If you want a custom closet, how do you choose the company that best meets your needs? Our closet expert weighs in with five questions you should consider.
The closet experts at Closet America want everyone to find the perfect closet solutions for their home. In our Ask a Closet Expert series, we answer questions from local DC-area residents about their storage issues, providing insight from our years in the industry.
Today we are answering a question from Christine of Mitchellville. She asks:
“I recently bought a new home and I have a great walk-in closet space, but it’s really basic and doesn’t meet my needs. I’d like to have it redone, but I’m not sure who should do the work. How do I choose the right closet company for my project?”
Well, Christine, it all starts with you. There are a number of questions that you should ask yourself before you seek out a company to help you with a closet remodeling or reorganization job. You first need to determine: What is most important to me for my new closet?
I suggest making a list of your top priorities, and doing so by answering the following questions:
Are you more concerned with functionality or with aesthetics?
The beauty of your closet and its utility as a storage solution don’t have to be in conflict with each other, but they can be. Sometimes the most beautiful option doesn’t serve your needs very well, and sometimes the most convenient and useful option isn’t the greatest looking. What matters most to you?
If you’re looking for the most visually appealing option, a company that specializes in handmade, solid wood options might fit the bill. If something with more balance suits you better, thermofused melamine gives you great durability and the warmth and beauty of wood, but is also easier to install and more affordable.
What’s your budget?
If saving money is high on your priority list, then you might be tempted to go with lower-end closet systems that can be found at any box store. But these off-the-shelf options don’t give you great versatility and flexibility of design, though they certainly are less expensive. Remember, you get what you pay for, so it’s better to save up for a better option and invest your money in something that will last.
A custom closet system designed specifically for your space and your storage needs is ideal. A pre-made, modular system will never fit your space as well or offer the same level of organizational potential as a closet designed specifically for you.
When shopping, check out companies that offer free in-home design consultations. This way you can get a better sense of the possible design options for your space and the cost of the project before committing. There’s no harm in shopping around a bit and having more than one company give you an estimate, so that you can see what materials you have to choose from and how much you are likely to spend.
What’s your timeline?
If you need your closet done quickly, off-the-shelf solutions can be purchased and installed in as little as one day, while hand-crafted options could take months. But again, value takes time, and a custom-designed solution meant to fit your space needs to be designed, fabricated, and installed. To shave down time in that process without sacrificing quality, look for a company that uses in-house or local manufacturing processes to cut down on shipping time (and costs). You’ll also want to look into how long the installation process usually takes, as that tends to be the most stressful time, and you’ll want someone who quickly and cleanly can install your closet system, and let you get to using it.
What features does your closet need?
If all you own is dresses, then a simple wardrobe rod might be all you need—but we doubt that’s the case. Do you need a shoe rack? How big? What about shelving, valet rods, drawers, hampers, jewelry storage, or any other custom storage solution? Oftentimes, you might not even know how to best store your clothing and accessories. Find a company that takes an inventory of your wardrobe before designing—they know how everything should be stored, so once they know what you have, they can show you a solution that offers features that are tailored to your specific needs.
How long-term will this solution be for you?
If you are planning to stay in your home long-term, a higher-end option is probably a better choice. Not only do you get a better-looking product, you also get one that will tend to last longer and add more value to your home. Look for companies that have lifetime warranties on their products and their work (some even have double lifetime warranties so that the next residents can enjoy the same peace of mind).
A related consideration to keep in mind, if you think you may move someday, is that this closet system also needs to be appealing to potential buyers in the future. Closets can make a bigger difference in the attractiveness of a home than you may realize. In this area, again, very low-end options may not be the right choice—you’ll want something durable and adjustable.
Okay, so you’ve decided what’s most important for you. What’s the next step?
Look for companies that are approved by organizations like Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and Guildmaster, and check out some personal testimonies about the company on their Google page, Facebook, or on sites like Yelp. It also never hurts to give the company a call and ask them about their process and their guarantees. And, again, if they offer a free design consultation, this is a great way to get a better idea about what options they offer, how long the work will take, and how much the project may cost.
Above all, it’s important that you don’t settle. Make sure you choose a closet solution that is right for you, your home, and your clothing storage needs. Do your research and narrow down your options to a few companies that you think work best for you. And after you’ve done that, if you find that we are on your short list, get in touch with us—we’re always happy to talk!
If you decide that the best option for your closet is a combination of attractive form, custom function, and a timely build process done locally, then Closet America can help. Feel free to call us if you have any questions at all, or go ahead and schedule your free design consultation. We’ll create a 3D rendering of your space, discuss your options with you, and get started on the perfect closet for your needs.