rain Gutter Guard Earring Rack
Image via Blue Cricket Design
It’s possibly my personal favorite in this list, simply because it’s so unexpected. Here’s the scoop: Buy a cheap (super, super cheap – usually $2-3) plastic Rain Gutter Guard. Measure and pick the size you want, or cut to size.
While you’re at it, feel free to paint it a fun color or metallic for extra flash. Hang it on a wall using sticky-tape based hooks. Cover in earrings. That’s it – fun, pretty, and it keeps everything easy to find. Learn how here.
Image from A Bowl Full of Lemons
In a similar vein, try using a pegwood board with hooks to hang purses, scarves, necklaces or other accessories. Full details here.
16. Make a Sliding Pants Rack
Image via Instructables
If you have more pairs of pants than hangers or closet space, there’s a solution. You can either buy a sliding pants rack, or with a little ingenuity (and for a lot less money), make your own.
Storing your pants like this means fewer creases and more space: Win-Win! If you decide to build, just pick up some wood, a wooden dowel, and drawer sliders from your local hardware store.
The only equipment you’ll need are a drill, miter saw, hammer and tape measure. Find a full tutorial at Instructables.
17. Shower Curtain Circles Scarf Hanger
Image from FTD of SMCP
Another super-adaptable basic idea, using inexpensive products. You might even have an old shower curtain to recycle!
Take it a step further by hanging your new organizing tool on a bit of unpopular real estate, like the back of a door, or an unused bit of corner. Find out more here.
18. Hangers for Shoes
Image from EPBOT
Take a tension rod, add a few wire hangers that you customize yourself, and voila! A unique, space-saving shoe storage idea, especially for flip-flops, sandals, ballet flats, or other casual shoes.
Mount the curtain rod on a few brackets, or use a wooden dowel or bit of PVC pipe, first. Then take your flimsiest, cheapest metal hangers, and use a pair of pliers to split and curl!
If you’re feeling fancy, add a stylish bit of ribbon or cloth to make a “jacket” for the top of the hanger. Full tutorial here.
19. Hanging Boots
Image from Divine Caroline
If your shoe collection veers less sandal and more boots, you need a system that both saves space and keeps the boot in good condition. Crumpled tall boots take up a ton of room, and look terrible, but simply using boot-shapers only solves half the problem.
You can buy specialty boot hangers, but the more cost-effective and customizable approach is (naturally) to Do It Yourself. Here’s the easy fix: Use clips and nails to hang boots directly from the wall. Add a bit of soft fabric between the boot and the clip to protect leather or suede. Find out how here.
20. Upcycled Portable Closet
Image from Patti West
A great project for many different purposes: making closets where there are none; repurposing a room into a bedroom; dealing with a studio apartment with limited closet space; or even just recycling an old entertainment system.
Clean the chosen piece of furniture thoroughly, sand, prime and paint then make it exactly what you need! All the details are here.
Image via Coco Lapine Design
If you’re looking for something more mobile that can double as a room divider, try a freestanding pegboard closet. This takes a little more time and a few more tools, but is incredibly flexible.
Use it to store pots and pans in the kitchen, make a hanging garden in the living room, or organize your clothes by hanging the next day’s outfit where it’s easy to find. Full tutorial here.
21. Build a Flat Tie Rack
Image via Instructables
This is a more complicated project, no question. It requires familiarity with basic carpentry, and a willingness to create some nifty moving arms using brackets.
However, it’s a fantastic way to make use of all the space you have in your closet, and remember, tie racks can actually hold practically anything. If you have a collection that you’d like stored flush, that can be opened out for inspection, try adapting this tutorial. Full details here.
Like most DIY projects, any of these ideas can be expanded upon and adapted to fit your exact needs. Get creative! Look around at a few fancy container or closet stores, then look around your house. Ten-to-one you have a pile of things that could be used to create the same results for a tenth of the price.
Then, let us know! Take before and after pictures of your closet design and share them – it’s the best way for us all to learn from each other. Looking forward to being inspired by you!