Small Room Ideas – How to Turn a Closet into a Home Workshop

Small Room Ideas - How to Turn a Closet to Home Workshop
World Axiom small room ideas

The Dream of My Own Fishing Workshop

Small room ideas abound on the internet. I’ve spent years searching Pinterest to see what people do to make their own “space”, be it a home craft room, man cave, small sewing area, etc.  I saved hundreds of pins hoping one day I would have a space to call my own.

After moving to our new home, I had a chance to do just that.  Family members had staked out their claims for space in the house. Room after room slipped from my grasp until there was just one room left. But it would work for me. It was an outside closet that held:

  • A rusting water tank
  • Heating and cooling unit
  • The swimming pool pump along with the sand filter
  • A water softener tank
  • The pressurization tank for the well
  • And racks of chemicals next to an air intake (not a good thing)
In a world of small room ideas we tackled taking a tank and pump closet and turning into a fishing gear workshop. You can use the same steps to create your own craft workspace or just create better use out of a small room.  It wouldn't be complete without some of our pegboard ideas and organization.  Check out the step by step process to get your own workshop set up.

But I could see how it could, after some work, become a space in which I could organize all my fishing gear, design and test new pegboard accessory products and review other accessories for the garage, craft rooms, etc.

Step One: Clear It Out

Let's quickly go over the destruction part of the project.

  1. First, clear out the chemicals; they were definitely a health hazard.
  2. Rip the racks out that had begun to dissolve from years of neglect.
  3. Throw out the rusted water tank and water softener tank
  4. Move the pool pump and sand filter outside.
  5. Relocate the pressurization tank into the corner and wall mount the water filter.
  6. There was nothing I could do about the HVAC unit; I was not in the mood to spend 10,000 USD on something that was working fine.

The photo below shows the space I had to work with after the tear out. This is where I would build my own home workshop. All those Pinterest photos showing ideas for small rooms really helped.

after the tearout

How To Turn a Small Space into Your Ultimate Home Workshop

Step Two: Fixing some problems with my room.

The concrete floor was partially exposed; half still had an epoxy paint on it.

The walls had plenty of holes that needed to be patched.


Pegboard was the first thing I installed. It covered half the holes and reduced the amount of painting needed. I put up a ¼” wooden pegboard from Lowe’s.  If you want instructions that will tell you how to put up your own pegboard wall, The DIY network does a great job of explaining the installation process.

Once the pegboard was up, I patched the holes on the walls. I used DAP Alex Plus Spackling patch filler.  Each filler application took a day to dry. The filler did not recess too much when it dried.  After a layer a day for two days, I sanded the patch gently.  My walls were more of a stucco pattern, so I didn’t have to worry about the making the patched area perfectly smooth.  The imperfections made it blend in with the original pattern.

patching the walls

Now for What I have Been Dreading…

Stripping the epoxy paint off the floor.

I had stripped floors with my father once, years ago.  It was not pleasant experience.  I was already getting flashbacks to that day.

Fristt thing was to get all the tools and protective gear organized.

floor stripping tools

Based on what my father, a store clerk at Home Depot and every contractor I spoke with said I must do to get rid of the epoxy paint, I loaded up to do this like I was cleaning up a hazardous waste dump.  KEEPING THE ROOM WELL VENTILATED WITH FREQUENT REST WILL KEEP YOU ALIVE!

Respirator and hazmat suit engaged.  Off we go.

safety first

The two cans of Klean Strip Premium Stripper were not enough nor strong enough.  I switched to the thick paste in the big can.

A key point to remember in stripping the floors is to let the stripper do the work. Put it on thick over the section you are working on and get out of the room!

Drink fluids while waiting because you are going to be sweating in that suit.

Once the paint bubbles up, use a scraper and dump the sludge in a thick plastic pail.  The goo will eat through a plastic bag and will also trash your footwear.  I used a pair of sneakers that were destined for the trash heap.

Strip, scrape and repeat until all the paint is off the floor and you are left with just raw concrete.

I then thoroughly washed and rinsed the floor, making sure all the stripper was gone.

The ceiling

painting the ceiling

I painted the ceiling next.  3M Scotch Blue painter’s tape went around the fixtures I couldn’t remove  and along the top wall edge, for clean lines.

The paint is Sherwin Williams Property Solution White Latex paint.  I cut in the edges with a 2 ½” brush and then used the roller. It only needed one coat to cover the ceiling.

Put a plastic drop cloth over the floor since I didn't want to strip fresh paint off the floor.

It was a little humid, so I waited two days for the paint to dry.  The central air vent helped the paint to dry and also kept the humidity down.

Once the ceiling was dry, I peeled the painter’s tape off.  I really like the 3M Scotch Blue because it doesn’t take any of the under paint off and peels off easily but keeps a clean edge.

Painting the Walls and Pegboard

First, the painters tape went up on the ceiling edge.

I used Sherwin William’s Infinite for the walls and hoped the salesman’s comments and the marketing efforts written on the can weren’t kidding and I wouldn’t need a second coat.

Grabbed the 2 ½” brush and cut around the edges, electrically boxes, ceiling and pipes on the wall.  This took a lot longer than the ceiling because there was more surface area and a lot more areas the roller couldn’t reach.

When rolling the pegboard I recommend not soaking the roller in the paint.  Better to go over the pegboard holes with a “dryer” roller so that the paint doesn’t slop in the holes.  Otherwise, you are going to be picking out paint for days!

I did need a second coat in spots on the pegboard because I kept a minimal amount of paint on the roller.  In my opinion, worth it.

Prepping the floor

Some of the concrete was broken after sitting underneath the hot water tank and other pumps for years.  I used a wire brush to get the loose concrete off and then patched the wall and some chips in the floor with DAP Flexible Floor Patch and Leveller. A putty knife kept it flat and smooth; it dried the same way.

patching concrete
patching concrete 2

Let the floor dry for a couple of days and then put down the floor sealer/ primer.  It is bright white so it was easy to see if I missed a spot.

floor primer

A few days later the primer was fully dry and I painted the floor with Valspar Porch Floor, and Patio.  Used dark grey to help hide dirt.

If I could have done it differently I would have used a paint with some texture.  The floor is very, very smooth now.  When it is humid the floor almost feels slick.

floor painted

I am going to get a mat to and put it at the entrance; I hope to reduce some of the slickness.

It’s Move in Time!

So now I have my own space.  I needed some shelving that would be strong but easily moveable if I relocate it.

For my workbench I bought The Seville Classics UltraGraphite Wood Top Workbench and a WorkPro Hydraulic Stool.  I had a ton of Amazon gift card points to use up.

World Axiom small room ideas

What’s Next?

Time to get everything up on the walls.  I plan on taking all my fishing lures that have been packed away for years and put them up on the wall, so I can do a little inventory analysis before getting out on the water.

Final Thoughts: Don’t Rush It.

As much as I wanted the room finished, I took my time.  Once the kids were in bed or in the morning before everyone else woke up, I put in a few hours.  Take the time to let the paint dry.

It’s going to be your sanctuary it should feel like work to get it ready.

Make sure you set up your craft room, home workshop, “man cave” the way you want it. But keep it flexible so it can adapt as your needs change.  Soon my walls will be full of (insert shameless plug here) World Axiom Pegboard Jars, bins and other companies’ products that will help me to organize my R&D / fishing room.

Finally, all those small room ideas have become reality.

World Axiom small rooms ideas 2
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