From clever styling to expert organization, your walk-in closet is a space that deserves attention.
Walk-in closets are dreamy and luxurious, the crème de la crème of wardrobe storage, offering a wealth of storage as well as a quiet place to get ready for your day. While some walk-in closets are modestly spacious, others can be the size of a traditional bedroom. But even the biggest walk-in closet will make you feel like you don’t have enough storage space for your belongings if it’s not designed in a functional way that reflects your wardrobe and your needs.
Outfitting your walk-in closet with the right storage solutions and tools to suit your wardrobe and daily routine is a game-changer. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by your closet, consider trying out some of these expert-recommended ideas to ditch the clutter and fall in love with your space once and for all.
Meet Our Expert
Mindy Godding, certified professional organizer, owner of Abundance Organizing, and president of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals
Tara McCauley, interior designer and owner of Tara McCauley Interiors
Sarit Weiss, certified professional organizer and owner of Neat & Orderly
Accentuate Walls With Wallpaper or Fabric
A closet should foster creativity, as it is where you’ll assemble your outfits each day, so don’t be afraid to incorporate your personality into its design. "Add some personality to prefab closet shelving by lining the inside with wallpaper or fabric," says Tara McCauley, interior designer and owner of Tara McCauley Interiors.
Group Items by Category
Getting dressed is easier when you can quickly find what you’re looking for. "Hang shirts with shirts, sweaters with sweaters, jackets all together, pants together, skirts etc.," says Sarit Weiss, Certified Professional Organizer and Owner of Neat & Orderly. "You can choose how micro-organized you want to get within each of these categories. For example, you can organize all shirts by color, or split up short sleeves from long sleeves, dressy from casual, etc."
Let Color Be Your Guide
When in doubt, color is always a great way to sort your clothing. "Create flow and pleasing aesthetics by grouping items of the same classification in color order," says Mindy Godding, Certified Professional Organizer, owner of Abundance Organizing. "Separate bright colors with neutrals like black and white to break up clashing shades."
Divide the Space by User
"Because walk-in closets are typically larger spaces, you can section out the space so that each person has their own dedicated storage areas," says Godding. "Each person should have their own section of real estate, however, these spaces do NOT have to be equal." You might have more clothing than your partner or vice versa. Divide the space in the way that works best for you.
Incorporate Freestanding Furniture
There is no one way to style a closet, and freestanding furniture can turn your walk-in closet into a space that is truly unique. "Consider incorporating freestanding furniture in your walk-in closet," says McCauley. "An antique mirrored vanity or floor mirror can add so much character."
Install an Island
For particularly large closets, a functional island can be a great addition. Choose one that offers a combination of shelves and drawers that is well suited to the items you wish to store inside it. As an added bonus, you can use the top of the island for sorting and folding laundry.
Store Shoes Off the Floor
Shoes only belong on the floor when they’re on your feet. "In a walk-in closet, I like shoes to be featured like they would be in a boutique: stored vertically floor-to-ceiling, lined up on a shelf, grouped by style and color, with toes pointing out towards the room," Godding says. "I prefer flat shelves for shoe storage; tilted shelves aren’t a great use of space and sometimes shoes can slide off the front if the shelf doesn’t have a high enough lip."
Use Bins, Baskets, and Labels
Organizational tools can help you design the functional closet of your dreams. "Place clothing that does not need to be hung up in bins or baskets to keep items together," says Weiss. "Label each bin as its own category to know what goes where and never lose track. This is how we create a 'home' for each item. Labels help maintain the organization you've created."
Invest in Matching Hangers
Mismatched hangers can make your closet look disorganized and sloppy, even if its contents are thoughtfully put away. "Matching hangers is my number one recommendation for up-leveling the look and feel of a walk-in closet," says Godding. "The aesthetic payoff is always worth the upfront investment."
Consider Seasonal Storage
"All off-season clothing can be placed in large clothing storage bins/boxes and put up on the highest shelf in your closet," says Weiss. "When the next season comes, take down the bin, switch over your wardrobe and place the past season's clothing back up. Get into the groove of rotating every season."
Use Matching Bins for Smaller Items
"If your walk-in closet does not have any drawers, use bins to contain smaller items that don’t fold well, like socks or scarves," says Godding. "Bins also can enhance the aesthetic of a walk-in closet. Choose a material that appeals to your sense of style and design. Use repetition of the same style/color bin throughout the space to make the system cohesive."
Showcase Your Accessories
Presumably your closet is filled with clothing and accessories you love, so why not give them a chance to shine? "I love to show off an amazing shoe, jewelry, or handbag collection in a walk-in closet! Use hooks on the wall or display trays to highlight your favorites and make accessorizing easy," says Godding.
Install a Valet Hook
Designing your closet requires you to consider not only permanent storage, but transitional storage as well. "A simple hook mounted on the wall creates a sensible place to store those items in transition like dry-cleaning bags or yesterday’s jeans, keeping the closet looking tidy,” says Godding. A valet hook will look much nicer than tossing these kinds of items on the floor or over a chair and help you stay organized.
Choose Locations Based on Your Routine
"Understand the rhythm of your getting dressed routine; think from head to toe, top to bottom, and choose "homes" for each category based on how you dress yourself," says Weiss. "Place hats on a higher-up shelf, shirts on a higher rod, and pants on the rod underneath. Use a wall near your mirror to hang up accessories for easy try-ons with your outfit."
Add a Vanity
If you like to savor the ritual of getting ready and doing your hair and makeup, a vanity could be a great addition to your walk-in closet. Hang a mirror or buy a vanity that has one built in, and stock it with the skincare, fragrances, and makeup products you use most. A fun stool can add a touch of personality to your space.
Store Clothes Vertically in Drawers
Inserting your clothes vertically, like files, into your drawers ensures that you are always able to see what you have, making it easier to locate your clothes and build outfits. "Fold garments like t-shirts and sweaters and place them in drawers so that they are facing up," says Godding. "[For] this technique, spring-loaded drawer dividers are a helpful tool to keep rows tidy and upright."
Allow Space for Laundry and Trash
Clean clothes aren’t all you need to store; laundry awaiting washing needs a home, too. The same goes for trash, like tags clipped off new clothes or used lint roller sheets. "Tools like baskets and hampers are often overlooked. Give yourself a system for collecting trash or dirty laundry so they don’t end up on the floor," Godding says.
Make a Jewelry Wall
Jewelry boxes are beautiful, but not always functional. It’s hard to see all of your jewelry, making it easy to forget about pieces that aren’t right in front of you. Instead, opt for a jewelry wall in your walk-in closet. Hang tiny hooks to display all of your most worn or most beloved pieces so you can easily choose which ones you’ll wear each day.
Invest in Good Quality Lighting
Lighting plays a key role in establishing the look and feel of any space, closets notwithstanding. "Most walk-in closets are designed in interior rooms, without windows. The lack of natural light can make these spaces feel dark and unpleasant," says Godding. "Outfit your walk-in closet with high-wattage lighting that will highlight your clothing and keep the space feeling fresh."
Opt for Custom Solutions
It may be hard to make the most of a closet that was not designed with your needs in mind. Custom closet solutions can be truly transformative. "The latest trend we are seeing is custom designs in high-end finishes that showcase the items that you love to wear in addition to making them easy to access," says Godding. "If your closet only has a hanging bar with one shelf above it, it might be time for an upgrade."
Read the original article on Martha Stewart.