Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.

Special thanks to National Hardware for sponsoring this project and providing materials! All opinions are 100% my own.

Have you ever started a project with a full, totally plausible plan, and then everything just kind of fought against you?

You’re not alone. It happens to me all the time.

It happens to me because I’m constantly trying new ideas (well… new to me) around the UDH. I see someone else’s cool plan, I think, hmm, I could totally use that/do that/build that, and then I give it a try, and I sort of meander as I go until things makes sense again. Sometimes, it goes off without a hitch. Most times, I am like one endless series of emotions — inspired, frustrated, stubborn, frustrated again, and finally, victorious. And at least once or twice per project, I might trip over my dog just to keep things interesting (whyyyy is she always under my feet?).

Anyway, that’s the story with my entryway’s closet makeover. You might recall when I started working on it back here. The plan was to take something I wasn’t really using at all and customize it to something more in line with my daily needs.


top closet before

It began as a standard shelf and closet pole – which seems perfectly fine, and it is… except I wound up never really using the hangers in there. Or even the storage, since the top shelf provided so little of it. Honestly, if there were a top ten list of home items that lazy girls (like me) hate using, hangers are definitely on that list. I would start off with neatly hung jackets I use all the time, and then slowly, things would whittle themselves down. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get the hang of making this work for me. The result was a mess.

entryway before

I would make half attempts to get it in order, and then I’d let it get messy again. Ultimately, it was time to find a way to make it more functional with my daily activities. I needed a way to quickly hang up coats and accessories. I needed a place for Charlie’s leashes and toys. And I needed a place to stash various objects I use for exercise: my yoga mat and towels, my softball cleats, etc. without everything being in a visible pile at my feet.

For starters, the thick MDF shelf above the pole wasn’t so bad; it just needed a coat of paint. And since I didn’t like the curve of the edge on the front, I just flipped it around and used some iron-on veneer edging to make it look more crisp.


Then, it got a fresh coat of white paint — spray primer to make the first step as lazy as possible, then a foam roller for a smooth paint finish. I replaced the cleats of the shelf support (originally just cheap baseboard flipped upside down) with new lumber and primed/painted it white to match. Then, I added several of these sleek, black robe hooks sent to me by one of this year’s blog sponsors, National Hardware. I knew right away that being able to quickly add things to a hook rather than having to use a hanger would match my habits muuuch better!


The closet door was painted white as well, and I added two more hooks for Charlie’s leashes and harness (convenience WIN). As you can probably tell from some of the lighting in these photos, the whole project went down over the course of a few days, and most of it took place at night (the days were mostly pre-occupied with backyard gains where daylight was more of a factor).

The next goal was storage. This was solved by a sweet little trunk setup, built into the floor area. All it took were a few pieces of scrap wood to support the lid, and I cut down some thin plywood (primed and then painted white) to establish the box of the container. The floor stayed the same.

installing closet storage

making a giant mess and noise

The top of the lid was 3/4″ hardwood plywood, cut to fit and then stained with some Modern Walnut and poly’d (since this is for a closet and doesn’t need to be perfect, I used a spray instead of wipe-on… generally I use wipe-on when I want to be more careful with even coats and consistency of the sheen, but it’s a personal preference thing). I again used some iron-on edge banding to hide the plywood edge and make it look more like a solid piece of wood.


Here’s where the frustrating part of the story comes in: the dry fit of the lid went perfect. National Hardware supplied me with some semi-concealed chest hinges, so I used a Dremel to help embed them into the new storage area and fit them against the rear support of the new lid.


But I really could have used some help holding it into place while I screwed things in, because try as I might, the lid would inevitably shift a little and the lid would no longer close smoothly as it slid against the wall. Part of it is because the drywall is uneven and I went for precision, which I should probably know better by now with this house. Still though, I wrestled with it a few times before ultimately thinking hey, this is a closet… done is better than perfect, and I’ve got six other things I need to get a move on for fall. So, I called it quits for now and am just happy that it will open and close, which lets me store a lot of items without them looking cluttered. 90% of the problem is solved, so I’ll loop back around to this issue sometime in the next century. Promise.

Now for the fun part: let’s take a fun look at the before…


And here’s the after! This little nook by itself doesn’t get much light, so the added white paint really makes a big difference.



The top section before…

top closet before


And after! The baskets were stolen from other  places in the house (originally Homegoods and Target), but they are pretty well suited for this space.


The floor area before (sorry, I know it’s fuzzy)…


And finally, after. SO MUCH BETTER.


Plenty of storage and a place for everything in a tight little spot. I have a feeling that things are going to stay plenty more organized going forward. When considering that this is the very first space in the home to make a first impression too, I’m relieved to have figured it out!


As part of my partnership with National Hardware, there is still one more project left on the to-do list that they have sent me parts for. Here’s a sneak peek:


What about you? Is there an area of your house could use more storage?

P.S. I’ve also created a spot for the entryway in my House Tour!

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  1. I want to do something like this with my entryway closet. It’s twice the size, but it has about 100 board games my husband won’t get rid of for anything. It’s so very ugly.
    Yours turned out beautiful.

  2. I want to take door off of my back hall closet and put a “seat” that the litter box can slide under. It currently sits in front of the door. Add an upper shelf and hooks all around. Currently this closet holds most of the coats we never wear, stores an AC, and items I haven’t missed since moving in 10 years ago! I did put up board and batten in the hall and added hooks that get used year round.

    I’ve no doubt you’ll love using your closet with those hooks!

    1. It took me a minute to get myself in gear, but yeah, those old coats – donate them! There are lots of charities that specifically look for old coats. You’ll declutter and feel awesome about doing it!

  3. Love the closet makeover. That storage bin gives you so much room to store more stuff.

  4. Love the crisp white and the hooks! So much easier than hangers. Did you ever consider leaving the door off? I’ve been thinking of doing that with mine to make it more like the popular “mud room benches with hooks” look you see everywhere – and not having a door in the way might make it even more likely for me to use! But I can’t decide if it would look right.

    1. I don’t think it would look bad if you patched it up, but since I installed the floor with the door frame already on, I’m kind of stuck with having it or I’d have to fix the floor to accommodate the larger opening by taking the door frame off and replacing with a more simplified frame (which is just more work than I want to do).

  5. Nice job, Sarah! I could totally use a similar make-over for my entry-way closet. Thanks for the ideas and the photos.

  6. This is genius – I wouldn’t have thought to remove the rod and install hooks around the edges – but it makes so much sense! In my coat closet, I have installed an over the door set of hooks on the back side of the door – but putting hooks INSIDE the closet is even better!

    I use the bottom of my closet for shoes – and have a couple of nice shoe racks that are doing a reasonable job of keeping the bottom organized – but I’m definitely going to shop for hooks and install them!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. It’s very creative to design a entryway like this for a closet. It’s been my dream to have a closet, I mean the big one. Hopefully, I can get one very soon. Thanks a lot for sharing this post of yours. I can get ideas from here on what I need to do in my own closet.

  8. it looks sooooooooooo good! love those black hooks. and the storage chest. and also love your fall duck with the football helmet and leaves :)