Master Closet Update: It’s All Painted!

May 28, 2020

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Last week we finished putting up all the trim and getting things filled and sanded, and this week has been all about paint. As a reminder…

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

Kind of hard to look at, haha. Clutter, paint samples on the wall, wood floors mixed with wood shelves and wood baseboard and white baseboard and wood filler and holes in the wall for the electrical and this and that and the other. But we finished up the baseboards, cleared everything out, taped off the floor, window and doorway, and sprayed the entire room – trim, ceiling, cabinets – all of it.

The above picture is just primer and it’s already a huge improvement. We used Zinsser Shellac primer, because it sticks to everything – including melamine IKEA cabinet boxes. That’s what’s good about this primer. The bad? It’s extremely high VOC and toxic. Do not use this primer without a respirator maskNot the easiest thing to find right now, for sure, but the fumes on this primer are no joke. Luckily we have a few heavy duty ventilator masks and goggles from past projects, otherwise there’s no way we could have done this. But the primer was key, so the paint would adhere to the melamine without peeling off. So it could look like this:

Tell me that doesn’t look incredible. We honestly could not be happier with it – the color is perfect, and it pulled the entire closet together just how we knew (and hoped) it would. The IKEA-ness of this closet disappeared, and it feels so custom and, thanks to the reinforcement of the trim we added, sturdy.

Painting the Master Closet: Chris Loves Julia

We used Farrow & Ball’s Lamp Room Gray, and it’s a total chameleon color. It breathes, and moves with the sun, which keeps everything from feeling bland and boring. (It’s the same color we used on the trim in our adjacent master bedroom, so it really ties together the spaces) Here’s the view from the window, showing how different the shades can be:

Painting the Master Closet: Chris Loves Julia

When you want a smooth, consistent finish, spraying is the way to go. We’ve tried half a dozen sprayers, but are huge fans of the Graco Airless sprayers. Specifically, the Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus (not sponsored). We swapped the default orange tip for the blue Graco RAC X with a 517 spray nozzle. The “5” in “517” represents the width of spray. Doubling that first digit gives you the coverage when the sprayer is held one foot away from the surface you’re painting – so for this one, ten inches. the “17” is the rate of flow. For indoor paint, you’ll usually use a 15 or 17 flow nozzle – the better the paint, the higher you’ll go on that number. Farrow & Ball is a thicker, high-quality paint so the 517 was perfect. We’ve never had to thin any paint while using this sprayer–the same one we used for painting our kitchen cabinets last year and to paint our parents’ exterior this weekend. It’s gooooood.

That view – love it. Next for this room is making the custom drawer fronts, which will get painted in the same beautiful color. Then we can hang the chandelier, install the mirror (which is just sitting in our garage, begging to be mounted in place), and move our clothes in! But real quick, let’s just see how the rug looks in here…

Oh yeah–now is the fun part!

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What do you think?

  1. Ashley says:

    Suggestions for color dup from Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore? My husband does not understand the value of the more expensive F&B paint. Also, suggestions on how to get your husband to understand the value of more expensive paint? ????

  2. Lauren says:

    Would you recommend this paint color in a mud room with no natural light. I’m wanting to avoid a grey that looks purple.

  3. Connie says:

    I LOVE your closet so much Julia! Not that this only applies to this post, but just wondering, can you share the link to the post about your floors if you ever did one about them? I love the look of them in your closet and would love to know what it is and the stain!

  4. Arlene says:

    Looks AMAZING!!!! Did you use the same sheen on the ceiling, trim, and baseboards?

  5. Rendy Tucker says:

    Closet of my dreams!!! Any chance you could tell me how deep those shoe shelves are?!

  6. Kayla Lowe says:

    Hi Julia,

    What did you use to clean the BIN primer off your sprayer? I’m about to paint this weekend with the same sprayer and I’m super nervous about getting the primer off the sprayer. Thanks so much in advance :)

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      For oil-based primer, use mineral spirits. Good luck!

