My between the studs broom closet came about for a blogger challenge. A bunch of us will be participating in monthly challenges, this month the challenge was: Choose a space in your home that is in need of some organization and build a clever solution for it! This DIY project has been on my to-do list for quite a while. This was the perfect nudge I needed to complete my broom closet made between the studs.
Ugh! The dreaded before. I have this fabulous duster for my new laminate floors but I don’t have anywhere to store it.
Here’s a nice in progress shot, but let’s take a look at how all this started!!
Between the studs Broom Closet
Suddenly one day, on a whim I just knocked a hole in the wall. You see, I’ve been putting this off for a long time, and I figured if I put a hole in the wall, I’d have to follow through. Can you relate?
Here’s a quick back story—I’ve been in this house for 43 years. The original bathroom linen closet was in this exact spot. Years ago, the bathroom was renovated by some not so savvy friends (hence the bad tile floor). Along this wall was the bathtub and the small closet. The tub area is now the linen closet I organized with Dollar Store items. Even so, there wasn’t enough room to hang my duster and a couple of car wash sticks.
On with the details. . .
How to use a mirror to identify pipes wires inside a wall
I was nearly 100% positive there were no wires, but to make sure I used a hand mirror and a flashlight to look into the wall.
Cut out drywall between studs
Cutting the drywall by hand probably wasn’t the best way to go. Look to the right and you can see the original hole I busted with my trusty hammer. Did I mention I was impatient? I don’t do a lot of this kind of work, so I don’t own a stud finder. I knew the original closet was much wider than this, so that is what I was basing the size of the between the studs broom closet.
I’m not sure why there are two layers of drywall on each side. For some reason they used scraps to bring the drywall forward.
Does this make any sense to you? Here you can see there is the scrap piece of drywall in the back with the real drywall attached to the scrap and the stud. Go figure! It just goes to show that you really never know what you’re going to find when you do this sort of job.
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Remove unnecessary wall stud with reciprocating saw
After opening up the other side, I revealed a header at the top. This stud was not needed so I grabbed my reciprocating saw to remove it.
Use a shop vac to clean as you go
I may be impatient, but I know it was worth my time to go to the basement shop to grab my shop vac instead of using my household vacuum cleaner.
Then there was this mess. In order to use the full depth in between the studs, I needed to cut away those scrap pieces of drywall on the back wall. For this area I used a utility knife, scoring the drywall up against the stud.
Clean up rough cut and mud
This is a shot of the original header at the top of what was the original closet opening. I had to clean up the uneven drywall, remove that mud and that scrap drywall.
To be honest, at this point I was wondering if this was all worth it.
This between the studs broom closet would also make a great storage area for health and beauty aids
The shallow broom closet is taking shape. Can you see how handy this would be with many shelves for storing health and beauty aids like makeup, shampoo, etc?
Measure twice cut once!
Not only do I measure twice I always do a dry fit. I cut the left and right sides and one cross board to make sure it was going to fit in the opening.
Use clamps and brad nails to test broom closet insert fit
As an extra ounce of precaution, I clamped the between the studs closet insert and use my nail gun to tack the pieces in place. Then I carried it in the house to make sure the closet are was square enough to accept the closet insert. (not shown)
Carefully cut plywood on table saw
Because I didn’t want the insert and door to be heavy, a friend recommended that I buy ¼” plywood. I totally bought the wrong grade—I should have bought birch. So, just keep this in mind if/when you do this project. I had the piece ripped into 2 smaller pieces at The Home Depot which made it a little more manageable for me on the table saw. My Rockwell Jawstands were perfect in order to guide the long piece of plywood. I’ve had these for almost 4 years and they are awesome when you work alone a lot.
The handy battery operated Ryobi circular saw made the cross cut on the plywood. You could use a jigsaw for both of those tasks if you don’t have a table saw and circular saw.
Paint and Install Closet Insert
I chose to pre-paint all of my pieces before putting them together.
A small paint roller is perfect for this type of application, I think a regular wall roller holds too much paint and is wasteful.
