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Ask a Closet Expert: Carol in Reston, Virginia asks, “What Are the Must-Have Features in a Walk-In Closet?”

4 minute read, by Closet America, on Jun 16, 2016

What features are most important to include when reorganizing or redesigning your walk-in closet? Our closet expert explains the must-have features you need.

The closet experts at Closet America want everyone to find the perfect closet solution 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 answer a question from Carol in Reston, VA. She asks:

“I’m planning on redoing my bedroom walk-in closet, but I’m not sure about the design, and there are a TON of options. I want to create a nice closet, but I’m not trying to go overboard. So, what are the must-have features I’ll need in a walk-in closet?”

Thanks for your question, Carol. Although everyone has slightly different closet needs, in our experience there are certain features every walk-in benefits from having.

The Basics: Hanging Rods and Shelves

Hanging bars and shelving are the most basic, and most essential, closet feature. As you’re designing your walk-in, consider how much room you need to devote to them. You want to avoid cramming too many garments together on one hanging rod, since collars can get bent and wrinkles may set in. You also don’t want to stack folded clothing too high on your shelves, because the weight of the pile can cause deep creases to set in at the folds of items closer to the bottom.

How much space you ultimately devote to these features depends on your wardrobe. We do recommend that you reserve at least one separate hanging rod for longer items, such as dresses and winter coats. And if maximizing your storage potential is a priority, adding shorter, stacked hanging areas for things like shirts, skirts, and shorter jackets will give you plenty of storage while conserving space.

We also recommend adjustable shelving so that you can set shelf height to match your exact needs, and add more shelves if you need a little more space.

A Place for Accessories

An important component many standard closets lack is a place to hang accessories like belts, ties, and scarves. These items are all part of the DC commuter’s wardrobe (and those scarves are necessary for Reston winters) but they often wind up awkwardly thrown on a hanger—which takes up valuable space and usually results in having to pick them up off the floor.

A custom walk-in gives you room for multiple slide-out accessory racks so you can properly hang and organize these items. You won’t have to frantically search for a specific piece as you rush to leave the house in the morning, since all your options will be easily accessible and in plain view.

You might also want to plan for purse and jewelry storage, depending on your personal preferences. Shelving along the very top or bottom of your walk-in is a great out-of-the-way spot for bags you don’t use frequently. As for jewelry, instead of having an entirely separate jewelry box taking up counter space, we recommend velvet-lined drawers incorporated into your cabinetry.

Don’t Forget the Shoes

Shoe storage is another must-have for your walk-in. A good design ensures you no longer have to line them up on the floor (or toss them into a pile).

We recommend proper shoe shelving rather than a stand-alone shoe rack. Whereas a shoe rack typically sits on the floor, shelves can be installed at a more comfortable height, making it easier to peruse your options. You may also want to consider adjustable shelving, so you can fit everything from sandals to winter boots in the same spot.

Dirty Clothes Need a Space, Too

Lastly, your closet isn’t just a space for clean clothes. Dirty clothes need somewhere to go as well, and a pile in the corner of your room isn’t the best solution.

We suggest a built-in laundry hamper that pulls out when needed and hides away when not in use. This provides a perfect way to keep your clothes out of sight before you get a chance to wash them.

Look for hampers that are sturdy enough to hold a heavy pile of clothes. You’ll also want one with a removable liner, so you can easily carry your clothing to the laundry room.

Whether you’re looking to redesign your closet with just the essentials, from shoe racks to shelving, or you have something more elaborate in mind, these must-haves should definitely make the list. If you’re like Carol, and not sure exactly what you need, we here at Closet America can help you out. We’ll take an inventory of the items you plan to keep in your closet and show you a 3D rendering of your design, so you can decide on a layout that works for you. Don’t hesitate to request a free design consultation with our closet experts, so we can get to work creating your perfect space.

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.