How to Paint Inside Closets

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A fresh coat of paint brightens your room, but the closet is often forgotten when you repaint. Closets don't see much traffic other than by the person whose room it is, but painting the walls in your closets can make the space look fresher. Painting a closet is similar to painting a room except with less space in which to work. Knowing what type of paint to use and how to tackle the project can make it go faster with beautiful results.

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Choosing Paint for Closets

Satin interior paint is ideal for closets. The satin finish holds up well when clothes or hangers rub or bump against the walls. You can go with a glossier finish if you want the walls to reflect more light, but too much gloss can create glare.

White or similar light and neutral colors are common for closets. The lighter color makes a small closet feel brighter and makes it easier to see the items in your closet. You can also paint the closet the same color as the rest of the room to make it blend in. If the room color is darker than you want for the closet, consider going with a lighter version of the room color for the closet.

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Things You'll Need

How to Paint Inside Closets

Step 1: Clear Out the Closet

Remove all clothes, shoes, accessories, and other items from your closet. This is a good time to spring clean your closet and get rid of things you no longer want. Painting the closet can take several hours or even a couple of days, so find a spot where the clothes can stay for a while.

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Step 2: Remove Fixtures

Take down hooks or other mounted items on the walls if you don't want to paint around them. If you're replacing the current setup with custom closet storage, remove all shelves, rods, and other current storage items in the closet. If you're keeping the old items, you can leave them in and paint around them.

Step 3: Clean All Surfaces in the Closet

Use a broom or vacuum to remove cobwebs and dust from walls and shelves. Wipe them down with a clean cloth dampened with soapy water. Let all surfaces dry completely before painting them.

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Step 4: Patch Any Holes

Check for gouges or other damage before painting. You might also want to patch screw holes from old shelving if you're installing new closet storage. Smooth spackling over the damaged areas with a putty knife to fill them in. Let the spackle dry and sand the area to smooth it out before painting.

Step 5: Protect the Area

Spread drop cloths over the flooring inside and just outside the closet. Use painter's tape to protect the baseboard, closet door trim, and ceiling.

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Step 6: Prime the Walls

Apply primer to your closet walls, starting with an angled brush along the edges. Let the primer dry before painting the closet walls. The primer should be dry in about three hours, but the type of primer you use can dictate how long it takes. You might need a stepladder to reach the top edges of the wall.

Step 7: Cut In Along the Edges

Cut in along the edges with the paint color using an angled brush. Work along all edges and corners.

Step 8: Paint the Walls

Paint the remaining portion of the walls using a paint roller. If you have a large walk-in closet, you can likely use a full-size roller. If you have a smaller closet, a mini paint roller can be a better option. You generally need two coats of paint to get good coverage, but one coat might be enough if you're just refreshing the closet walls with a new coat of white paint.

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