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Storage & ClosetsEdit

Your options for designing a closet are now nearly as wide as your choices for furnishing your house. It used to be that all a closet got were poles, hooks and shelves. Today, a closet’s custom mill work and visual finishes are as sophisticated as any high-end kitchen, bath or even retail store. In new home construction, if you don't say anything to a contractor, you'll get a basic "pole and shelf" setup: a single pole with a fixed shelf above it. Then it's up to you to customize the closet interior. Typically built and painted on-site, this is the least expensive way to go. The next upgrade includes multiple poles and shelves of varying lengths and heights to accommodate different types of garments. Typically, the vertical partitions holding up the poles are used as the sides for adjustable closet shelving. The components can be shop-built and painted on-site or, for a more durable (and expensive) finish, surfaced with melamine or laminate. The third option is Oprah-style luxury. Think shop-built, prefinished wood: essentially furniture that is designed and dimensioned to fit your closet interior precisely. Custom-made dresser drawers, shoe cubbies, shelving, jewelry drawers and partitions give you the maximum amount of storage and cost the most money.


The quickest way to increase storage capacity in an existing closet is with a standardized modular closet system such as those offered at large home stores and DIY centers. The classic coated-wire basket system is widely available, simple to install, and inexpensive, but often has bins that are too deep to allow for easy access to smaller items. Supplier-installed standard systems, professionally designed and measured to fit your closet, cost less than a custom-crafted interior but are far more expensive than the do-it-yourself option. The upside is that they have true drawers, offer the maximum storage capacity, and have a more finished look.


Sometimes building a closet isn't practical for economic or design reasons. Armoires and wardrobes still make a lot of sense for hanging items. You'll have to trade off a little storage space, but an armoire can have several advantages over a closet of comparable size. Unlike an armoire, a closet can't be moved around easily, which means your options for furniture placement are more limited. Inexpensive, prefabricated armoires are inevitably cheaper than even the simplest comparable closet. Like any piece of furniture, an armoire can add to the look of a room. Since an armoire typically does not extend all the way to the ceiling and often is set on feet above the floor, it allows for a better appreciation of the full volume of the space surrounding it.