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Closet Measurement Guide

How to Measure a Closet

If you are getting ready to add some additions to your closet space or installing DIY closet storage systems, you will need to take accurate measurements of all walls, outlets, angles and ceiling heights in the closet storage area to make sure you take advantage of all the space available and also that your closet storage systems fit correctly.  So, before you get out your tape-measure, paper and a pencil, check out some of our closet measuring basics.  If you still have questions, just send us an email and we would be glad to help or you can print out our closet measurement form.


Closet Measuring Basics

  1. Closet walls
  2. Closet ceilings
  3. Obstacles
  4. Reach-In closet doors
  5. Walk-In closet doors
  6. Common wardrobe items

How to Measure Closet Walls

Back Walls & Side Walls

The back wall is the wall towards the back of the closet or the wall you are facing after entering the closet.  The side walls are located 90 degrees from the back wall and return wall, which is mentioned in the following section.  Walls are referenced based on a square or rectangular closet space.

Place the end of the tape measure in one corner and continue to the opposite corner.  Always try to measure to the nearest 1/8”.  It’s also best to take 3 measurements of the wall; high medium and low.  Use the shortest measurement to ensure the closet storage systems will fit properly.

Return Walls

Return walls are the walls located on either side of a closet door or doors.  Measure from the corner of the wall to the outside of any door frame or moulding to get the amount of usable wall space.  Also measure the entire wall, including any framing or moulding, to know how the width of the actual door opening.  This will be very important for smaller, reach-in closet spaces.


How to Measure Closet Ceilings

Standard Ceilings

To find the height of a closet ceiling, it is easiest to place the end of the measuring tape on the floor next to an empty wall and feed the measuring tape up to the ceiling.  This will help to keep the measuring tape stable and give you an accurate measurement.

Angled Ceilings

You can measure the height of a ceiling in different areas.  If there are two or more different ceiling heights in your closet space, make sure that the lowest height can accommodate the closet storage systems you wish to install.


How to Measure Obstacles

It is necessary to note the placement of any obstacles such as light switches, outlets or any access panels in the storage area.  You do not want to block access to these with your new closet storage systems.

First, measure from the end of the nearest wall to the edge of the side of the obstacle.  Then measure the distance from the bottom of the obstacle to the floor.  Measure the height and width of the obstacle along with its depth if it protrudes from the wall.  This should give you adequate measurements to plot the object on graph paper and reference it's placement for any closet storage systems you plan to install in the closet space.


How to Measure Reach-In Closet Doors

Closet Double Doors

Mark the swing of the doors.  Usually double doors on reach in closets will swing outward.  Also measure the closet door height.

Measure the return walls, including moulding to note the actual open space of the door frame.  This will allow you to note how much room you have to access the closet storage systems from the outside through the open doors. 

If you wish to include drawers in a reach-in closet, be sure they are not as wide as the particular door opening and center them in the open door space for easy access and function.

Closet Bi-Fold Doors

Bi-fold or accordion doors collapse outwards toward the closet door frame.

Measure your door height: the closet door opening with doors fully open and the return walls including the moulding.

If you wish to include drawers in a reach-in closet, this is performed the same as for double-doors.  Be sure they are not as wide as the doorway opening and center them in the open door space for easy access and function.

Closet Sliding Doors

Sliding doors slide left and right along a track in the closet area’s door way.  

Measure the exact door height, the full door opening, then the closet door opening with both doors pushed to one side, then the other. 

If you wish to include drawers in a reach-in closet, this is performed the same as for double-doors and bi-fold doors.


How to Measure Walk-In Closet Doors

Closet Single & Double Doors

Measure the door placement, height and width.

If a closet door swings into the closet storage area, measure the door including hardware so when designing the closet storage systems, you allow necessary space for that door to swing fully open.

Be careful when deciding placement for anything that slides out in the closet area, such as drawers, so that neither the drawers nor door swing will be affected by the closet storage systems.

If the door swings out from the closet space, then the door swing will not affect the closet storage systems inside.


Standard Measurements of Common Wardrobe Items

  • Short and Double Hanging:  Shirts, cardigans, sweaters, blouses and miscellaneous day wear – up to 42” vertical hang space

  • Medium Hanging: Longer skirts, jackets, pants hung by waist – 50 to 54”

  • Long Hanging:  Floor length dresses or suit sets – 60 to 64”

  • Extra Long Hanging: Robes, evening gowns, jumpers – 68 to 72”

  • Shirts, Sweaters, Tops: Allow 10 to 15” width per stack of folded items

  • Men’s Shoes: Allow 8 to 9” width for each pair

  • Women’s Shoes: Allow 7 to 8” width per pair

  • Purses, Bags, Backpacks: Measure individually and allow as much space needed

  • Socks and Undergarments:  Best kept in drawers or baskets.  One drawer or basket per type of item is standard.

  • Jewelry: Standard is one small compartment per item to avoid tangled items.  Jewelry kits suggested.

  • Ties and Belts:  Rolled, 5" x 5" in a drawer each, or up to 2-3 ties or belts per hook on a rack.

  • Hats: Stack as high as 5 baseball caps.  Stand alone hats usually 12" x 12" space on a shelf. Depending on type of hat, may need to measure individually.