In a surprising twist, our closet was included in our master bathroom construction project. A closet is surprisingly personal thing to design, and to be able to tailor one to our exact wardrobes has ended in a super functional and clean space.
After we laid out the bathroom plans, we realized that our adjacent closet would be cut into, and about half the storage space (my half, actually) would become part of the bathroom. Luckily we found a solution by stealing space from a set of hallway cupboards on the other side of the closet. These cupboards were storing our linens, but were not a very effective use of space. It made sense, and it was a relatively low-cost solution that would make our master bedroom more appealing to buyers (and us!).
A little background…. In 10 years of marriage, Zach and I have never had an ideal closet situation.
Our First Apartment: While it had big closets, we also both had big wardrobes. This was before I had caught the simplicity bug, and more was better. Zach was already using the closet in the bedroom when we got married, so my clothes lived in the big closet in the living room/kitchen.
Our First House: Our little city bungalow had very little closets. Zach took the closet, and we had to buy a wardrobe for my clothes (here’s a peek). A walk-in closet is one of those new-home luxuries that we have never experienced. People had fewer clothes back in the 1920s. A lack of closet space has certainly encouraged our transition towards decluttering and capsule wardrobes. I began to whittle away the outliers that I didn’t wear.
Our Second House (a.k.a. this house before the remodel): Our wardrobes had shrunk by this point, so we could share the relatively larger existing closet with 2 – 30″ rods and 2 shelves above that. (Here’s a before shot.) While the majority of our clothes were in the closet, we still needed to use the wardrobe and underbed boxes for the overflow.
Now for the after….
Once the closet was included in demo day, I began drawing up plans for using the wasted space. The goal was to house all our in-season clothes in the closet, so we could eliminate the bulky wardrobe from our bedroom. Thanks to our high ceilings, it made the most sense to go up.
The top shelf is at 80″ with enough room for shoe boxes. This created the space for double hanging rods. The top would be for Zach’s clothes, and I measured his dress shirts to make sure there was enough space. The bottom rod was mine. With the new layout, we could each have 44″ of closet rod length instead of 30″. Win!
While it would have been cheaper and easier to simply run the double rods all the way across the closet, I still needed a place for dresses and shoes. So I stopped the rods at 44″, leaving 24″ to run a rod perpendicular to the double rods. Now this is where the tailoring comes in. I own a total of 8 dresses. Since 8 hangers wouldn’t fill the whole closet rod, I had room leftover for shelving.
Originally we had thought about having our contractor, Emergent, build shelves for us. The best thing to do when planning is stand in the actually space, and we realized it was too small for a shelving unit. Wooden shelves would have restricted the space. A $20 hanging organizer made sense for our budget and the room. There are six compartments, and we use them to store shorts now. In the winter time, we’ll switch the shorts out for our sweaters and jeans.
I measured my shirts to make sure we could tuck Zach’s boots under my shirts. Creating this custom closet really depended on measuring our actual clothes.
How long is a dress shirt?
How much space do my shirts take up on a closet rod?
How tall are his boots?
How many dresses do I own?
My shoes fit on two stacked shoe racks underneath my dresses and the hanging storage rack. The racks just fit, thankfully.
Previously we had kept things like jewelry, Zach’s catchall leather tray, watches, and pocket detritus, in our closet. Moving those things into our bathroom vanity really helps to keep the closet clean and calm.
The final touch was switching out my white plastic hangers for wooden hangers. I wasn’t sure if this was really necessary, although it had been something I’d admired for years. But it really is a simple way to make your closet feel more like a boutique. Zach’s clothes had already been on wooden hangers, so it also helps make our whole closet more cohesive since we’re sharing the space.
Now that the dust has settled, we’ve moved the wardrobe out of our bedroom. The underbed boxes are under the guest bed to store our off season clothes. The closet has worked out even better than I dreamed. It just goes to show that a little intentional planning and a modest budget can go a long way. I hope you enjoyed a peek at our small but mighty master closet!