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  • Writer's picturekyledidit2020

Revamping a Kid's Closet: DIY Swinging Doors and Clever Storage Solutions

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

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Hey there! Let me start by confessing how many times I've nagged my 10-year-old to clean his room. It's like I'm stuck on repeat because, let's face it, his room is almost always a disaster. But recently, while attempting to help him tidy up, I realized the root of the problem: a severe lack of storage. That's when I knew I had to prioritize finding some creative organization solutions, starting with his closet. Trust me, it needed serious rescuing.

The original closet layout was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Just your typical builder-grade setup—a single shelf, a long rod spanning the entire space, and those sliding bypass doors. Yawn. I was determined to create storage that could grow with my growing boy. So, I hatched a plan to add drawers, shoe storage, and extra shelves. Let the organization revolution begin!

Now, those sliding doors were cramping our style, quite literally. I wanted my son to have easy access to the entire closet, so I set out on a mission to make them swing open. But after diving deep into my research, I quickly realized that replacing the doors would blow my budget out of the water. So, I put on my thinking cap and devised a clever plan to transform the existing doors into swinging wonders.

Here's the catch—the doors were of the bypass variety, overlapping each other by a few inches. To ensure they closed properly, I had to trim them down. Sounds easy, right? Well, not quite. These doors were hollow core, which meant I had to tread carefully. Cutting into the core meant shifting the pattern and throwing off the handle's position. But hey, where there's a will, there's a way! I decided to embrace the challenge and embarked on the door-cutting adventure.

Armed with my trusty Kreg Jig Rip Cut, I made a nice, clean cut on one side, revealing the mysterious hollow core within. But hold on, before I could dive into filling the core, paneling the face, and painting the doors, I had to make sure my swinging masterplan would actually work. Cue the YouTube binge-watching marathon on door mechanics!

After consuming more DIY door videos than I care to admit, I felt ready to tackle this swinging feat. First, I removed the hardware that allowed the doors to glide on the track. Next up, hinges! I ordered these standard 3.5 inch hinges from amazon. Now, here's where things get interesting. Hinges are usually "mortised" into the doors, but I opted for a handy hinge mortise jig—a game-changer! It provided a template for my router, allowing me to carve out the perfect spot for the hinges.

Following the general rule of thumb for hinge placement, I positioned one 7 inches from the top, another 11 inches from the bottom, and threw in a third hinge for good measure—right in the middle. With the hinges snugly in place, it was time for the moment of truth. Would my doors swing freely? With bated breath, I hung them back up for a test run. And guess what? They fit like a glove!

At this point, the doors were far from their final form. I still had to fill the core, finish the edges, panel the faces, and paint them. But before diving headfirst into those tasks, I needed to make absolutely sure that the doors were swinging champions. So, I took them for a dry fit installation upstairs. I tell you, there's nothing like seeing your DIY dreams slowly coming to life.

Doors always need a frame or "jamb" to swing in, right? Luckily, the closet already had a perfectly square and level frame in place. Talk about luck! I bid farewell to the sliding track and installed a new solid header. Then, it was time to bring in the left door, perching it on some ½ MDF to give it the clearance it deserved. I marked the hinges, installed them into the door frame, and voila! One door down, one to go.

With both doors installed, I reveled in the joy of swinging doors that closed oh-so-smoothly. Victory was mine! But hey, we weren't done yet. The doors needed some sprucing up. So, I filled the hollow core with sturdy 1x2 pine and covered up the exposed edge with a strip of hardboard. Goodbye, hollow secrets!

Now, it was time to inject some serious style into these swinging wonders. Off to Home Depot again, where I scored some awesome 4x8 panels of faux shiplap. Talk about a game-changer! I carefully cut the panels to fit my doors and secured them with trusty brad nails and construction adhesive. Oh boy, did those doors get an instant makeover!

Back up the stairs they went, proudly installed onto the hinges. A few nail hole fill-ups with DAP spackle and a light sanding later, they were primed and ready for their final look. We're almost there, folks!

To ensure the doors didn't swing wildly into the closet abyss, I installed "Door Stop" material around the frame. At this point I ran into a bit of an issue with the doors bumping into each other. After all my research, I kind of expected this to happen and its actually a pretty common issue with doors. I picked up a door trimmer from Home Depot and it works like a mini planer for the edge of the door. You just chuck it up on your drill and shave the edge of the door down little by little until you have removed enough material. It worked like a charm!

And now, the moment my son had been waiting for—painting time! He insisted on a cool and modern blue. After browsing through countless swatches, we settled on "Midnight Blue" by Behr. To save a few bucks, I opted for Glidden Diamond paint, per the paint counter expert's recommendation. At just $30 a gallon, it delivered impressive coverage and quality.

As for the inside of the closets, I decided to skip the paneling for a few reasons. Firstly, it's just a kids' closet—let's keep things lighthearted, right? Plus, I had concerns about the added weight and the extra cost of panels. Sometimes, you have to know when to say, "Close enough."

To keep the doors closed without a latch, I added a couple of magnetic catches to the door frame. They did the trick, giving the doors something to hold onto.

Last but not least, I couldn't resist adding a touch of style with a pair of "Dummy" levers that served as handles. They might not be functional in the traditional sense, but they added a charming finishing touch. The "Halifax" style from Kwikset won the heart of both my son and me—perfect harmony!

And there you have it—our finished doors, ready to impress. I couldn't be prouder of myself for making those existing doors work their magic. It's a significant accomplishment, my friend. But wait, there's more! Part 2 of this closet refresh adventure awaits, where we dive into building a semi-custom closet organization unit. So, stay tuned and join us on this journey to reclaim closet space and keep the clutter at bay. Together, we've got this!

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Amanda Ortiz
Amanda Ortiz
May 31, 2023

That clean blue finish with the yellow accent is *chefs kiss* !!! Such a cool project!

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