Bedroom Closets

Forgotten Spaces Series:  Bedroom Closets Need Love too!

A seriously forgotten space in your home is the bedroom closet.  It is not only forgotten by the owners of the closet, but also designers and architects.  Closets are an afterthought.  Your typical bedroom closet is a two feet deep by three, four, five, six feet long (or even larger depending on the bedroom size).  But the critical dimension is the two feet deep dimension because that is fixed. It actually takes up more space in the bedroom, because that two foot dimension doesn’t take into account wall thickness.  The front wall of the closet adds 4-7/8" into the bedroom (3-1/2" stud with a layer of 5/8" gyp. board on each side.)


As an architect, when laying out closets for a bedroom, you do your best to maximize the bedroom space. And because a closet is a requirement for the bedroom, the closet gets the proverbial shaft. I’ve laid out many bedrooms in houses, condos and apartments. Being keenly aware of how crucial storage is in a living space, it still gets put on the backburner of importance. Why? Frankly, because other spaces are more marketable. That still doesn’t alleviate the issue of our closets being important. So how can we maximize the 2 foot by whatever length we are left with? Organization.
First, lets talk about how architects view closets.  Many times we are forced to draw the minimum due to square footage restraints.  It is usually the most efficient layout to allow the door to swing into the nook created by the closet.  (See the typical closet layout image above.) A solid line and a dashed line represent the Closet Rod and Shelf.  That is your basic closet.  Sometimes it has a steel rod and a wooden shelf and sometimes there is the cheaper wireframe shelves which are hated for the way they put lines in our folded sweaters.  Curse You, Wire Shelving, Curse You!

Let’s go vertical in our closet organization for bedrooms. There are ways to maximize your closet depending on what you keep in there. If you just keep clothes on hangers in there, that’s cool. But to quickly double the clothing storing capacity, think about stacking. Remove that single rod and shelf and consider a low and high rod and shelf combination.  The low rod is great for pants folded over hangers and the high rod is for shirts and blouses.  Make sure that he high rod isn’t taller than your reach or you’ll need a step stool.  And each shelf, if you have enough room, can be used to store folded clothes that aren’t worn as often.  Your sweaters probably won’t see the light of day until winter rolls around.

If you want your closet to be more than just a place to hang clothing, then you might want a more elaborate system of shelves, drawers, rods, etc.  Tall rods can be perfect for dresses and suits, shelves for folded items (like your unmentionables) and again, the systems of low and high rods for shirts and pants.  Cubby holes near the floor can be great for shoes.  You’ve seen these elaborate closet set ups in organizational and big box hardware stores.  Design a set-up for the way you use your closet. These systems are very flexible and customizable.
The bottom line about the forgotten bedroom closet is realizing that you will find you need more storage after the fact. As you accumulate more shoes/clothes/stuff and discover you don’t have enough room to store it, you’ll want to maximize the space you do have. Remember that you can always go vertical. If you don’t, you’ll end up stacking clothes around your bedroom on the floor. You will be forced to forget how big your bedroom was. Walk-in closets can suffer the same fate if you have too much stuff. So, maximize that closet.

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