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  • Writer's pictureVicki Liston

How to Turn a Bookcase into a Closet

What do you do when you need more closet space? You could knock down some walls and build one or grab a book case or two and create a Bookcase Closet.

You’ll need (do your material shopping on Amazon at THIS LINK - the affiliate link proceeds are donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations ❤ )

A couple of bookcases

Metal closet pole sockets and a round wood dowel – this one is 1 and a quarter inches in diameter and will fit inside the pole sockets

A miter saw, safety glasses, drill, measuring tape, and a level

If your bookcase’s sides are very thin or not sturdy enough to hold the weight of a closet pole with hangers and clothes, you’ll need some reinforcements. Mine definitely aren’t so I’ll be using some 1x4s and one and a half inch screws for this.

First, remove the shelves and figure out where you want your poles to be. Since the middle shelf is built in, I’m going to put the pole under the shelf and put one of the shelves back in above it for additional storage.

Also, since I have multiple bookshelves, I’m going to put a pole between each one for more hanging space.

Measure the distance from the bottom of the bookshelf to the top of the space where the pole will be mounted. Mine is 38 inches.

Next, measure the width outside of the bookshelf. Mine is 10 and 3/4s inches.

Using safety glasses (because Bailey wants us all to be safe!), cut a total of four 1x4s - two to the length of each measurement.

Measure down one and a half inches from the top of the longer 1x4 and mount the pole sockets in the middle.

Screw in just enough so that the screws are in place but aren’t poking out of the back of the 1x4.

Place the 1x4 upright in the bookcase and use a hanger to determine how far out your pole socket will need to sit. It’ll be about 12 inches but use the hangers you typically use to ensure you have a perfect fit.

Once placement is determined, use a level to ensure the 1x4 is straight.

Screw in just enough so that the 1x4 is secured into the bookcase...

...and the ends of the screws barely poke through on the other side.

Place the shorter 1x4 horizontally on the outside of the bookcase...

...and press in as you finish boring the screws from the inside.

Use one of the screws from the pole socket kit to secure the bottom portion of the 1x4 into the bookcase.

Use another one for the other side to secure the shorter 1x4. These are shorter screws so they should go through the 1x4 and bookcase but not stick out on the opposite side.

Do the same thing on the other side.

Measure the distance between the two pole sockets and cut the round dowel to that length.

Insert the dowel into the pole sockets.

To build additional hanging space between bookcases, choose a length less than 48 inches as you’ll need additional support in the middle if you go more than that. I chose to use the same width as my bookcase so it would give the entire wall a uniformly spaced look.

My bookcases have additional thickness at the top so I’m using this space for the pole sockets. I won’t have to reinforce these.

Follow the same process with the 1x4s if your bookcase needs to be reinforced.

Cut the dowel to size and insert in place.

I'll eventually paint the 1x4s to match the bookcase but in the meantime, it's time to use it as a closet!

Watch the step-by-step video tutorial below! Proceeds from this video and the entire channel are donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations. Watch, like, share, and subscribe to help raise monthly donations ❤

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