Tips for a well-planned master closet.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Featured in September/October 2022
Your grandmother knew what she was talking about when she said the key to a tidy home was “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
That is especially true of bedrooms and closets. Today’s master bedrooms have the coziest feel to it. Be it the comforting hotel sheets (or any comfy bed covers) and the overall arrangement of the modern furniture, you got to keep it nice and tidy. When it comes to closet designs, it has taken the organization to a whole new level. Whether your new closet is large or small, add some features to help you get the most from your space.
First, look at what you have
What do you own that you can’t store properly? What types of storage are you lacking-space for hanging clothes, folded clothes, luggage, off-season items?
Rachel Arganbright of Woodharbor says, “Everyone’s closet needs are different. While some need more hanging space, others may need more drawers. More square footage doesn’t necessarily mean more function. It’s having a well-designed, personalized space that makes organization easy.”
In fact, many designers suggest approaching a closet redesign much like you would a kitchen remodel. With both spaces, storage and functionality are the goal. Assessing what you have will help you determine your specific needs.
Jaelyn Mertens, of the Kitchen and Bath Company, says, “We start with questions like, ‘What are the things you dream of having in your master closet, how do you use your current closet space, do you prefer drawers or shelves for storage?'”
Asking these questions helps you look at the design the same way you would with a kitchen-what works and what doesn’t, and what’s on your wish list.
“A well-designed closet offers cubbies for handbags, open shelving for folded items, appropriate-height hanging bars, slanted shelves for shoes, drawers for accessories,” says Jeanine Weinzierl of BMD USA/Moehl Millwork. “The quantity or size of each of these depends on what the homeowner has.”
Next, choose your built-ins
More than just featuring hanging racks and shelves, a well-designed closet offers a variety of storage built-ins to fit all sorts of items.
According to AIM Kitchen & Bath’s Deb Pudenz, “Regardless of closet size, clients want their space to be customized to their needs. Whether that’s adding in drawers so they don’t need a dresser, a slide-out for ties, or skinny accessory drawers for jewelry and sunglasses,” the built-ins you choose will help your design professional organize the space efficiently.
“Pant racks and shoe shelves which allow the homeowner to pull the shelves out for quicker and easier access are a great feature,” says Mertens.
Convenience features like mirrors, space for seating, pull-out laundry hampers, an island, and even a washer and dryer can create a space that functions as more than just a place to store your things.
“When a closet space is larger, an island or a seating area are two of the coveted must-haves,” says Pudenz. “I’ve done islands where suitcases can slide in one side or makeup vanities to give the space a dressing-room vibe. I’ve also done high upper racks that can be pulled down to be accessed.”
Dividing the space into his and hers sections helps with organization. It also allows you to truly personalize each area. For example, build taller hanging bars for dresses on one side and tie racks and suit racks on the other.
“Jewelry pull-outs are the greatest,” Weinzierl says. “They have vertical panels with hooks on a track that slide out so you can choose your accessory, then slide back in out of the way when not in use. They work well for scarves, too. You can fit several pull-outs in a very small area, really maximizing your storage space.”
Finally, make it pretty
Just because it’s a closet doesn’t mean you should ignore style.
“Hidden doorways are a fun design detail,” says Arganbright. “These are especially nice when the closet doorway is visible from the bedroom.”
Turning the doorway into a design element adds interest while keeping the storage out of sight. With the right design, you can opt for a doorless closet entry, where the entire closet is situated around a corner, keeping the bedroom more open without exposing the closet.
“White and warm wood tones remain popular for closets,” says Weinzierl. “partly because they reflect more light and make it easier to see clothing colors better.”
Lighting can be an issue in closets because it’s difficult to provide natural light while maintaining privacy. Windows closer to ceiling height can help with this.
“Using recessed LED lighting is a cost-effective and easy way to add plenty of light,” Arganbright says. “If you want to add detail, which is always recommended, adding a chandelier or sconces can be a nice touch.”
Pudenz agrees. “Chandeliers are a fun design element that are becoming more common. Wallpaper is popular for master closets, too.”
As Mertens says, “With closets, almost anything is possible-turning a typically not-so-well designed space into something amazing and functional can be really exciting.”
Yes, the closet should make it possible for you to better organize your belongings. But you can make it beautiful, too. •
- Deb Pudenz AIM Kitchen & Bath
- Jeanine Weinzierl BMD USA/Moehl Millwork
- Jaelyn Mertens The Kitchen and Bath Company
- Rachel Arganbright Woodharbor