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5 Non-Obvious Design Facts about Custom Closet Systems

The most amazing thing about well-designed custom closet systems is many features are not obvious at all. Just like in any effective design the system just works. It’s simple for you to enjoy with minimal effort.

Many of the celebrity and uber-wealthy custom closet systems you see on Pinterest and Instagram are wonderful to look at – but what really matters on a day to day basis is, Does your closet work for you? Is it a pain to find your shoes in the morning? Are your clothes jammed together on a closet rod and are practically begging you (if they could talk) for more space? Is your closet system as inflexible as your husband asking for directions when your lost and the GPS doesn’t recognize the street address? 

Simplicity makes design beautiful. I definitely related to this statement a couple of years ago.  I needed to create a conference call on my IPhone (and had never done it before). I was able to figure out how to do it “on the fly!” This “UX” (user experience) made me realize how slick Apple’s IPhone design is. To this day, I still have no idea on how to do a conference call from my office phone (which of course I barely use because almost all my calls happen through my IPhone anyway). It’s kind of starting to feel like Apple has made me dependent on them (bummer – ha! ha!).

Getting back to custom closet design. While having a design, which looks fantastic is nice – it’s useless if the custom closet doesn’t work well for your ability to store (and find) dresses, shoes, blouses, handbags, jewelry and even underwear quickly so you can get to work (or a special Columbus Opera event) on time. If you want to get your design right the first time pay attention to these 5 non-obvious custom closet design facts.

Non-obvious custom closet design fact #1 – It’s designed specifically for you!

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all perfectly designed closet. All that matters is a closet design which works for you and your husband, significant other etc. How can you get this perfectly designed closet to fit your needs?

In short – this path – like all paths of personal discovery begins with questions. A closet design professional can lead you through the process about your space and ask questions you may not have considered? Some of these questions can include:

  • What items are you not storing in your closet today you’d like to include?
  • What’s most frustrating things about your closet right now?
  • How might your storage needs change in the next few years?
  • Are there places you can’t reach in the closet?
  • Would you like your closets to match your trim or furniture style in an adjoining room?

Non-obvious closet design fact #2 – It offers hidden ergonomic benefits

Is the top shelf of your reach in closet impossible to use because it’s too deep to stick anything up there? Do you struggle bending down to find your shoes off the bottom of the closet floor because they’re buried under layers of clothing?

The reality is original closets in your home are not “designed” in the first place. This important space you use every day isn’t thought of as a room at all by home builders. It’s basically the “Rodney Dangerfield” space of your home – it gets no respect (thought) and they put as little money into it as possible.

#Closets are the 'Rodney Dangerfield' space in your home - they get no respect!Click To TweetWhat most builders do is put the cheapest wire closets or fiberboard shelf and pole system they can get away with. The problem is these cheap systems not only don’t fit all your clothes – but they aren’t designed around you, your height or mobility.  

Custom closet designs have changed all this. You no longer need your shoes buried on the floor. Better design elevates your shoes where you can see them and pair them with your work or casual outfit without having to invest time finding (and bending over) to get them.

Shoe organizer systems for a custom closet in Columbus Ohio | Innovate Home Org

Another ergonomic problem (especially to those who are “vertically challenged”) is reaching the top shelf of your closet (whether it’s a reach in or walk in closet). Since most reach in closets don’t have a lot of depth (24” is standard) using the top shelf can be tough. To make this simpler you can now use a product called a “reach vertical” where the top shelf isn’t as deep as the lower shelves. This way you can use every inch of your space.

this vertical small closet organization system makes it easier to reach the top shelf of a reach in closet | Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

This reach vertical is an excellent small closet organization system.

Another idea is to have your clothes “come to you.” This can be accomplished with either a manual pull down closet rod or even a motorized assembly (I saw this cool feature at this year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show).  

Non-obvious custom closet design fact #3 – It’s more than “incrementally” better than what you have

Closets should be able to change with you or your family’s needs. If you have a young daughter (newborn to 6 years old), you can get more effective use of space by using a triple hanging sections (because her clothes are shorter). When she gets older this triple hang strategy doesn’t work because now her clothes will be too long. With pre-manufactured custom closets, you’ll have increment holes on the side so you can adjust your shelves and rods and go from 3 sections of hanging space  to 2 sections of hanging space by simply moving the adjustable shelving and rods down.

Double and triple hanging clothes organizer systems work for different aged kids. Triple hanging sections are best for toddler and double hanging for teens| Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

Hanging clothes organizer systems can use two or three rods depending on your child’s age

What’s cool is you don’t need a service call from a custom closet company to do this either. Does your current closet have any ability for you to adjust it to your needs?

#Closet systems should be able to adjust to change with your families needs! Click To Tweet

Non-obvious custom closet design fact #4 – Most aren’t made of real wood – and that’s a good thing!

Real wood is appealing. The graining, texture and ability to repaint can be draws. The challenge with real wood is there are few custom closet systems which are cost effectively designed for this purpose. If you want a real wood closet, you’ll either hire a carpenter (who is not knowledgeable about closet design) or you’ll have to buy a more expensive system with wood veneer and/or wood door and drawer fronts.

What’s nice today is you can create this real wood look without the concern over high costs. Laminate closet designs give you the look of real wood at a fraction of the price. They provide more strength, can hold more clothes and are adjustable (see fact #3 above). Laminate systems today are widely used and better on your pocketbook.  

Wood closet organizer systems and laminate ones look very similar | Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

Can you tell if this is a wood or laminate closet system?

Non-obvious closet design fact #5 – Custom closets can be designed for the “minimalist” or the “maximalist” (not sure that’s a word!)

Design styles are as varied as our personalities. Some people are looking for clean, minimalist and lower cost. Others want fancy trim, expressive design features and creating a wow experience by entering their closet. With custom closet design systems, you can have your cake – and eat it too – no matter what type of “cake” you like.

For the minimalist, you’ll want to look into contemporary wall hung closets with clean lines. You can keep it functional – but also craft your own sense of design style.

Minimalist modern closet organizer design in a reach in closet with wall hung Euro style cabinetry| Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

For the “maximalist” you can build out your closet with decorative fluting, base and crown molding which can make even the most experience of trim carpenters envious. Add in features like fancy jewelry trays or pull out mirrors for the ultimate luxe space.

Wood designer closet in an upscale Columbus home | Innovate Home Org


 While excellent design (whether it’s a closet or an IPhone) is something we all know when we experience it, it may not be obvious with a casual glance. What you will love is how an effective custom closet design will make your life easier and less stressful (you’ll be able to find your clothes and shoes). If your Columbus or Cleveland closet is a struggle today give us a call or request a Free 3D closet design to take the hassle out of your space.


For information on a Columbus walk in closet call Innovate Home Org in Columbus at 614-545-6888 or for a Cleveland closet design 216-658-1290.

Follow the author on Twitter @Mike_Foti or our companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Comments (2)

  • Avatar

    Leviticus Bennett


    I definitely like the minimalist look in closets most. I like your point about how a custom closet can be used to show off your shoes and get them off the ground. I have a lot of great looking shoes, and sometimes they get scuffed all bundled together on the floor. Having a neat space for each pair sounds like a great idea.


    • Avatar

      Mike Foti


      Thanks Leviticus – a neater closet (with the shoes off the ground) is certainly a good idea! If you need any additional input on a custom closet storage project feel free to reach out! Mike


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