It’s always nice to read “walk-in closet” on a condo or townhouse listing. You might assume this will give you more storage space, more flexibility with your seasonal clothing, and a more luxurious dressing experience in general. Understandably, there’s nothing worse than finding out the “walk-in closet” mentioned is smaller than some of the hall closets you’ve seen elsewhere. Especially common in the DC area’s older homes, over-large reach-in closets are converted into tiny walk-ins in an attempt to raise property value. This leaves homeowners with small, difficult-to-use storage spaces.
If you’re currently facing the small walk-in closet predicament, you’re in the right place to find solutions. Custom closet design can help maximize storage volume in even the most irregular and unfortunately-sized closets—and at Closet America, our designers are experts in doing just that. Below you’ll find three of our most commonly suggested walk-in closet layouts that will increase space the most where square footage is limited. When you’re ready to upgrade your closet, consider tweaking one of the following ideas with a designer so it perfectly meets your storage needs.
Layout #1: Duals and Drawers
For a rectangular walk-in closet with minimal walking space, start your design by adding dual hanging rods on both longer walls. Usually placed around 40 and 80 inches, dual hanging rods essentially double your available hanging space without taking up any more valuable square inches. Add in a bank of soft-close drawers topped with open shelving on the short wall opposite the closet door, and you’ve instantly gained the luxurious feel your closet was lacking.
This layout is perfect for partners sharing a closet, because you can easily store clothing separates (slacks, blouses, shirts, skirts, and pants) in cohesive areas organized by color, season, or occasion, and you won’t have to expand into each other’s limited territory.
Layout #2: Shelves vs. Rods
If your walk-in closet managed to get away with only the minimum 3 feet of walking space and you’re stuck with only one wall that’s appropriate for hanging rods, this layout is for you. Of course, adding dual hanging rods to this wall will significantly increase your hanging storage, if that’s what you care most about. However, you might be surprised to discover that the opposite wall (which is usually left bare by developers) can still be used for valuable storage space. A custom designer can incorporate the slimmest of shelving units onto that previously-unused wall, usually at a depth of 12” or less, to help you gain more usable surfaces.
Alternatively, this layout idea can be customized further by incorporating open shelving units (including angled shoe shelves) on both opposing walls, with as little hanging space as your wardrobe actually requires. Knits and denim actually wear better when stored flat, and you may find that folding clothes lets you fit even more into your minimally-sized closet. Include a single hanging rod section around 72” for any long garments you might need to hang, and you’ll be good to go.
Layout #3: Rock an ‘L’ Shape
The bare minimum size for a walk-in closet is understood to be 5x5’. Assuming the door swings outward, this means you only have room for a very particular arrangement of storage units. Rather than trying to stuff the closet full on all walls, working within an ‘L’ shape will help you keep everything far more organized and accessible. For these admittedly tiny walk-in closets, we recommend a truly custom combination of hanging rods and open shelving to effectively store your wardrobe essentials.
One example: situate two hanging rods at waist height, one on the wall opposite the door and the other on one of the adjacent walls. Your hanging rods will, therefore, form an ‘L’ when viewed from above. Add three or four angled shoe shelves above these rods and fill the rest of the remaining vertical space with open adjustable shelving. This way you’ll maximize every last inch of wall space without sacrificing the area that usually hangs below your suits.
With These Layouts, No Walk-In Closet is Too Small
Armed with the layout ideas that most commonly succeed, you’ll be able to create a more stable plan for how to improve your clothes storage situation. Keep in mind that each of these ideas is merely a starting place, and that a custom design expert will be able to modify and combine these ideas as necessary to create a truly functional layout for your particular space. And, even better, with your storage space maximized, you might even have room to include custom accessories that take a closet from basic to beautiful.
Interested in giving your small walk-in closet a facelift? We’d love to help. Schedule your free design consultation with Closet America today, and we’ll work together to discover which layout works best for your closet.
Lead image source: Unsplash