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A Space-Saving Solution for a Shoe Addict

August 3, 2010

There have been times in my life when I’ve been blessed with a large bathroom or even a walk-in closet. This particular point in my life is most certainly not one of those times. I have a closet barely large enough to hang my clothes in, and an itsy-bitsy bathroom that nearly makes an airplane lavatory look spacious. On the flip side, my bedroom is huge. TOO huge. I’m not sure who designed the layout of my room/bathroom/closet, but I think a lesson in design proportions would do them some good.

So, when I moved into this apartment, I had zero space to put my shoes (hanging clothes kinda took priority in my closet!). And if you know me, you’d know this is a bad thing. I have a shoe obsession that I should be ashamed of. In my past apartments I had all of my shoes arranged in particle board cubicles that I’d stack in my walk-in closets. No such luxury exists here. So for the first few months of my new life in DC, my shoe cubbies were just hanging out in the bedroom with me and my bed, looking a little lost and confused. I should also mention that these first few months also involved quite the strategic bathroom routine. With sub-zero counter space, I relied on my closed toilet seat to hold all of my make-up while I was getting ready in the morning. It was not fun. I’ve taken many trips to the wee corners of my toilet to retrieve that dropped concealer cap or eyeshadow brush. I wish I could insert one of those terrible infomercial exaggerated videos of how terrible life is without their product HERE, but alas, I have no video editing skills so your imaginations will have to do.

I knew I needed to come up with a solution to my shoe/makeup dilemma. The last thing I wanted to do was continue my pseudo-acrobatic makeup routine, or transplant my shoes into some of those hideous over-the-door shoe holders.

Enter stage: design-obsessed boyfriend that moonlights as a handyman. We talked about different ideas that involved hanging my shoe cubbies on one of my bare bedroom walls. It was a few days later when the idea came to me – hang the four rectangular shoe cubbies at sitting height, length-wise, across the wall. Leave a space in the center for a small vanity countertop, a stool, and a mirror and voila! A shoe vanity! Not only was I thrilled with our solution, it took very little cash to create as I was able to reuse a lot of what I already had around the apartment. The recipe for my very own shoe vanity is below and followed by pics of my DIY project!

1. (4) particle board shoe cubbies – Originally purchased at Target, 4-years-old and still in working order!

2. (2) pieces of plexiglass leftover from design school projects – They were expensive little suckers, design school ain’t cheap and I knew I’d have a use for them one day!

3. (1) scarf – Apparently I thought I’d need a different scarf for every day of the week before moving here from Florida. I sacrificed one of them for the good of my shoe vanity 🙂

4. (1) scrap piece of Ikea furniture from their “As Is” section – $2 well-spent!

5. (1) vanity mirror – Not as big as I’d like it to be, but I already owned it and this was a better use than just “decoration”!

6. (2) lamps w/shades – Another thrifty Ikea purchase.

7. (1) gallon of fuchsia paint –  Because a girl’s vanity has to be feminine and fun!

8. (3) frames – Swapped out some photography in older Ikea frames for a super craft-nerd alternative. I wanted something personalized, so I had my reluctant boyfriend help me pen some favorite song lyrics and quotes onto black card stock in silver ink.


So there you have it. I hope my little DIY project has been of assistance to my fellow shoe-obsessed, small-apartment-dwelling girls!


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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2010 7:08 pm

    Wow! Tops my blog ideas!!!!! Love it!

  2. September 17, 2010 8:31 am

    After recently moving into a loft, I totally understand the need for ‘making it work’ in a small space. Love what your idea!

  3. Suzette in Pittsburgh permalink
    February 28, 2011 9:14 pm

    This is awesome! Can you give me a tip on how to mount those babies on the wall? I have a few target cubbies, that are awful in the corner! Thanks so much for this post!

    • March 3, 2011 9:04 pm

      Thanks so much Suzette! They are mounted with simple plastic L-brackets that I bought from Ikea, they’re sold for their wall shelves, but we put them beneath the cubbies to hold them up and it worked beautifully. Depending on how big your cubbies are/how much you plan to put in them, you may want to use some of those smaller metal brackets (the kind that come with flatpack dressers or bookshelves) on the top to keep them from leaning forward. Let me know if you have any questions, I’d love to help you re-create this because I absolutely LOVE having it in my room 🙂

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