How to build a walk-in wardrobe

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A walk-in wardrobe is generally considered a luxury item. It is a place where you can store all your clothes, shoes and accessories without having to cram everything into drawers. It allows you to keep everything organised, dress in private and sort your clothes according to season and purpose.

There are plenty of organising systems for walk-in wardrobes available, so why not build your own walk-in. All it requires is some imagination, planning and careful measurements.

Decide on the location of the walk-in wardrobe in the bedroom area. Measure your available space and decide how much you are willing to sacrifice for the wardrobe, which has a minimum space requirement of 6 feet by 6 feet (1.8 metres by 1.8 metres). Allowing more room for a walk-in means less space in the bedroom so you must be comfortable with your decision. Ignore Steps 1 to 3 if you have an existing small room you are going to turn into a walk-in wardrobe.

Plan a scale drawing on graph paper and mark the location of the door. Decide whether a hung door or cavity sliding door will suit the location best. Measure everything carefully and ensure you have all the material you will need.

Use 2-by-4 timber to create the frames for your new walls, with studs at intervals of around 16 inches (40cm). Nail it into place against the floor, existing walls and the ceiling. Screw drywall or gyprock on to the frame, using tape and joint filler where panels join, then allow to dry and sand until smooth. Install the door and put up cornices where the new wall meets the ceiling. Paint the new walls with primer and then paint the walk-in wardrobe inside and out.

Check the inside measurements of your new space and mark the locations of any electrical outlets or switches so you do not cover them over. Plan your interior layout on paper into long hang space for coats, dresses and trousers; short hang space for shirts and blouses; and shelf storage for jumpers, accessories and shoes. The ratio between them will depend on the type of clothing you have. Plan for some hooks for belts and dressing gowns too.

Finalise your plan and work out how much materials you will need. Decide whether to make everything yourself or buy ready-made closet organizer fittings, which are available at reasonable prices from most hardware stores.

Complete the shelves and hanging space. Have fun moving your clothes to their new home.