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Small House Closet Renovation Idea: Create a New Basement Closet as an Inexpensive Master Bedroom Addition

Many homeowners would love to have a giant bonus-room style closet for their master bedroom. It is relatively common for people to have wardrobes that can easily fill a space as large or larger than the bedroom itself. Unfortunately, most small or older homes simply don't offer closets in this size. One way to handle the problem is with a big addition to the house. That, however, is dependant on the homeowner's lot and is a very costly solution if you are looking mainly for clothing storage. Luckily, one feature that many older homes in the Chicagoland area do offer is a basement.

A lower cost alternative to a home addition is building a new, extra large, dressing room style closet in the basement of the house.

view of basement closet
It's hard to believe that this closet is in a corner of a windowless basement. Located just off the home's bright and cheery laundry room, it's a convenient storage area for clothing. This closet also functions as a dressing room and relaxation space for the owners. It is designed to be a space where they will want to spend time.

New Master Closet in the Basement — Case Study

Think of your basement as an area of untapped potential. Even the dingiest, roughest unfinished basement offers additional space that could potentially become any type of square footage that you might need.

Closet Works recently configured a basemement room into the closet/dressing room of one local homeowner's dreams:

This house was a modest, post-World War II ranch home. Typical to homes of this period, it features small rooms with a single, tiny, reach-in closet per bedroom. None of the bedrooms offer the features current homeowners associate with a "master bedroom," including a big, walk-in closet. It was, however, very conveniently located in a nice neighborhood and the owners wanted to stay in their home. They just needed to make the space work for modern lifestyles and wardrobes. One of the chief problems with the home was the lack of closet space in the master bedroom. A new master closet was needed, but with no available space in the main living area of the home, the owners decided to go underground to carve out a luxurious closet solution without having to increase the actual footprint of the house.

The space that became the new walk-in closet was previously a semi-finished basement room located directly below the first-floor bedroom currently used as a master. The customer removed the existing small reach-in closet in the room, repainted, and changed the flooring prior to project installation. The rest was left to us. The clients hoped that the new storage solution would be more than just an auxiliary closet for seasonal and special occasion clothing. Nestled like a hidden diamond under the home, they wanted the finished space to be a kind of luxurious retreat inside their modest house.

The original basement space did not inspire these sensations of grandeur. The celling was low (lower than a standard closet system), the space was dark, the floors were crooked and pitch to a central floor drain. All sorts of plumbing pipes and air ducts line the ceiling and walls, but luckily, basement seepage has never been a problem in this home. The client had specific desires for the storage of their items which did not include a reminder that they were in a windowless underground storage room. They also had a strict budget. Even with all that, the space was still a diamond in the rough.

The Solution:

It was our job to figure out how best to bring its brilliance to light. We decided to concentrate on a timeless look that would offer abundant storage for all of their clothing and accessories while creating a quiet, relaxing atmosphere that will never go out of style. Storage flows from floor to ceiling on every wall. We purposely avoided a center closet island, placing all drawer units including countertop space against the walls so that the clients could use their elegant chaise lounge and sheepskin rug to anchor the space. This set the tone of the entire design.

Basement Closet Construction Details:

  1. Although shelving and drawer units are floor-based, this is essentially a suspended closet system.
  2. Base moulding covers any gaps or shims needed to accommodate the uneven floor in the floor-based sections.
  3. To accommodate the low ceiling height, cabinet doors are mounted above the drawers right under the ceiling. Allowances needed to be made for a ceiling vent that hit at the system height.
  4. We used three closet hutch units to provide drawers and countertop space rather than a closet island in order to keep the center of the floor clear for the homeowner's seating and area rug.
  5. Closet installed using our Canvas color laminate. The "almost white" of the Canvas laminate reflects the maximum light from the overhead chandeliers, while adding a little more depth through the additional texture than could be otherwise achieved with a standard white laminate.
  6. We used brushed chrome oval rods, and flat face drawers with brushed chrome emerald knobs for a timeless look that leans towards Contemporary and is very budget friendly.

Small homes can provide big storage. The key to success is thinking "outside the box" (or in this case, outside the master bedroom). Remodelling your basement space in order to create a new dressing room closet can be an inexpensive, but equally functional, alternative to building master bedroom addition. This type of closet remodel can offer a giant bonus-room style closet for the master bedroom without incurring the extra cost of a home addition. The tiny old closet can be removed or repurposed — creating better, more open spaces that increase functionality in the home.

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closet renovation idearight side of basement closet
Detail of basement closet. The space is not only storage but functions as a lower level dressing room and master bedroom addition. From the Portfolio of Lisa Coté >

left side of root cellar pantry
This closet renovation idea includes abundant shoe storage as well as hanging space for clothes and drawers for small items like lingerie. It is a convenient location for the dressing room because it is right off the home's laundry area From the Portfolio of Lisa Coté >

complimentary appointment and 0% financing on your closet purchase