#1. Start with the essentials.
When designing a closet, a few elements rise to the top as the most important – and these can be adjusted to every budget and closet size. They include:
Multi-level hanging. This is one of the easiest ways to make better use of your space. While you will need hanging space for long items such as dresses and coats, most of your closet should have double-row hanging for shirts, pants, suits, and skirts. Always make sure you have enough space for your hanging clothes before you start placing other items such as shelves, drawers, and baskets into your closet design.
Extra-thin velvet hangers. These space-savers are all the rage and they’re definitely worth the investment. Their flocked surface keeps items neat on the hanger without slipping off.
Great lighting. Brighten your space with recessed lighting, an LED bulb fixture, or a hanging fixture for a touch of style. Or, if budget and space permit, install track lighting to direct the light exactly where you want it (such as a drawer). As with most spaces, the more layers of light you have, the better.
Mirrors. Both practical and great for making the space feel bigger, mirrors are a must for all closets. Try to incorporate as many as you can at as many levels as possible. Install mirrors on cabinet doors, or a full length mirror on the back of the closet door. Even a mirrored entry door can save space, and it’s an elegant look.
Valet rods. These are my favorite closet accessories of all. Just mount one on a wall or shelf, and pull it out anytime you need a convenient holder for packing, staging your wardrobe, or setting out your dry cleaning. In larger closets, I often place multiple valet rods strategically around the closet.
#2. Focus on the features.
Once you’ve tackled the essentials, consider investing in one or more of these time- and/or space-saving features (granting space and budget permit).
A hamper. Add a pullout hamper to save space, or opt for one with removable liners perfect for tossing directly into the wash.
A built-in ironing board. Great for quick presses and touch ups, today’s units usually include a convenient rest for the iron.
An island. An island adds drawer and shelf storage, and the countertop will come in handy when packing a suitcase. I also like to top the island with trays and boxes for small items like jewelry, pocket change, car keys, and cell phones.
Seating. A small bench or stool can offer a great spot to sit and take your shoes off, especially if you plan to dress in or near your closet area.
#3. Make it your own.
Finally, a closet is your personal space. Make it reflect your style. Pick a favorite paint color. Add stylish hardware to the drawers. Chose a light fixture that reflects your personality. Add a piece of art – it’s the small touches that can make a big impact and make you smile every day as you get dressed.
Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS is the owner and principal designer of Haskell Interiors, located in historic downtown Cleveland, Tennessee. Visit online at haskellinteriors.com.