How to Design a Walk-in Closet

Stylish storage solutions and design elements turn walk-in closets into a chic dressing area. Open cubbies, baskets, and cabinet storage help to organize clothing, shoes, and extra items like purses.

To increase storage capacity, hangers should be located around 40 and 80″ on a vertical wall. Placing rods at these heights allows you to double your hanging space without interfering with walking areas.

Determine Your Storage Needs

While most people take a haphazard approach to storage, taking the time to carefully assess their needs can save them a lot of space and money. Determining what you’ll need is key to finding the right solution.

Start by creating a list of your belongings and their approximate dimensions. If you have a lot of shoes or purses, you will want to look into different storage possibilities to get the best use of your space.

Plan the Layout

Once you have a clear understanding of your storage needs and what space constraints you might be working with, it’s time to start drawing up some design options. This can be done by hand or with a computer program that makes it easy to visualize a space and try out different layouts. A great option is Sketch Up. It’s free and has a learning curve, but it makes designing a walk-in closet much easier.

You’ll need to think about how many hanging rods you need, as well as shelving and shoe storage ideas. It’s also important to consider the arc of your movements when walking into a closet, so you can make sure that everything is easily accessible. For example, if you want to keep your dresser drawers close to the clothing, it’s best to have the drawers near the entrance. This way, you can reach things without having to go back and forth between the hanging and shelves.

It might seem obvious, but you should always try to position drawers so that they can be opened while standing in front of them. This is especially true in reach-in closets where you might have a lot of smaller items in the drawers. The same goes for shelving sections – you don’t want to put them in corners because they won’t be easily accessible.

Decide on a Design

If you have a small walk-in closet, the right design can help maximize your space. Installing double hanging systems, shelving units and drawers can make the most of unused wall space. This will keep your closet organized and efficiently functional.

Even if you don’t have much room for storage, a well-planned closet design can help you reach every piece of clothing and accessory in your collection. Whether you’re storing items in open cubbies, basket, plastic bins or cabinet storage solutions, make sure that every item has its own place. Keeping like items together can make your outfit planning easier and can help you avoid the cluttered look that plagues many closets.

You can even add a seat or lounge area to your closet if you want to create a luxurious experience while getting dressed. Just remember that a bench or ottoman will require extra floor space, so be sure to plan accordingly. The addition of a seating area can also be a great spot to lay out your outfits and accessories before you head out for the day. It’s also a good idea to add a mirror for last-minute checkups and some extra lighting to illuminate your closet space.

Create a Budget

A walk-in closet can be more than a repository for clothing. Seating areas, shoe racks and even counters with coffee bars can be incorporated into the space to keep everyday items organized.

Before you start laying out a plan for your closet, calculate how much storage you need to fit your needs and lifestyle. Then use a spreadsheet to determine your budget for a shelving system, hanging rods and other closet accessories. Once you’ve got your budget in mind, test out different layouts in the actual space to determine what dimensions will work best.

If you’re working with an existing room, remove the baseboards and measure along the wall where your new closet will be located. Use a stud finder to locate the studs that will form your closet walls, then use 2x4s to mark a straight line from floor to ceiling that will become the guideline for your new walls.

Creating a functional space starts with the basics, like flooring, lighting and a focal point. Carpet is warm and cozy first thing in the morning, while hardwood feels elegant and polished. Bright recessed lighting helps you see colors accurately, while natural light from a window can also be a good choice to illuminate the closet space and make it feel more open when you enter. Adding crown molding can also add a finished look.