A Closet Makeover

February 3, 2011

Greetings!  Welcome to any of you stopping by for a visit after my brief appearance on The Nate Berkus Show today !  You can read about my trip to the studio here.  To learn a bit more about me, visit my About Page, and if you want to catch a glimpse of some of the projects I’ve worked on over the past two years, browse my Project Gallery!   You can see all of the rooms in our home here as well. 

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My friends, after all that traveling in January, I returned home to realize my personal closet was a complete disaster.  Absolute chaos is no exaggeration.  I couldn’t see the floor, and anytime I moved something, I could see particles of dust floating through the air.  The time had come to end the madness, I needed to purge!  Shoes, clothes and anything else that was dated, damaged, or never worn at all went out the door.  

I found things in my closet I’m embarrassed to mention.  Things that haven’t been worn by any member of this household in years.   I’m talkin’ pantyhose, swim diapers, flared trousers, and *ashamed to admit* post pregnancy velvet lounge pants. 

By Saturday afternoon the closet was empty, the dust bunnies were gone, and I had rid myself of any embarrassing bad fashion.  Then I looked at those walls, and got a crazy (but typical!) idea.  I decided I was tired of the brown shelving and wanted to paint them gray.  Oh, and I also wanted the hint of perfect peony pink on the walls.  Completely and totally girl.

The Mister then told me I was crazy. 

So then I reminded him that he had his own closet with brown laminate shelving off our bedroom and he could keep his brown shelves, fondle them, caress them and sing sweet love songs to them.  As for me and my closet, we were going girly glam all the way. 

Here is the perfectly fine and totally acceptable space, and I’m sure that many of you will agree with my Mister, it’s a very nice spacious closet. 

closet before


I envisioned something completely feminine, more like a boutique!  So I painted the shelves and the walls, switched out the chandelier, and refinished the jewelry chest too.  Then I put only half my clothes back inside and I think I’ll just live that way forever.


cg kates closet after


Originally, I thought about this pink and gold wallpaper on the walls, but after considering the cost and the extensive and precise trimming required to install around all that shelving, plus the fact that I’d have to wait for a swatch then order and wait and wait and wait for the wallpaper to arrive while all my clothing was strewn everywhere, I took the simple route and opted for paint instead.  Off I went to Benjamin Moore.



I chose ‘Mellow Pink’ for the walls, and ‘Pewter’ for the shelving, plus I added a clematis stencil in champagne and silver metallic paint, and scattered the whimsical stems around the space. 

cg closet shelves after


I’ve painted laminate before, and like I mentioned here and here, the trick is to use the right primer.  Oil based Zinsser has always worked for me, and it’s one of my paint closet essentials, so that’s how I covered up the brown laminate.

priming closet


I use a foam roller for the easiest and quickest application.  Don’t worry about perfection, just even coverage, and it’s OK to see traces of the color of the laminate underneath. 



Once the primer was dry, I cracked open one of BM’s perfect grays called ‘Pewter’.  Do you use the nail trick?  Puncturing a few holes in the rim helps drain your paint so it doesn’t collect in the lid.  When you go to close your paint up, it makes for a cleaner seal!

nail in rim


I also added 1 part metallic silver to 3 parts ‘Pewter’ to give the gray a subtle shimmer and sheen.  You can only see it up close, but it’s oh so purtay !

mixing paint


Remember when I found that free chandy for my kitchen at Habitat for Humanity Restore?  I also happened to pick this one up too.  A quick coat of white spray paint and a ceiling medallion adds a bit more glam to this closet space. 

white chandy


This jewelry chest I’ve had for over ten years, it’s originally from the Bombay Company but I wanted a fresh look, so I painted it!  I’ll show you how I did it next week.

jewelry chest before and after


So that’s the quick tour of this new and improved space !

cg stencil tray


cg closet


I think I’ll add that extra shelf eventually (where the stencil is) but for now, I’m so loving this bright and pretty space where I store my clothes ! 



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243 Responses to “A Closet Makeover”

  1. Sara says:

    Wow! That looks fantastic! I love the wall stencil, but can’t help but wonder how a nice mirror would look there?

  2. I LOVE what you did to your closet! It’s now motivating me to work on mine!

  3. Debbie says:

    I love it! You know what else would be fun? A few crystals hanging from that chandelier, or maybe a rope of them draped over the arms. Or maybe mirrored to go with the mirrored tray. Though the way it is right now is pretty darn perfect.

  4. Melanie Battle says:

    You did an amazing job! I absolutely love it. How inspiring and pretty and romantic looking. Well done!

  5. Erin McCall says:

    You never cease to amaze me!!! Amazing job! I’ve got a dresser and bedside tables that look exactly like your jewelry chest, and I am dying to paint them white. However, I am scared to death it will be way too much work. I will have to do all by myself and I just went back to school, so not a whole lot of time here like I used to have. Can’t wait for you to explain how you you did it. I’m hoping not a lot of sanding was involved!

  6. glenda b says:

    Your closet is awesome!! I love it! I saw you yesterday on Nate-you did good!! :-)

  7. Leida says:

    You are seriously TALENTED!! You have an eye for this. You are a miracle worker. You are just AWESOME. I’m always impressed, and I secretly hate you.. BAHAH! So, wish I could do this! Omg, could you post a link/clips of you on Nate, I would soooo love to see it!!!

  8. Holy cow. That is seriously the prettiest closet I have ever seen. I would just want to hang out there all the time!

  9. janet says:

    you looked great on the show! your home is lovely. kudos to you!!!

