2015 is the year of the walk-in closet. Based on a NAHB survey, a walk-in closet in the master bedroom is the most wanted feature in a new home—and the one builders are most likely to include in their designs this year. Even if you don’t plan on buying a new home this year or you already own your home, you need not suffer from closet envy. You may never have enough space to build a three-story closet or a climate controlled closet à la Mariah Carey, but these easy solutions prove that you can create a dream closet…even if your budget (or floorplan) is less-than-dreamy.
1. Set a Budget
First—the not-so-fun part. You need to set a budget. Are you handy with a hammer? Do you have the basic closet footprint you want? If so, there are plenty of affordable storage systems available, ranging from $150 to $600. IKEA, Home Depot and The Container Store all offer closet planning and organizers, from basic set-ups to systems with customizable features. If your idea of a power tool is a hairdryer, then you might want to consider a closet storage system that is professionally installed for about $1,200 to $3,000. California Closets offers a free consultation—and may help you avoid costly mistakes in the long run. And if you need to expand your master bedroom in order to build out your dream closet? Find a reputable general contractor and prepare to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 or more for a large, well-outfitted walk-in closet. (The upside, however, is that your new walk-in closet will increase the resale value of your home.)
2. What Goes Up… Must Come Up
One of the best ways to maximize space is to utilize the vertical dimension in your closet in both directions. Take full advantage of all usable space, up to the ceiling and down to the floor. Store off-season items (or items you don’t use often) in bins on high shelves, roll-out boxes that sit on the floor or even a third closet pole if your ceiling is over 9 feet high. Spring for double-hanging systems where space allows, so skirts and pants are placed on upper-hanging rods while shirts and blouses go on lower-hanging rods—the opposite of how you’d dress in the morning. (Freeing the floor of bulkier items will give you an increased sense of space). And your inclination to utilize the floor for shoe storage? Don’t. Instead, opt for floor-to-ceiling shelving so you’ll be able to find your favorite heels (or sneakers) more easily in the morning.
3. Let There Be Light
If you’re lucky enough to have natural light flooding in from skylights or windows, then by all means, use it to your full advantage. If sunlight isn’t available, you’ll need to find high quality artificial light. Make sure to install artificial lights between you and the contents of the closet; if it’s behind you, you’ll cast a shadow on what you’re trying to see. Also keep in mind that incandescent bulbs can be a fire hazard, often making fluorescent lighting the only code-compliant solution. If you really want to take your dressing area to the next level of chic, bedazzle it with a chandelier or another decorative fixture.
4. Add Furniture
Most walk-in closets today may not have enough space to accommodate a seating area—but if they do—you will not regret adding it. A plush ottoman or tufted chair goes a long way in creating a beautiful focal point in the dressing room, plus it’s functional too. (After all, where would you toss your dud outfits for the day? Better yet—where would your husband sit during your post-shopping trip fashion shows?)
5. Decorate with Art
Sometimes a well-placed piece of art can keep a closet from feeling overly utilitarian. Position your favorite painting on shelving, along with photos of loved ones, a ring holder or a party invite. Or hang it on the wall if you have the space. You’ll never regret being able to look at it everyday.
6. It’s All About the Details
Add finishing touches like floor length mirrors, ladders, crown molding, gold accents, wallpaper, mannequins and other elements to give you and your personal style a real chance to shine.
Voila! Your dream closet is complete. Now you just need to fill it with a new pair of Louboutins…
Need some closet inspiration? We’ve got you covered. Warning: May cause severe closet envy.