A custom closet is not only a great way to reduce clutter and increase organization, but in some cases may help boost the resale value of a home. While the most elaborate masters in the most exquisite homes can easily reach six figures, a lot can be accomplished in more modest homes in the $1,000-$2,000 range.

     There are representatives of national chains, franchises, and local,independent closet companies in most cities. Most will provide you with a complimentary design consultation to help assess your needs.

     One of the first decisions is which color and material to use. The most common, and least expensive , option is white or off-white melamine. This is an engineered board with a smooth, stain resistant coating. The next step up is colored melamine which comes in a variety of colors and features a faux wood grain. Some companies offer a third high end option which is painted MDF, or medium density fiberboard. This material comes in a variety of wood hues and can sometimes be custom matched. When done well it can have an absolutely stunning appearance. Because of expense and the difficulty of finding enough straight material, real wood is usually not an option. If this is a sticking point for you your best option will be a local custom carpenter.

     You'll then need to make some decisions about your space requirements. A double hang section, where one rod is situated over another, is the most common solution for slacks, jeans, blouses, skirts, shirts, and jackets. A long hang section will be required for any evening gowns or longer coats for gentlemen. Adjustable shelves are usually best suited for sweaters, linens, and shoes. Allocate the space according to how much of each item you intend to store. Making the closet higher can provide extra space. However, you may be limited by the ceiling height and you'll want to be wary of making it so high that you can't easily reach things.

     Next, you'll want to decide how elaborate you want your closets to be. Even the simplest combination of shelves and rods is usually an improvement over wire shelving.

     A plethora of other features is also available. Doors and drawers are the obvious first upgrade. Beyond these you will find mirrored doors, hampers, jewelry inserts, packing tables, bench seats, wall safes, pullout columns, and wardrobe lifts are all available. For a touch of elegance, and to enhance the built in look, the whole thing can be topped off with crown molding. Most of these things can cause the price to escalate quickly, however. Upgrades at the lower end of the spectrum include belt racks, tie racks, valet poles, and robe hooks.

     Aside from master bedroom closets most companies offer designs for pantries, garages, offices, craft rooms, laundry rooms, and wall beds. For the truly budget minded there are also do it yourself closets available at home improvement stores. These are not beginner projects,however, and you should make an honest assessment of your skills before attempting to install one.

     Whatever your needs and desires, take time to work out every detail during the design process. This will help insure that your finished closet is one you can enjoy for years to come.