  10. Irene says:




  11. ButterYum says:

    Hi Kate – first of all, I love the closet makeover, but my real reason for visiting was to tell you what a great job you did on Nate’s show yesterday. I’m so proud of you!! And it’s so very nice to put a voice with the face. Congratulations, and I wish you many more guests spots in the future!!


  12. evelania says:

    Amazing! You definitely achieved the boutique look!

  13. Love, love, love it! Can I come and live in your closet?

  14. HOLY MOLY! My jaw is on the ground and there is drool all over my keyboard! You’ve got the most beautiful closet EVER! The metallic stenciling is the icing on the cake. Just beautiful, Kate (as usual). Bet your hubby is jealous now and secretly wishing you’d do something cool to his boring brown laminate shelving. ;)

  15. cindy says:

    Wow, you did an amazing job! I so want to copy this!

  16. Mary says:

    Kate, when you refinished the light fixture, did you just paint the ugly yellow cord and chain, or replace them? I have several fixtures in my home I want to update but wasn’t sure how to address that.

  17. Kelly says:

    looking at your incredibly beautiful closet is making me cry at the thought of my dark small ugly repository of many hideous items…that really is an amazing job, you should be so proud and the mister should be begging for a masculine version for himself.

  18. Jane says:

    Beautiful job! You are a great inspiration. Thanks!

  19. Sandra says:

    WOW .. that is GORGEOUS!!!! Love it! :-)

  20. Susan says:

    Kate, this turned out beautifully! Love your vision! :)

  21. Congrats on the Nate Show appearance… you were DARLING!!! Also, I am loving your bright, cheery and glam closet. Do you ever want to leave?


  22. Sarah says:

    You did a beautiful job on your closet. It’s serene which is just what a girl needs to dress herself each day.

  23. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Leone! No need to use oil based paint over oil based primer, latex is just fine! Doesn’t work the other way around though. It’s not a good idea to use oil based paint over latex primer.

  24. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Sara! I do have a mirror ! A tall one behind the door! Great idea though. :) Kate

  25. sarah braun says:

    I love EVERYTHING you do and this is no exception, it is sooooo beautiful I want one just like….it’s like a closet straight out of sex and the city or something you would see on cribs from some famous persons house. Keep up the great work, I have so many of your things starred for future reference and inspiration.

  26. edyta says:

    what a transformation! Fantastic job!


  27. Beth says:

    I just showed this to my husband and said “I want you to do that to our closet!!”.
    Great job as always!!!!

  28. Sam says:

    I never comment but this makeover is absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to see if I can doom something similar to my space!

  29. Stacy says:


    Your closet looks AMAZING!!! I cannot tell you how much your projects have inspired me. I took on my staircase railing last May because of your post (although I took a different route as far as product used) it turned out beautiful and I am so glad I did it. I also freshened up my boring laundry room with shelving and green paint. I have been inspired by your color schemes…very french country/shabby chic. I have redone my dining and living room colors because of this. I am ready to now tackle my walk in closet and I am totally going to steal this idea as well. :) I love the boutique look. Quick question though about the chandelier. How tall are your ceilings? Mine are only 9 feet and I am afraid if I hang a mini chandelier it may be too low for comfort. Thanks so much. Keep up the good work and keep inspiring me. :)

  30. Shaunna says:

    Girl, it’s fan-tabulous gorgeousness. Really!! And I just sat down long enough to watch you on the Nate show…you were fabulous and you did great! SO happy for all the wonderful things you’re getting to enjoy! -shaunna :)

  31. Jana Cassis says:

    Inspiração pura!
    Farei meu closet em breve e caiu como uma luva esse post, obrigada!
    Beijos, Jana Cassis.

  32. Anita says:

    What a great transformation! Nice job!! :)

  33. Terry Moore says:

    I knew that you would get tons of comments on this amazing space. Who wouldn’t want this space in their home. You did an outstanding job and what a dream to have. Stop over at my blog for my giveaway.

  34. TidyMom says:

    I LOOOOVE this space Kate!!

    Thanks for linking up! I featured you on my wrap up post!! http://tidymom.net/2011/im-lovin-it-wrap-up-21311/

  35. Jessie says:

    wow this looks amazing I saw it on Tidy Mom’s blog. Just lovely!

  36. Kaye says:

    You have no idea how I envy this closet! I love the home we moved into last spring, but the closets are worse than brown laminate–they have rubbermaid wire shelving! We’ve already completed four closet makeovers, and mine is next on the list, with yours as the model. I may even dupe your paint colors! LOVE it–thanks for the inspiration, I know we can do this!

  37. erica says:

    Amazing and gorgeous! I spy a mirrored tray from Target! I bought it myself and returned it since my decor did not match. I want your closet!! Great Job!

  38. { L O V E } it. You sure are talented, thank you for sharing.

  39. Donna says:

    This is so amazing! I’m going to attempt to try this in my small walk-in. You really have inspired me to get moving and start re-decorating my closet! I keep putting it off but, wow, seeing what you’ve done to yours, I think I can really do this! It’s time and you gave me the inspiration!! You are so talented and thanks for sharing it!

  40. thank you , your dressing inspires me a lot!!!!

  41. Mindy says:

    came over from TDC. o.m.g. this is fabulous.

  42. Kassie says:

    Absolutely love this! Hopefully, my new closet in the near future will get to be pretty like this!

  43. Thanks for the info on painting laminate. I have tried just painting it before and it always ends up peeling! So helpful to know. I also love how to you paint the detailing on pieces a different color. Whenever I see it other places it seems very “Centstational Girl” to me! I have some pieces with detailing that I might need to update!

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