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How to Create a Killer Closet on a Frugalista Budget


Your wardrobe may not be runway worthy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily create a fashionably stylish closet space on a frugalista budget.   Whether you have a modest cupboard or a spacious walk-in, here are my top five tips to maximize function, minimize clutter, and transform your “meh” closet into a trendy treasure box that even Carrie Bradshaw would be envious of.

Play Peek-a-Boo with a Fun Hue

 An obvious tip for decluttering any closet is to remove all of the contents, purge and donate the excess, and then strategically restock the space by category (i.e. garment type, colour, etc.).   But since we’re talking “stylish” closets, I believe there’s one step that often gets missed during the wardrobe overhaul process… PAINTING!  While the contents of your closet are removed and being inventoried, why not take the time to add your favourite hue inside.

I find that when I ask most people what their “happy colour” is, they answer with bold, vibrant hues full of character, but when I ask those same people if they have that colour anywhere in their home, they laugh and answer no.  Colour is such an easy way to show off our unique personalities, yet so many of us decorate timidly with gray and beige, and to that I say “BOR-ING”.  I get that just because fuchsia pink or lime green makes you smile doesn’t mean you want your living room wrapped in it, but why not add your “happy colour” to a private nook of the house like inside your closet.  That way, every time you open the door, you’re greeted with a peek-a-boo hue just for you.

Seasonal Swap

 Regardless of your closet size, it’s easy to get overloaded with clutter.  Especially if you live in a four season locale where you likely store everything from floppy sun hats to bulky snow suits, space can run at a premium.  One of the best ways to create instant space is to do a bi-annual seasonal swap with your clothing.  Spring and summer… fall and winter… rotate your wardrobe to create instant breathing room on your shelves and hangers.

“But where the heck do I put all of the off-season items?”  Well, one of my favourite secret wardrobe weapons are reusable vacuum sealed clothing bags.  I fill the clear bags up with categorized collections of everything from tees and tanks to sweaters and scarves, and I vacuum seal them to a third of their size, label the outside of the bag, and then stash them away under my bed.

 Up, Up and Away

 Nothing cramps a small closet’s style more than a cluttered floor.  Dirty clothes, shoes, shopping bags, more shoes… there just never seems to be enough room to put everything, so items inevitably end up on the FLOOR.  Instead of covering your horizontal flooring surface with hoards of stuff, why not maximize your vertical storage potential by getting things up, up and away.   Think about adding a narrow shelf about a foot below your ceiling around the perimeter of your closet for shoes and handbags, and don’t underestimate the storage possibilities on the back of a swing door.  If you have mirrored sliding doors, consider removing the mirror from one panel and add painted pegboard and hooks to hold jewelry, and for walk-ins, install hooks on underutilised slivers of wall space to take advantage of all hanging opportunities.

If you’re organizing “up”, you may want to invest in a slim and stylish folding step stool to help you reach those freshly stashed away goodies on display.

 Make a Statement with Furniture

 Open shelving in a closet for folded garments is a-okay, but if you prefer to “stow” rather than “show” your items that don’t get hung up, why not make a bit of space in your closet for a statement furniture piece such as a petite dresser.  Now, if you’re thinking “I barely have room in my closet now…how am I suppose to fit a dresser”, here’s how.  Look at raising up one of your existing hanger poles to a height that you can comfortably hang shirts and blouses while still leaving room for a cabinet or dresser to slide underneath.  You can label the drawers and keep your freshly folded goods well contained and out of sight.  Oh, and if playing peek-a-boo with a wall hue has you feeling a bit nervous, why not add a fashionable splash of colour to your tucked away furniture piece.  Making a stylish statement with colour is fast and easy with new DIY friendly products such as spray Chalked paint in fashion forward colours like blush pink and serenity blue.  I always love the impact of an unexpected furniture piece hidden in an unexpected place!

 Accessorize your Accessories

If you really want to up your closet ante, why not tap into your inner designing diva and dress your space to impress with bespoke accessories.  Ditch the mismatched wiry metal hangers and opt for a curated collection of matching wooden ones.  And if you want to take it to the next level of glam, upcycle the wood hangers with a fresh coat of Universal metallic or Rust-Oleum glitter spray paint.  For a functional twist, apply a coat of FlexiDip rubberized spray paint to your hangers in fiery red to add a zing of colour and prevent your items from slipping off.  For items that need to be tucked away, invest in matching storage bins to line your shelves and add custom looking metal label plates on the side, and if you have the room, why not add a vintage chandelier to light up the space.

Don’t let a small closet cramp your style!  By tackling a wardrobe overhaul and injecting some colourful personality into your space, your closet can easily and affordably be dressed to impress.

About the author: Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault is a self-proclaimed DIY ninja, Leigh-Ann’s design philosophy fuses ingenuity, quirk, & quality on a frugalista budget. She believes that great design has little to do with how much money you spend, but rather how creative you can be with your budget. Leigh-Ann joined Cityline in 2006 & opened her design firm, Hue La La in 2013. A public speaker, writer, & brand spokesperson, Leigh-Ann embraces every opportunity to spark creativity & instill confidence in others who strive to “DO IT YOURSELF”.

Twitter/ Instagram: @leighannallaire



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