      • Sam says:

        Closet does look spectacular. After using F&B for multiple things now, can you say F&B is a superior choice or more appealing choice than say Benjamin Moore? Followed along on all your posts, but am just deciding to paint now in new home. Trying to decide with F&B Wimborne white and BM white dove… & eventually railings for caibnets…but unsure about ordering F&B because $$$$$. I know you guys have used all kinds of brands and would be in the know.

      • Julia says:

        We love the color selections of Farrow & Ball — can’t beat the depth, but love Benjamin Moore for their finishes and colors too. We like them all!

  7. Courtney says:

    We are finishing up a shiplap ceiling and I am wondering if you caulked the seam between the crown and the shiplap? Concerned that the caulk pushing into the grooves of the shiplap may not look great. Thank you!

  8. Melinda says:

    How did the filled holes hold up to the paint? Do they look as smooth as you had hoped?

  9. Britney says:

    It looks like some of the filled shelf holes aren’t smooth – is there anything you would do differently for filling/painting those if you were to build another closet with Pax?

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      There are a few places where screws hold the wardrobes together. It’s necessary and we decided to just paint over the screws to disguise them as much as we could.

  10. Claire says:

    Hi Julia. Loving following along and seeing all the updates throughout your home. I’ve got serious paint sprayer envy eyes on right now and starting to think about how many projects both outside and in that I could do (interior fitted wardrobe, garden fences, metal garden furniture..). Have you thought about doing a tutorial? I notice you did your parents outside spaces, your closet primer, then closet final colour paint all within days, which I’m guessing has several different paint finishes as well as different colours of course. How about cleaning in between and disposing of cleaning fluid?
    I think this would be so helpful for newbies (aka me)!
    Thanks so much

  11. Sarah says:

    I love the BIN primer too! We still have some remnants of trim and doors painted with oil-based paint in our house and I LOVE that I can use BIN right over it without sanding and it won’t scratch off. And you’re totally right about using the ventilator masks when applying it–it smells STRONG!!

  12. Jean says:

    I absolutely love the BIN primer. Yes it’s tricky to work with but so worth it.
    Your closet looks amazing and so inspiring. Thank you for continuing to share DIYs on your blog.

  13. Pam Good says:

    That closet looks stunning, even before it’s finished! That rug is beautiful!

  14. Stephanie Chapman says:

    Hi there! I was wondering if you use the sprayer to apply the primer as well? This looks so lovely, thank you for sharing the details. I learned a lot!

  15. Caroline says:

    You’ve never gotten a mess? I tried a sprayer before and on the first spray it just shot out in clumps. They’re worth it? Time saving? If so I’m buying one because painting isn’t fun. Also, your exterior reno by Studio McGee is incredible.

  16. Jordianne Balan says:

    The rug is gorgeous…….. and crazy expensive…..????

  17. Sofia says:

    It’s so beautiful Julia!!! Love that rug so much as well!!! Beautiful work as always xoxo

  18. Trista says:


  19. Sara A says:

    The symmetry of that left side is magic. I love it! Do the primer fumes go away once the primer is covered with paint?

  20. I’m freakin DYING over how good this looks! Also can I hire you to model all my rugs?!!

  21. Audrey Russell says:

    It looks amazing!!! Well done ????????

  22. Annie says:

    Wow! It turned out so beautiful. That color is gorgeous. Can’t wait to see it come together even more. Did you use the paint sprayer for the primer too? If so – is there a certain type of cleaning between priming and painting that’s necessary? Thanks so much!

  23. It’s so beautiful! Sorry if this is posted elsewhere but I’m not finding – what are the dimensions of the space?

  24. Meghan Martin says:

    That. Looks. Incredible. We love customizing those Pax units too! We even found use for them in our dining room:

  25. Anastasia says:

    Be still my heart! I love it love it love it so much! Thank you for taking us along in the journey – it’s such a pleasure to watch and feel like I CAN DO THIS!

