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Best Practices When You Want to Convert Bedroom Into Closet Space

Homeowners have numerous reasons for wanting to convert a traditional bedroom into a closet. Perhaps the exisiting closet space in the home is small and they are tired of having to switch out their wardrobes by season, or a couple longs for separate storage spaces in a bedroom that only comes with a single, shared closet — after all, for some, separate closets could be the secret to a long, successful marriage. If the children have left the nest — or there never were any children — the homeowners may find themselves with a surplus of bedrooms but a dearth of functional closets. Often, a spare bedroom closet will already have been pressed into service as a secondary master closet. If the spare bedroom is currently used primarily for storage, why not go one step further and use all the available space to get your dream closet? By reallocating a room in this way, the owner can gain space that functions better for their current needs. No matter what the reason, the underlying drive in a bedroom to closet conversion is usually an excess of sleeping spaces coupled with a lack of available storage.

There are several considerations when converting a bedroom into a closet. Versatility is key. Poorly done and the home simply goes from a three bedroom to a two bedroom in the real estate listing. However, a well done bedroom to closet makeover will add rather than detract from the home's value. The savvy owner will keep the following tips in mind in order to both maximize home value and increase storage potential.

    Bedroom to Closet Makeover Tips:

  1. Work with the windows rather than remove them

    Taking out all bedroom windows in favor of blank wall space is a costly project that is unlikely to offer a good return on your investment. Instead, incorporate the windows into your closet design. A bench seat under the window could provide the perfect spot to put on your shoes, adding to the functionality of the closet. Alternately, the natural light provided by the window is an ideal location for incorporating a closet desk or vanity — a highly sought after feature in luxury closets.

    If you must use a section of wall with a window for shelving or hanging clothes due to size constraints of the room, cover the window from the inside rather than removing it. First, clean the entire window and dress it with an attractive window treatment (for example closed blinds) that looks good from outside, since it will still be seen from the exterior. Next, use a shrink wrap film available for insulating leaky windows to ensure that the window remains clean and cob web free over time. Simple kits for this purpose are available at any hardware or home improvement store. A new floor based closet system can then be built with backerboard that covers the unwanted window on the interior of the room. Use a full floor-to-ceiling closet system and you won't be able to tell that there was ever an opening in the first place. However, it will be relatively simple to return the window to the space if the need arises.

  2. Transform the existing reach-in closet into a desk/vanity table nook

    Most bedrooms have some sort of small reach-in style wall closet already built into them. Rather than tearing out the walls and structure that forms this closet, consider simply removing the doors and using the opened space as an alcove for a closet desk or luxurious vanity table. This opens the closet up and provides the type of opulence common in walk-in closets for large luxury homes. The space above the desk/vanity can be used for cabinetry or shelves and under cabinet lighting will ensure the space is comfortable. The remaining walls of the room can be used for the needed hanging rods, shelves and other closet storage.

    bedroom converted to closet and man cave

    TIP: Transform an Existing Reach-In Closet Into a Nook for a Desk

    The owners of this home had more bedrooms than they needed. Instead of sleeping space, they decided to use this large room next to the master suite as a combination man cave and walk in closet for him. A floor to ceiling section of double hanging rods with upper shelving was installed against one wall to handle most of the owner's clothing storage needs. An additional wall unit with shelves was installed next to the door for easy access to folded items, and a large closet island with drawers was located in the center of the room to handle any other storage needs. A TV and sofa anchor half the space, ensuring that this closet will do double duty as a personal sanctuary/"away room" for the man of the house. Rather than removing the alcove next to the the television where a simple, reach in, wall closet would have been located in a traditional bedroom space, Closet Works designed a built-in desk with upper cabinetry to fit into this area so that the owner can use it to work from home. Custom closet LED lights handle all task lighting needs and keep everything visible within the dark, manly color scheme.
    See Project >
  3. Consider using cabinet doors to cover the hanging areas

    This will allow the room to be used for more functions. The "away room" has increased in popularity ever since architect Sarah Susanka published her book The Not So Big House. The ideal away room can be relatively small, 10-12 ft. square (common walk-in closet size) and functions as a cozy retreat for the owner. This ties in perfectly with the current trend of creating elaborate walk-in closets that also function as relaxing dressing rooms/retreats for the owner.

