How to Frame a Wardrobe Closet


Adding a wardrobe closet to your bedroom can give you volumes of storage space for you clothes, shoes and other items. The shelves, drawers, doors, colors and textures of such a closet can add aesthetic appeal to your living space. The process of framing a wardrobe closet differs depending on whether you install a freestanding wardrobe closet or a built-in wardrobe closet.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Drill or screwdriver
  • Screws
  • 2-by-4 planks or plywood sheets
  • Measuring tape
  • Stud finder
  • Saw
  • Work gloves
  • Base molding
  • Carpenter's square

Before You Build

  • Design your closet. Using paper and pencil, create a scale drawing of the wardrobe closet you want. Include dimensions on the design.

  • Make a list of the building materials you need for your closet design. Framing a freestanding wardrobe closet requires plywood boards 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch thick. Framing a built-in wardrobe closet requires 2-by-4 planks.

  • Buy all the materials you need for your closet. Always buy wardrobe doors before beginning construction because the size of the doors affects the size of the frame.

  • Write down the dimensions of your doors for easy reference.

Freestanding Wardrobe Closet

  • Gather all of the plywood you need. Base the needed amount on the dimensions of your closet design.

  • Cut your plywood planks to the dimensions specified for the sides, back, top and bottom of your freestanding wardrobe closet.

  • Build the frame of your freestanding wardrobe closet by affixing the side, back and top pieces of plywood together using screws or nails.

  • Install your base molding around the bottom rim of the sides and back of your freestanding wardrobe closet. This enhances the grip of the unit on the floor, preventing accidental movement. Nail the molding in place.

Built-in Wardrobe Closet -- Preparation

  • Gather all of your 2-by-4 planks and tools -- screws, drill, stud finder, measuring tape, carpenter's square, saw -- in one place.

  • Cut your 2-by-4 planks to the proper dimensions for the vertical and horizontal elements of your wardrobe closet. Base these dimensions on your design.

  • Build the top-framing element. This element contains a 2-by-4 that attaches to your ceiling and another 2-by-4, suspended below it by short pieces of cut 2-by-4 known as “cripples,” which serve as the top of your closet door frame. Base the length of the cripple on the distance between your ceiling and the top of your wardrobe closet door.

  • Find a row of studs in your walls and ceiling using your stud finder. The easiest way to frame a wardrobe closet lies in attaching it to existing studs. Mark the line of these studs with your pencil.

  • Using your measuring tape, outline the dimensions of your new wardrobe closet on your wall, floor and ceiling. Use dimensions from your design.

  • Drill pilot holes in your ceiling at the locations of studs to make attaching the top-framing element of your closet easier.

Built-In Wardrobe -- Framing

  • Place your vertical framing 2-by-4 against your wall and ensure its straightness using your carpenter's square.

  • Attach 2-by-4 framing elements to your wall studs using your drill and screws.

  • Attach your top-framing element to your ceiling studs by drilling screws into the pilot holes you created during the preparation process.

  • Use your tape measure, carpenter's square, drill and screws to install the frame of the door for your wardrobe closet. Attach this frame to all framing elements to ensure stability.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's important to get the correct fasteners -- in this case, screws or nails -- for any woodworking job. Head to your hardware store and ask for screws for your project. “Family Handyman” magazine recommends using 3-inch drywall screws for attaching 2-by-4s to studs.
  • Always think a few steps ahead when building a closet. While framing the closet gives you a basic outline for your new wardrobe, you need to install walls over this framing for a finished look. Find drywall that matches your home walls for an easy fit.
  • Framing a closet isn't particularly difficult, but if you have no experience working with wood, it may still present some challenges. Find a pictorial guide in reference books at your local library if you're a visual learned or need more help conceptualizing your closet wardrobe.

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  • Photo Credit David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images
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