After drilling pilot holes the box of the between the studs closet insert was put together with wood screws.
The back was secured with brad nails and another fit was done before adding a top shelf. The insert is resting on a 2x4 near the ground, when it’s installed it will be raised so that it’s up near the opening at the top.
Cutting trim for small closet door
Still trying to cut down on the weight of the hand made door, I decided to use thrift store baseboard for the trim. I ripped the trim on the table saw. You may think this is wasteful because this type of trim is sold by the foot. However, I got this at a thrift store for $1 per piece! I bought all they had, and never intended to use it as baseboard.
Secure mitered wood trim boards with wood glue
Because I didn’t want a lot of nails showing through the front side, I chose to use Gorilla Wood Glue and clamps to secure the trim boards on the small closet door.
After the glue set up, I turned the door over and shot the nails from the back. I think this is a better way because the plywood is so thin.
Side note: I REALLY wish I had bought the better plywood. But again, I’m an impatient diy’er and I needed this done before going on a trip. So I’m stuck using what I have.
Will the new handmade door work?
This is a dry fit of the closet door, I was thrilled when it actually fit! But there was an issue. The door was warped. I enlisted the help of my neighbor and he suggested adding a brace/stiffener to help with the bow. It was a rough day and I don’t have pictures of that adjustment.
I have made a header for the door frame, but it isn’t installed at this point. I wanted to make sure the door fit okay.
Fast forward-the door has been painted and installed. The header is in place, it’s time for finishing touches.
Drywall mud as patching material
Did you know that if you buy drywall patch in the paint department you pay a LOT more than if you walk to the pro department to pick up a gallon bucket of drywall mud? Here you see me using drywall much to patch the nail holes holding the door frame in place. I like to do two light coats—the first one usually indents a little. Then I either scrape the high points with a small putty knife or use a slightly damp rag to wipe away the excess. If done properly, many times you can delay touchup painting.
Don’t skip the finishing touches!
Don’t be discouraged if things aren’t perfect at this time. The finishing touches will bring this all together beautifully! Notice where I have patched the holes but haven’t cleaned them up yet. In addition, this is before caulking.
So much better after the caulk. Remember I said I pre-painted my pieces? Everything still needs a final coat and a half. In this picture you can see I have replaced the small piece of baseboard to the right of the closet. I used the original baseboard and cut some for the left and right side of the small door area.
This is a small bathroom, and getting a picture of the entire door is very difficult.
Practical storage option
After the caulking and touchup painting I added a doorknob and a friction catch on the inside of the broom closet. It really makes me chuckle that this is the EXACT spot I kept my towels for years and years before the bathroom remodel. Putting a small closet between the studs is so practical, don’t you think?
This is where I was keeping my oversized duster. Now, when my guests use the bathroom, they will see a cute little door instead of a big ole duster!
I thought I was going to put rolls of toilet paper on the top shelf, but the OVERSIZED rolls will not fit with the door shut. I’m not loving the broom storage clips I brought, so I will probably switch them out. But, for now, at least these items are out of the way. The AutoRight Easy Wash Stick and Easy Wash Stick Brush are so handy to help clean my truck AND camper! Many people may store these kinds of items in the garage, but have you seen my garage full of tools and more?
Here's another great way to stay organized in a linen closet with dollar store baskets.
It really is the little things in life that make me so happy. Where could you use an in between the studs closet?
Be sure to check out all the awesome projects from my friends.
Awesome DIY Organization Projects
- House of Wood - DIY Shoe Organizer
- My Love 2 Create – Between the Studs Workshop Organization
- House Becoming Home – DIY Closet Organization
- Anika’s DIY Life – DIY Corner Vegetable Storage Bin
- 100 Things 2 Do – Small Parts Bins
- Her Toolbelt – Backpack Storage Bench
- Remodel La Casa Office Organizer Drawers
- Jaime Costiglio – Easy Closet Shelves
- The Created Home – Shoe Storage Cabinet with Trays
- Woodshop Diaries – DIY Closet Cabinets
- Addicted 2 DIY – French Cleat Wall Organizer
- The Inspired Workshop – Ziploc Bag Organizer
- Reality Daydream – Cleaning Closet Organization
- Ugly Duckling House – DIY Jewelry Organizer
- Hazel and Gold Designs – Bathroom Drawer Organizer
- Place Of My Taste – Easy DIY Wine Rack
- Joyful Derivatives – DIY Spice Rack
So much #organizethis goodness!
