When designing the your perfect nursery, don’t forget the nursery closet! We’ll show you how to make it both pretty and functional in just 1 weekend!
- Active Time: 4-5 hours
- Total Time: 1 weekend
- Cost: $50 (I used paint from the nursery and an Ikea shelf from the basement to keep costs down)
- Help Needed?: Nope! I completed this project 5 months pregnant while Steve was out of town for the weekend
- Difficulty Level: Advanced Beginner (The skills you’ll need are painting and using a drill and impact driver)
The Starting Point
When we started transforming our guest room into our nursery, I knew the closet needed a makeover. I’m a big believer in a pretty closet–the prettier the closet, the easier it is for me to want to stay organized. And, the closet as it was, was simply not right for our new baby.
Missing closet shelves, dingy paint, old painted over hooks, an old satellite wire just hanging on the side, and that closet rod—yuck!
So, I started out with a few projects in mind:
- Paint the space
- Replace the closet rod
- Remove the old hooks and wire
- Add additional storage with shelves above the closet rod, hooks, and some storage below the closet rod
I’d done a similar makeover in my condo about ten years ago, so I knew it wasn’t going to be too hard to complete while pregnant because I had zero DIY skills back then.
Ok, let’s dive in!
Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I earn a small commission if you click the link and purchase the item. To view our full Affiliate Disclosure, click here.
I was trying to be super budget-conscious for the nursery closet, since we splurged on our nursery furniture. So, I tried to use as much as I could from around the house. I used leftover paint from the nursery. And, I grabbed an Ikea Kallax shelf from the basement to use for some basket storage (if you need to buy one, they’re only $35 plus whatever baskets you want to add). So, with everything else, I spent about $50!
If I had to buy everything I used, here’s what I’d need:
- Ikea Kallax shelf
- 2 Ikea Knipsa baskets (they’re $15 each but they have a ton of other options available too)
- Sherwin Williams Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex paint in Repose Grey (this paint is great for kids room, as it’s washable and scrubbable, so you can get all the grime and crayons off the wall that your soon-to-be-toddler will be adding) (usually $75 but you can almost always find some sort of deal for 20-40% off)
- Paint roller, roller cover, and paint tray
- Angled paint brush
- Painters tape
- Extendable closet rod (get one mounted with screws; a tension rod will fall down as soon as there’s a bunch of weight on it)
- 2 Hooks for the door (these are the ones I have but mine are brushed nickel–they don’t have those online)
- 2 New closet shelves (mine were 12″ x 48″)
- Baby clothes hangers
- Closet Dividers to help stay organized (mine were a gift, but they’re similar to these on Etsy)
- Claw Hammer
- Spackle and putty knife
- Sanding block
- Tack cloth
- Step stool
- Impact Driver and Drill
- Face mask and eye covers
- Measuring Tape and pencil
Step 1: Clear Everything Out and Clean
We used our guest closet to store off-season clothes, suitcases, and our leaf for our kitchen table, so the first thing I did was get all that stuff out and find new homes for it (aka stuff them in our closet and attic and worry about them later).
Once I cleaned everything out, I found dust and dirt EVERYWHERE. So, it’s time to break out the microfiber cloth and warm soapy water. I wiped down everything—the walls, the ceiling, the floor, and the molding.
There’s two reasons cleaning is so important. One: when are you ever going to clean a closet again? If I’m feeling motivated, I might run the vacuum over whatever floor is visible, but otherwise, it gets ignored. And Two: if you’re applying fresh paint, you really need clean walls so it adheres well. Otherwise, you’ll have paint that won’t cover the dirt, and you’ll have dust bunnies mixed in with your paint, ruining your smooth finish.
So, take the 15 minutes and clean the space. You won’t regret it.
Step 2: Remove the Old Closet Rods and Hooks
Ok, time for “demo”! There were a few random nails that someone must have put in the closet to act as hooks that needed to go. Those were the easiest—just use the back of the hammer (the claw) and leverage those out.
The painted-over hooks weren’t too bad either.
Then it was time for the closet rod. I couldn’t find any screws holding it in place, so I realized these extra pieces of wood were holding them in place. So, they had to come off so I could remove the rod. And, I was fine with that because it gave me a cleaner look once they were gone.
To remove the wood pieces, use the hammer claw to pry the wood off the wall. If you haven’t done this before, I kind of wiggle the hammer back and forth to easy the nail out of the wall.
Step 3: Patch Any Holes
Now, let’s clean your walls up, so they’re ready for your fresh coat of paint!
