A guide to remodeling your closets


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Remodeling a closet can be a great way to get organized while getting rid of clutter. Fortunately, there are affordable systems—and no matter what closet remodel ideas you have, two broad options:

  • Remodels that use the current closet space
  • Remodels that would expand the space

If just thinking about your closet is triggering, if it’s a dark and chaotic wasteland, if it holds stuff from the Paleozoic Era, imagine the inviting space that could be your closet, with everything in order: casual and dress clothes, designer and sensible shoes, belts, bags, and sports equipment or jewelry.

Related: 5 curb appeal ideas for your house

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1. Size Up What’s There

Step One is to have the right tools to accurately measure the size of the closet and, if desired, see what potential extra space exists.

Closets.com recommends the following tools:

  • Measuring tool: This can be a 25-foot flat tape measure or, if preferred and needed, an electronic measuring tool. The latter can measure longer walls.
  • Acrylic square finders (two): With these, verify whether closet corners are actually square.
  • Angle finders for closets with slanted ceilings: This allows the angle of the roofline to be properly measured.
  • Paper: Record all numbers; graph paper can be especially helpful when sketching out measurements and closet remodel ideas.

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2. Take Measurements

Here are measuring tips:

  • When doing a hard measurement, round down by the nearest quarter of an inch.
  • When doing soft measurements, round down to the nearest whole number.
  • Measure walls in three places and use the smallest of these measurements: near the top, in the middle, near the bottom.
  • Measure from top to bottom.
  • Check inside corners.
  • Check the angle of pitch for any sloped ceilings.
  • Note and measure any obstacles, which can include light fixtures and switches, trim, and vents.

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3. Figure Out What You’re Storing

An interior designer interviewed by GQ suggests that before buying anything for your closet remodel, it’s best to strip out what’s currently in there.

Next, before deciding what clothing rods, drawers, and cubbyholes might be needed, be crystal clear about what will be stored in the closet after the remodel. Some people may have lots of dress suits; others, a plethora of shoes. Still others may have a significant quantity of both.

How many T-shirts? Sweaters? Armed with this knowledge, it can be easier to come up with closet remodel ideas.

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Consider Features You’d Like

Houzz.com lists popular features for closets today, and they include the following:

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1. Get Lit

According to design professionals, today’s homeowners request plenty of lighted features, from LED lights that shine on specific areas of the closet to illuminated rods and shelves, and lights that focus on cabinets, both inside and out.

One expert notes that she has seen a 200% increase in demand for luxury lighting in closets over the past year. Although closet chandeliers were hot a little while ago, they seem to be moving over to make room for geometric lighting fixtures.

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2. A Dressing Room

This space isn’t just for pampered celebrities anymore. Because not every house has bedrooms with enough square footage for dressing room space, some homeowners are choosing to transform an extra bedroom—or even an underused dining or living room—into a walk-in closet/dressing room.

These rooms typically have some kind of seating and mirrors, and even pieces of art, and range from reasonably simple rooms containing a makeup table and comfy seat to luxurious spaces.

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3. Walls That Wow

People who may have a more straightforward paint color or wallpaper pattern in their rooms are sometimes willing to experiment more with the walls in their closets, experts say, perhaps using bolder hues or eye-catching patterns.

Ventilation systems to remove smells of clothing are being requested, and so are dehumidifiers.

Image Credit: PC Photography/istockphoto.

4. In-Demand Features

Colorado Homes and Lifestyles lists some “over the top” features in demand today, including:

  • Entire walls for shoes for easy retrieval
  • Crown molding for a stylish upgrade
  • A sliding ladder, like what might be used in a home library
  • Chaise lounge for a true touch of glamour

HGTV offers some specialty recommendations:

  • Built-in drawers, called cellarets, to keep socks, ties, and more well organized
  • Laundry cabinet storage with a removable liner to carry the load to the washer
  • Jewelry organizer with multiple compartments, some with locks

Image Credit: PC Photography/istockphoto.

Closet Remodel No-Nos

InnovateHome.org lists several things to avoid.

Image Credit: Damian Lugowski/istockphoto.

1. Dead Space

People often waste space above the top shelf in their closets. To some degree, folks can fold clothes and put them on that shelf or use it for storing boxes, but it becomes harder to access these items once they’re taller than a foot.

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2. Wasted Space Behind Swing-in Doors

It’s best to avoid closet doors that swing in, if possible, because shelves can’t be built there and clothes hung there will continually be banged into. Even if this is the setup, though, the space can still be somewhat salvaged by the addition of a hook board where scarves, ties, and other thin objects can be placed.

Image Credit: Elizaveta Shishlyannikova/istockphoto.

3. Shallow Shelving

When shelves are too shallow, clothes hang over top of them and the closet can look sloppy, rather than organized. Lots of closet systems have 12-inch shelves; make sure this is deep enough for your needs or choose other shelving with more depth.

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What Will a Closet Remodel Cost?

On average, a closet renovation in 2020 cost $3,000 to $5,000, according to Thumbtack.com.

A good rule of thumb is that the cost per linear foot is $125. Add-ons will affect the cost. Here are some amounts that someone might expect to spend:

  • Professional organization services: $40 to $60 an hour
  • New lights and outlets: $55 to $65 an hour
  • New door: $180
  • Paint job: $200

Expanding a master suite closet might cost $2,000, according to HomeAdvisor.com.

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Costs to Consider

Another factor is whether the closet is a reach-in or walk-in type. Reach-in closets are typically smaller, but when organized well can be functional. These closet remodels can cost between $1,000 and $2,500 and are often found in smaller bedrooms and hallways.

Or, if you’ve been watching TV remodel shows and are longing for the walk-in closets created there, this type may cost more, while offering plenty of room for clothing and accessories and a good view of what’s located where.

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Upping Your Home Value

Renovations in general can add to the value of a home. For example, the addition of a master bedroom (which would naturally contain a closet or two) can have 58.5% of its costs recouped for a mid-range addition (average total cost of $136,739) or a 51.6% of costs recouped on an upscale addition (average total cost of $282,062).

If you’re looking to sell a home, a custom closet design may be of more value to a buyer than an off-the-shelf closet organizing product.

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The Takeaway

A closet remodel can range from practical to astounding, suitable to luxe. Take measure of exactly what you want—first deciding whether to expand the space or enhance what you have—and then carve out a budget for that vision.

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This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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