If you've been hanging out with us for a while, you likely know, my closet was literally falling apart. No way around it, we needed a revamp. So I partnered with this amazing company - Classy Closets - to remodel, reorganize, and breathe new life into a space that has clearly breathed its final breath. Here's how my closet remodel experience went!
As a professional organizer, you may think that I had this master plan thought out with exactly how I wanted my closet to look - no designer necessary. NOPE. I will say that I might take a perfectly laid-out closet design a little bit more seriously than the average customer, however our designer, Susy, has the upper hand when it comes to closets. After spending maybe 30 minutes in my closet taking measurements and a few pictures, Susy was able to take the information she gathered, and put together the most amazing plan that not only made our new closet more functional, but also SO beautiful!
Of course, my husband and I shared with Susy what we did and didn’t like about our previous closet design, so that she could plan according to our wants and needs. If you’re getting ready to build or remodel – I would suggest this when it comes to designing a new closet: think outside of the box! Don’t plan it based off of the way you’re used to storing things there, but plan it based on how you WISH you could store things there. It’s very likely that your closet dreams are possible! Have you been folding things that you wish you could hang? Add more hanging rods to your new closet. Have you been storing some clothes in your closet and others in your bedroom dresser? Add drawers to your new closet. A custom closet designer will know exactly how to make those things happen for you.
Classy Closets uses 3D renderings to show their customers what their new space will look like according to the plan. It was so helpful for me to be able to see the plan in a realistic picture. I used it to make sure I had enough width to hang all my tops, and to make sure we had enough drawers planned for all the things I wanted in drawers.
For example, I listed all the different drawers I would like to have on both my side and my husband’s side. Previously, I had been storing all my workout clothes in baskets on shelves – and I wanted those things as well as underwear, socks, pajamas, swim, winter accessories, etc. put away. I counted 9 drawers each for my husband and myself. The 3D pictures showed only 8 drawers for each of us. I was then able to tweak a few things with Susy, to allow space for one more drawer on each side.
I did the same thing with our shoe shelves. I lined up our shoes, measured the width of 3 to 4 pairs, and asked Susy to tweak that measurement as well, which she did. I didn’t want the shelves too wide (and wasting space), and I didn’t want them to be barely not wide enough either. I’m all about using every inch of space while displaying things in a beautiful way – not too big, and not too small. It was amazing just how customizable every single step of this process was.
One thing we didn’t even have to think about was the height between hanging rods and shelves. With Classy Closets, all of those things are adjustable which is great when it comes time to putting clothes into the closet and getting organized.
Susy took a lot of things into consideration when planning for the build of our closet. Custom closet panels come in all different depths, and it can be hard to know what to use, where – if you’re designing on your own. Our closet has 3 different panel depths – let me share where each was used, and the reason why they work well.
24” deep wall
-Our 24” deep wall is the best looking side of our closet. Clothes hanging in this section are tucked inside the partitions, rather than hanging out further than where the partitions stop.
Since it looks the best, Susy placed this wall on the opposite side of the doorway, so that the view from the doorway would be a pretty one. Since it was the “feature wall” of the closet, we took it up a notch with a pretty countertop, mirror at eye level, and a few glass-front cabinets for displaying items that look nice.
- Drawers and/or cabinets, combined with hanging clothes is a nice look since it offers some variation. I love love LOVE that my drawers were placed on the deepest wall of the closet, as the drawers provide so much storage for the clothes that I didn’t want to hang. If you have a need for lots of drawer space, I would suggest incorporating less drawers that are more deep, rather than lots of drawers that are shallow. Sidenote: keep each of your drawers at a realistic height as well. My old closet had some pretty tall drawers, where vertical space was wasted.
- So, when should you NOT use 24” deep partitions, if they provide the best look for hanging clothes? My answer - don’t use them on the same wall your door sits on. This will make it hard to see around the deep partitions, which creates a cramped feeling in the room. I would also avoid using them on a wall adjacent to the doorway, if the doorway doesn’t sit in the middle of the room. You don’t want your view from the door way to be a deep partition. Using 24” deep partitions all the way around the room would make it feel a lot smaller – so if you don’t have the space to shrink the room a little, avoid doing that. The walls with smaller depth panels can be great for a few reasons as well.
16” deep wall
- I keep all of my keepsake and memorabilia boxes in my closet, as well as my files (in drawers) - because I have the space to do so. My new closet has a wall of drawers and cabinets dedicated to these things, and it’s 16” deep. This is a perfect depth for file boxes and the like, as it’s just deep enough for one box, and doesn’t waste space.
