Elsie’s Closet Makeover!

I’m really exited to share my closet makeover with you today! I am a huge fan of customizing closets to fit your needs. In the past, I used to buy so many organizing supplies to try to make my standard closets fit my needs, but now I realize that doing a simple DIY update (that can easily be done in a weekend) is a much better solution in the long run.

In this post, I’ll share how I DIYed my closet to fit the exact needs of my wardrobe. It’s different for every person, so that’s why the customization element is so important!

This post is sponsored by Rust-Oleum. As soon as I realized that their spray paint was THE spray paint for doing things like hardware and fixtures (I used it to change my standard closet bars to bronze!), we asked them if they wanted to partner up.

You may have seen on our Instagram stories that I had previously sprayed these bars gold and they did not hold up AT ALL. The difference is night and day. If you want to spray paint things that need to last in a gold/bronze color, this is the spray paint to use.

These are the exact product I used, the Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer, the Metallic Stops Rust in Rose Gold, and the Crystal Clear Enamel finish. This specific metallic spray paint is far and away the most durable I have ever used.

In the past, I typically only used metallic spray paint on light fixtures or mirror frames (things that barely get touched), but I wouldn’t have used it on hardware that needs to be durable because it scratches right off.

However, my mind was blown after we spray painted Nova’s closet bars gold because I expected them to scratch a little, but after six months of heavy use there is not ONE scratch. I had to try a bunch of spray paints to find a match and remember what we had even used, but finally I found it … the exact match!

So when it came time to do my own closet makeover I decided to give it a go!

I like the color so much. It’s could pass as bronze or gold. It’s not very yellow and in person it looks almost a little pearlized.

We tested three combinations:

1. Just spray paint (this is also what we used for Nova’s closet).

2. Primer + spray paint.

3. Primer + spray paint + clear enamel.

After one day, they performed exactly the same on a scratch test. If you scratched hard they would scratch. So at that point I decided to let it cure much longer. I let my bars cure (hung in my closet with no clothing on them) for one full week.

I know that may seem like a long time to wait, but after a week the difference is incredible. I think that was a part of why Nova’s closet turned out so well, because we didn’t hang clothes on them right away.

Now I can scratch really hard with my finger and nothing happens. And since I have had clothes on my bars they have not scratched at all! I am SO HAPPY. This is a game changer.

Look how pretty?! I am excited to see how they wear over time, but feel extremely optimistic. It is a night and day difference from the last gold spray paint I tried.

Let’s talk about the redesign! So it’s two l-shaped closets, one larger and one smaller. Previously the bigger side had one big bar, but it was lower with more shelving up top (that I never used because I couldn’t really reach it) and my jumpsuits dragged on the ground (I am 5’4, so I thought that was kind of silly).

The second smaller closet was two racks, which I assume was for tops up top and skirts and jeans on the bottom. There was no place for shoes except for the floor. I had previously added a little shelf in there but it didn’t hold many shoes. Eventually, I started to realize that all the little storage things I was buying weren’t helping and it would be simpler and less expensive to just redesign the closet.

Before redesigning, I did a very big closet clean out and tried to really analyze what I had. This part is KEY. Your design needs to be based on your individual needs. I realized that the biggest thing I was lacking was shoe storage that I didn’t need as much as space for my hung clothing. Keep in mind, I also have a dresser in the room that holds all my T-shirts, shorts and a lot more.

For the final design, we raised the height of the closet bars and changed the main closet to have long and short racks. Then we took the smaller closet and added custom shelves where I can store all my shoes and purses.

In case you were curious, those three wicker baskets at the top are actually silverware holders (like what you put in your drawer), but they fit the space, so I use them to store my extra hair scarves in. I cannot emphasize enough how much this closet makeover elevates my everyday life. This and the pantry makeover are the best things I did to my house this year. They’re small practical changes, but they make me feel happy every single day and make life easier!

Just like in the pantry, where my food was getting buried in the back and not getting used, my shoes and clothing were all stuffed in this closet not getting worn.

Now it’s so visually clear to me what my options are when I’m getting dressed. I love it! Less options are definitely better when it comes to clothing. I’ll share more in another post about how I trimmed down my wardrobe, but I will just say it was one of the best and most time-saving exercises for me.

