By following a few custom design tips you can transform your Rockville, MD closet into a chic, European-style storehouse for all your treasures.
What makes European design so sophisticated, elegant and refined? From Brookside Gardens to Seneca Creek State Park, those of us who live in Rockville have a natural appreciation for beauty. And as Americans living in our casual culture, it’s easy to look across the pond longingly and wish a little of Europe’s glamour would come our way. And it can. By following a few custom design tips you can transform your Rockville, MD closet into a chic, European-style storehouse for all your treasures. But why the closet?
Bringing European Closets Home to Rockville
Your closet is a reflection of you and your lifestyle. The more customized it is for your needs and tastes the better your closet is at supporting you—from when you get dressed in the morning to when you get ready for bed. And if you want to make your life more luxurious, chic, and orderly, start by customizing the space where you prepare for today and dream of tomorrow.
There’s much we can learn from Italian, French and German cultures about the link between closet design and living the lifestyle you dream of. Let’s take a look at what makes each of these closet styles so elegant and unique.
The Easy Luxury of the Italian Closet
Italian culture has produced art throughout its history, as the European Renaissance began in Tuscany. The Italian way of living has famously been known as “la dolce vita”, or, “the sweet life”. This is the idea that all areas of life should be sweet; filled with beauty, friends, laughter, generosity, and happiness. The result is a visual style that is luxurious, yet easy-looking, as though no one stressed too hard over it; whether it is interior design and decorating, or wardrobe. This style and way of life is also known as “sprezzatura,” meaning “studied carelessness.”
Perhaps sprezzatura comes naturally to Italians, but the rest of us must study Italian style to learn this art. To give your closet that look of easy luxury, try implementing a beautiful Italian color palette, such as the sun-washed colors of Tuscany. These colors can be applied to the closet furniture, such as dressers and mirrors, to shelving, or even to the wall color. Or, you can include Tuscan colors in your accent pieces. Here are some color palettes to try in your home inspired by Italian ceramics, villages and the countryside.
If you want to strictly follow tradition, use neutral colors indoors, including in the closet. This means white walls, brown wood, and straw and terra cotta accents.
Gray, mustard, and deep purple carries traces of honey-colored stone combined with cool grey and jewel-toned purple. Or, try adding some burnt orange to this palate for an added color pop.
Siena, old rose, and seagrass offer faded, earth-pigment warmth with a soft, herbal green.
Apricot, ochre, and peach are common Tuscan colors that offer warmth in the yellow hues. Mustard yellows and warm pinks also work well with this combination.
Blue, white, and ochre are similar to colors often associated with Greek decor, but with the warm, Tuscan twist. Blue is reminiscent of the Florentine sea and sky.
Should you choose to have a closet designed and built specifically for your space and needs, an excellent building material that comes in a variety of colors is thermofused melamine. You can get it in red and blonde wood finishes that will heighten the Italian feel.
The Chic French Closet
From easy luxury, we move onto closets inspired by French style—the very embodiment of chic. Sophistication is part of our way of life here in Rockville—just look at the architecture of Rockville Town Square. French style goes well with our contemporary little part of Maryland.
When talking about French closets we need to talk about the wardrobe held inside. French closets are not as large in America because the French traditionally keep fewer articles of clothing. The items they do have tend to be mix-and-match basic pieces.
Begin assembling your French-inspired wardrobe by scaling down on the number of articles of clothing you own, or by storing items that cannot be easily paired with other clothing. How do you know which pieces are mix-and-match basics? If you can’t live without it, and it goes with practically anything, it’s a basic. For example, imagine a silk blouse. It can be paired with any other basic; such as skinny jeans for a casual look, leather pants for a night on the town, or a black skirt for the workplace. Be sure to select articles of clothing that follow a single, shared color palate, for example; red, black, white, and blue.
Next, your closet must be designed to accommodate your new wardrobe. And the best way to house a French wardrobe is with a modular closet. A modular closet divides the space into sections where you can easily access related pieces. This is very helpful and eliminates the old problem of “not having anything to wear”. With a modular closet, all outfits really are just one outfit, dressed up or down to fit the occasion. You’ll see the beauty of this on mornings when you’re running late.
There are other finishing touches you can add to your closet to give it that perfect French-inspired flair. You can add an armoire to your walk-in closet, which is a freestanding, movable cabinet. In addition to adding a genuine French storage solution, an armoire in your walk-in closet offers additional modular storage space and luxurious visual interest.
French style always has a small touch of flashiness, such as a gilded wall hanging. Or, light your walk-in closet with a chandelier, which is a key source of lighting for any traditional French home. Finally, use understated colors, such as white, mint, sand, pale pink, or grey. Both you and your closet will be looking chic in no time.
The Orderly German Closet
Efficiency. Functionality. Order. These are some of the principles that make a closet German. All this functionality results in a sleek, contemporary look. And that’s what that gives German style its unique brand of sophistication; it’s so modern it makes you feel like you’re looking into the future.
Many traditional German homes do not have closets and like the French make use of an armoire for storing clothes, called a “schrank” in German. Some homes have a storage room off the main hallway that is used for household items. But one exciting trend that is popular in modern German homes is to have a dressing room, very similar to a walk-in closet. Few things are as luxurious as having a dressing room with all your beautiful clothes stored neatly in sight around you, where you can try them on at your leisure. Here’s how you can recreate it in your home using key custom features and hardware:
Keep everything you wear or use daily front and center for easy access.
Use top shelves for longer-term storage of seasonal items or ones you use infrequently.
Store purses and folded items above hanging rods.
Position hooks near the entrance way to create an open feel.
Try adding a chair or loveseat, offering comfortable seating while you decide what to wear.
Place your vanity or makeup table in your walk-in closet so you can put on your makeup and get dressed, all in one space.
Here are details you can build into your custom closet to make it even more orderly:
Install closet islands and peninsulas to create counter space.
Use shoe shelves that adjust to fit all types of shoes.
Store your jewelry in elegant, velvet-lined holders.
Fold your ironing board in and out as needed with a hideaway ironing board.
Slide belt and tie racks in and out to keep them from getting tangled.
Shut drawers smoothly and quietly with soft-close drawers.
Organize dry cleaning and plan outfits using valet rods.
Closet design in Germany centers around the link between art and industrial craftsmanship. Closets are still influenced by the famous Bauhaus design school, prominent in the early 20th century, that focused on creating “total” works of art wherein all elements come together as a whole. With planning and help from a custom-designed closet, this link between art and industrial craftsmanship can be prominent in your home today.
Whatever You Choose, Make it Work for You
Your closet is a stage where you can express your ideas about living. If you think life is beautiful, if you think it is chic, or if you think functionality and order are art, you can say it with a customized closet.
If you’d like more help transforming your Rockville closet, our design experts are ready to help. And if you want a customized closet built to your every specification, skilled craftsmen are waiting to create the closet of your dreams. If you’d like to learn more, give Closet America a call to schedule your free design consultation. We can come to your home to examine your space absolutely free. Let us know if we can help. Ciao.
Lead image credit: Unsplash user Paul Dufour