Be honest: When was the last time you organized your closet? (We mean, really organized it?) Don’t fret. We’ve all been guilty of overlooking our closets by throwing excess clutter into them and then closing the door. However, it’s about time to turn that neglected space into the wardrobe of your dreams.
Sprucing up your closet will make getting ready in the mornings feel much more exciting and less rudimental. Plus, it’s another place to showcase your own unique design style.
Below, design experts share their go-to tips and tricks to organizing a stylish and functional closet that you’ll love.
Give It a Sense of Place
For many, closets seem to be nothing more than a place to hide away piles of clothes or and shoes you don't want other people seeing. However, the first step to a well-organized closet is viewing it as a space in your home to decorate that you would want to show off to guests. "Treat your closet like it’s a room in your house, not just a place to store your clothes, " explains Pittsburgh-based interior designer Betsy Wentz. "You’ll be more apt to keep your closet neat and organized if it’s finished." The more time you put into thinking through design elements like the room's gutsy color combinations or bold wall decor, the less likely you are to overlook the space.
Play with Patterns...Everywhere
In this exuberant master closet designed for the Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House, Wentz masterfully layered more than a dozen prints from the ceilings to the back of the storage units (The Container Store). The daring motifs add a sense of interest and brighten the more utilitarian space. To ensure the your colorful parade of patterns doesn't feel too overwhelming, Wentz recommends opting for a small carpet pattern on the closet floor. "This creates a unified look with some interest," explains Wentz.
Use Fashion as Art
In closets where square footage is limited, it may be a challenge to find space to hang an eye-catching painting or incorporate chic accents. However, Charlotte-based designer Catherine M. Austin will tell you sometimes the most stunning pieces are the ones already hanging within your closet. "Closets are some of my favorite spaces to design because one can use the client’s fashions as artwork for the space in regard to color, pattern, and shape," explains Austin. "I like to treat shoes and handbags as mini art collections that should be displayed in an artistic way."
It's All In the Small Details
While vivacious wallpaper and textured area rugs make a loud statement initially, it's the small trinkets and treasures that fully showcase your personal design moxie. "Pay the same amount of attention to the details in the closet that you would any other room in the home," says Austin. "Fresh flowers, personal mementos, original art, using pretty trays and bowls to organize jewelry, incorporating specialty hardware, and lining drawers with velvet all add a bespoke layer that elevates the space."
Think in Specific Sections
As you start to craft your dream closet, make sure to assign certain types of clothing and accessories to designated. This will give you motivation to keep the space organized and make finding items much easier. For those in apartments or working with smaller spaces, don't be afraid to stack items in creative ways to maximize space while keeping the closet's sections. "I love segregated shoe and hand bag shelves, but if you are short on this kind of closet real estate be sure to pair your shoes heel to toe so that you see more pairs at once," says Melanie Fowler, founder of Clos-ette.
Don't Forget About Seating
No matter if you are working with a walk-in or an open-air closet, Fowler believes it's always nice to have "an upholstered perch" to put on your shoes or to even just to lounge on. The addition of a cozy slipper chair or corner banquette helps make the space somewhere you want to hang out in rather than just store your clothes.
It's All About the Lighting
Closets tend to lack natural light and feel a bit dark, so it's important to find the perfect lighting fixture to brighten the space. "Choose a good chandelier with multiple lights that will up light and downlight in all the right places," says Virginia-based designer Sara Hillery. "I love LED tape lighting within the bays of hanging space too so you can see all your options." For more one-of-kind options, hit up your local antiques store to discover those gilded Italian scones just waiting to be placed on your walls.
Every now and then, take stock of the items in your wardrobe. "Will you really wear that bridesmaid dress again, if not, donate it and free up space for something new and fabulous," says Hillery. Clearing the clutter will instantly relieve any stress or tension in the room.
Hangers Are Important
Organization power duo Fillip and Jamie Hord of Horderly stress one of the key ways to keep everything looking neat and tidy within a closet is use uniform hangers. Slim velvet hangers makes it easier to simply grab a blouse or dress shirt off the rank when rushing around, whereas wooden hangers are perfect for those heavier coats and suits.
Play With Color Coordination
While having everything sorted into specific categories enhances the look of a closet, color coordinating them will make find those special pieces standout. "Fold and stack sweaters in small color-coded piles so that finding each piece is easy, functional, and looks good too," explains Fillip and Jamie.
Videography by Brian Woodcock.
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