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Turning a Small DC Condo Coat Closet into a Custom Storage Haven for Your Utilities

4 minute read, by Closet America, on May 1, 2017

Turn your DC condo’s tiny coat closet into the perfect place for utility storage with a custom remodel.

Condo living in DC has its perks—with all of the condo development happening around the city (especially in areas like Logan Circle, Shaw, and the Wharf), condo dwellers are afforded chic, modern units in prime city locations. Even with a great location, though, many of our condo homeowners are finding that creating storage space can be a challenge when you’re faced with a lack of closet storage options.

While builders have recognized the importance of closet space to potential homebuyers, rarely are utility items (like light bulbs, batteries, excess paper products, and tools) afforded appropriate storage in these closets. You may not realize it, but your coat closet in your DC condo can serve as the perfect place to store these items.

How to Optimally Utilize Your Coat Closet

Coat closets are easily one of the most overlooked and underutilized rooms in a home, especially because they offer such limited space. Most of the time they serve as little more than dumping grounds for random miscellany—or, at the very least, a literal closet in which to store coats and nothing else. In the first case, finding specific items later becomes a nightmare thanks to the lack of organization, while the second is a waste of good storage.

custom reach-in closet

Of course, we’re not suggesting that you get rid of your coat storage altogether. But if you reduced the amount of space you devote specifically to coat storage even just by half, it would give you the space you need to store the sorts of things that non-condo homeowners might typically hide away in basements or garages. And, with custom organizers, you’ll be able to actually find that special bulb that only fits that one lamp in the bedroom when you need it—without wasting hours digging through piles and piles of unsorted junk. Here are a few things we recommend to help turn your closet into a nice, neat space to store utility items (alongside your coats, if you like!):

Create Two Sections in Your Coat Closet

In a standard coat closet design, we typically see a single rail that extends from one end to another with a shelf above the rod. What you don’t realize is that this design limits the storage capacity of non-hanging items to the single shelf above the rail in your coat closet.

By separating your coat closet space into two distinct areas, you allow your coat closet to become dual-purposed and gain more flexibility for storing items besides a few coats in the space. Personally, I recommend placing a rail only on one side of the closet and using the other side specifically for shelving.

Place Adjustable Shelving Strategically

When it comes to closet accessories, adjustable shelves are an invaluable asset to creating a functional storage space in your condo, and placement of these shelves should be carefully considered in the design process. For instance, if you tend to store short coats in your coat closet rather than long coats, try placing a couple of shelves below your coat rail. This helps ensure that you are taking advantage of all of the potential storage space that your coat closet has to offer.

I’m still a fan of placing at least one shelf above your rail too, but remember to consider the amount of clearance that you’ll have left for items that are stored higher up—few things are more frustrating than not being able to use that top shelf because you lack the clearance you need to get through the opening between the door frame and the top of the shelf.

Remember to Add Lighting

Coat closets are often dim and rarely come pre-wired with lighting, so adding your own lighting is essential to perfecting your storage space. After all, if you’re planning on using the space to store a variety of utility items, it helps if you’re able to actually see what you’re storing.

LED lights present an easy solution to this problem and provide energy-efficient, aesthetically pleasing lighting that is sure to brighten up any space.

Explore Your Closet’s True Potential

custom walk-in closet

Owning a condo in DC doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your storage space. Instead, condo living challenges you to get creative with utilizing your storage areas wisely. Creating a custom coat closet that allows you to store more is an excellent way to get creative with your space and store your utility items with ease.

Think your DC condo closet is a hopeless cause? Let us show you its true potential with a free in-home design consultation. Our designers will use our 3D software to visually transform your closet space before your eyes and help you sort everything in its place, perfectly.


Lead image source: Unsplash user Robbie Noble


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.