  26. cathryn says:

    Stunning! The color, the finish, the trim all compliment the room so well… and that rug!!

  27. Camille says:

    Love it so much! As I scrolled down reading the post I made it to the rug and said, “Oh yeah!” out loud, then saw that’s exactly what you wrote. ???????????? Beautiful work as always.

  28. La Rae says:

    This room gives me a closet-gasm! OMG the color is soooo soft yet moody yet dreamy! Then you pulled in the rug and my jaw dropped.

    Everything is PERFECTION!

  29. Rachel says:

    I’m planning to paint my laundry room all one color – ceiling, walls, and trim. I was going to use three different paint sheens, but I’m intrigued by the idea of using one sheen for everything like you did in your closet. Which sheen would you use for a laundry room? I’ve noticed over the years you use different brands of paint for different projects. Any favorites? I had a favorite, but sadly the company was bought out and the line discontinued.

    • Julia says:

      I’m really into a good eggshell lately. It has a nice sheen to it, is so durable but is matte enough to hide imperfections.

      • Susan says:

        Will you be saving the stories showing Chris spraying the closet and spraying the drawer fronts in that cool blowup tent? I hope show!! Want to show my husband but it’s gone already :(

      • Julia says:

        We’ll add it to our closet highlight!

  30. Danielle says:

    Oh My! You absolutely NAILED this. My boys’ bedroom is directly behind my master closet and I’m trying to figure out how to break it to them that I’m knocking down a wall and copying this. Any suggestions? Condensing 4 boys into one ultimate bunk room-they going to love it. Hahaha-excited for you!

  31. Natalie says:

    This looks beautiful! I’m in the process of replacing the baseboards and door/window casings in our home, and absolutely love what you have done with yours in the closet space. Do you mind sharing your sources/how you determined the right dimensions? I’m struggling with how to figure out the right height for baseboards and width for casing, as our home has multiple different ceiling heights.

    • Julia says:

      Most of our ceilings are 9′ and we went with 8″ baseboards. They fit under our plugs still. Hahah, funny way to determine that but I wanted as tall as we could while not having to move all the plugs. Our trim is 4″.

  32. Oh my goodness, it’s so so beautiful!

  33. Grace says:

    LOVE!! It looks so great. What an awesome color! I love the way you described it – breathing!

    Did you consider whether to do a glossier finish on the trim or is it all sprayed with the modern eggshell sheen?

  34. Amanda says:

    This looks SOO GOOD. I love the colour and with hat rug it’s so dreamy!! Thanks for all of the tips about the sprayer. I would love a sprayer where I don’t have to thin paint (the bane of my existence when spraying TBH – did I thin it enough? Too much? Ughh) will definitely check that sprayer out!

  35. Pinny says:

    Looks beautiful! Is the paint is equivalent to a satin finish (between flat and semi gloss)? Did you choose to use only one sheen throughout the while room for ease of spraying, or was it an intentional choice not to do a semi gloss on the “trim” that’s not wall or shelves to achieve a certain sophisticated look?

  36. Jennifer says:

    The last picture with the rug!? I feel like I’m dreaming!! Seeing the “after” with the closet fully painted was already so satisfying, but now I’m so excited for what’s to come. Also have been wondering about the mirror progress and can’t believe it’s just sitting in the garage hiding from us! ;)

  37. LavandulaLady says:

    This looks terrific! Love the color. The rug is perfection. And this ‘closet’ is so spacious, I’d call it a DRESSING ROOM. Just a unique title that most people cannot claim, lol.

  38. Bee says:

    This looks so amazing! I love how the color changes! Can you share a link to your baseboards please they are soooo good!

  39. Erika says:

    Well… so are you looking to head to MN and makeover my master closet? It’s a blank slate.. ☺️Looks gorg! Love following your house to home progress!!

