Easy Do-it-Yourself Project: Convert Your Bonus Room into a Bedroom by Installing a Closet

Some houses may have a spare or bonus room, more often than not; they are smaller than a regular sized bedroom. They are oftentimes used by homeowners as a den or home office. Even some use them as a “catch all” room- sort of storage room for all their junks, etc. What some people do not know is that their spare room becomes a wasted space, not in the sense of usage, but in the sense of adding value to their homes. Fortunately, there is a way to turn this situation around by adding a closet.

We had a similar situation with one of the units of our rental property. This property is a triplex; we had advertised Unit B with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We had many people looked at the place, and finally we found a family who loved the place but noticed why the other room did not have a closet. After carefully looking and talking with our realtor friends, they did indicate that the unit cannot be advertised as a 3 bedroom unit if there is no closet in one of them. Technically, it is only 2 bedrooms plus a den. We have been advised to add a closet, to make it an official bedroom, otherwise, it is only 2 bedrooms, which can affect our asking rental rate which can hurt our monthly budget.

So we headed off to the nearest home improvement store and looked for an easy to install closet, rather than building it from scratch, for this is our only option if we want to get the 3rd bedroom completed in time before signing the contract. We chose a closet with ample usable storage that is proportionate to the size of the room. My husband and my brother-in-law helped installed the closet.

How to add a closet to a spare or bonus room:


First look for the right location of where the closet would go. Take into consideration where the bed will go, if the closet doors will not be bumping the bedroom door, etc.

Measure the wall to get an idea of what size of cabinet to purchase.

Then purchase the right size of closet that will fit the measurement.

Materials Needed:

1 drill

Screws (several 2-3 inches)

1 screwdriver with flat head and Philips

1 hand saw

1 hammer (to align shelves and closet parts)

1 48″ ready to assemble white melamine closet purchased for $99.99 at Orchard (see photo)

4 wall braces to anchor the closet

Safety gloves

Safety goggles

Installation Steps:

  1. First find the studs on the walls and mark them, at least mark 4 evenly spaced location for the closet back frame to be fastened to.
  2. Then read the instructions that came with the ready to assemble closet.
  3. Wear safety goggles and gloves for protection.
  4. Then, by following the instructions, assemble the frames first (including the back, bottom, left and right sides, as well as top). Mark the inner side of the closet aligning to the 4 locations marked on the studs so that later on they can be fastened with screws.
  5. Measure the width of the closet frame.
  6. Then with the width measurement in mind, cut out the base molding on the wall enough to fit the width of the closet. There should be no gap between the back of the closet and the wall. This way, the closet should fit snuggly against the wall.
  7. Drill the 4 marked locations and use screws to fasten or connect the back of the closet to the wall studs. For added strength or stability, use the braces to anchor the 2 bottom sides and 2 top of the closet. Drilling screws and adding braces will prevent the closet from toppling over in case of an earthquake or strong movement inside the room.
  8. Then continue assembling the rest of the closet parts, by adding the rods, shelves, and doors. Use a hammer to secure some parts.
  9. Make sure to check if the doors and shelves are aligned and test for strength.

This project took only a couple of hours to complete. After it was built, we then called the prospective tenants to take a look and they were satisfied. They could not believe we did it all in less than a day. We signed the contract that same afternoon for the full asking monthly rent. This project can be used not only for rental properties; if you want to increase the value of your own home, and you have a spare room that can fit a closet, you can convert it to a bedroom without doing a huge renovation. It is an easy and low cost way to add value to your home.

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