Real costs: No room for a home office? This 'cloffice' design cost under $1k

A walk-in closet provides both the space you need and the privacy for working remotely. Here's how an Alabama homeowner created a cloffice space for under $1,000

cloffice remodel
(Image credit: Remodeling Today)

When you’re working on a strict budget, it’s helpful to know what a home remodeling project will cost before you take a hammer to a few walls. Digital home service marketplaces publish cost analyses for many types of projects but their estimated ranges can vary as much as $10,000 or more. The reason is that construction costs vary by area of the country, materials used, amount of paid labor involved, and square footage. 

So, Real Homes has partnered with a few homeowners and their contractors to present a series of Real Cost projects. If you want to know the real cost of turning your closet into a home office, this project is for you.

  • See also: 43 home office ideas to make working from home more productive (and stylish)

The project:

cloffice before

The Nyugens' closet before 

(Image credit: Today's Homeowner)

Cloffice: A walk-in closet/office combination

Location: Daphne, Alabama

Total cost: $996

Working with dresses and slacks hanging about your head gets old after a while. Who are we kidding? For Anthony Nyugen, a work-from-home engineer, it was downright claustrophobic. “It felt like a dungeon with a light bulb in it,” he says. But, after his family of six outgrew the available bedroom space in their suburban home, Anthony and his wife Renee partnered with Danny Lipford and daughter Chelsea Lipford Wolf of Today’s Homeowner to turn their closet into a 'cloffice.'

Since Today’s Homeowner’s mission is to work with homeowners on their projects and teach them to maintain their homes for themselves, labor costs have been omitted from this project. But, most of the work is so DIY-friendly, if you’re comfortable with a hammer, saw, and paintbrush, you’ve got this covered.

Steps to creating a cloffice

cloffice remodel

The cloffice after the remodel

(Image credit: Remodeling Today)

Here's how Nyugen and the Today's Homeowner team tackled their project. 

Have a plan

“The plan was to make one side of the space a more efficient closet,” says Lipford, and the other side a dedicated office.”

The Nyugen’s plan included adding:

  • A window to provide natural light,
  • Electrical outlets to power Anthony’s electronics,
  • Custom shelving for the closet, and
  • A custom desktop and shelves for the office side.

Add sufficient lighting

When your closet is on an outside wall of the home, you have the luxury of adding a window. Lipford encouraged the couple to do this to add natural light and give Anthony a view of nature.

“Without the window,” says Anthony, “I spent a lot of time finding excuses to get a snack or get a drink or something just to get out. I think with that window there now, I probably won’t do that as much.” Since the window added only $108 to this project, Anthony is happy with the window and the budget.

Also, since most closets have a single bulb shedding light on the subject, Chelsea recommended they replace their overhead fixture with a chandelier. They chose a design with more bulbs that gave the space more light and an office vibe.

Power it up

Running an extension cord from his desk to the adjacent bathroom wasn’t cutting it for Anthony. So the next thing they added to this space was a dedicated outlet for his computer and printer.

Everything in its place

cloffice ideas

(Image credit: Remodeling Today)

On the closet side of the space, Chelsea helped Renee, a teacher, build custom shelving that provides the perfect storage for clothes, shoes, handbags, and more. They saved space by building the shelves into the corners and adding double-hanging rods between them. The double rods give the Nyugens more space for clothing than they previously had. Chelsea used 12-inch shelf board to create another set of shelves that holds at least 20 pairs of shoes on the adjacent wall. It also doubles as a support for a second set of rods.

Getting to work

Chelsea suggested introducing some stained wood on the office side of the closet. “They’re still sharing the same room, but changing up the materials, changes up the feel of the space,” she says. Everything flows together, yet the different finishes delineate the office side from the closet side. In addition to a built-in desk with cubbies underneath, they created floating shelves to hold photographs, plants, and mementos. The shelves and the desktop are stained to match.

How did they do this for under $1k?

Adding the window was the only intimidating part of this remodel project. If you can do the rest yourself, there’s no reason you can’t build your Cloffice on a modest budget. Here’s the breakdown of the costs for the Nyugens:

  • Lumber: $582
  • Window: $108
  • Closet rod-$15
  • Paint and stain: $101
  • Wood putty: $4
  • Basket: $52
  • Light fixture: $94
  • Monitor mount: $40

Total = $996

Carol J. Alexander

Carol J. Alexander writes website copy, blog posts, and feature articles on home remodeling and construction topics from her home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. In addition to Real Homes, notable clients include, This Old House, Family Handyman, and Florida Roofing magazine.