7 key features of walk-in closets

by Nick McLain

A well-constructed walk-in closet is smart and efficient, leaving you less ruffled. We asked two highly rated closet professionals to show us how they dress up the walk-ins they design.

"It's the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing before bed, so if it's messy, it leaves you uneasy," says Lonny Goldberg, president of Everything Closets in Chicago. "If it's clean and organized, you feel better all around."

1 “We try to have the lights as high up as we can,” says Lonny Goldberg, president of Everything Closets in Chicago. “We typically use fluorescent recessed can lighting — it adds style.”

2 “There are lots of accessory options that have come out the last five years,” McAffee says. “There are chrome belt racks, padded jewelry drawers and tie dividers. It usually comes down to the price and how much you want to dress it up.”

3 “As far as clothes arrangement, the double hang is the real secret to the whole system,” says Jerry McAffee, co-owner of The Closet Warehouse in Los Angeles. “It allows for much more space.”

4 “Most use an angled shelf with a shoe rail, which is a cool look,” Goldberg says. “Normally, we’ll advise them to put the rest of the shoes in boxes and do a seasonal turnover.”

5 “Almost every project incorporates laundry hampers,” Goldberg says. “A tilt-out hamper is completely removable, so you can carry it over to the laundry room or throw it in your car to take to the dry cleaners.”

6 “If you have room, an island acts as a functioning working table for folding or that sort of thing,” McAffee says. “But the closet needs to be big enough so you have room to get around it.”

7 “Newer closet mirrors can slide in and out, and save space,” Goldberg says. “They’re only 4 feet tall, and from 24 inches away, you can see your whole body.”

"Walk-in closet projects vary in price, and usually involve doing more than one in a home," Goldberg says. "The average price runs about $2,000 to $2,500."


Especially where we come from NYC Manhattan, you will barely ever find something like that and we do custom cabinetry. The closet is usually a very tight spot, very uncomfortable to work in.

I'd rather have my humble and organized walk-in closet over this one. I'm glad I'm not that into clothes and shoes.

Thanks for the article. I liked it and found it useful even if no one else did. My wife and I have separate walk in closets that have awful wire shelves. It’s time for a change and now I have some idea what to look for and how much to budget. Thanks Angie’s List. This article is why I subscribe.

If they'd photographed an actual closet, they couldn't have demonstrated their ideas as easily as they did here. Lighten up, people. This just shows some ideas.

For the sake of the pretentious designer: No, most of the world does NOT live in California. My positive comment may help a few suburban types. We are making our 4 BR ranch into a 3 BR with a huge walk-in closet. We love the stainless steel wire shelves that have many commercial uses but also have many great bins, shelves and attachments that will work well for us. Just do a web search for steel shelves. Our shelving will run under $1500. We still may go with black enamel instead of SS.

This does show some ideas you can use in an older home which may have been built without closets or with poorly designed closets. We are constantly trying to carve useful storage space out of hallways or alcoves for people with older homes, and they don't want the clothing open to the world, so we have to create cabinetry with doors. It does keep the dust off and the clutter out of sight! And with ceilings that high, why not use pull-down wardrobe lifts to put hanging clothing up high? They are not expensive.

There are so many more features available. Some of you out there must not live in California where we do have closets that large.

I had a non-walk in closet (about 10' x not quite 3') with big sliding doors and a single wire shelf/hanging bar at eye level, which wasted all the space above the shelf to the ceiling, and all the space below the bar. I got a very nice Closet Maid organizer for about $150 at Home Depot that was pretty easy to install. Now I have a double bar with high shelf above on one side, middle shelves (slightly off-center so I can reach them behind the sliding doors) floor to ceiling for all my shoe boxes (over 60 pairs), and a higher bar for long items on the other side with a shelf above for bigger storage items. This cheap upgrade more than doubled the hanging space in the closet and provided room for all my shoes and other storage - and it looks great! To me, that's a much more realistic upgrade for the average person than this mansion of a dressing room/closet!

Very unrealistic

One major reason for redoing my 2 not-quite-walk-in closets, is for better shoe display .. so what's the point if there's just room for a fraction of the shoes on a "cool" angled shelf .. if the rest wind up back in boxes?!

Dear Angie clan...would you please give more realistic quote on the 7x10 walking closet thank you

This walk-in closet is another room to itself. I never saw a walk in closet without a wall and door. How about us who live in small apartments?

This closet is about as big as my whole bedroom... ridiculous!

Completely agree! Please give us ideas that are more realistic

I appreciated the notes and ideas -- there is a but coming -- but I don't know anyone keeps there closet clean enough that you would want it to be part of the bedroom. To get the space I need, I have to look at ceiling level cabinets for rotating cloths. I like double hanging but every closet needs one single rack for long items.

I have a 9x6. Back wall is the right side, omit the amoire and the hanging/organizer to right. Ebay- John Louis for about $260 that included shipping. Much better price. Will be adding tower drawers on back wall when money liberated again! Closet has sliding door by Milano doors- really nice and less expensive

I agree that this is not a walk-in closet, it's an entire room addition. Show us more ideas for those of us who are pinching pennies and have small spaces.

If that closet cost $2,500 then I'd like one too

I agree with UpStateNYLady, it is a very unrealistic "walk-in closet". The one shown is for the rich and famous and not for the "average Joe". How about showing one for the regular person on a budget with limited space. Now, that would be realistic.

I agree with NYLady. That shows a situation where the contractor forgot the closet so somebody paid one of those Closet Organizer companies an a**wad of $$ to fix it.

The pictured "walk-in closet" is unrealistic. It's huge and isn't even a closet, it's an extension of the bedroom. I doubt many people have that kind of space for a closet. I certainly don't. How about showing a 6' x 6' space made into a closet or at least something more likely to be found in an average home. I really dislike articles about how to best use space when the result isn't likely to be used because most of use have closets and bathrooms that are 6'x 6' or 5'x 8'.

Susan You are exactly correct! It is impossible to photograph the "average closet", it's just too tight of a space. Adjustable wood closet systems are perfect for squeezing all the usable space from a closet. Every will have their own preference on how to use the space.

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