Organizing your closet can be a challenge – made even harder if your closet is an attic or unusually shaped space. My husband and I ran into this issue when we remodeled our upstairs bedroom, which was a converted attic space. Some of the design challenges we faced included an under window air-conditioning unit, a large access door to a crawl space and major height restrictions from sloping ceilings. If you have a challenging closet space, hopefully some of these closet design tips will help you too have the closet of your dreams.
Take full advantage of vertical space
Two rows of hanging rods will double your clothing storage so maximize the use of your vertical space whenever possible.
We only had a three foot section of wall that we were able to install double high clothing rods on. Utilizing this vertical space became our first design priority. We then we worked with the rest of the outside walls fitting in additional clothing rods where we could. The top shelf is very high, but I to use it to display some of my handbags and sky high heels that I don’t wear everyday.
Maximize the use of your walls by creating more height
Moving a wall in towards the center of the room will create more usable shelving and hanging space.
What looks like a really big space, really isn’t because the sloping ceilings eliminate so much head room.
We had the builder move the wall 12″ towards the center of the room. It seems counter productive to make the room smaller but it actually gives you more room for storage.
Utilize unusual spaces in unusual ways
Display items of different heights in wedge shaped areas.
Use low baskets in tight areas to store items such as, purses, belts and hats.
The baskets pictured are the Savannah Utility Collection from Pottery Barn. I mostly store hand bags and scarves in them.
No more wire hangers!
Investing in a supply of matching hangers decreases visual clutter.
Pretty amazing difference huh?
These hangers also slide past their support brackets, creating one long continual clothing rod.
Yes, wood hangers are a bit of a splurge. We waited until we were married a long time (I’m not going to say how long) to get them. But the clothes hang better on wood hangers and it changes the appearance of your entire closet. From now on I’m thinking my wedding gifts to young friends and family will be a big box of matching wood hangers.
Arrange clothes by color
Oh what a difference this makes. Even if you aren’t remodeling a closet I suggest everyone do this. Grab a glass of wine, put on some fun music and have a closet color organization party! It’s so worth it.
Don’t just cover it, emphasize it
If you have a window or challenging feature in your closet – emphasize it!
I spent a lot of time stressing about having a window/air-conditioner unit in our closet. We wanted to be able to change clothes in there – but to enjoy the window would have meant opening the blinds, closing the blinds and opening them again daily. We also knew we needed to maintain access to the air-conditioning unit because we didn’t want to spend the extra money to run a duct from the other side of the room just to condition the closet.
I couldn’t bear the thought of covering the window with closet rods, so I decided to emphasize the window by making it a feature. By adding a vanity table it meant the air-conditioning unit could still function when necessary. The mirror covers the just lower half of the window for privacy and we still are able to leave the mini-blinds open to let in the sunshine.
Now I have a wonderful place where I can sit down to do my hair and make-up and feel like a movie star every day! Don’t want a make-up vanity? Add a bench, chest or install a window seat with storage inside.
Make your closet storage flexible – put it on wheels!
Access panels and attic doors can be a pain, but just because they exist, doesn’t mean you can’t put something in front of them. By adding wheels to furniture you can easily access attic crawl space openings and access panels when necessary.
We chucked the spindle legs that came with this Ikea Sveio 5 drawer chest and instead installed wheels. That way it’s easy to pull out when we need to access our attic crawl space.
The basket is from Bed Bath and Beyond
We also added wheels to our DIY Shoe Trolley Shoe Organizer above, to allow easy access to the back side which has additional shoe storage.
And lastly – the best closet design tip ever, amazingly from Trip Advisor.
Who would have thought I would have found closet design tips on Trip Advisor. Last year I was researching how to pack for a vacation in France using only one suitcase. I ran across a thread discussing how French women tend to dress better but generally have smaller closets and fewer clothes. The author (which I wish I could credit here, but now I can’t find the link) was an American living in Paris. Her observation was that French women buy fewer clothes, but buy better clothes and clothes they love.
The big difference seems to be that American women look in their closets and think, “I wore all of this last week. I have nothing to wear and I need something new.” French women look into their closets and think “I wore that last week and looked fabulous – I’m wearing that again.”
This was mind opening to me and since then I’ve tried harder to think through my clothing purchases. I have also finally “let go” of large piles of clothing that I felt I needed to keep, but was not wearing. The donation freed up closet space and has enabled me to see more of the clothes I enjoy wearing.
I hope these closet design tips are helpful. If you have any additional tips – feel free to share!
The adjustable shelving unit is the 16″ wide unit from the ClosetMaid “Selectives” collection, purchased from Home Depot.
The shelving system we used is the Closet Max heavy duty shelf and rod bracket purchased from Home Depot.
The hamper is the Apricot Natural Hamper purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond.
The wood hangers were purchased from Hangers Direct.