Just like all household appliances, closets come loaded with bells and whistles too. Whether it’s simply a place to store clothing or your closet needs to do double duty as a dressing room or sitting room, it must be adaptable, durable, and convenient to use.
Below are ideas for improving any closet.
Take advantage of all available space, up to the ceiling and down to the floor. Bins on high shelves, roll-out boxes that sit on the floor, even a third closet pole if your ceiling is over 9 feet high, are ideal for storing items you don’t use all the time. Less accessible places work well for off-season storage.
For a closet to work, you have to be able to see what’s inside it. Natural light from skylights or windows is a plus, but beware the fading that sunlight can produce. When sunlight isn’t available, you need good artificial light. The important thing to keep in mind about artificial light is that it has to be between you and the contents of the closet. If it’s behind you you’ll cast a shadow on what you’re trying to see.
Closets, more than any other space in the house, work best if you know in advance how you are going to use them. For example, if you bunch socks, they’ll need more space than if you roll them. Think about what you wear and how you like to get dressed, and design the space to serve you: most used items up around eye level, less-used below, and least used high above.
Being able to actually see all your socks, ties, underwear, etc. gives you real choices when you get dressed. Take advantage of the many accessories available, such as see-through wire bins, acrylic or glass-fronted drawers, drawers with dividers, and belt and tie racks to keep items organized.
You may be the only one who sees it, but the floor of a closet matters because you’ll be standing on it in your bare feet every day. For warmth underfoot, carpet is your best bet. But carpets in closets can be difficult to vacuum. For maximum cleanability, go with wood or vinyl.
Closets need some airflow and dehumidification or they become breeding ground for mold, mildew, even insects. A bathroom size fan timed to go on and off at regular intervals will help pull air through the closet even when the door is shut. A small dehumidifier is another way to keep things from getting musty, especially if the closet is in a damp basement.
Cedar closets do keep moths away, but the cedar scent can permeate adjacent spaces. If you don’t want your bedroom to smell like a gerbil cage, locate the cedar closet in an attic or basement with at least one additional door (other than the door of the closet) between you and it.