• Samantha Hebert

Closet Design: 5 “Need to Know” Basics

1. Just “Say No” to shelves below

Often times during a closet consultation a client will begin by saying: “And I’d like some shelves for shoes on the bottom” and I always answer back “Umm, no.” Just because you were raised with putting your shoes on the floor underneath the single rod inside your reach-in closet DOES NOT mean it’s the best practice to employ today. I know you see it advertised that way but that does not make it a good idea. It is simply what I call “a bad design.” You see, typical hanging garments average 24” in depth. That means when they are hanging on a hanger inside your closet, they occupy about two feet of space. That means you will be “pushing back” your hanging clothes to see your shoes underneath. This simply makes no sense. One of our #1 rules we employ is “no digging.” Especially after you have invested in a new custom closet. We like to bring those shoes into the light where they can be worshipped in a prime location in your closet space.

2. Shoe Storage

Shoe storage, and the location of their shoes, is always at the top of a clients’ list when it comes to designing their closet space. So here is what I recommend after figuring out where to store 1000’s of pairs of shoes during my career as a closet designer: While it’s true that we (women) may decide on the shoes we want to wear and then build our outfit around that, the shoes are typically the last clothing item we put on. So I design from the perspective of last on and first off (because shoe’s are typically the first item of clothing we remove when we get home). That translates to having some shoe storage close to the entrance of a closet space so it’s easy to put those shoes back where they belong rather than kicking them off on the floor and having them be in the way. That’s another one of our rules - “everything off the floor.”

3. Deep or Shallow?

No I’m not not talking about your personality here – I’m talking about the shelves in your closets and storage spaces. When people show me their closet spaces – they often feel compelled to “use every inch”. So whether the closet is 24” deep (standard depth for a reach-in closet) or 38” deep (space left over that a builder turns in to a closet), they want shelves that are as deep as the closet itself. That’s a bad idea. Extremely deep shelving is not only more expensive, but it creates what I refer to as “the big black hole.” If you want to remember it with a rhyme – deep shelving “increases cost and things get lost”.

Here are a couple rules of thumb:

  1. The deeper the shelf – the farther apart the shelves should be spaced.

  2. Small items work best on shallow shelves.

An ultimate luxury is being able to see every item that’s on your shelves. Think: open door – look at shelf – find needed item – grab and go. Closets aren’t gardens, we don’t want digging. Larger items can work on deeper shelves, things like pillows and blankets or furniture cushions.

4. Shoe Storage - Angled or Flat?

Since shoes are so important, we’re going to address some additional storage options for keeping them accessible and beautiful. Lots of people want angled shoe shelves. I can see why. They’re pretty. They also allow you to see more of your shoe at a glance, which is a plus. However,

The counter sides to pretty are:

-Angled shoe shelves are more expensive than flat, adjustable shelves

-Angled shoe shelves take up more space than flat, adjustable shelving

-Angled shoe shelves can pretty much just be used for shoes

So when I am working with a client and they need to maximize every inch, I recommend flat, adjustable shelving.

5. Long Hang (Only one Rod, Oh no ma’am)

Most people need only a little long hang for dresses. Typically closets are two-thirds hanging space with 90% of that being double hang. If you are still one of those people that have only one rod of hanging in your closet, you are living with a large amount of wasted space. That is a closet nightmare! I’ve said this time and time again and it’s so true… people just don’t realize what they live with. We make habits around the dysfunction.

Remember the 80/20 rule applies to our closets. It’s the rule that says we wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. Think about it for a minute. How often do you end up walking out the door in your “go to” favorites? Even if you think you want to wear a different outfit, the favorites win time and again. We can help you redesign your closet so it functions perfectly just for you. Give us a call today at (337) 564-0322 to schedule your free consultation. You’ll be glad you did!


Samantha Hebert

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4417 Lake Street Lake Charles, LA 70605 (337) 802-6877