Do-it-Yourself Free-Standing Wardrobe Closet

Updated February 21, 2017

Few houses seem to have enough closet space. There is always a need for a place to store seasonal clothes or guests' coats. Often you have an odd space unsuitable for any other use, but a commercially-available wardrobe would be too large.

These are good reasons to build your own free standing wardrobe closet. Fortunately, wardrobes are some of the simplest furniture pieces to build.


A free standing closet is little more than a large box with a clothes pole and a shelf or two inside. A typical unit might be three-and-a-half feet wide, two feet deep, and six feet tall. Plywood and particleboard are good construction materials, as they are relatively inexpensive and very sturdy when built as a box. Use 1x2s to frame the exposed edges of the plywood. An equally-sturdy base can be built using 2x4s. Line the inside with cedar, if desired. The clothes pole should be centred about a foot below the top. Doors can be attached using piano hinges, which run the full length of the door. The outside can be finished any way you desire; paint is a popular choice because it is both easy to clean and blends well with painted walls.


In addition to the obvious clothes pole and perhaps an upper shelf, wardrobes can be outfitted with organisers much the same as any built-in closet. A slanted shelf for shoes can be added at the bottom with a small piece of moulding (or two) added as a hook for shoe heels. Hooks and narrow shelves can be added to the inside of the door. Commercially available closet organisers can also be used in free-standing wardrobes. Free-standing wardrobes can be used for more than just clothes. Outfitted with several shelves, they can be useful as linen closets also.


Do not overlook the possibility of taking an existing cabinet that has outlived its original purpose and adding a 1-inch diameter clothes pole and doors. Recycling old cabinetry in this way can create some truly fun and unique wardrobes. If your storage needs are for items like shirts or skirts, rather than long items like coats and dresses, you might be able to use a half-wardrobe. Built using the same techniques as a full-size closet but half as tall, such a unit can be placed on an existing low cabinet to gain extra storage without taking up extra floor space.

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About the Author

North Carolina native Mike Southern has been writing since 1979. He is the author of the instructional golf book "Ruthless Putting" and edited a collection of swashbuckling novels. Southern was trained in electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College and is also an occasional woodworker.