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$100 DIY Budget Closet Makeover | The Gardeners Edition

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$100 DIY Budget Closet Makeover: The Gardeners Edition

Transform your closet into a zen oasis with this budget closet makeover

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DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Gardeners Edition

A closet renovation fit for a king…a king of the Jungle



Closet Before picture of white wire shelving and disorganization
DIY Wooden Closet Greenhouse
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Everyone wants a well-organized and good looking closet, but not everyone can afford the high costs typically associated with closet renovations (have you ever looked up the cost of built in closets!). Fortunately, with a little creativity and resourcefulness, a budget closet makeover can still yield amazing results. In this guide, we’ll share a cost-effective closet remodel idea that we have yet to see anyone else do. My total cost was less than $100. I won’t say it’s the most practical but it’s certainly the most visually pleasing closet we have ever owned. We will discuss a few tweaks that will make this gardeners paradise a good fit for any closet. This closet renovation was simple and does not require high-end tools or advanced skills. 

For context, this fabulous slice of zen heaven was created in my office. One of the only two places in the house where I get free reign to be the quirky cat guy. I think many of us have offices in bedrooms and traditional bedroom closets in offices are magnets for papers you don’t really need and other randomness. Yeah city friends, I feel you. My entire old NYC apartment was about the size of the office (and that isn’t saying much). This project isn’t for everyone but with slight modifications and a little imagination, you can scale this to fit your needs. Less space = less plants but we can ride the vibe together.

This is an evolving project and I plan to put storage boxes and other hanging accessories to be able to store what I actually use in my office. I decided to convert this space into something that relaxes me when I look at it but I also wanted it to be functional. Most importantly, I wanted the ability to easily reconfigure the closet design should my closet return back to the typical duties of a bedroom.

If you want the zen but still need to hang clothes, then modify this design putting the bottom shelf where the middle shelf is and hang a dowel from it. You can still have most of what you see here and hang clothes, but more on that later. 

Planning is key when undertaking an affordable closet remodel. Be clear about your budget and what you want to achieve. Your DIY closet makeover should be functional, appealing, and most importantly, within your financial reach.

My DIY closet renovation design is extremely affordable. The wood is recycled pallet boards (I purposely left the shipping markings for aesthetics), they are supported by about $5 worth of 2×4’s. The plants are basking in $40 worth of Amazon grow tubes and the two hanging plants are inexpensive Temu products. We will get into all of that below. For now, thanks for being here and I hope you take this project on.

DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Step 1: Organization

You know you need to

Closet Before picture of white wire shelving and disorganization

Let’s take another look at this photo. I wish I could tell you that I made things look worse for the sake of the picture but that is just not true. That computer box on the bottom was sitting for months, why? The old computer on the top left hadn’t been touched in 5+ years. The various wires and other parts on the floor are from one of my projects. Why were they in the office? Who knows. My 15 year old leather briefcase thrown haphazardly on top of the computer box. Yeah, everyone’s situation is different but I think its important that organization be the first step in this process.

Not to get all metaphysical on you but I do believe that clutter causes a restless mind. This monstrosity has been in my peripheral for months, subconsciously oozing disorganized and messy thoughts into my brain. Just look at the before and after pictures, doesn’t the after picture just make you feel better?

The first rewarding part of this project happens when you sit down, look at your closet and organize. Get rid of and/or donate things you no longer need and set aside things that need to stay. If you plan to hang clothes in this project then take a good hard look at what you actually wear vs what is collecting dust. Keepsake outfits from special moments? Fold them babies up nice and neatly and store them so you can “look at them again” at some point never (too harsh?). The great reorganization will set your soul free . . . or at least your space. Also, look at what’s in your closet and truly think if there are better places for it. I understand that this closet may be the only place that you can store things and that you may not have space to put things elsewhere, that’s fine. The point of this exercise is to whittle down the closet inventory to what’s actually necessary – not what you think you might use one day. Keep in mind that a full 6′ shelf with a dowel will give you plenty of hanging and folding space, don’t be discouraged if your great reorganization was a great disappointment. 


DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Step 2: Layout Design

Let’s figure out how you want this oasis to look

This is a simple closet layout with three (3) shelves for storage and plants. As mentioned above, if you need to hang clothes then you will want your center shelf to be the longest one (6'). You will need to purchase a dowel and mounting brackets from home depot (wooden dowels can be found near the pine shelving). Our closet design has tapered shelving, the top shelf is the shortest and the bottom is the longest.

