Do-it-Yourself: Built in storage space

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Building Storage Areas

Read these tips and instructions carefully on how to build additional storage areas in your home. Following the procedures outlined in this document will help you end up with a more satisfactory job with less waste and effort. Inside this document you will find information about:

Storage Drawers for bed Linens and Blankets

Constructing and Installing the Drawers

Finishing the Job

Building Handy Storage Closet for Area Under Sloped Roof

Construction Details on Inset Pieces for Storage Closet

Building a Linen Closet with Sliding Drawers

Creating Closet Space with Folding Doors

Step 1


++Wasted attic space under the slope of the roof in many homes can be converted to valuable storage space for linens, blankets, pillows, etc.

You can add as many drawers as needed or as space permits.

++To install drawers, first nail 2x6 plates on the rafters at the locations where the studs will connect when mounted from the floor to the ceiling (see image, part A).

++ Next, nail a 2x4 plate (B) on the floor at a position exactly plumb below the plates (A) which you have nailed to the rafter (see image).

++ Insert as many studs at the desired locations as required to provide adequate support to create the number of drawers needed.

++Be sure the studs, both front and back, are exactly plumb in all directions. The studs can be plumbed with either a long level or a plumb bob. The level is probably easier to read and use.

++The front 2x4 studs are usually set at the position where the floor-to-rafter height is approximately 4'. All space under the slope beyond this point is usually wasted. When this space is framed in, it makes an ideal storage area.

++ Now place a 2x4 header (C) between the front studs at the top edge of the top drawer. This header provides a nailing edge for the base of the face panel between the top edge of the top drawer and the ceiling. It also provides support for the entire structure.

++ Insert a 3/16" base just above the 2x4 floor plate to provide a bottom for the lower drawer. Place 1" boards cut to the proper length between two sections of drawers as dividers (see image).

++ Finally, divide the area for the drawers into two equal parts, and place a 3/16" piece of plywood as a dividing piece between the two drawer spaces. Be sure the piece of plywood is exactly level and square in all corners.

This provides the base for the top drawer in the finished storage area.

Step 2


++Make a framework for the bottom of each drawer from a 1x4. Cut the 1x4 pieces to the proper length and fasten at each corner.

++Cover the framework for the bottom of each drawer with a piece of 3/16" plywood cut to proper size.

++Cut the front and back of each drawer from 1" boards and attach the front and back to the base of the drawer as illustrated. Nail these boards to the 1x4 frame with 6-penny box nails.

++Sand the top, bottom and edges of both the front and back of the drawer for a neat finish. You may want to use a nail set and wood putty to hide the nail heads. Attach a drawer pull to the board that forms the face of each drawer.

++Insert a 1/2" wood dowel on each side of the drawer from the back to the front. These can be glued into place.

The dowels provide extra support for heavily loaded drawers.

Step 3


++ Place the drawers into position. Finish the ceiling, the area above the drawers, and the room area on each side of the drawers with 1/4" plywood or paneling.

++If plywood is used, you can use stain, wallpaper, or paint for a finished look.

++Place strips over the rafters 16" apart on the center for the finishing touch.

Step 4


++The image above illustrates a storage cabinet and built-in desk that can easily be built under the sloped area of an attic in a story-and-a-half home. The major part of the cabinet has shelves, drawers and a hanging area.

The rear section is used for bulk storage.

++Study it carefully and make any necessary changes in dimensions to create a similar storage area to fit under the sloped area in your home.

++This image illustrates the basic parts of the storage area, as well as the shelves and the overall dimensions of the major components in the rear section of the cabinet. Again, you may need to make slight adjustments in the dimensions shown to conform to the slope of your roof and other variations in size or shape.

++Study the dimensions of each part of the structure carefully, and cut and mount each shelf and support as illustrated.

++The first image below shows how the front section of the storage cabinet is fitted into place. Note the dimensions and the construction materials used to create a bulk storage area at the rear of the closet. This space, ordinarily lost, is now converted to valuable storage for bulky items.

++The second image below shows the final overall construction details for the entire unit when the front and back sections are placed together. Carefully study the materials used and the dimension of each storage area to construct a storage closet and desk of similar design with little effort.

Step 5


++See the image to the right for construction details on the drawers used in this storage closet. See the image above for location of these drawers in the finished storage closet.

++No. 3 drawers are used in the finished storage closet.

++This image indicates using plywood and other framing materials for constructing the drawers. You can follow these directions or use different materials if you'd like.

++You can create your own pattern for the doors of the closet as long as they are cut to the proper size.

++The table below lists the number and grade of plywood and framing pieces needed to construct the storage closet. Other hardware items are also listed. You will need to make adjustments in this list if you vary the size and shape. Otherwise, the list provides all materials required for the job.


Plywood Needed to Construct Closet

Number, Size Grade Where Used 7 panels 4' x 8' x 3/4" Interior A-A Partitions, doors, front, sides, shelves, drawer sides and back, desk front 2 panels 4' x 8' x 1/2" Interior A-D Interior partitions, back, shelves 1 piece 4' x 4' x 1/4" Interior A-D Drawer bottoms Framing Pieces and Other Lumber 1-1/2" diameter 3 ft. Clothes pole 1" x 2" 90 ft.

Alternate handles, trim shelf cleats, drawer guides, miscellaneous Hardware Items Needed Item Qty. Where Used 1-1/2" x 3" butt hinges 12 pairs doors bullet catches 10 doors pulls 10 doors metal chains 2 drop shelf 1/2" x 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" angle irons 3 to anchor unit

Step 6


++This image shows how any closet can be converted to a linen closet with sliding drawers. The dimensions must be adjusted to fit the closet in your own home. Fig. 9 shows a typical closet arrangement, so only minor adjustments in dimensions should be required.

++Details on mounting the drawer supports and lining inside the closet are shown in the first image below. Remember, the edge of the new closet must be flush with the outer edge of the door casing, so use care in our measurements at this point.

++The second image below provides construction details and dimensions for drawers. Drawers at the bottom of the closet are normally 7" high, while the two drawers at the top of the closet are normally 5" high. Again, these heights must be adjusted to fit the closet space you are filling.

++Notches are cut out in the front of the drawers instead of adding drawer pulls. Add drawer pulls, if you prefer.

++The third image below shows the construction details and dimensions for the rolling hamper in the bottom of the closet. Again, make adjustments in the dimensions if the space you are using varies from the one shown.

Step 7


++You can often create extra closet space in rooms by simply adding folding doors that hang from the ceiling.

These folding doors are made of many materials and are available in different styles and patterns.

++Using this method, you can create storage areas in family rooms, mud rooms, garages and even bedrooms without any major construction.

++The entire end of a room can be converted into a closet area with folding doors.

++A small section of any wall can be converted into a closet area. Use either curved overhead corners or straight overhead corners for making these closets.

++Corners can be converted into storage areas by using overhead tracks. Use either curved overhead track or straight overhead track for constructing corner closets.



Handsaw Wood Glue

Angle Irons Pegboard Panel

Hinges Cabinet Catches

Folding Doors Shelf Brackets

Nails Power Saw

Screws Dowels

Plywood and Framing Casters

Drawer Pulls Overhead Door Track

Toggle Bolts Boards for Shelves


Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Updated: Sunday, November 12, 2023 11:13