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The 411 When You’re Planning a Closet Renovation

architectural-design-architecture-blueprint-239886Whether you’re working with an architect or directly with your general contractor, communicating what you want and need in a new master closet as early as possibly in the process helps ensure you end up with the space of your dreams. Before you finalize your reno plans, it’s important to start working with a closet expert to make sure you get a custom closet system that will make the best use of your space and meet all your storage needs.  We’ve worked with several clients whose hindsight was 20/20 and they wished they had made different choices.  We’ve laid out some of the nitty gritty details to think about when designing and building the space.

  • Hangers are approximately 17” wide and hanging clothes typically come off the wall about 21″. Make sure walls are deep enough that hanging clothes don’t protrude into the walk way.  If it’s a reach-in closet, you want to make sure the closet is deep enough so hanging clothes don’t collide with the doors, casing or wing walls.
  • For a walk-in closet, a 30-36″ walk way is ideal. Any narrower and you may be side-stepping through.
  • Sometimes you cannot avoid nooks or bump outs, but if you can plan for it, the minimum width of the remaining wall should be 14-15″ to be useful space.
  • Consider a pocket door, which allows full access to all the walls in the closet, whereas a hinged door swinging into the closet means one area is difficult to access.
  • Consider the height of window(s). A bench is between 17″-19″ from the ground. Ideally, the window should be at least 30″ from the ground so the window doesn’t look like it’s “sitting” on the bench.
  • Men’s dress shirts/suits require about 44″ vertically so that clothes don’t “pool” onto the ground or shelf below. 96” of height is ideal to accommodate double hanging. Women’s clothes and folded pants generally don’t require as much height.
  • Women’s shoes are approximately 8″ wide when placed side by side, while men’s shoes are approximately 10″ wide. You may want to consider drop front shoe boxes like these to keep shoes dust free but those are wider.
  • If you have baseboard heat, place it under a window. If you have central HVAC system, place vents 16-26″ from walls so that we can build to the ceiling with TCS Closets.
  • Place light switches on the outside of the closet or at least 16-26″ away from adjacent wall.
  • With TCS Closets, we can cut out the back panel to allow access to outlets. Outlets cannot be behind drawers – the easiest place is often behind hanging clothes or slightly higher than dresser top height for a charging station.

As you can see, there’s a lot to know and consider! When we create custom TCS Closets or elfa designs for our clients, we consider all of these factors and more to maximize your space and for definitive organization. All you have to do is tell us about what you want and what you need to store in the space and you’ll be on your way to your dream closet!