The key to making the closet look as good as possible is to center the design in the closet and to make sure that everything is level. You can draw the project out on a piece of paper or use SketchupSketchup is a 3D modeling software used for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film, and video game design. to see exactly how it will look. If you like my design then just measure your closet's back wall and find the vertical center. You will also need a stud finder to locate the studs behind the drywall. Mark where these studs are, there should be two studs running vertically about 16" apart.

DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Step 3: Source Materials

Closet remodeling via Facebook marketplace

We aren’t working with many materials, but I am breaking it apart into two sections. The first is structural and the second is aesthetics.

Structural list

  • Support: The support comes from three (3) 40″ 2×4’s. Grab one (1) 8′ and one (1) 4′ 2×4. 
  • Pine Shelving: We sourced our pine shelving from facebook marketplace. Certain pallets are made from wide boards and can be found upcycled for about $4 per board. If you can not find these pallets locally, home depot sells similar pine shelving for $18-$20 per 8′ board. You will need six total boards to match our design.
  • Shelving Brackets: These 10″ brackets work perfect
  • Wood Screws: 2″ woodscrews like these will work. You can also pick them up at Home Depot.
  • Dowel (optional): A simple dowel can be mounted under one of the pine shelves to allow you to hang clothes. Our closet is in an office an hanging clothes wasn’t necessary for us.


Minwax warm polyurethane is an easy to use product that seals the pine boards but also gives them a favorable warm glow. I love the natural hues of wood but personally I find pine to be a bit dull and pale. Pine is also a pain to stain. The Minwax warm polyurethane is an oil/water hybrid which makes application easy (we will get to that later) and it also warms up that paleness with every coat.


These LED grow tubes are what make the closet glow and the plants grow. I specifically chose this brand because of the warmer glow. Some grow lights can be too white and harsh on the eyes. Pick them up here.


I really like Temu for small and inexpensive things and so I am going to link a few here. If you haven’t realized it already, Temu is selling thousands of items that Amazon sells but by cutting out the middleman the items are cheaper. This comes at the cost of longer shipping times but if you are planning ahead you can cut costs.

You can support the site by joining Temu via this link:, affiliate code: apg06596

I love the look of plant propagation tubes. These little glass vials are sold in all shapes and styles. We hung two of these on either side of the closet shelving.


Three plant diamond glass propagation table mount –

 Alternative hanging plant propagation:


The closet was painted with paint that I had leftover (Sherwin Williams’ Regal Select Marine Blue). 






DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Step 3: Cut and Stain the Pine Boards

Pine board glow up

This is where we turn the pine board closet material into warm plant contrasting havens of relaxation. Minwax warm polyurethane is extremely easy to work with. It is a tinted polyurethane and the hybrid mix of oil and water allows for some leniency in how it is applied. 

To start, throw on a pair of gloves if you have them, though they really aren’t necessary. Set and clean a workspace, you don’t want the polyurethane to get on other surfaces, so be sure to work above shop towels, dropcloth, cardboard or some plastic liner. I had some big amazon boxes laying around, I layered them over my sawhorses and got to work. 

You can check my guide to applying polyurethane here

The jist is, bubbles are your enemy. You do not want to shake the can before applying but you absolutely need to stir it well as certain parts of the mixture will separate. Make sure to scrape up from the bottom and get a good even stir, moving in a figure 8 motion. Once the can is stirred you need to apply gently without causing bubbles. I’m going to give you a short and sweet method that worked for this project.

1. Do not put too much polyurethane on at once. Multiple coats are much better then fewer thicker ones. When applying the polyurethane, the first goal is to apply it as evenly as possible. Once you finish an entire board surface, go back over the entire board from edge to edge feathering the polyurethane. To do this, hold your brush at a 45 degree angle and hover it over the surface. You are in essence gliding over the top of the surface from end to end, this sigfnicantly reduces the risk of bubbles. Start from one end and work across the board. When you are done, be sure to lightly brush the sides and ends as you will undoubtably have runoff (nothing looks worse then polyurethane that has dripped down the side of a surface. 

Read the manufacturers label for recoating times and it is good practice to lightly sand the finish before adding coats. I put three (3) coats on my shelves. The more coats the warmer the finish will look.

DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Step 4: Install 2×4 Support Beams

This gives the pine a little pop (creates depth)

A closet shelf is only as strong as the supports behind it. In this case, we are over engineering and making life easy. 2×4’s will provide exceptional support for our pine boards. The key is in connecting them to the existing studs. As a reminder, we are running four (4) pine boards vertically, this gives us a total width of 44″ (a 12″ wide board is really more like 11″). We want our 2×4’s to be long enough to safely cross two studs but not so long that they stick out beyond the width of our shelves. Two 2×4 supports would be enough but considering we are mounting three shelves, I decided to mount three total 2×4’s directly where I planned to mount my shelf brackets. This means that my shelf brackets will go through the vertical pine board and sink into the 2×4’s for maximum stability (we want these plants to grow big and heavy, right?.
Using your wood screws, mark your first 2×4 location and drill one wood screw into the first stud, don’t go all Hulk or She Hulk on the screw, leave it a little loose. This will allow you to use your level and secure the other side evenly. Then go back and tighten the screw. 
The spacing between your shelves is up to you. My shelves are not spaced evenly, there is a wider gap between the bottom and the middle vs the middle and the top. I spaced my 2×4’s as follows: 
I waited until the end to say this, but this is probably the hardest part of the entire project (and it’s not that hard, right?). 

DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Step 5: Attach Vertical Pine Boards

That’s up and down

Our Closet project is about to start looking like a closet. Now that the 2×4’s are secure and level, it’s time to mount the pine boards. This is super simple. Your closet design should be centered vertically, reconfirm the mid-point of your closet and line a board up on one side of that midpoint. A second board will sit on the other side and then you can install the 3rd and 4th boards from there. This ensures that the closet design is centered.


At this point, you need to know where your shelving brackets will go. You want to place the vertical board screws in line with the bracket (that way the bracket hides the screw). You also want to make sure that you center your screw on the 2×4. To secure the boards, drill wood screws through the pine boards and into each 2×4 all while making sure that the board is level.


The first one is the hardest, after that you can butt up the boards to make sure that the others are level too.


DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Step 6: Install Pine Shelving

We’re getting structural

Using your wood screws as a guide, install the shelving brackets by placing each bracket over an installed wood screw. This hides the original screw and also ensures that you are securing the closet shelving bracket to the 2×4. 


If you lined everything up in the prior step perfectly, then the shelving will also turn out level. However, none of us are perfect. I made some mistakes on this step. Use a pine board as your level guide. First, install on side of the pine shelving brackets. Then, place a pine board on that bracket and use a level to line up the second bracket, then secure it. It’s a little tricky but you’ll get it. Don’t stress if you have to redrill some holes, your plants or other items will hide it. 

DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Step 7: Zenify your space

Is this not why you are here?! Sorry, that wasn’t very Zen.

I mounted two (2) grow tubes. One on the ceiling and one out of sight on the right hand side (pointing to the back of the closet). If you look closely at the pictures you will see that the right side is brighter than the left. Below are pictures of the tubes mounted. This style allows me to put various plant types in the garden (can we start calling it that now?). Sun loving 

Your plant selection depends on your own personal tastes. By rule of thumb, you should only put full sun plants in the direct path of your grow tubes. Partial sun plants and even shade loving plants can thrive with proper placement. I purposely chose to avoid succulents for this project and put a healthy mix of flowing plants and crawling ivys. Below is a quick list of different types. As always, I am going to recommend that you check your local facebook listings. There are a lot of communities that propagate and sell plants relatively cheap. 


Full Sun Indoor Plants:
succulents (like Echeveria, Aeonium, and Haworthia), cacti (like Barrel cactus, Christmas cactus, and Star cactus), jade plant (Crassula ovata), ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata), aloe vera, yucca, geraniums, hibiscus, desert rose (Adenium obesum), bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae), kalanchoe, crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii), lavender, oleander.

Partial Sun Indoor Plants:
spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), peace lily (Spathiphyllum), Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), African violet (Saintpaulia), ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura), rubber plant (Ficus elastica), pothos (Epipremnum aureum), dracaena varieties (like Dragon tree and Janet Craig), orchids (like Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium), fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata).

Shade Loving Indoor Plants:
cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior), heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum), maidenhair fern (Adiantum), calathea varieties (like Rattlesnake plant and Peacock plant), parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), dieffenbachia, peace begonia, fittonia (nerve plant), ivy (Hedera helix), ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola).


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If you chose to use the glass tubes like me, then propagate Ivy and Coleus together to create a colorful and lush look. The grow lights will result in a pretty fast growing root system. In about two weeks, you can transplant these cuttings to soil (or just keep them where they are). 


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I have one grow tube on the ceiling of the closet and one on the inside wall (pointing to the back of the closet).


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DIY Budget Closet Makeover

Questions and Answers

Let’s chat

Question: Really bro, Pine Shelving with more plants than hangers?
Answer: Yep

Question: What was the total cost to renovate the closet?
Answer: All in, about $100.

Question: How long does a DIY closet renovation take?
Answer: Every project is different but this DIY closet renovation took a few hours to install. 

Question: Are Pine shelves strong?

Answer: Extremely strong and durable. Pine is one of the main species of wood that is used in closet shelving and organization.


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