A closet isn't always the first space that comes to mind when decorating, but it's an important space that shouldn't be overlooked. Design experts share their top pointers for crafting an organized—and stylish—closet.
Varying the types of storage in a closet is not just more visually appealing, but it's also a way to make the space more functional, according to interior designer . "A mixture of closed and open storage is a must so that some pieces can be displayed and others kept out of site," Pooley says. "Always go through your collection first and consider how much you would want to see and what should be kept closed away. Many clients rotate seasonally."
"It is a necessary challenge to make the utilitarian and ordinary items in our home appear as extraordinary; a prime example are laundry bins. By incorporating the laundry bin into the beautiful millwork in your custom or even semi-custom closet, you have achieved double duty in function and beauty." —
Pooley designed a closet for a London-based client who loved Hermes, so she decided to take inspiration from the fashion brand's beautiful orange boxes and stitched leathers. "Closets can have an unexpected and fun flash of color much like the best fashion—think a Louboutin red sole or the contrast lining in a beautiful Vivienne Westwood suit."
While mirrors enhance the look of a closet design, they're also a necessity. "Mirrors in doors are a must to allow a 360-view of the items when on," Pooley says.
If you want a dream closet, you have to give it the time and attention it requires. "A lot of people go wrong by not thinking about the closet as another room, and instead just using it as a storage unit," says . Ask yourself the same design questions you would in any other space: Should the walls be wallpapered or painted? What artwork would I like to include? The more time and care you put into designing your dream closet, the less likely you are to let it get messy.
Hooks can be handy for hanging clothes you plan to wear later in the day, or items that aren't necessarily dirty or clean. "Hooks are your friends, like for that jacket that's not really dirty but not really clean, and you just want to air it out," says . You can also use hooks to store purses, belts and other accessories. Install hooks on the inside of your closet door or on an empty wall to maximize your space.
While hooks and shelves are useful for larger items, you'll need a place to catch rings, bracelets and other small items. "I love a tray in a closet," says . "And if you put a photo and candle in it and really style it, it'll prevent you from cluttering that space."
Closets typically lack natural light, so it's important to brighten them up with color (this also will make it easier to see all your things!). "I like bright colors in closets because it's kind of surprising, and it makes the space feel a little more important," says . In this closet designed by and organized by Reich, lacquered pink walls and drawers echo the pink accents in the carpeting.
There's a very specific trick for using organizing bins without them looking clunky: Buy multiples of the same kind. "If you get multiples of one kind of bin in the same color—I like to get white— it creates an illusion where you don't really see them," says Cattano. Use bins at the top of your closet for off-season clothing (Cattano likes to keep one specifically for vacation clothes to make packing a breeze), and use organizing drawers at eye level for everyday small items that can't be hung up.
If you really want your closet to look organized, opt for uniform hangers. "Have all the same types of hangers to eliminate the visual noise in the closet," says Reich. "You can't overestimate the difference it makes." A popular favorite hanger with designers? Wooden hangers with thick shoulders. "If you get too narrow with the hanger, it can give sweaters dents and creases," says Tabb. "Wood hangers really add a high-end look and really treat your clothes nicely."
If you have a walk-in closet, make sure it's a sit-in closet too. "Have a space for sitting, perhaps a place to sit down and put jewelry on," says Tabb. "Make it a place you want to spend some time in rather than having it just be an obligatory place to stash your clothes."
Tie scarves around a rod, as seen here, or give each its own separate hanging hook. "A lot of people stack scarves on just one hook," says Tabb. "But it's really important to have them on separate hooks or next to each other so you can see them all." Have too many scarves for this trick? This may be a sign it's time to purge your closet with a trip to Goodwill.
Make the lighting in your closet as natural as possible. "If you get too cool or too warm of a light, it's going to skew the color of all the clothes in the space," says Tabb. "Additionally, the type of bulb you use should be a frosted light so it doesn't cast any hard shadows." Remember: The less you can see in your closet, the faster it'll become dirty and cluttered. Consider investing in a decorative light fixture to elevate the space.
One thing most people forget to do: actually clean their closets. Sweep and mop the floors, dust and disinfect. Then, add a rug to make your closet feel as comfy as any other living space. "Whenever possible, especially with walk-ins, I add a rug," says Cattano. "Nobody has ever told me, 'I put a rug in there and I really don't like it.'"