*This post was made possible by the generous support of Better Homes and Gardens, and features gifted product. All opinions are my own.
I think it’s pretty obvious that we’d do anything for our pets—including giving them the swankiest-ever place to pee, of course! Allow me to explain…There has been this one thing on my to-do list practically since the moment we moved in last November, and that was to create an aesthetically pleasing cat litter cubby. In other words, I wanted to transform the under-utilized closet in our guest room into a well-thought-out sanctuary for our cats that housed their litter box, treats, overflow toys and food, plus a trash can that I could use on a daily basis for all things pet-related. It took almost exactly one year, but I finally got it done, and I’m so excited to give you a little tour of their upgraded space today.
Now, I know one of the first things you might be thinking is, “Unused closet? Are you kidding me? This doesn’t exist!” I do feel slightly bad whenever I get this comment (which is pretty common), but the truth is that we have just been blessed with that wild unicorn-type moment where we ended up with an excess of storage space. This 1960s ranch came with an enormous unfinished basement that we have since filled with heavy-duty shelving to hold our everyday stuff. Because of this, we didn’t need to load down our bonus bedroom closets with things like extra bed linens, out-of-season clothes, and office supplies. We also are child-free, which helps keep our household collection of things well under control.
For all of these reasons, I was able to dedicate both of the closets in our two bonus bedrooms to our two cats. I relegated their litter boxes to these closets in order to give them plenty of options for their business-doing (at the time I photographed this story, we had Marlo the kitten, and Ginny was still with us—you can read her goodbye announcement here). You may be able to see from the photos above, though, that we were dealing with lots of empty wasted space. It was working, but we weren’t maximizing the possibilities, and it also wasn’t nice to look at. Since the doors have to stay open in order for the cats to use the space, I really wanted to make the closets look a little (read: a lot) more appealing.
The first thing I did was paint the inside of the closet. I’ve learned over the years that a poppy color of paint can really have such a profound effect on the look of a small space, like a closet. I chose a paint color that we already had in storage (it’s now discontinued but is very similar to Sherwin-Williams’ “Hazel”), and painted it on the entire interior surface of the closet. This color technique sort of acts like a rug when creating zones in a space. The bolder blue color differentiates the closet from the rest of the beige-colored guest room, making it look and feel like its own separate little room within a room.
To make the most of the wasted space between the bottom of the closet floor and the single large shelf above, I installed a small wall shelf that we now have filled with air-tight containers holding pet treats, and also a petite hook rack to organize brushes and other hang-able odds and ends. I could have installed another layer (or two!) of full-length, full-depth shelves, but I like having room to actually step into the closet when scooping from our top entry litter boxes. Adding more chunky shelves would have made it hard for me to do that, so I just added one small half-width shelf that would make better use of the wasted space, but that would still allow me full-height access to the interior closet space.
Another must-have for me was a trash can. This one is motion-activated, meaning I don’t ever have to touch the thing, which keeps our routine much more sanitary, like when I’m scooping litter or tossing out smelly wet pet food cans. To help fill in the empty space above the trash can, I hung a mod black and white floral canvas art print. This visually finishes off that once-wasted middle section of the closet, and also adds some much-needed style since, like I said, we have to keep these doors open at all times. We might as well make it something we like to look at!
I had so much fun filling that top-most shelf with baskets and tote boxes of various sizes, shapes, and colors. Again, this adds visual interest, but it has also been the perfect spot for stashing away things like extra pet food cans, overflow toys that we don’t want the kittens to have all-day access to, cleaning supplies, wipes, and bags of dry food. I love having all of those things hidden from view since they’re not the prettiest to look at. Did you notice the LED light strip I added under the big shelf?! It’s such a fun way to light up this space, and was super easy to install. I have plans to add another strip to the under-side of our kitchen cabinets this fall.
Resources: Large baskets, smaller baskets, motion-sensor trash can, LED tape light kit, litter box, hook rack, wall shelf, air-tight containers, cleaning tote box, canvas art, paint color, rug, reusable spray bottle, floor plant basket, faux floor plant
Can I just say how sweet it is to see Ginny pictured in today’s post…We miss her so much…But, anyway, it’s worth mentioning that I’m actually only sharing one of the two cat closets that I made over during this week-long process! I painted both closets new colors, installed shelves and hooks in each of the two spaces, and also added basket storage throughout. I’m working on DIYing one more unexpected layer to the second closet, which is why you’re not seeing that one today. I can’t wait to share it, and hope you’ll stick around for the grand reveal later on this month.
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