  40. caitlin low says:

    It’s so beautiful!!!! Is it just the way the picture looks, or is there not any trim on the doorway wall? I just wondered if there isn’t, what you have planned?

  41. Candace says:


    But real talk: let’s get that chandelier up right quick because it’s just so pretty! ????????????

  42. Gina says:

    I LOVE this space! Painting the room one uniform color is so classy and cozy. It gave me a little bit of a “devol” English cottage vibe and I just love it!! Such a great color choice and design. ????

  43. Kiera says:

    This is beautiful, I just want to sit on the rug and drool.
    In our yet-to-be-determined future master bathroom/closet reno we will be using the IKEA Pax system and I can not wait, but I must, it’s on the 5 year plan. It will be a fraction of this size but I am looking forward to trimming it out and painting it to get that custom look.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  44. This closet is so good! The shiplap ceiling adds the most gorgeous touch.

  45. Brianna says:

    What an amazing reveal!! Can I ask about your baseboards? Is it a 1×6 with a trim topper or is that the whole baseboard? If so where did you get them? Thanks!!

  46. Bryanna says:

    Wow it’s so beautiful that color is unreal!

  47. Liz says:

    It’s looking so good! Can’t wait to see the next step!

  48. Debbie Ricks says:


  49. Adrienne says:

    Wow. A dream closest!! Who makes the amazing rug?

  50. Amy Barfuss says:

    The rug is gorgeous! Do you have a link? It all looks amazing and I am excited to see it come together!

  51. Alicia Haas says:

    It looks amazing! Where did you find the rug???

  52. Melanie says:

    Beautiful! You must be thrilled! I am so glad you guys tackled this project & are showing us how. We are building a house & plan on using this as a guide to building in our own closet. Thanks for the help! We need it.????

  53. Kelly says:

    Oh my dogness! (I meant to type “goodness” but I kinda love that typo)

    It looks incredible! What a gorgeous color! So much lighter and brighter than I was expecting. It’s coming together SO beautifully!

    Just curious – is there a reason the wall adjacent to the bedroom doesn’t have baseboard? Are there more plans for that wall?

  54. Rene says:

    GOR-GEOUS! So lovely…every detail. Quick question, on the photo above with the two paint cans, the wall of the cabinet looks like it has a fancy finish to it, almost a clay type of feel. Did you do something to them that I missed? Maybe my eyes are just playing tricks on me!! Can’t wait to see this room come together!!

  55. Jessica says:

    It looks so good! I was wondering if the paint sprayer you used would be good for exteriors, thanks for addressing it in your post! I’m so glad you guys chose to do IKEA closets and not custom Because use selfishly we are doing IKEA and need a tutorial :)

    • Julia says:

      Yes! We used it in our parents exterior this weekend!

      • Christy says:

        looks amazing Julia! curious to know why you chose to spray the brick at your parents vs roll it/brush. I hear conflicting advise on which is best for brick for best coverage.

      • Julia says:

        It’s so textured, it would have been impossible to get in all the crevices

      • Audrey says:

        Julia, do you use the same spray nozzle for exterior projects? We are panting our house (after our painter flaked) so I’m looking for some advice on a sprayer. Thanks!

  56. Stephanie says:

    Stunning!! Carpet and colour are the perfect pair!
    Will you add shades to the window to filter and prevent sun damage to the clothes hanging directly across from it? Or is it mainly indirect light.
    So excited and inspired by this closet build!!

  57. Edith says:

    Exquisite! Love love love it!

  58. Naomi says:

    It looks beautiful. You’ve done it again!! Thank you so much for sharing. And tell me you didn’t put a couple pairs of shoes up there just to try it out ????. I don’t think I could resist! Xoxo

  59. Maya says:

    It looks so so so good!!

  60. Dawn says:

    I’ve never been so excited to see somebody else’s closet come together!

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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