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  • Writer's pictureAlice

Not Your Average Coat Closet - The Reveal

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

The One Room Challenge has wrapped up and it's finally time to reveal the room I’ve been working on this past 8 weeks. To recap, the One Room Challenge is a biannual event (held every spring and fall) involving designers and DIYers. We each pick a room or space to transform in the span of 8 weeks. I picked a builder-boring coat closet next to my living room and was determined to infuse it with style, rich texture, color and more importantly lots of functionality.


My goal for this closet was a simple one – create ample storage! But for a small closet, that can be an uphill battle. Since I love a good challenge, or should I say, opportunity, I went all in. I hope by the end of this post, I can convince you that with some ingenuity, you can transform a small space into something functional, fabulous, and special.


So how do you create lots of storage in a 77-inch wide by 96-inch high by 24-inch-deep space? Well, you maximize your ceiling height with built-in storage, add in furniture with storage compartments, and since this is a closet after all, include hooks for hanging scarfs, jackets, etc. With a clear vision in mind, regarding the functionality of the space, I set my sights on the design.

For those of you who follow my work on Instagram, you know I don’t shy away from moody colors (with the exception of beige). And while this closet is small, and in a relatively tight hallway, I thought embracing that fact, and punctuating the space with moody and bright colors will give it the sense of style and elegance I was looking for. Let me explain this word salad I just made for you. In a nutshell, I:

  • Painted the walls charcoal gray to make it quite cozy, despite the closet being in a small narrow hallway. If used right, dark paint colors don’t necessarily enclose a space.

  • Added peel-and-stick Victorian wallpaper that has a little sheen, to help reflect some light – the wallpaper was purchased from Etsy.

  • Positioned a vintage washstand that features a red subway tile backsplash and pink marble countertop, between two dark built-in bookcases – that created the sharp color contrast I referenced above and dare I say some drama.

  • Added battery operated wall sconces to lighten up the closet and create ambiance – yes, I said battery operated wall sconces.

  • Changed the basic recessed light in the hallway to a ceramic pendant to help diffuse light.

  • Added art with a pop of color on the opposite wall, again to infuse visual interest; and

  • Topped everything off with an antique gilt mirror for a touch of whimsy, to reflect light and make the space feel bigger.

With every project I tackle, I am constantly striving to stay on a budget while pushing my creativity. So, what does a girl do when she loves custom millwork and fluting details, but has a limited budget? Well, she turns to her trusted sources, Ikea and Amazon. To avoid boring you with the technical details, let’s just say:

  • Birch veneer Billy bookcases were purchased – I got the 93inches – again to maximize the ceiling height.

  • Fluted panels were added on the side of each bookcase (in an atypical fashion, I must say) to create visual interest.

  • The fluted panels and the outside of the bookcases were painted charcoal gray – similar color as the walls, leaving the inside reflecting the birch veneer. Remember for dark spaces, it is all about creating contrast.

  • Molding was installed to establish that built-in look.

  • Black glass doors were added; and

  • Doors were outfitted with gorgeous hardware from Plank Hardware.

Decorating the space was the final step and I kept it relatively simple.

I hope I've successfully made the argument (and perhaps convinced you) that you can fashion bold design in small spaces like closets and that an average closet, with a little imagination, and a few design tricks, can be not so average after all.

Be sure to check out the works of my peers who participated in the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge – You won’t regret doing so.


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