Now there is not ONE thing in my closet that doesn’t fit or that I wouldn’t wear.

Alright! Let’s move on to the shoe shelves.

Obviously, a huge part of this was realizing what types of shoes I have. Along the bottom, I have one larger shelf that hold three pairs of tall boots. I haven’t worn tall boots as much in the past few years, but I know I will again eventually. The cowboy boots I thrifted in college are definitely the pair I’ve held onto the longest.

Next to that are two shelves that can fit six pairs of ankle boots. I can also fit ankle boots on the shelves above if I ever needed to in the winter.

Above that, I have three pairs of colorful tennis shoes that are for casual wear, my roller skates and then sandals and dress up shoes. I basically wear flat sandals every day in the summer, so that’s why I have so many pairs.

On top of the shelves there is a space for bags, so I have all my summer bags stored there currently. In my everyday life, I usually wear a tote bag (convenient for carrying Nova’s many necessities everywhere we go) and these bags are mainly for going out and special outfits now. I love being able to see them all together when getting ready!

Before I started this closet makeover I thought I needed a “bigger closet” with a shoe shelf. Now I realize that it was just a matter of storing all my things more efficiently! I didn’t need more space, I just needed to use it more wisely.

I really could not be happier with how this project turned out. Thank you to Rust-Oleum for sponsoring this post and for making the best metallic spray paint of all time! xx -Elsie

Looking for more closet organization tips? Be sure to check out our guide for organizing your home (room by room).

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Project Assistant: Collin DuPree. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • How did you paint this rod? Can’t think of a clever way to keep it up off of a surface to paint it and ensure it’s consistent across it. Thank you!

  • Beautiful closet!

    How did the spray painted rods hold up since they were painted?

    • Hi! The spray painted rods had minimal scratching when we sold our house. I would say they held up a 7/10 🙂

  • hi there, where did you buy your wooden hangers from ? I know they sell them everywhere but there’s a hundred different options out there, so, just curious which brand you went with. Thanks!

  • The pink roller skates tho!! So sweet. They add whimsy to your closet.

  • Hi Elsie,
    I’m planning to paint my metallic shoe rack. Do you think a spray alone will do or the 3-step combo is better?

  • Hi Elsie – I’ve been wanting to paint some metal bar stools I have. Do you think this 3-step combo would work well for that?

    • Hi Hannah! This method would work on any metal surface. 🙂

  • I would love a post on cleaning out closets and finding your style! I don’t know how to define it, but your style is so wonderful and distinctive! It is hard to balance sophisticated and cute and happy but I think you nail it!

  • It looks so fresh and organized!


  • I love the way you closet turned out! The white and wood look is gorgeous!

  • Oh please please please do a follow-up on tips for cleaning out closets! I started trying to revamp mine ages ago, got disheartened, and gave up #musttryharder 🙂

  • Currently in the process of gutting my walk-in and starting from scratch. Love getting ideas from everyone! Yours is so beautiful! … Curious about hangers. I know it’s off season, but what do you do with sweaters, or even cooler-weather knits that stretch on the hanger in a way that’s similar to sweaters? Do you just fold those? I’m wondering if I should have some open cubbies designated for folded clothes.

  • Thanks for this! I spray painted a metal side table gold a couple of years ago and it has NOT held up. I’m excited that you’ve found something that will last the wear and tear of everyday use. I’m about to move, so I’ll definitely be using this post as inspiration for my new closet!

    PS – Elsie, you are looking extra babely in that cute outfit!!!!

  • Love this! It’s nice to see closets that are orderly and bright (unlike mine). I’d love to see closet clean-out tips. We go through our clothes twice per year, but I’d love to hear about your system. Also, love the yellow pants and denim top!

  • Your closet looks great! I lost my husband 6 yrs ago at 49 and have not been in my closet since he passed. The closet is big with sliding doors , the bar is one long bar which I think should have been split in half . During my time of grieving the bar came out of one side so now everything is on a angle including the shelf that was on top that goes across the bar . So I don’t know we’re to start so overwhelmed . Also lost my mom and taking care of her things so never enough time for me lol or due to my illness I am to tired for me. Any suggestions ?

