The need for clever storage solutions in today’s homes extends beyond the kitchen, to closets in other rooms of the house.
Consumers shopping for a new home regard a walk-in closet as a major status symbol--a must-have--and they are willing to pay extra for one in the master bedroom.
Who is better at space planning than a kitchen and bath designer? Closet design is a natural addition to the kitchen designer’s skill set because whether you are finding storage for spices or for shoes, the essential design elements remained the same.
Style, Efficiency and Personalization Are the Keys to Good Closet Design.
Here are the main considerations when starting on a closet system:
#1 Is there enough space?
When it comes to the master closet, bigger is definitely better. Even downsizing boomers want plenty of storage for a lifetime of “stuff” so it’s important to look at the entire house lay-out when planning out closet space. If space is limited, can a spare bedroom be used to add a spacious walk-in closet and dressing area?
No matter what size space is available, you can make it work.
#2 How does your client use the space?
Closets aren’t one-size-fits-all. That's why it’s important to understand how the homeowner uses the space.
Does she have a shoe collection that rivals Carrie’s in Sex And the City? Or does he have designer silk ties in every color and pattern imaginable? Are outfits color coordinated or are things stored haphazardly? Is the closet full of jeans and sweaters that would work for “stacked” storage? Are there formal dresses and business suits that require traditional hanging space? What about belts, scarves, handbags, hats?
Understanding what the client needs to store, what he / she accesses most frequently, and even their favorite colors can influence closet designs.
#3 How can I customize the space for this client?
Homeowners often complain about lack of adequate closet space. Often, it’s not because the space itself is too small, but because they can’t use the space effectively. A 5 foot tall woman is probably not using the top third of the closet, simply because she can’t reach it.
Likewise, a tall person may avoid using racks placed at lower levels that require stooping or bending to use. The solution may be as simple as moving a rack up or down 6”.
Motorized or manual pull-down fittings that bring the contents of high racks down can “give back” enough space to make a small closet seem larger.
Something to keep in mind when designing a closet is universal design principles. More and more homeowners want to remain in their homes as long as possible and be able to access their clothing as they have always done. The motorized lift brings contents down to the person who may have limited extended reach – in the future or now, it does not matter. What does matter is that the convenience is there for whenever it’s needed.
In the case of two users of different heights, you can make two separate “zones” to serve each person’s specific storage needs.
#4 Is the lighting appropriate for easily seeing all colors and contents?
Every woman wants to be able to tell if her pants, shoes, blouses, sweaters, skirts, jackets – everything, in other words – are black or navy. If she accidentally leaves her house wearing what she thought was a black skirt that turned out to be navy in the sunlight, she will not be happy.
This anecdote shows that lighting is critical for a great closet system.
LED lighting makes it easy to add lighting to any space, without the extra heat that created challenges in the past.
Drawers that automatically light when opened, or pull-downs that light up when they are pulled down – even closet rods for hanging clothes light up these days – can make it easier and more convenient for people to match colors. And find things, too.
LED light strips can be applied to get light exactly where it’s needed. Plus, LED lights save energy.
#5 Does the client want luxury materials to create a master closet haven?
While the closet must be functional, the styling is all about fashion. The number of finish options, furniture details and custom touches that add a sense of luxury are pretty much limitless.
Shoes are the one accessory that tends to accumulate. With a shoe wall, your client’s shoes will be properly stored and better protected, and she can see her options easily when getting dressed.
Don’t forget about decorative hardware, always the “jewelry” of the kitchen and bath, that can now be added to closets. Unique detailing such as crystals add a “wow” touch.
Today’s custom closets have become a showcase for an owner’s style and taste, and one that makes them feel good, too. People are less stressed getting ready for their day when their closets are well organized.
A custom closet can be a financially smart choice in any home, no matter its size. They add value by providing more space and organizing the clutter that homeowners want to tame.
No matter your client’s expectations, you can create the efficient storage and luxurious feel they are looking for when you apply your designer expertise.
Dovetail Marketing is a full-service rep agency whose goal is to match kitchen and bath designers and remodelers with the cabinet manufacturers best suited to their business’ style and clientele. Owner Bob Aungst III represents Brighton Cabinetry, US Cabinet Depot, Presidential Series from Legacy Cabinets, Holiday Kitchens and StyleCraft.