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.
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Comments

Andrea Czarnecki (not verified)

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 10:23

Do you necessarily need the Kreg Jig? If so, can I buy the less expensive system and still be able to do this project? I'm not getting a lot of support from my family to try this project so I don't want to make a huge investment right now.

claydowling

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 10:43

Even the cheapest Kreg kit will make this easier. You can also use a doweling jig. It will be slightly more complicated (but not a lot), and very strong. That's how a professionally built one is typically put together.

You could probably also use special particle board screws and screw through the faces into the board, especially if you're using a better grade of plywood. Just pre-drill your holes with a countersink bit or ugly things result. That's how professionally built kitchen cabinets are constructed.

Gin (not verified)

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 20:51

This is exactly the kind of closet setup I would love to build, but I am not as lucky to have a 112" closet.

What I'm wondering is what length dowels did you put in for hanging clothes? I don't know if this is a dumb question, but I do need all the shoe/drawer storage you show and wonder if shortening the dowel length would be worth my time or too little space to fit it all within a 96" W closet.

I've never done a project like this, but I'm hoping to wrangle my Dad in to help me. He has a lot more experience on DIY than I do. lol

sswallow

Sat, 06/16/2012 - 09:18

I love this site! I can't seem to stop looking at everything! My master bedroom closet is going to look awesome now and I didn't have to spend 2500 bucks to do it!
Ana you are awesome!!

Mrs. J (not verified)

Sun, 07/15/2012 - 16:17

Thank you for sharing your plans! Our daughter's entire room looks like the "before" picture of your little girl's closet! I'm hoping you can help me talk my husband into getting the project started. He is worried about the cost and time-

Considering we both work full time... how long realistically do you think it would take for us (er--him!) to put this together?

Is Home Depot the best place to purchase the supplies or is there an even more cost effective alternative?

Lastly, we hope to upgrade the flooring in our entire house sometime next year. How difficult would it be to move the unit out of the room (temporarily) once it is installed?

Thank you for your advice!

Mandi W. (not verified)

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 09:40

Hi Anna,

I love all of your projects! I'm looking to do a shoe cubbie tower (top and bottom the same as the middle section bottom of your plan). I don't see the dimensions for the shoe cubbie. Do you have these posted somewhere?

Thanks in advance.

tracie (not verified)

Fri, 01/18/2013 - 11:09

Question: our closet is only 5.5 feet wide, with a weird 24 " wide bathroom medicine cabinet jutting out into it. I was planning on the tower going around this cabinet. Would it still be structurally sound to do 2 towers together, I being 24 " wide and the other bring 16 inches wide, and then attaching the rods to the wall?
Thanks!

Dottie84

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 19:06

So, I wasn't thinking and I made my tower with 1x12's cause it's a smaller closet. Then, I went to buy drawer slides (I haven't cut or built the drawers yet). The smallest drawer slides HD sells are 12". Any ideas how to still make drawers that slide in my 1x12 shelf? Thanks!!