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How to Design a Custom Walk-In Closet: The Ultimate Guide (Part I)

6 minute read, by Closet America, on Jul 19, 2018

If you’re tired of digging through your messy dresser drawers, it’s time to make a major change in your closet. Find out how to design a custom walk-in closet from scratch.

Are you tired of digging through your messy dresser drawers or untangling the rat’s nest of necklaces stuffed inside of your cluttered jewelry case? If so, it’s time to make a major change in your closet. But knowing where to start can be a challenge—if you want to give your closet a complete makeover, you need to know how to design a custom walk-in closet from scratch.

This home renovation project might seem daunting at first, however, with the right guidance, it’s a piece of cake. Our staff of experienced custom closet designers understands exactly how to design a custom walk-in closet from the ground up. We’ve rounded up our top three tips for creating a new custom closet of your own. By following these steps, you can finally gain control over your home’s messiest rooms and enjoy the elegant, tidy closet of your dreams.

Step One: Define Your Space

A custom walk-in closet isn’t just a cosmetic transformation; it’s also a practical answer to your most pressing storage needs. So, before you start scouring the web for aesthetic details like eclectic brass drawer handles or Moroccan paint color schemes, you first need to consider the basics, beginning with the person for whom the closet is being designed.

Are you planning on using this closet as your own personal vanity room, or do you need to share the space with your spouse or a roommate? Are you designing the space for an angsty teenage girl, or for a rowdy toddler? Every person in your household will have slightly different needs for their closets, which is why it’s so important to use custom design elements that speak to each individual.

Here’s how to design a custom walk-in closet that works well for every person in your home:

  1. Ask each person for a custom wish list: What do you want to see when you walk into your closet? Write all of your closet wishes down, and don’t be afraid to get specific!

  2. Pick the most important elements and prioritize them: Choose two or three of the most important items on every person’s wish list. For example, you might want a closet island dresser and a built-in laundry hamper to make your space feel neat and tidy. You can design your entire closet layout around these two essential storage elements. Then, if you still have room for the other items on your wish list, you can include those in the design as well.

  3. Think about the basics, too: In addition to two or three special design elements, make sure that every person’s closet includes plenty of basic storage space such as shelving, drawers, and rods. This keeps the custom closet versatile and will help you and your family stay organized long-term.

By learning how to design a custom walk-in closet around each person’s needs, you’ll create unique storage solutions that your family will actually be excited to use every day.

how to design a custom walk in closet

Step Two: Know How to Design a Custom Walk-In Closet That Fits Your Space

Once you’ve hashed out all of the details that you want in your custom walk-in closet, you should then decide where exactly you want to place these elements in your space. It’s important to know how to design a custom walk-in closet that fits perfectly within the space you have. You shouldn’t try to squeeze hundreds of storage options into a small closet or waste any space in a large closet. Here’s how to design a custom walk-in closet that makes the most out of the space you have:

Make Sure Everything Fits

It’s important to plan your closet layout carefully. That’s because when you design a walk-in closet from scratch, expectations don’t always meet reality. For example, your daughter might desperately want a full-length mirror in her room and a closet island, however, if she only has 50-square-feet of closet space to work with, then this plan probably isn’t feasible. Instead, she can find similar storage solutions that actually fit inside of that limited space, like a mirror built into the cabinet door, or a small closet wardrobe that can hold all of her accessories.

Go With the Flow

In addition to thinking about what fits inside of your closet, you’ll also need to consider the overall flow and layout of the space. What makes more sense: Having your favorite go-to blazers at the very back of the closet on the uppermost shelf, or having them right near the door within easy reach? These seemingly minor details can help make your space feel much more cohesive and will make your closet easier to navigate, even in the wee hours of the morning before you’ve had your first cup of coffee.

Create Your 3D Blueprint

A custom closet designer can help you figure out how to design a custom walk-in closet for the space you have. When you provide your designer with a list of what you’d like to see in your closet and give them the precise dimensions of the space, they can create a detailed 3D model as a blueprint. They can also help you decide how large each storage solution needs to be in order to make the best use out of the space.

custom walk in closets

Step Three: Consider Your Design Aesthetic

This final step is usually everyone’s favorite part of the process: Decorating the space. Small details like paint color, wood finishes, and even the tiny metal handles on all of the drawers can make your closet feel more personal and look more inviting.

There are generally two ways that you can go about decorating your custom walk-in closet. You can either match your closet decor perfectly to the rest of your home, or you can go for something completely different. The choice you make will depend on what you ultimately want to do with your new space.

Find Your Perfect Match

Matching your new custom closet to the rest of your home decor will make the space blend seamlessly into your existing design aesthetic. It can help your closet appear more refined and tidy, so if this is your goal, then this may be the best option for you.

To accomplish this, carefully match the paint color, metal furnishings and wood finishes to the rest of your home. Even if you can’t find the exact same shade of robin’s-egg blue for your shelves, a custom closet designer can help you find a paint color or finish that fits within the same color palette.

Think Outside of the Box

A matching bedroom and closet are a classic pairing, but you don’t have to follow this rule in your own house. In fact, some of the most interesting closet designs look completely different from their adjourning bedrooms. However, there’s a fine line between an eclectic closet and a downright bonkers one. The key to creating an eclectic custom closet is to be purposeful in your design.

If you’re unsure how to design a custom walk-in closet that’s truly eclectic, follow these basic rules:

  • Match your colors: Even if every other element in the room is different, a matching color scheme can tie it all together.
  • Mix patterns: Pair small, detailed patterns with larger, bolder ones.
  • Emphasize texture: Soft rugs, sleek mirrors, and rough wood finishes all add visual interest to your space.

Whether you want to know how to design a custom walk-in closet that fits right in with your home’s existing decor, or you want to create something a bit bolder, a custom closet designer can help you pick out the patterns, colors, and design details that will make the space your own.

custom walk in

How to Design a Custom Walk-In Closet That Meets Your Needs

A custom walk-in closet should be more than just a functional place to store your clothes and accessories—it should also reflect your personality and good taste. When you hire a custom closet designer to help you create your walk-in closet, you’ll get the best of both worlds. A designer will take care of all of the complex calculations and blueprints for you, allowing you to focus on the aesthetic details that will make the space truly special.

Sign up for a free consultation with Closet America today to find out how to design a custom walk-in closet of your own. Whether you need to revamp your own closet, or you want to create a brand new closet for every member of the family, our closet designers can help you find the best storage solutions to suit your needs.


Closet America was able to work with my unique circumstances in order to give me the best use of my space.

Amy B.,
Fairfax Station, VA

Let’s Start Your Project

Whether you’re interested in a custom-designed closet, office, pantry, or garage, starting your project couldn’t be easier. Just fill out the attached form or give us a call to schedule your free in-home design consultation. You can download our brochure and you’re welcome to visit our Landover Maryland showroom, to see how beautiful our custom-designed organization systems look in person. We want you to experience the Closet America difference and see how we build organizing solutions for life.