Tower Based Master Closet System

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 01/08/2020 - 13:00
Difficulty
Beginner
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Build your own master closet system.  This sturdy, freestanding closet can be customized to suit your space and needs.  Free step by step plans from Ana-White.com

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diy closet system
diy closet system
diy closet system
diy closet system
diy closet system

Do you need more closet space?  In our first house, the master closet was only four feet wide.  So I gave the entire closet to my husband and built my own master closet system!

My oldest daughter (now a teenager!) was so proud!
We loved this closet so much, despite moving twice - still use it!  It is very sturdy and helped our family so much over the years.
I used 3/4" plywood to build it, but you can also use Melamine Shelf boards to save time (no finish required or ripping on a table saw!).
I love that you can customize this closet to fit any space.
Thanks so much to everyone who has built it and shared a photo.
Ana
Dimensions
master closet system diy dimensions
15" deep x 84" tall - customizable width

Preparation

Shopping List
  • 4x8 sheet of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood (1 sheet per tower plus an additional sheet for shelving) OR 3/4" thick melamine or particle board shelving like this (about three 8 foot long shelves per tower)
  • IF using the melamine strips, you'll need 1x3s for the top shelf supports, one 1x3 per opening, IF using the plywood sheets, there will be an extra scrap about 2-1/2" wide, you can use this scrap for the supports
  • 2 - 2x4s (use 2x6s if your base moulding is over 3-1/2" tall) in the entire length of the closet run (as shown in diagram this is 12' long) PLUS 24" for the ends of the base
  • 5 feet of 1x6 or 1x8 boards (width of board determines drawer box depth) PER drawer
  • 1 set of 14" euro style drawer slides PER drawer
  • Closet rod sockets (one set per each run of closet rod)
  • Wood closet rods (max run is about 48" without additional support)
  • 1-1/4" Kreg Pocket Hole Screws OR 2" self tapping construction screws (#7 or #8)
  • 1-1/4" and 3/4" brad nails (can use screws if you don't have a brad nailer)
  • 2-3/4" self tapping wood screws (#8 or #9) - you'll just need 8 for building the base but these are good to keep around for a variety of uses and projects, and can also be used to anchor the closet to the wall
  • Wood glue
Cut List
Cut list per ONE tower
  • 2 - 3/4" plywood @ 15" x 81" OR melamine shelf board @ 81" - sides of tower
  • 3 - 3/4" plywood @ 15" x 14-1/2" OR melamine shelf board @ 14-1/2" - fixed shelves
  • Additional shelves are 3/4" plywood @ 15" x 14-1/2" OR melamine shelf board @ 14-1/2" - additional shelves

Cut list per ONE drawer

  • 4 - 1x6 or 1x8 @ 13-1/2"
  • 1 - 1/4" plywood @ 13-1/2" x 15"

Cut list for base

  • 2 - 2x4 or 2x6 for taller baseboards @ overall length of closet
  • 2 - 2x4 or 2x6 for taller baseboards @ 10" 

Cuts for Shelves in Between Towers

  • 3/4" plywood 15" wide, cut to fit in between the towers on installation
  • 1x3 or scrap plywood cut to fit in between the towers on installation
Cutting Instructions
  • Rip plywood sheets into three pieces, 8 feet long x 15" wide.  If you don't have a table saw or other rip guide, you can have your hardware store do this on their track saw - just make sure the rips are exactly the same.  Request to have the saw set and the plywood run through the saw horizontally for consistency.
  • Save the remaining scrap piece to use as supports
  • Cut the ripped pieces of plywood on a sliding miter saw (may need to flip and cut both sides) or use a circular saw and a square to make square cuts.  Sacrificial styrofoam panels under the plywood for support will make cutting much easier.
Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander

Instructions

Step 1

Attach the two side boards to the shelf boards.  You can use 3/4" pocket holes and 1-1/4" pocket hole screws, or 2" self tapping wood screws, or 1-1/4" brad nails and wood glue.

It is important that the center shelf is fixed to keep the closet structural good. 

Step 2

Add additional shelves as desired.  As shown, there is a 12" space between the shelves.