What are the measurements of this closet? It'll probably be too late for me to use them, as I just asked my contractor to build this for me and he moves fast, but maybe knowing the cutout dimensions will help the next person. Wouldn't want to complete something like this and then the average broom, dustpan, and swiffer don't fit. Also need to make sure that the top shelf can accommodate the height and depth of whatever one wants to store there.
Great project/post. Thanks!
Great point KT
One should make sure that what they're storing will fit in the hole they cut out. 🙂 Since most ceilings are 8 ft, I'm guessing a closet could be as tall as 7 ft, or as tall as the door they have.
I'm sure your contractor did a much better job than I did. 🙂
John Van Der Linden
Super job, is it an illusion or are those studs 2X6 instead of the normal 2X4s.
Thank you John.
Must be optical illusion. I WISH the closet was that deep. But alas, they are 2x4's. 🙂
Nice job Gail! I have double drywall all over the older section of my house. It's a technique used by local contractors to avoid potential asbestos abatement. Drywall and drywall tape used to contain asbestos right up into the 1980s. Have a great week!
Good to know Anne, but I'm sure that wasn't the case here. We had friends rework this bathroom, about 15 years ago. They weren't contractors, just fly by night weekend warriors. I don't remember why that was done, but I'm sure they had a reason. This was where the original linen closet was in the bathroom.
I love this and will be doing my own this weekend. What type of hinge did you use for the door? Can you open the door all the way?
Thanks for stopping by! You sound like me.... I want it done YESTERDAY. 🙂
I used three small (narrow) utility hinges. You can see then near the bottom of the post (with the door shut)
No, because my broom closet is so near the corner of the room, I can only open it when the bathroom door is closed. But it easily opens enough for me to get to anything I need then.
good luck! have fun!
Omg, I need something like this. I will be looking throughout our home to see where we can put a closet. I need something like this to store 🧹, dustpan etc. thanks for the fabulous idea. By the way, I plan to join your fabulous site. I love your Diy’s
Yay! Good luck with your broom closet. It has worked so well for me, and it was a nice challenge away from all the furniture projects I do.
Was actually shopping for a small door to have one buil in our new bathroom that we are about to gut. Now I have pics to show my contractor. Thanks a lot!
Wow! Carole, that's awesome! I'm so happy you found my article helpful!!!
Good job with a great idea! Thanks for sharing this.
I am seriously in love with this! My MIL has a tiny powder bathroom and I think one of these would be a great idea for her health and beauty supplies! Great project, Gail.
Wow! What a smart solution. I love finding and creating more storage.
What a great use of space and I love your clever way of using the mirror to check behind the drywall! We found rain gutters that were used for electrical conduit behind the last wall we knocked down.
Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House
Fantastic project, Gail! Just the kind of thing I need for all my Swiffer stuff.
really interesting. makes great use of the space you have.
Gail I need one of these pronto! So smart to make use of that wall cavity.
What a great idea and the closet looks so nice. I love it!
What an amazing project! I'm looking at all my walls trying to find a place I can do this. 😉
So smart, Gail! And that mirror trick is genius! Thanks for joining in on the fun!
Talk about making the most of your space! Such a great idea!
Love this idea! I installed a similar solution in my son small closet. It gave him more valuable storage space. I like that you added a door, well a very pretty door!
This is a fabulous idea. Older houses have been altered so many times throughout the decades. We’ve found some odd, scary, and head scratching alterations in our little house we’ve been in about 2 years.
This is SO SMART! I don't have too many closets, so making use of that between-the-studs area is genius! Thanks!
This is such a great idea!!!