A closet without doors- making use of your hidden 35 square feet

(Everything you see, we bought with our own money – nothing was sponsored or gifted). This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

I know when I was working on this room for its third life in five years and was thinking of taking off the closet doors I wanted to see examples of closets without doors. So since I dove right in and went for it, I thought it would be helpful to share how it turned out! As well as some tips to make it work in your home too!

making use of your closet without doors

Do you have a small room with a closet and wonder if there is a way you can make better use of that space? How much bigger that room might feel without those closet doors. Those stupid sliding doors that make it impossible to actually access the entire closet.

But also.. you don’t want to lose storage space and see the visual clutter that can be a storage closet. Well, I’m here to say that I did it and I am thrilled with how it turned out and how much more functional our small room feels!

There are, however, a few things to consider before removing those closet doors, and some real life examples of how I made this closet without doors more functional for our small space!

This, is my son’s nursery. Once my daughters nursery, turned study, then after years of prayer another nursery! You can take a better look around it here, in this post.

Through all its iterations, this small room had a traditional double sliding door closet. A poorly installed one whose doors would swing because there wasn’t a real floor track, whose doors were always blocking off at least 1/3 of the closet space, making it really rather useless in the middle. We dealt with it because well… that’s just a closet, what can you do?

When we converted this room to a study, I had the grand Idea that we would use the closet as more of a built in bookshelf or a spot for the desk. I took off the doors, and never looked back. The study project came to a halt once we started IVF (I never wanted it to be a study anyways) and the room sat half finished for awhile. But when the Lord blessed us with the news we would be bringing home a baby boy in the fall, we had new motivation to get this room finished, but now as a nursery.

I loved the way the room felt much bigger without the closet doors, so I was determined to make this space more functional than it was before. Here are the things I would recommend if you would like to try this in your space too!


The first thing I did was make this space feel like a continuation of the room. That meant I was painting EVERYTHING. Because yes, I painted the walls, the trim AND the ceiling in the nursery, same thing had to happen first and foremost before doing anything else to this closet. The paint on the walls is Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze and the ceiling is SW Porpoise.

upgraded shelving

Always on a budget, we kept the current track closet system on the walls from the previous owners. However, we ditched the (awful and impossible to use) wire shelving and rod system that came with it. Instead we purchased these brackets and solid wood shelves that worked with the same track system. Not only were they better looking, they were more functional. Have you ever tried storing and displaying things on a wire shelf? It doesn’t work very well. I painted the brackets gold because I loved the way it looked against the Urbane Bronze wall color.

accent dresser- pretty and functional

Initially I had this refinished piece of furniture I purchased for $20 (!) in the space and it was gorgeous. However it ended up being a little too pretty to hide away in the closet in this room. We have since used it in our living room as a TV stand and toy storage. I love that it is more in the spotlight in its new role. But now I was on the hunt for something to replace it.

Our neighbor actually had set this out on the curb for free. A much more orange and blan piece of furniture, but it had potential! I grabbed it, sanded it, and stained it in this pretty dark mahogany color as well as changed out the knobs. Its super functional as both a changing table and a dresser- diapers, pajamas, and pants all fit perfectly.

The important part of this was that it wasn’t so deep that it would stick out, but was still deep enough to fit a changing table. I got super lucky that it met all those requirements, so shout out to Kelsey for setting this thing out on the curb for me!!


Once I started putting the finishing touches on this space, I realized how dark it was, especially when trying to change a diaper. I added a mirror on the back wall to bounce light off of, as well as a tiny table lamp. Now our diaper changes are properly illuminated and the perfect amount of cozy and intimate.

aesthetic storage solutions

Here’s probably the most important part of maintaining a closet without doors with storage. If you can’t close off the mess, you need to consider all of these things:

1. simplify

With a closed off closet its easy to toss things in and close the door; out of sight, out of mind right?? Well when you take off those doors you have to consider the fact that you are going to see most of what you are storing in there. This means prioritizing and simplifying the things that will be stored in this space. For me, that was hung clothing, books, baskets for storage, sentimental baby shoes, and faux greenery to give the space some coziness.

2. attractive but practical baskets

Considering the fact that you will still need to store things in this closet without doors, baskets are the most practical way to do it, without seeing the visual clutter of what is in them. Our baskets are from IKEA and goodwill. The handled basket on the top shelf holds things like butt paste, nail clippers. boogie wipes, and snot suckers – those baby essentials that need to be close by but not used every day.

One of the ikea baskets hold extra sheets, and extra sleep sacks while the other is strictly designated to tossing in the clothes that are outgrown (why does that happen so fast and frequently?!) to sell or donate.

The baskets you choose should be mostly solid so you cant see whats in them from the side, as well as pretty to look at, because without doors.. you’re gonna be seeing them a lot.

3. clothing rod

This one might be most specific to my particular set up (and limited budget) But might be helpful to someone else. The closet system that came with this room was limiting on how to hang a rod. But I found that The Container Store’s Elfa system worked with the bracket system I had.

I purchased these brackets and noticed a spot that looked like I could hang additional components to hang a rod from it. With a TON of late night and vague googling I finally found this component that solved all clothes hanging problems… kind of. the only rods that fit in this thing were silver, white, or grey. None of those fit the aesthetic I was going for. And for a closet without doors… aesthetics were higher priority than usual.

I finally found a 6′ – 1″x3″ white oak board that unconventionally fit. Its so pretty!! And yes, the round hanger tops do slide on the square rod.

4.organizing clothing by color

Its amazing how much is to be said for organizing clothing by color. Once I did it in my own closet years ago I realized its much more than pretty. It cuts down on visual clutter. When things are grouped alike, its less mental noise. Great in any closet- when you start out your day getting dressed and feeling like at least that one part of your life feels in order. It also makes hunting for that certain piece of clothing that much easier!

But even better when these clothes are literally on display because your closet is now without doors. (but hey, I challenge you to do this in all your closets, doors or not. You can thank me later!! )

faux greenery

By the time I finished adding in the necessary things I needed to make this a functioning space, I decided it felt a little cold. And the easiest way to add cozy to a space is with greenery! But this was a closet, in a nursery, with blackout shades. Plants would not have thrived in this space so I added a few faux plants to finish it off.

What do you think??

Does this encourage or inspire you to try maximizing the space in your closet by taking off the doors? Good news it, you can always put them back up!!

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