Downsizing from our Victorian house in Portsmouth, NH to a condo near the ocean, meant coming up with a new furniture strategy. The master bedroom was a lot smaller so we explored lots of floor plans. On the plus side we had great views of Hampton harbor and two walk-in closets instead of one. Ultimately we picked custom closet ideas that included dressers in the closet, to free up floor space in the bedroom.
While I was very comfortable thinking outside the box (some would say that's my middle name), many people they need to see how others have implemented ideas before they're willing to give them a try. For me it was easy because:
- Living in Tokyo for 3 years, I had huge closets with large drawers and shelves deep enough to store Japanese futons (how Japanese sleeping mattresses or futons are folded and stored).
- When renovating out Portsmouth house, our builder insisted on recycling my old kitchen cabinets in my new walk-in closet.
- With my handyman business, I designed and installed lots of custom closets … so it was time to apply these skills to my own house!
Closet Ideas Used in My Condo
Okay, I thought it was important to be honest so on the left you get to see that my closet isn't always picture perfect, LOL. This is the same closet at the top when we were moving and I needed to do a conference call. This closet design was perfect for my lifestyle from beginning to end, because it included:
- On the left, three long shelves allowed me to keep “current seasonal” tops on the top shelf, “off season” shirts on the bottom and sweaters, sweatshirts and such on the middle shelf.
- In the center was a five-drawer dresser for socks, underwear and all the little stuff that's hard to keep organized if it's not contained by walls in a drawer or basket.
- In the far right corner were double hanging rods as most of our clothes are short, so you get a lot more storage this way.
- To the right was a narrow set of shelves, floor to ceiling, for all my pants.
- On the right, a single hanging rod about 18 inches wide, for the few dresses I own.
- And just like other parts of my life, my closet budget for shoes is how many shoes fit against the wall on two of the walls. When I run out of wall space, it's time to give away enough shoes so each pair fits!
So here's a peek at the two walk in closets, so you can see that my husband's closet looks similar and it was designed to fit what he keeps in his closet.
The closet between the front door and garage door like every closet in the house, had the hanging space we needed plus lots of shelves for things you grab when leaving the house, things like beach towels when you live near the ocean.
More Closet Ideas from Model Homes
If you're looking for decorating ideas, visiting model homes nearby can be really helpful. They're also a great way to learn how closets are changing. In fact what I just discovered is that all those house listings you find online — they don't include photos of the closets, hmm.
The two biggest trends you'll see in model homes are more walk in closets, meaning it's not unusual to find walk in closets in every bedroom where they used to be reserved for the master bedroom. The other closet trend is more custom design features to make it easier to your clothes organized for easy access, and to make getting dressed fun.
10 Closet Ideas Found Online
What you might see as I share the various closet trends found online, is that they're variations on things we've been doing for years … done more boldly. While I might not have created such a rich list of closet ideas on my own, after reading about them I realize my handyman business did similar things.
- When re-configuring walls and doors, you should consider how you'll present the changes to potential buyers.Converting an adjacent bedroom (full or partial) into extra closet space for the master bedroom. In fact there are lots of ways to make this happen:
- Add a door between the master bedroom or master bath, to allow a spare bedroom to be used as an extra closet.
- Reconfigure walls to extend an existing closet into part of an adjacent bedroom. We did this once to accommodate medical equipment for someone using oxygen.
- Add walls with doors to create more closet space in wide hallways and/or under stairs. When I recently saw one home for sale with a tiny master bedroom closet and a huge loft, I realized a two foot deep closet across the back wall would provide about 10 feet of much needed storage.
- Shoe walls that allow you to enjoy your shoes in addition to storing them, was mentioned by ClosetAmerica.com. You can buy shoe cabinets here in the US but the Japanese are masters at storing shoes. They expect you to leave your shoes at the front door and our apartment had kitchen quality cabinets for roughly 40 pairs of shoes.
- Custom closet cabinets have lots more doors, with glass doors and lights so you can easily see what's inside. ClosetAmerica said frosted glass is gaining popularity because “It adds a sense of mystery … and helps hide the chaos”.
- Decorate your closet like any other room in your house, so you feel happy when you walk in. Kelly at ViewAlongtheWay used a lovely garden style wallpaper that would brighten up anyone's day. Ideas you can see on Krista's site, TheHappyHousie include closet ideas like a chandelier, ornate mirror, fancy drawer hardware and even a rug.
- Add a mirror and jewelry storage that makes it easy to find just the right necklace, earrings and more when you're getting dressed. You'll get to enjoy more time in your personal closet and leave ready for the day.
- Islands are popular in larger closets although I worry about them becoming clutter magnets, so a better use for that extra space might be a bench or comfortable chair where you can lay out outfits as you're deciding what to wear.
- Windows with a window seat can turn a boring closet into a happy space that's bright and cheery. You'll be able to see how your clothes will look outdoors in natural sunlight.