How to Build Dressers in a Closet


If you have the need for more clothing storage, but no room to place additional dressers, consider the closet. You can transform the bottom of the closet into a built-in dresser. A four drawer dresser can accommodate folded clothing while leaving room for shirts and jackets to hang above it. The project takes one day to complete because of the number of cuts and amount of assembly required.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Utility knife
  • Circular saw
  • 2-by-4-inch lumber
  • Hammer
  • 3-inch Nails
  • 3-by-6-foot plywood sheet 1-inch thick
  • MDF lumber 1-inch thick
  • Drawer pulls
  • Drawer glides
  • Wood glue
  • Paint or stain
  • Paintbrush


  • Measure the depth and width of the closet. Use these measurements to determine the best fit for the dresser.

  • Find the ideal height by using the height of a dresser drawer. Use this height to determine the overall dresser height by multiplying a drawer height by the number of drawers desired. Add 4 inches to the sum measurement for the base board under the drawers so the bottom drawer is off the floor.

  • Mark the measurements on the walls in the closet. Draw lines across the walls using a level and pencil to create the cutout lines for the dresser.

  • Cut the drywall along the lines drawn with a utility knife. You will make multiple cuts to cut completely through the drywall.

The Dresser Frame

  • Measure and cut a pair of 2-by-4-inch lumber the dresser width. Repeat the process for the dresser depth. Use a circular saw for the cuts. Assemble these four pieces into a frame with the 2-inch edges up. Hammer two nails into each corner of the dresser to attach the frame to make the support base. Repeat this step to build a second frame for the top of the dresser.

  • Set one frame on the floor. Make the frame flush with the wall. Hammer 3-inch nails through the frame into the exposed studs. Repeat the step with the second frame set against the wall at the top of the cutout.

  • Measure the interior dimensions of the sides and back of the frames. Cut 1-inch plywood sheets to fit these measurements with the circular saw. Slide the plywood into position on the corresponding side. Hammer 3-inch nails through the plywood into both frames at 3-inch intervals.

  • Measure the width and depth of the dresser top. Cut a piece of 1-inch plywood sheeting to these measurements. This is the dresser top. Position the plywood into place. Hammer 3-inch nails through the plywood into the frame underneath.

The Dresser Drawers

  • Measure the length across the dresser front. Measure the distance from the front of the dresser to the back wall. These are the width and depth of each dresser drawer. Add the drawer height for the full dimensions of each drawer.

  • Construct a dresser drawer from 1-inch plywood. Cut each side according to the depth measurements. Cut the back according to the width and height measurements. Cut the base using both the width and depth measurements. Use the circular saw for these cuts.

  • Apply a bead of wood glue along three edges of the base. Apply wood glue along one short edge of each side piece. Set both side pieces so their interior sides butt against the glued edges of the base. Make sure the glued ends of the side face the rear of the drawer. Mount the back against the glued edges of the other three pieces.

  • Hammer 2-inch finishing nails through the back into each side and the base. Hammer the same size nails through the sides into the sides of the base.

  • Measure and cut a piece of 1-inch MDF lumber to the dimensions of the back piece of the drawer with the circular saw. This is the drawer front. MDF is used for uniform appearance. Attach the MDF to the front as you did the back piece.

  • Paint or stain the front of the dresser and drawers with a paintbrush. Allow the paint or stain to dry.

  • Attach a drawer handle to each drawer with the associated hardware for the handle.

  • Measure down from the top of the dresser one drawer height. Mark the measurement on both sides of the dresser. These are the drawer glide locations. Repeat this step for each drawer using the previous mark as a starting point to measure from. Repeat the step again for each drawer. The bottom glide should be level with the bottom frame of the dresser.

  • Install the drawer glides per directions using a screwdriver and the hardware included. Install the glides against the sides of the dresser and the exterior sides of each drawer. Test the alignment of the glides by sliding drawers into place.

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