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Closet Design Layout Tips

A few handy tips for efficient walk-in closet solutions

Posted July 10th, 2010   |   Tags: Closet Design, Custom Closet, Do It Yourself, Modular Closet
Closet Design Layout Tips

Sometimes getting started with a walk-in closet design can be the hardest part of the project.  If your closet is still full of clothing and your old closet shelving, it can be difficult to see the potential a closet has and imagine where you would like components of your new customized closet system to be placed. We will discuss a few basic closet design tips to help guide you with creating a functional walk-in closet solution.

Here Are a Few Walk-In Closet Design Tips to Help You Get Started:

Take a Step Back
  • It’s best to begin by measuring your closet walls and making a sketch or diagram on paper so that you begin your closet design without comparing your ideas to your old closet systems.  This is your fresh start!  You can print out our Closet Measurement Form to jot down your notes and see an example.
Functional Walk-In Closet Design
  • Most closets have mainly hanging space and no closet shelving or drawers.  When remodeling your closet, be sure to maximize available hang space by incorporating double hang areas.  For long hang sections, items such as dresses, you can place the closet pole about 60”-70” off the ground and use the extra space at the top for new closet shelves.  Use our Closet Inventory Form to total all the space your items take up in your closet.
  • Know your routine.  Your walk-in closet design should be based on function.  Think about the clothing and accessories you use most often and make sure they are easily accessible and toward the front of the closet.  This is also helpful when putting up your laundry or dry cleaning.
  • It is a good to idea to leave at least 12” between your ceiling and top closet shelf; this way you will have at least a foot of storage space above your closet system for storage items such as shoes, small boxes, folded items, seasonal items, bags or luggage.
  • Some modular and custom closet systems offer units that are mounted on the wall and do not touch the floor;  these are great for extra floor space and this keeps cost down because there are less materials involved.  In many cases, there is also the option of units that start from the floor up.  Deciding between the two when sketching your walk-in closet design can depend on personal preference, available space and budget.
  • Deep drawers, while great for heavy sweaters or blankets, are not very functional for smaller items in closet design or for function.  Items may be lost or unused in the back or bottom of larger drawers and it can be a hassle to have to dig for what you are looking for.
Practical Placement In Walk-In Closet Design
  • Make sure you plan your custom walk-in closet design according to your needs; reference our Closet Inventory Form.  Most online closet companies and retail stores sell hanging sections, drawer sections and closet shelving sections.  Custom solutions can incorporate these design concepts as well.
  • Closet shelving for folded items and small items is best above closet rods for hanging items.  If you wish to incorporate hanging clothes and closet shelving in one section, place the shelves above the clothes so that the clothes don’t overshadow the contents of the shelves.  Closet storage shelves are usually more shallow than hanging garments so the hanging clothing may block the view of the closet shelving all together.
  • Keep in mind that even though most shelving is 12” or 14” deep, that the actual clothes will extend out about 17” – 20” from the wall.  This is important to consider in longer, narrow closets.  If your walk-in closet is only 4 feet wide and you hang clothes on both sides, this may only leave about 8” to 14” of walking space down the middle.  In this instance, consider a more functional walk-in closet design with shelving or drawers on one side and hanging clothes on the other side.
  • It’s easy to forget what you have stored in your closet if you can not see it.  Design your closet system in such a way that you can see all of your clothes and belongings.  Everyday clothing and accessories can be placed up front and in plain sight.  For smaller items like socks and undergarments, you can use see-through slide-out baskets or bins or store them in shallow drawers for easy access. 
  • If you incorporate drawers in the closet design, be sure there is plenty of space to open the drawer outward.  It’s good to have at least 2-3 feet in front of a drawer or slide-out basket so that you can comfortably stand before it, open it and access what is stored inside.
  • Remember to make sure you will be able to open all drawers, hampers or slide-out baskets.  Clothing will extend about 20” from the wall; you don’t want any garments to block access to any drawers on adjacent walls.

Walk-in closet design is tricky; there is a lot to consider and making certain that all closet and storage space is maximized in an efficient way may take some time, but it is well worth it in the end.  Closet systems can make day-to-day functions easier and less stressful; if you need help, consider hiring a full service custom closet company or a professional organizer to help execute your closet design ideas and get your project started.

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Foreign objects and hair pullers

What a great article.

Occasionally, if your one of the fortunate ones, you will get thrown a curve ball. That being a window or some other foreign object, such as an alarm box.

Windows need to be addressed in that they let in light. I recommend having a nice blind or something to block a majority of the light that comes into the closet. Natural light fades clothes badly and quickly. If you enjoy the natural light, do a design that allows the light to not directly shine on your clothes investment. Never put hanging directly in front of a window.

Alarm boxes, keep in mind where the alarm box is. Shelves can be cut to fit around the box in certain instances. Make sure there are no structural components that interfere with the alarm box or access to the alarm box. Quite often the boxes are in the worst possible location and if necessary have the alarm company come out and move the box to a location that will work for you and them. Sometimes it is just a matter of inches that the box needs to be moved.

Posted by Steven Kerwick on Jan 16th, 2011

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