How to Turn a Closet Into an Office

Learn how to turn a spare closet into a super-organized home office. This project keep schoolwork and office supplies contained.

Next Project
Time

Multiple Days

Complexity

Intermediate

Cost

$101–250

Introduction

Create a compact, efficient office inside a closet. The office has spacious drawers and shelves, bright lighting and a large desktop. Plus you hide all office clutter when you close the closet doors.

Tools Required

  • Circular saw
  • Drill/driver - cordless
  • Framing square
  • Hammer
  • Hearing protection
  • Hole saw kit
  • Hot melt glue gun
  • Impact driver
  • Level
  • Miter saw
  • Narrow-crown staple gun
  • Safety glasses
  • Table saw
  • Tape measure

Materials Required

  • 1-1/4" Screws
  • 1-5/8" screws
  • 1x2 x 8' boards
  • 1x3 x 6' board (rip to 2-1/4”)
  • 1x3 x 8' board
  • 1x6 x 8' board (rip to 4-3/8" for parts Y and Z)
  • 2-1/2" screws
  • 20" full-extension drawer slide sets
  • 3" screws
  • 4' x 8' x 1/4" plywood
  • 4' x 8' x 3/4" plywood
  • Cord grommets
  • Finish nails or nail gun pins
  • Iron-on veneer edging
  • Shelf clips
  • Shelf standards
  • Wood glue

Is your home office a mess? Do you need a spot to organize your kids’ schoolwork and projects? Or do you just want to get your office stuff out of sight at the end of the school or work day? We’ll show you how to solve all these problems by turning a spare closet into a super-organized office.

If you suddenly have multiple family members working or studying from home, office space may be limited. Converting a closet will give you more usable workspace. One person can work at the kitchen table, another can work in a permanent office and another can work at the closet office. Paint your home office and add desk plants to keep spirits high while working remotely.

Closet Office Organizer Construction Details

These components are sized for a 7′ x 2′-deep closet. Adjust dimensions to fit your closet.

Wiring Your Closet Office – Get Help Online

We’re not showing how to wire your closet office here, but chances are you’ll want to add at least one electrical outlet and possibly cable, phone or network wiring. Keep in mind that the new National Electrical Code requires that closet outlets be arc fault protected. This means you’ll have to either connect to or add a circuit that’s protected by an arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI).

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1

Measure Your Closet Office and Customize the Plan to Fit

  • Start by measuring the distance between the side walls.
  • Keeping in mind that 32 in. is about the maximum width for a plywood shelf, decide how many shelf units you need.
  • To figure out exactly how wide each cabinet should be, subtract 1-1/2 in. from the total measurement and divide the remainder by the number of cabinets.
    • This will leave a 3/4-in. space between the cabinet and the wall at each end that you’ll cover with the face frame. This 3/4-in. space makes it easy to install the shelf cabinets in the closet office without worrying about an exact fit. We needed three 27-1/2-in.-wide cabinets to fit our 84-in.-wide closet. We built the cabinets 47-3/4 in. tall. If you have standard 8-ft.-tall walls, the cabinets will reach the ceiling.
  • After you do the calculations, double-check your math by drawing lines on the closet wall. Draw a level line 28-1/2 in. from the floor to mark the bottom of the 1-1/2-in.-thick countertop. Then draw another line 47-1/2 in. from the floor for the bottom of the wall cabinets. Finally, draw vertical lines for the sides of the cabinets.
  • You’ll also have to decide how wide to make the drawers.
    • You can use the technique we show here to build drawers in a size and configuration that will work best in your closet office. The key is to build the frame and mount the drawer slides before you build the drawers. Then you can measure between the slides (photo 8) and build the drawers to fit.

Step 2

Mount the Countertop

Mark the walls and attach the countertop supports

  • The countertop is two layers of plywood that are glued and screwed together.
  • Start by measuring the closet interior at the level of the countertop. Use a framing square to check the corners.
  • Deduct 1/4 in. from the length and depth to allow for the top to fit easily. You can cover any gaps with the backsplash.
  • Transfer these measurements to your plywood and cut out the two pieces. Use less-expensive plywood for the bottom if you like.
  • Screw 1×2 cleats to the back, side and front walls to support the top (Photo 1).
  • Draw level lines for the bottom of the countertop and cabinets.
  • Draw vertical lines to indicate the sides of the cabinets.
  • Then screw countertop supports to studs at the back and sides of the closet.

Mark the walls and attach the countertop supportsFamily Handyman

Fasten the countertop

  • Drop the top into place and attach it from underneath with 2-1/2-in. screws (Photo 2).
  • Lay something heavy on top, or ask a helper to press down while you drive the screws.

Fasten the countertopFamily Handyman

Cap the front edge

  • Glue and nail a 2-1/4-in.-wide board (Photo 3) to the front edge to cover the plywood and add strength.
  • Wipe off glue squeeze-out with a damp rag.

Cap the front edge