How to Build a Closet Island

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Things You'll Need

  • Stock cabinets

  • Plan or drawing from home-improvement center

  • Countertop

  • Clamps

  • Power drill

  • Screws

  • Wood adhesive

  • Paneling

  • Base mold

  • Corner mold

A closet island can add valuable space to your closet. Drawers can free up hanging space or store lingerie, sweaters or other delicate items that you don't choose to hang. A work space on the top of the island can be perfect spot for a jewelry box or can even be used for light-ironing touch ups. Designing and installing a closet island is similar to planning one for the kitchen. Determine your needs, purchase the cabinetry and choose a top. The major difference in a closet island is that fewer people will see your closet island, which means you can do the job as perfectly, or imperfectly, as you like.


Step 1

Determine the size and location of your island. Allow for 3 feet on each side of the island for foot traffic.

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Step 2

Draw a sketch of the space. Take the sketch and your ideas for the island to your local home-improvement store or cabinetmaker. Ask them to create a cabinet plan for you using your specifications and stock cabinets they have in the store.


Step 3

Create a cardboard cutout in the same dimensions as the cabinet plan. Move this template around until you have determined the exact spot for the island.

Step 4

Lay out the base cabinets. Align the face frames of the cabinets. Clamp the frames together tightly. Align the backs as well and clamp tightly.


Step 5

Permanently attach the cabinet bases to one another with screws. Drill holes where the face frames and the backs of the cabinets meet and then screw together.

Step 6

Cover any exposed backs or sides with decorative paneling. You can order paneling to match the cabinet or use painted bead board to create this finished look. Attach baseboard and corner mold using finish nails or wood adhesive.

Step 7

Attach countertop. The countertop should hang over the edge of the cabinets by roughly 1 inch to completely conceal the base cabinets.


Most cabinetmakers sell a putty that is used for scuffs or nail holes. Buy a tube of putty when you purchase the cabinets. Use it to conceal any nail holes after installation or to repair dents and scratches.