Walk-In Closets: Benefits, Costs and Ideas

walk in closet

Walk-in closets are high priority items for many renters and home buyers because they provide important benefits at a low cost. Depending on the size of the closet, walk-ins provide substantially more storage room than a standard, hanger-depth closet and allow residents more space to organize clothes, shoes and accessories. Additionally, cedar lined closets repel cloth eating insects. Cedar planks are easy to install yourself or can be part of your closet redesign implemented by your carpenter. 

Walk-In Closet Costs

It's hard to give an exact cost range for walk-in closets as the cost is so much dependent upon the type of wood, size, detail, labor time and more. Also figure on some of the finishing touches like recessed lights, benches, hardware, and mirrors. Building a 9x9-foot walk-in closet (with three new walls) or a 26x3-foot reach-in closet (two new walls, front and side) in an existing room may run about $4,000 to $6,500 or more, depending on the choice of lighting, doors and built-in storage, as well as ventilation requirements for a walk-in.

Here are a few inexpensive ideas to maximize the benefits of a large closet:

Closet organizer units are available in inexpensive, do-it-yourself kits. These units are made of plastic coated wire or veneered particle board.

If the budget allows, skilled carpenters can build custom cherry, cedar, oak, or pine closet organizing systems.

Before you go shopping, take an inventory of the items you store in your closet. Make a note of how many shoes and boots you have. Do you have mostly short, hanging items like shirts, blouses and jackets or do you have longer items like pants, jeans and dresses? How many folded things, like sweaters, jeans and sweatshirts would you like to organize? Do you want to store smaller items like scarves, accessories, underwear and socks?

Once you inventory your items, you will be able to meet with your carpenter and come up with a closet design plan to meet your needs. Using a piece of grid-lined paper, draw a layout of your closet to scale. Include the actual measurements of your closet including height. Then take the drawing to your local hardware or closet organizer store.

Consider installing a hanger unit that includes a shelf above for storage. If your closet is on the small side, use this area to store off-season items in clear plastic tubs. The clear plastic will allow you to see what is inside. Be sure to store like items together, such as shorts in one tub, shirts in another and sandals in yet another one.

Shelving units have adjustable shelves that are perfect for folded items like sweaters. Colorful open top bins can be used to store underwear, socks and accessories. Organize the bins from top to bottom in the same way you wear the items. For example, hats and scarves on the top shelf, sweaters and body garments in the middle, underwear and socks on the bottom row.

Shoes and boots can be stored vertically in hangers with pockets or on low horizontal shelves.

With careful planning and the help of an experienced carpenter, walk-in closets offer many storage benefits and can be customized to your particular needs.

Updated July 5, 2018.

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