Living in base housing can be tricky sometimes in regards to decorating, especially if you hate PLAIN. After all, everything has to be basically pristine by the time that you leave, and with usually only 2-4 years at each house, it can be extremely tempting to just live with the plain white walls and ugly fixtures in the house.
But I believe it’s possible to do a few simple things to easily make a rental (or base housing) feel like home, while still being able to restore all the changes to move-in-ready condition easily.
Today I will be showing you how we took our tiny front coat closet and transitioned it into a workable space! On our particular base in Misawa, we actually don’t even have to replace the doors- housing will do that for us as long as we keep all the hardware.
So, here is how I turned our TINY, useless coat closet (that was stuffed to the brim with things we couldn’t even reach) into a brand new, cute little mud room! We actually didn’t even use half of the stuff that was in our closet, so it was becoming a catch-all for stuff that just needed to be put away elsewhere.
If you are reading from Misawa, we live in the 3 bedroom townhome style, so this is the closet immediately upon entering your front entryway. Taking the doors off and creating a small bench opens up the space SO much, and makes your entryway look astronomically bigger- for real. I was blown away the second I took those doors off, and I don’t feel incredibly cramped when walking into the house anymore. You can even store guest shoes in the space in front of the bench, which keeps your walkway more clear!
Here’s a couple tips on how we did it:
Take off all hardware, and store it in a plastic baggy
Or, simply leave it attached to the doors! We take all the screws and pieces that don’t remain attached to the doors, and store them in a plastic baggy, then tape it with painter’s tape to the door. This way the tape doesn’t damage the door, but we are able to know for SURE that the hardware stays put with the door. When moving out, we just place the door with the taped hardware beside the closet for our housing inspection. (Or if you are required to replace the doors where you live, all the hardware is right there, and you don’t have to go searching for it!)
Store the doors under a couch or under the bed
This way kids, pets, or adults don’t damage them in any way, and they are totally out of the way! We store ours underneath our king size bed, so they are totally hidden under there. (Thanks to our sweet friend Sierra, for the idea of storing things under couches or beds. This works so well for us.)
And that’s really it! Super, super easy project, and if you search Pinterest (here is the link to my profile– I have some inspiration under my entryway board) , there are a million ways to build a small bench for whatever size your closet space is. I have absolutely NO power tools, other than a super cheap drill and drill bits, and built this last night in around 2 hours.
And because I’m always asked in my Insta/Facebook DMs where I get my products, here are all the links for the shop-able products shown in these photos!
Mason jar – you can get a mason jar just about anywhere! I pick them up all the time from thrift stores, but I linked one here from Amazon! Almost any thrift store will have jars in their glass section, usually from anywhere from 25 cents to $1.
Peonies – these originally came from EBay, but I linked similar ones from Amazon!
Books- we the bottom book at a 25 cent book sale/ the top one belongs to a set that was passed down from family! I love to find old books that have pretty colored covers both for reading, and for decor.
Linen basket -the reviews state that this never regains its shape- which I believe is TOTALLY inaccurate. If you fill it with items, it immediately resumes the shape it should be. We use ours to hold Henry’s winter gear!
Wire baskets -these are the small size, and they often go on sale for $11.99-$12.99! Wait for the sale, and wait for a coupon code. I believe I got mine for around $5 each when I had a 40% off coupon.)
Twinkle lights – I had a coupon for these, making them around $5 for each strand. We have these EVERYWHERE in our house, because I adore twinkle lights. If I get another code, I will update it on my deal page, found HERE. (I run an Amazon discount page on Facebook!)
Hunter boots – the boots shown are my navy blue pair in glossy! I’ve had them for 2 years and they still look basically new. (Isn’t it funny how these have become a decor piece?)
Wreath -this is my DIY wreath for under $10 from Daiso! You can find the tutorial on my blog by clicking the link.
The white planks and bench are actually all made out of wood that I found on the side of the road. (My friends refer to me as the curb queen occasionally.) So many things that are thrown out on a weekly basis are super super useable, even if it isn’t for their original purpose. My favorite thing to do is to take your trash, refinish it, and post it in my own home. Ha.
I believe the white planks originally came from a small crib, the boards for the bench were from a handmade toy box that was falling apart, and the structure from the bench actually comes from two dresser drawers that were being given away for free. Even the screws came from the destructed toy box, so I have absolutely zero dollars invested in the bench that I crafted, minus an 80 cent bottle of stain from Daiso.
Hope you find some inspiration for your own closets! I am so much happier as I enter my home now, and I love the space that my entryway is after taking off those dang doors!