DIY Walk-In Barn Door Closet

walk-in barn door closet

New room-length barn door walk-in closet in our bedroom!

walk-in barn door closet

Closet consists of 4 door panels on 2 tracks. We mounted a Philips Hue lightstrip on the inside, connected to a motion sensor.

walk-in barn door closet

The new built-in Elfa organization system from The Container Store (photo before doors were up).

walk-in barn door closet

Our bedroom before the closet makeover. The room used to be a formal dining room, and was awkwardly long as a bedroom. We had nearly 7ft of extra depth. The new closet is 5ft deep!

Cost

Total: $800

  • $450 hanging hardware
  • $350 wood

Step 1: Mounting the Hardware

Our biggest dilemma was how to mount doors for the closet. Normally there's a solid wall with a hole for a door, and sliding/barn doors are mounted to the wall. We instead had just a gaping open space in our bedroom. Our options were to (a) build a structurally-sound short header "wall" at the ceiling the whole length of the room and mount the doors to the "wall," or (b) hang the doors from the ceiling.

We went with (b), but unfortunately our rafters ran parallel to the plane of the doors, and of course, we wanted the doors about smack dab in the middle of the rafters. We mounted 2"x4"s between the rafters in the ceiling to bolt the doors into.

walk-in barn door closet

View looking up, standing in the doorway, closet on left side. There's 2 tracks running the whole length of the room, with the 2 center weathered door panels mounted to one, and the side doors mounted to the other. The rails are bolted directly up into the ceiling with L-brackets. We put an MDF baseboard behind the rails for aesthetics.

Finding ceiling-mounted barn door hardware is difficult, and the moment you add the term "barn door," prices jump 3x. We found the best deal on Amazon for these kits that included the black powder-coated mounting L-brackets, pulley rollers for the door, end stoppers, floor guides, and all nuts/bolts for $100 each. We got 5ft rail lengths, so we needed 4 kits--anything longer than a single 5ft rail was cost prohibitive. 5-stars for their customer service. The rolling is very smooth and quiet! Cast iron handles were $14 on Amazon.

We got a Philips Hue Lightstrip with a motion detector, which works beautifully. No need to run power to recessed lights or figure out where to run a lightswitch. You program the Hue Lightstrip via smartphone app to set the "on" color (any number of thousands of LED colors), the timeout to turn off after last motion is detected, whether you want a different color based on time of day (e.g. you can set a red nightlight from 10pm-7am rather than bright white). The range of the Philips Hue motion detector is quite large and we found it best to angle it away from the door toward the inside as shown in the pic.

We mounted a 6" MDF baseboard, painted the same as our creme wall color, behind the rear track using L brackets to the ceiling (the MDF isn't attached to the rails) to prevent light leakage out the top, make it look cleaner, and mount the lightstrip to.

Finally, we installed soft close sliding door mechanisms so the center doors catch and pull shut softly.

Step 2: Making the Center Weathered Barn Doors

The center doors were made using a sheet of 5/8" plywood for the backing. We found pre-weathered boards from Home Depot that came in a pack of a variety of colors for the facing boards.

walk-in barn door closet

Cutting the 5/8" plywood backing to size.

walk-in barn door closet

The sets of weathered wood from Home Depot. You could easily take cheap wood like from pallets and stain them a variety of Minwax colors. I did in fact verify that that the stains are very close to Minwax Jacobean, Special Walnut, and Weathered Oak.

walk-in barn door closet

Laying out the weathered facing boards. Boards are cut 45 degree angles from the lengthwise middle. If you swapped our center doors, they'd make a perfect diamond. Don't worry about the length of the boards yet--they can hang off and be cut at the very end.

walk-in barn door closet

Cutting the weathered boards at 45 degree angles.

walk-in barn door closet

Fix each board using liquid nails and 23-gauge pin nails.

walk-in barn door closet

23-gauge pin nailer.

walk-in barn door closet

Pin nailer holes are pretty much invisible.

walk-in barn door closet

Trim off the weathered boards when you're done, after letting the liquid nails set for 24hrs.

walk-in barn door closet

We wanted a border to hide the edges where you'd see the plywood meet the weathered boards. We used the same weathered boards for the border. We flipped the weathered boards on their short side, so the ~5/8" edges faced out. Rip the boards to the thickness of your plywood plus weathered boards, ~1.25". Don't forget to take the size of your border into account when initially cutting your plywood.

walk-in barn door closet

Liquid nails + pin nailer for the border, just like before. Done!

Step 3: Making the Side Doors

The side doors are relatively simple and plain, and painted the same flat creme color as the rest of the room. They consist of a border of 2"x6" lumber with cedar paneling in the center.

Sidenote: Our side and center doors overlap by about 1.5", so there's no gaps between the doors, and it prevents light leakage. Take any overlap into account when calculating the width of your doors.

walk-in barn door closet

The side door construction.

walk-in barn door closet

The 2"x6" boards are dadoed/routed in the center so the cedar planks fit in.

walk-in barn door closet

Cedar planking at Home Depot, $20/package, need 1 per package per door. Throwback to the '70s and '80s! Note they're already tongue-and-grooved, but pretty thin and finicky to align.

walk-in barn door closet

Close-up of the corner of the side doors. We painted only the outside of the door, keeping the back raw wood so the cedar keeps our closet fresh!

diy barn door closet