If you hang clothes in a 16” deep section, your clothes will stick out further than the partitions, so it won’t look as custom. However, I do think that 14” to 18” depth shelves are PERFECT for most decorative boxes and baskets to sit on, so if you plan to incorporate nice looking storage pieces, 16" shelves are great! (In my experience with using organizing products, most storage pieces fall somewhere in that range for either the depth or width. The last picture below shows my decorative storage on 12" deep shelves, but there are larger storage pieces available... too big for these 12" shelves, but perfect for 16" deep shelves.)
12” deep wall
-The most shallow walls in my closet are 12” deep. The shelves in this section are perfect for my hats and shoes as they aren’t too deep, and not any space is wasted. (If you have a lot of shoes or hats, stack several shelves to use the vertical space wisely.)
I don’t collect purses or handbags, and I don’t hang onto them when I switch over to a new one. So you won’t see anything like that on display in my closet, but 12” deep shelves would be perfect for standing and displaying a purse collection if you had one.
12” deep partitions are good for use on walls close to the doorway, as they won’t block your vision into the rest of the closet.
For us, our “safe” (locking cabinet) is great for one of the 12” walls, as it fits the items we keep in there perfectly, without wasting depth space. I prefer this cohesive locking cabinet over a big, bulky safe that doesn't match (even though I do realize it is less secure). I feel the same way about my file drawers! Instead of a mis-matched file cabinet, I have 6 file drawers that look pretty with the rest of the cabinetry!
- The downside of the 12” wall – is that the hanging clothes come out further than where the side partitions stop, so it doesn't have that “custom” look like the 24” wall has. If possible, try to limit the use of hanging rods in 12” sections that can be seen from the doorway, if you want that view to be the best!
I have really enjoyed having this bench in the middle of my closet! I use it for folding laundry, putting my shoes and socks on, packing for a trip, etc! The bonus is that it provides storage underneath too!
-Classy Closets uses melamine partitions, backing, drawer fronts and cabinet fronts... which keeps the cost down in comparison to using wood everywhere. However, you have several options to choose from when it comes to the face of your cabinets, drawers, etc. We chose wood front cabinets and drawers to keep the faces looking a little bit nicer, but the partitions and backing are melamine, and it's hard to see much of a difference when they're next to eachother.
Glass-front cabinets were also an option. Originally, Susy had planned for some of the cabinets holding our keepsake items to have glass-front cabinets. Knowing that my keepsake boxes were clear plastic and not necessarily “decorative”, I opted for wood-front cabinets in that section instead.
Don’t plan for glass fronts if you don’t plan on keeping the inside of the cabinet looking nice! If you do have pretty items to display, like clothes, shoes, purses, hats, blankets, decorative storage baskets etc, by all means, use the glass-front cabinets to create a feature wall!
A few other items to consider:
Make use of all the vertical space you have! Everyone has keepsake items, seasonal clothing, luggage, and other items you don’t get into often. Those things can be stored up high (and in cohesive bins if necessary), so keep the top shelf of your closet accessible, even if you need a ladder or step stool to get to it. We’ve worked in a few closets that have crown molding at the top, but don’t reach the ceiling – making the very top shelf unusable. In my closet, we did use crown molding but also went all the way to the ceiling with our shelves. I store my luggage in a few deep cabinets (on the 24” wall), but I made sure to put wood-front cabinet doors in front of where the luggage lives, since it’s not something pretty to look at.
We used full panel backing around our whole closet. This way, what you see behind our hanging clothes and shelves, looks the same as the partitions, rather than drywall that looks different. I wanted this new closet to look a top notch as possible, so we opted for the full backing panels since it provided a more finished look. To lower the cost, you can do without the full backing.
Tip: Make sure you have good lighting in your new closet! If you don’t have a window, is there sufficient electrical for good lights? We used to have a window in our closet, but we had Classy Closets’ construction crew cover it. The window was a tiny one (not built for anyone to get out of in case of emergency), and we wanted to use that space for storage instead. It was so nice to have workers from the same company take care of that for us, along with the following construction items:
New electrical wiring in the ceiling for extra lighting
Shiplap ceiling (which is the cherry on top of this closet, in my opinion!)
A few other fun accessories that were added to our closet, to make it more functional: tie holders that slide out, belt holders that slide out, and valet rods to hang clothes you're ready to put on or pack for a trip!
Do you have any space in your closet that seems unusable? For me, this is the case behind where my door opens. We placed a large mirror on that wall, as a place to check ourselves before walking out the door!
I feel like I'm living in a dream with my new and improved master closet! I am so happy with the design, style, and functionality of it. As Classy Closets says on their website, "You don't have to sacrifice form for practicality - you can have both!" I can attest to the truthfulness of that statement! If you're getting ready to build or remodel, I would highly recommend using Classy Closets to help build your dream closet, kitchen, bathroom, pantry, garage, etc! I hope this blog inspires you to revamp your space - share photos with us on Instagram of your revamped closet space at @azhouseoforder!