Using your spackle and putty knife, fill in any holes. Make sure you scrape off any excess spackle. Then let it dry (I love Dap’s DryDex Spackle because it’s pink when it’s wet, and it turns white when it’s dry. Takes all the guessing out of when it’s ready).
Once the holes are all dry, you need to sand the spackle down using your sanding block, so the wall is smooth. Make sure you wear your eye protectors and face mask while doing this part, it gets dusty! Once the areas are smooth, clean them off with some tack cloth to get all the fine dust.
Step 4: What Do I Do With This Wire?
The previous owner had a TV with satellite and ran the wire through our nursery closet. When he moved out, the wire was just dangling down.
I had no idea what to do with it, and I had no interest in climbing into the attic pregnant. So, I made up this temporary solution until my dad came over.
He went up into the attic a few weeks later, made sure it wasn’t hooked up to anything, and then just cut the wire in the attic. Then we just pulled it through from the nursery closet, and now it’s gone! Wires always worry me, but a cable wire not hooked up to anything is definitely something you can cut and throw away 🙂
Step 5: Paint
Ok, now it’s time to start the transformation of your nursery closet! I taped off the molding (I didn’t feel like painting it since I was adding a shelf that would block the view of it anyways). I painted the walls and ceiling the same color (again, no need to take the extra time to paint it white–it’s such a small space and no one’s looking at the ceiling).
I had great coverage with one coat, but I put a second one on as there were a few spots that didn’t cover completely.
Step 6: Install Closet Rod
Once the paint was dry, it’s time to install your new closet rod. To help plan your timing, I finished painting Saturday afternoon and installed the closet rod Sunday morning. To install the closet rod, you’ll need a tape measure and pencil, your impact driver and drill, and the closet rod. And, since there’s a few steps involved, I’ve written a separate post with all the details. Head over to How to Install a Closet Rod to get your step-by-step instructions, then head back over here to keep working on your nursery closet!
Step 7: Install Shelves
Once your closet rod is installed, let’s add some storage shelves above it. If you’re closet already has these–yay! Skip this step.
I had the ledges for shelving already in place, so someone must have just removed the shelves in the past.
So, all I had to do was buy new shelves and secure them
I got these great precut white shelves from Home Depot. They fit perfectly in my space, but if they don’t fit yours, you can cut them down with a circular saw real easy.
Once I placed the shelf on the ledge, I secured the shelves to the ledge with screws.
To do this, drill a guide hole with a drill bit slightly smaller than your screw on each corner of the shelf into the ledge. Then with your impact driver, screw the shelf into the ledge.
If you have two shelves, repeat the process for the second shelf.
Step 8: Install Hooks
I add hooks to most rooms in my home because they offer easy storage options. So the back of every bedroom, closet, and bathroom door gets 2 hooks. For the nursery, the hooks are great for hooded towels and little baby jackets.
If you’ve never installed a hook before, they’re super easy!
Mark the screw holes with a pencil where you want to install the hook.
Using your drill, drill a guide hole for the screws on your marks. Use a bit slightly smaller than your screw and drill a hole about half the thickness of the door (be careful not to go all the way through the door!)
Then using your impact driver, screw each screw in the hook into the door.
NOTE FOR INSTALLING HOOKS ON DOORS OR DRYWALL: Most interior doors are hollow core, meaning they aren’t made of wood all the way through. If you put hooks on these doors, there isn’t a lot of support for them to hold heavy weights. So, to avoid your hooks pulling out of the door, only hang lightweight things on them (a towel, a jacket, an empty diaper bag).
Step 9: Add Shelving Unit
Since baby clothes are so small, I knew we’d have plenty of room below the closet rod for more storage. You can always install a second rod if you wanted. I wanted to keep things flexible, so I decided to add a shelving unit to the closet.
The Ikea Kallax is perfect for our small closet, and it adds so much more storage.
I kept baby’s bath bath towels in one of the baskets and diapers in another. And, then you can see our swaddles folded neatly in one section and spare wipes and hand sanitizer in another.
Such an amazing amount of storage for a small shelf!
Step 10: Add Baby’s Things to Your Pretty Nursery Closet!
That’s it! Time to add all your cute baby things!
How cute does this nursery closet look? I’m just in love with it, maybe just as much as with the rest of the room!
The shelves on the top are perfect for extra diapers or things baby needs to grow into.
The closet rod is perfect to hang up all your cute outfits.
And, one year later, I can tell you, it still looks just as cute, if not a little more full of clothes for E.