  4. Include a chaise lounge or sofa in the new closet

    Handled well, the addition of the comfortable chaise lounge chair or other seating can potentially transform even the simplest walk-in closet into a private getaway. It can provide a place to momentarily slip away and meditate or regroup. Additionally, you will still have sleeping space for the occasional guest. Cabinet doors, whether solid or glass, can cover all of the hanging and storage spaces, giving the closet the look of a tiny room covered in wall-to-wall built ins. The storage will be there, as will the versatility.

  5. Make your closet island or other closet furniture mobile

    Use castors or furniture slides under the closet island or other big pieces. Again, the idea is versatility. You want to be able to move the island out of the way if you need to use the space for something else.

    furniture glides enable pieces to be easily moved
    TIP: Furniture glides make pieces movable

The key to a successful bedroom to closet conversion is versatility. A future homeowner may prefer additional sleeping space rather than a large walk-in closet. If the room can be easily transformed back to it's original function, you won't loose this potential buyer later on when it comes time to sell.


Closet Works is Chicagolands' largest and most experienced provider of custom storage solutions. Since 1987, we have been helping homeowners by creating custom closets, pantries, bookcases and more to help create a better, less stessful lifestyle. Great ideas to "Organize Your Life" and examples of our custom closets ideas and other organization ideas can be found throughout our website. For more information on Closet Works call toll-free at 800-4-CLOSET (800-425-6738).

EXAMPLES OF OTHERWISE BEDROOM SPACE USED SUCCESSFULLY AS WALK IN CLOSETS

Window seat in closet

TIP: Incorporate Built In Seating Under the Windows

This room adjoining the master bedroom featured a large window, but the homeowner wanted to use the space as a closet. Rather than cover the window, a beautiful and functional window seat with storage drawer was installed underneath. The depth was custom designed to be the same as the surrounding closet shelves and blends into the overall closet design as a perfect built in.
See Project >

small bedroom converted to dressing room and closetcabinet doors cover the hanging areas of the bedroom converted to closet

TIP: Use Cabinet Doors to Conceal Hanging Clothes

This bedroom to closet conversion is part of an old manor home situated on Chicago's lakefront. Originally designed as a bedroom for a live in servant, this teeny tiny room was not very useful as a modern bedroom. Furthermore, all the existing closets in the historic home were extremely small. In order to make the home more functional, this small bedroom was converted into a combination closet/dressing room for the larger bedroom next door. Cabinet doors with large ring style handles conceal all the hanging space behind closed doors. The window was left in place as was the original small closet, which is perfect for storing a fold up cot, but not much else. The finished space was intended as a dressing room — but it also functions as a quiet private retreat and a place to listen to favorite music. It is able to be converted to a small but attractive private sleeping space for an unexpected guest in a pinch.
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attic bedroom converted to closet

TIP: Work with the Existing Windows

This attic bedroom was converted into a large walk-in closet. In addition to slanted ceilings and walls, challenges included a relatively large window on the only flat wall wall in the room. Rather than removing the window, custom shelves for sweaters and shoes were built to fit around this feature, maximizing storage and retaining the ability to convert the room back into a cozy bedroom at any time.
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chaise lounge chair in walk-in closet

TIP: Include a Chaise or Other Seating and Enclose the Storage Areas With Cabinet Doors

The right seating, in addition to a comfortable rug, transforms this walk-in closet into a relaxing, private getaway — plus it's a very convenient place to put on your shoes! Notice that all of the hanging and shelving are enclosed behind glass cabinet doors, creating the sense of a small, private "away room" covered in wall-to-wall custom cabinetry rather than just a utilitarian storage area.
See Project >
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