Having a well-organized walk-in closet can make your busy life much easier!

Walk-In ClosetCredit: guns-safe.comAll of the different elements that can be incorporated into a walk-in closet are very much dependent on your personal preference when designing your space. 

Before you begin to design your closet you will need to take an assessment of your clothing and storage habits.  The design elements you include in your closet should meet your clothing and accessory needs and habits.

You should also incorporate your personal preferences. What type of clothing makes up your wardrobe and takes up most of your space?  Lets address some of these particular needs:

  • Do you need a lot of space for folded clothing items?  If so you will need plenty of accessible shelving to stack your clothes.  This space could be used for t-shirts, jeans, and your other garments that don’t require ironing.
  • How many long dresses do you have? For long dresses you need a full-length area to hang items on a closet rod so the bottoms of the dresses aren’t bunched up.  If you only have a few full-length items, then allow only a short span for this in your closet.
  • Do you need more space for hanging shirts, tops, and pants?  Double stacking your closet rods will give you much more hanging space for short items.  Typically a man’s walk-in closet will be made up of more this as he will probably need a full length space only for long dress coats.
  • What about tilted shelving for shoes?  How many pairs of shoes do you own and wear regularly.  Do you prefer having your shoes in little cubbyholes, placed on tilted shelving or do your store each pair back in their original boxes?  The space you allow for shoes will be totally up to the type of shoe you wear as well.  You might want to have a variety of shelving to store your different shoes. 
  • Do you prefer hooks for bags, robes, etc?  Some people just like to hang things up on hooks.  You might want to plan a nice area just for hooks and then hang all of bags on them. 
  • Do you want to include drawers and eliminate having a dresser in your bedroom?  Dresser drawers, bureaus, and armoires are expensive pieces of furniture and sometimes it’s more economical add drawers in the master walk-in closet.  This will also free up the space in your bedroom.
  • Do you need a bench to sit on while dressing? It’s a nice convenience to have a bench to sit on while putting on your stockings and shoes!  If you decide to include a bench you can use this it storage as well by having it either open up or have drawers underneath.

Closet with DrawersCredit: newhomesinmentone.com

By mixing and matching these different elements you will be able to design a space that fits your needs perfectly.

Take complete measurements of the space that you are planning to use for your walk-in closet. Include the height of the ceilings in your measurements as well. Note and measure accurately any electrical fixtures or outlets and doorways.  It is important to be very precise in taking your measurements.  Using a sheet of graph paper, draw an outline of the useable space that is designated for the closet. Remember to allow for the door if it opens into the space. Draw this element into the design.  Make sure you include the span for opening and closing.  Many designers today are eliminating master walk-in closet doors as they take up so much valuable space that could be used for shelving or closet rods and hanging items.   These designers are opting to use either pocket doors or a decorative curtain that matches the decor.

Don’t eliminate extra high shelving and hard to reach corners as they come in handy for storing those seldom worn items. Many times shelving is not built higher up in the closet and this is such a waste of good, useable, space. 

Include plenty of good lighting in your closet design.  Remember, while you are designing your closet to leave ample area around light fixtures to prevent fire hazards. 18" is usually code to pass inspection.

There are many nice and unique design elements that can be included in a walk-in closet.  Check out as many other closets as you can.  Attend real estate sponsored open houses.  Check out the designs used in model home tours.  Go to local parade of homes or other home tours sponsored around the community.  Make a list of the different elements that you like as you see them.

Other elements you can include in your walk-in closet:

  • You might want to include a built in ironing center into your wardrobe.  Make sure you have plenty of space to iron without being to cramped in the space.  A built in center that folds up and out the way is the best.  You can even store the iron in the center and they usually have an additional light.  How nice it is to be able to iron an item and immediately hang it up before it gets wrinkled. 
  • Make sure you leave space for a laundry hamper.  It’s a good idea to toss dirty and soiled laundry into the hamper right away to keep dirt off of the carpet and to keep any random unwanted smells in.  This one item can really help keep your closet neat and tidy.
  • New homes are now including a washer and dryer in the master suite closets!  Imagine not having to haul your clothes back and forth to the laundry room.  You will need quite a bit of extra space to include a laundry center but what a nice convenience! 
  • If designing master closets for a married couple consider splitting the closet into two areas so that you can allow for his and hers spaces.  Or even better, have two completely different closets.

Once you have your design decided on you are ready to start building! You may tackle this on your own or use a professional carpenter. With the new closet-shelving units available at the home do-it-yourself centers it's actually not a hard project to do on your own.