New room-length barn door walk-in closet in our bedroom! It's made with cheap cedar paneling and pallet wood.

Total cost: $800

  • $450 steel hanging hardware
  • $350 wood
walk-in barn door closet
walk-in barn door closet
walk-in barn door closet
Closet consists of 4 door panels on 2 tracks.
walk-in barn door closet
The new built-in Elfa organization system from The Container Store (photo before doors were up).

Materials

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 (think of a pocket door).  We instead had just a gaping open space in our bedroom.

We needed a way to mount the doors to the ceiling, not to a wall. 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 $130 each.  We got 5ft rail lengths, so we needed 2 kits--anything longer than a single 5ft rail was cost prohibitive. The rolling is very smooth and quiet!  

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!

You can see from the last photo on this page that we had to cut out notches at the bottom outer sides so the doors would go over the existing floorboards and touch the side walls.

Now paint the doors.

Finishing touches

  • Cast iron handles were $14 on Amazon.
  • Philips Hue Lightstrip with a motion detector. 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).
  • Soft close sliding door mechanisms so the center doors catch and pull shut softly.
diy barn door closet