    • Set aside a day or two to properly seperate the cloth (the ones you know you would wear and those you won’t wear)

  • Loving the new closet. I definitely do not need any new shoes but love those gold bow slide sandals… where are they from?

  • Yes, please, a follow-up post! Everything organization is a God send!

  • Wow, it’s so organized! I wish I had this much closet space!

  • I’m worried… Where are all your clogs and salt water sandals?

    I definitely need some decluttering help! I find all your organisation articles so helpful. My mind is still blown from the ‘only fill your drawers/shelves/wardrobe 80%’ piece of advice (from the post about Nova’s ‘closet’ (that word is weird for me- not part of British-English))- makes complete sense!

    Love seeing inside your cupboards!

  • Hi! Love the closet….and I can’t stop looking at this cute red embroidered tank right up front 🙂 where is it from??

  • Great job! I’m wondering if you installed the shelving for your shoes yourself? If so, what kind of bracket did you use? I love that you don’t really notice a bracket at all.


    • Collin built them. The bulk of their weight rests on the floor and they are anchored to the wall as well. 🙂

  • Love the post! Your shoe collection makes me so jealous, Elsie! I wish I had my own shoe closet! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • This looks so great Elsie! I’ve been trying to go through my closet as well. I’ve nearly cleared out the spare room closet so that’s a start. I’m wondering how you might tackle my closet issue. I just have one really large closet and wondered how you might arrange that kind of situation to solve the shoe issue. I don’t have anywhere else in the house to store them. Also I’m so pleased you found the spray paint! I definitely want to try this in my daughter’s room. Thanks for the tips!

    • Do you have a lot of shoes? Do you have room to add some shelves in there?

  • Thank you so much for this awesome post – I’m currently in the throes of needing to clean out my closet, but I’m a little overwhelmed about where to start. I have two, one medium sized one with a bar and high ceiling, and one small (like your shoe closet) that is a blank slate. The problem is the medium one has about 2.5 feet of space that hides behind a wall, so any clothes that hang there are hard to see. I’ve thought about using this for off-season storage but it’s not an efficient use of the space at all! So I have to figure out a solution for the awkwardness and how to have a better use of the space. I’m also wondering if you could share why you chose wooden hangers over velvet skinny hangers? Do you prefer the way the look/hold? I haven’t yet decided what I prefer so it’d be fun to know what your thoughts were on that! Thanks for finally sharing the spraypainted bar – I know I asked about that back when you did Nova’s closet!!

    Eva | www.shessobright.com

    • I have a back corner (these two closets do connect) that you can’t see too. I used it to store my nostalgic clothing (rehearsal dinner dress… a few things from high school….) and also vintage dresses that I know I want to wear again, but don’t need to see every day.

      I know velvet hangers are more practical, but to me wooden hangers are just SO MUCH more beautiful that I had to have them. I don’t have a huge problem with stuff sliding, actually, but it’s also because my closet isn’t too stuffed anymore.

      Thanks for the kind words! xx

  • This speaks to me but also where are those wide leg mustard pants from?

  • Yes, I would be interested in tips on cleaning out your closet. Like how am I ever going to let go of all my old converse sneakers??

    • Haha! Ok… adding it to my list.

      Letting go of old nostalgic pieces is tough for me too (and I do keep SOME). But it feels so good to have a closet full of only things you are excited to wear today! It’s worth it!

  • Do you swap out summer and winter clothes or does this redesign have space enough for everything? I think my biggest challenge is that I spent a whole season trying to figure out how I want to organize my closet, and I finally figure it out just in time for seasons to change and wardrobes to switch.

    • I technically have room for all my clothing if I really pack it in, but we just redid our storage room as well and I made a space for winter clothing there. I LOVE it. Just something about ONLY having stuff in the closet that I can wear today really appeals to me! 🙂

  • Curing the paint! Genius! I am never patient enough but this is really inspiring to just cool my jets for a better final product. Thanks!

    Ps. Where are your pants from? I’ve been looking for an exact mustard pair!!

    • I love the shoe closet and wondered the same thing about the pants. I love them!

    • The curing step makes SUCH a huge difference. Night + day! I will always do it from now on!

      My pants are from Madewell. xx!

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