In & Out of the Closet

Something that comes up consistently in my consultations is the storage solution conundrum. With smaller footprint homes becoming the ‘norm’, clients are increasingly focussed on utilizing every nook and cranny in order to maximize their space. There are so many tips and strategies on this topic that a blog article could become a book. Read on to see three ‘before’ and ‘after’ mini projects where functional, and optimal storage was the ultimate goal for each of my clients.

Project #1 – Master Suite

This master suite was actually part of a larger redesign project, which included selecting new wall colour and window treatments, but the biggest obstacle was to create a truly functional closet from a standard closet design.

Master Closet - Before
  • This closet is 9½’ long x 2’ deep x 8’ high
  • The opening is 6’, which is accommodated with two 3’ bi-fold doors
  • There is also 20” of awkward-to-access space in each end of the closet to work with

The original closet system contained a single rod stretching the full length of the closet, a narrow unfinished shelf above the rod, and 2 lower shelves in the 20” space on the left side. The rest of the closet was unutilized dead space.

The Solution:

One 4– 8’ Rubbermaid closet kit, available at Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, and Home Depot. This kit includes two 4’ shelves and rods, and one 26” shelf and rod. The system is fully expandable, which provides the flexibility needed to set each shelf and rod to suit the storage needs and  really make the space in this closet go a long way.

In order to utilize the rest of the closet space, a piece of dowling was cut to size and mounted near the ceiling at the left end of the closet for out of season tops to be hung and stored. An extra shelf was added to the existing shelving for jeans and sweaters, and canvas lined wicker baskets (from Jysk) were incorporated for t-shirts and smaller items like scarves, etc.

Master Closet - Left End

The floor space under the shelves is left open enough to store a small carry-on size suitcase, and other items of similar size and bulk.

In the opposite end of the closet the 26” rod and shelf was mounted high enough to hang full length gowns. You can see here that dress pants hung full-length also take advantage of this space. The floor space that is left is roomy enough for shoes, though you can’t see the floor space in this picture.

Master Closet - Right End

Other add-on items that were incorporated: a tie rack (left of top shelf), and a hanger for belts (left of tie rack on back wall of closet).

Master Suite Closet - After

From a standard closet design to all-out function, every inch of this closet was maximized with a simple closet kit, a few add-ons, and a little creativity. And all this was done in a day!

Project #2 – Teen’s Closet

This bedroom is quite small, and only has room for a double bed and either a small dresser or a small desk, but not both. Previously the useable space of this room was expanded by placing a study desk in the closet area instead of having a functioning closet. There were shelves in the left end of the closet, but the rod had been removed.

Teen Closet - Before
  • This closet is 8’ long x 2’ deep x 8’ high
  • The opening is 5’, and does not have doors
  • There is also 27” of awkward-to-access space in the left end of the closet to work with

This space is now a teenager’s bedroom, one with a lot of clothing and accessories. So in desperate need of a closet system, she wanted a combination of solid shelving and double rods, room for her laundry hamper, and somewhere to store all her handbags. She was very clear that she didn’t want doors of any kind, because she wanted to have easy access to all her things.

The Solution:

Individual materials were purchased from Home Hardware to build the closet system with: two 4′ long x 1′ deep pre-cut pine boards; one 9′ piece of dowling to cut down to size for 2 rods; plastic rod cover; four shelf/rod mounting brackets; one 3′ pressure-fit rod. Canvas lined baskets were purchased from London Drugs.

Teen Closet - Left End

If you look at the reflection in the mirror you can see all the purses hung over a rod. This is where the pressure-fit rod was installed; it’s easy to remove and keeps the purses from being crushed, or squashed. Installing the mirror here was the teen’s idea!

Teen Closet - After

Here is the finished closet. Isn’t it neat and tidy? In front of the mirror is the laundry hamper, and under the bottom rod of clothing there are more baskets that hold smaller accessory items. This closet has a light inside, which makes the items on the top shelf easier to see.

Did you notice the great new colour on the walls? It’s Benjamin Moore’s ‘Tropicana Cabana’ 2048-50, also part of this project!

Project #3 – Laundry Room Storage and Styling

This laundry room is a very tiny 6′ x 7′ work-horse. It not only has a washer, dryer, and basin in it, but is home to the hot water tank, and also multi-tasks as storage too! The challenges were lack of counter space, and turning wasted vertical space into more functional storage.

Right away I wanted to find a solution to disguise the hotwater tank as much as possible, and remove the visual clutter from the top of the cabinets. I wanted to find a spot for the laundry basket that would keep it off the dryer, which could double as a valuable folding surface.

The Solution:

Baskets from London Drugs; Trolley and replacement laundry basket from Super Store

The baskets fit perfectly above the cabinets, and the smaller ones on the side complete the look.

Basket Storage - After

The trolley serves as quick and easy storage for smaller items that are used more often. The new laundry basket sits on top of the trolley and does a great job of hiding the hotwater tank – did you even remember it was there?

The space now has a more unified and finished look. The baskets not only serve a function, but they warm the room up as well. Adding colour to the walls would be a nice touch too, but that is part of another phase in the styling work.

What do you think? Have the challenges of these projects been met for the clients?

Can’t find the solution for your storage challenge? Maybe we can help. Contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!

4 Replies to “In & Out of the Closet”

  1. Wow,

    Thank you so much for the ideas and I needed. Especially now that’s getting cold and I need to organize everything. 3 closets total! Wish me luck!!!

    BTW, thank you for visiting my blog! I appreciate it!

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

    1. Hi Luciane,
      I’m glad you found some of the ideas helpful – turning a closet space into one that maximizes its function for you and your needs is the key to its success. Good luck with the 3 you are tackling!

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