For the drawer boxes, build the box first using the same fastener as you used for building the tower.

Attach bottom 1/4" plywood with 3/4" brad nails and glue.

Install the drawer boxes using the drawer slides.

TIP: You may wish to finish the towers at this point.

Step 3

Cut two 2x4s to the entire desired length of your closet.

Attach with the 2-3/4" screws to the 10" long 2x4s.

NOTE: I recommend building the base slightly smaller front to back so that the closet can sit above your base moulding.  If you have taller base moulding, consider using a 2x6 for the base frame to bring your closet up above the base moulding.

TIP: You may wish to finish the base at this point.

Step 4

Place base in installation location.

Place the towers on the base, so the towers are flush to the back wall.

Screw towers to the bases.

Step 5

Cut plywood to fit in between towers. 

TIP: You may wish to finish the shelves prior to installation.

Attach plywood shelves to fit on the bases.

Step 6

Cut the top shelf boards to width.  Cut the supports from plywood or 1x3s.

NOTE: If using pocket holes in the supports drill pocket holes before attaching.

Attach shelf to the supports with glue and 1-1/4" brad nails.

Attach the top shelves to the towers.

Step 7

Install closet rods between towers.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
For painted finish: If using plywood, fill front edges of plywood with wood filler. Sand and paint as desired.

For stained finish: it is recommend to use edge banding on the front of the plywood edges to finish.

Comments

Mary Rich (not verified)

Fri, 07/08/2011 - 13:43

I like your plans for the master closet system. I have a large closet and need plans for a closet system that covers three walls. How can I address the two inside corners so that I don't have a lot of hidden space that would be hard to access?

Also, where can I find the plans for the shoe rack and drawers that you built for your closet?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks,

Mary

mandmatthews

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 07:45

Ana I LOVE your site it's wonderful! I was wondering though why you recommend going from 16" deep (in a previous comment) to 24"? I didn't know if there was a reason for that big of a jump or not.

Thanks! Again you inspire me so much! Love the site!
Mandy

ashley04samantha

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 10:44

Brilliant!!
My fiance and I were debating on renting this small apartment (with great location and great price) when we get married, where the bedroom is only 10x10 and has one closet. He and I are both used to living in tight spaces, but I have a lot of stuff, and he hates clutter. So, I wanted to find a budget-friendly storage system to line against the wall as my personal closet (he'll take the smaller one =P) and I went to this site because I just KNEW you would have one.
This is so perfect! I can't wait to present the plan to him! Thanks =D

Lisa Merrill (not verified)

Sun, 08/21/2011 - 17:32

How soon can we expect the plans for the drawers? We have the rest of it done...just waiting to finish the drawers! Can't wait!! Thank you!!

houquilter

Mon, 09/19/2011 - 10:51

Thanks so much for putting this plan up! I've been shopping for a closet system and the prices & quality are not what I want to deal with. Definetly on my "to do" list.
I'm going to be installing this in my walk in closet and was wondering if the unit needed to be secured to the wall or if is freestanding, I can't tell.

Brandy (not verified)

Thu, 11/17/2011 - 12:29

What a great plan! We're so excited to get started on it. My only concern is do you think the bars will be strong enough to hold 'heavy' clothes packed in the closet? (suits, coats, etc) Any ideas or thoughts on the need to reinforce the rod pockets or do you think the 3/4 plywood will be plenty strong? Thanks!

In reply to by jaywitty

claydowling

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 11:29

Every home improvement and hardware store in the country. They're usually with the closet organizers. I have, within the last month, seen them at Lowes, Home Depot and Menards. The fact that they aren't with the other hardware can be confusing, but I was recently purchasing some storage for my shop.

JackieDoyle (not verified)

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 05:31

Do you think this could be made with 1/2" MDF or do we need to use the 3/4"? We have some 1/2" around the house we wanted to use but aren't sure if that will be sturdy enough.

claydowling

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 05:57

The 3/4" will definitely be stronger. But I would question the use of MDF at all. It's heavy and not particularly strong. It will cost more, but your life will be made easier by hunting down A1 plywood at a lumber yard. Easier to work with, more durable and a lot easier to move from the garage to the closet.