A small condo can be a hassle, but custom closet design allows you to make the most of limited space. Here’s what DC residents should know.
They make up a large percentage of the US population, but Millennials are going small. Young professionals now entering the workforce have been one of the driving forces behind the “tiny homes” movement and have already changed the DC housing market. And I don’t see this desire for smaller, more efficient living spaces ending anytime soon.
In fact, DC is now becoming home to “tiny condos.” If you live in Adams Morgan, you probably know what I mean. Between 2010 and 2012, Washington DC averaged nearly 13,000 new Millennials a year, and Adams Morgan saw close to a third of that growth.
Some of the new condos in Adams Morgan are as small as 300 square feet, with shared rooftop decks and maybe a terrace. But having a small space doesn’t mean you have to give up entirely on material possessions. Especially if you’re just starting to establish your career, you probably want to maintain a professional wardrobe. And that means a well-organized closet. Luckily, custom design can help you take advantage of every inch of a small reach-in or walk-in closet.
Making a Small Space Seem Big
The first step to making the most of your space is to take advantage of all dimensions. Many of my clients have a tendency to overlook upper wall space which can seriously limit their storage possibilities.
My first suggestion is usually dual-level hanging rods. A single rod in the middle of the closet is unlikely to do you any favors. It’s typically higher than necessary, even for longer clothes, but too high to put much above it. It’s usually better to have two rods, doubling the number of items you can hang.
I’d also suggest taking full advantage of adjustable shelving. Keeping all your shelves the same uniform distance from each other definitely looks nice, but if you’re tight on space, you have to prioritize—and more room usually wins out over aesthetics. So for each shelf, make sure you’re leaving just enough clearance to easily access what you need. Taking the time to adjust your shelves can sometimes give you an extra shelf or two of space that you didn’t even realize you had.
For walk-in closets, another overlooked area is the space between the top of your closet unit and your ceiling, which is often an ideal spot for baskets or storage totes that you can use for seasonal items.
Maintaining Accessible Accessories
If you’re like me, shoes hold a special place in your heart. DC is a city of multiple identities, and its residents often have an equal number of sides: maybe you’ve got formal meetings in the afternoon, casual drinks in the evening, and like to go dancing at night.
That’s where adjustable shoe shelves come in. You don’t have to jam boots into a space too small, nor are you wasting space with shelves that are too roomy for your collection of flats. You can adjust the racks to fit your pairs correctly. This tends to improve accessibility as well: everything is in its right place, easily reachable, and not cluttering your already limited floor space.
In addition to adjustable shoe shelves, I’d recommend a number of other features to keep accessories readily on hand (and your closet tidy):
Slide-out tie and belt racks. You might not have a lot of ties or belts, but they can still take up a disproportionate amount of space. With a slide-out rack, you can pull out your collection, select the right option, and then slide it back in. Your ties or belts will take up virtually no room.
A built-in laundry hamper. These hampers can be hidden behind the cabinetry at the bottom of your closet, taking up no extra space. You can keep dirty clothes out of the way without sacrificing space to a freestanding hamper or basket.
A wardrobe lift. For walk-in closets, this is one of my favorite ways to take advantage of verticality. A wardrobe lift can be placed high on the wall and easily pulled down to give you access to all your clothes. Then it can just as easily be pushed back up.
Of course, you have to be holistic in your approach to a small DC condo; your home represents a way of life, and this should encourage you to get rid of anything that isn’t needed. The process of designing a custom closet can encourage you to decide what’s actually important. Maybe you need plenty of room for shoes and jewelry. Maybe you never wear jewels but need extra hanging rods for formal wear. A well-designed closet is a way of setting your priorities.
Storage Solutions That Give You Room to Grow
Especially for younger DC residents, your condo might signal the beginning of a new life. But it’s just the start. Young parents might need help sharing their closet space with a baby. You might move to a bigger place a few years down the road so that you and your family have more room. But no matter where life takes you, no matter your storage needs, we’re here to help.
Organization is key to enjoying your home, no matter its size—in Adams Morgan or across the DC area—and a custom closet system can make that possible. Get in touch with us for a free design consultation.
Lead image credit: Flickr Jeff Turner (CC BY 2.0)