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13 Smart Ideas for a Kids Walk in or Reach In Bedroom Closet Design

I can still hear these words like it was yesterday. Mom yelling….

“Michael Anthony Foti, hang up your clothes!”

 And if your mom was like mine, when she added your middle name (or started counting) you knew your were in big trouble (and to this day, I still can’t figure out why ‘counting’ worked, but I digress).

And while I know I caused my parents less gray hair than my older and more mischievous brother Frank, this still didn’t always make me the neatest in cleaning my room. And when I look back (and knowing what I know now as an owner of a custom closet business), trying to organize the tiny reach in closet in our small ranch home, didn’t make effective organization any simpler.

And if you’re got a little one (or not so little one) like I was ‘back in the day,’ whose room could use a ‘bit’ of straightening up (or whose closet looks like a cyclone went through it) and are looking for help – I understand your pain.

And while I can’t make your kid pick up after themselves (my wife Rose and I had a hard enough time ‘attempting’ that with our three – now grown kids), I can provide smart, practical, and dare I say stylish ideas on how to design a walk in or reach in closet for your kids you’ll wish was the closet you had growing up.

Below I’ll provide 13 ideas to create a kids bedroom closet which will give you a fighting chance of their room looking neater AND will still work for them as they grow. So, let’s look at the 13 kids walk in closet and reach in closet ideas.

At the end let me know which ideas were helpful and share other gems (‘er smart ideas) you’ve learned along the way. As you know parenting isn’t simple. I’m sure others will appreciate not only organization ideas, but also tips to get the kids to independently keep their rooms cleaner and prevent you from being the unpaid maid or butler in your own home!

Kids closet design idea #1 – The closet has got to be adjustable and accessible

I don’t care how stylish a closet is, if it doesn’t function well, it’s USELESS! And the number one problem with kids closets (or adult closets for that matter also) is the ‘systems’ (and I’ll use the term lightly here) installed in these closets (made of wire and painted wood) are normally fixed and not designed with your kids in mind (who are changing and growing all the time).

Most kids’ closets have simple wire racks bolted into the wall. And in most cases, the top rod is far too high for little kids.

The key to a kids’ closet is to insist on an ‘adjustable’ system that has holes on the side of the sections so the rods and shelves can be moved up and down as your kids grow.

Idea 1 adjustable shelves columbus kids closet | innovate home org | Upper Arlington Ohio | How to design closets for kids | Custom Closet for Kids

For example, when they’re babies and toddlers it can be efficient to have a triple hanging section (with 3 rows of hanging). However, as they grow, convert this to 2 rods to accommodate their longer clothes.

Also – make sure (when they’re small) you hang the everyday clothes they wear most near the bottom so they can reach them and dress themselves.

Kids closet design idea #2 – Make it fun…even if you’re allergic to fun!

I remember when my kids were small I used to tell them I was ‘allergic to fun.’ And while they knew this was the furthest thing from the truth (since I’m the ‘comic relief’ in my family, it’s my purpose, and I’m sticking to it), it’s also true that kids’ closets should be fun. Because it’s a fun space, you have a better chance they’ll keep it looking nicer.

So, you may be asking, “Mike, how do you make a closet fun?” Consider these ideas:

  • Add ‘blingy’ handles to the drawers. This is a favorite idea for a little girl’s room and isn’t expensive.

Idea 2 bling drawer pulls for a girls closet | Innovate Home Org | Dublin, Ohio Storage System | Organization Tips | Drawer Knobs for Dresser

  • Paint (or wallpaper) behind the closet with fun patterns or colors. This strategy can perk up a boring white closet.

Idea 2 painted walls kids closet with drawers columbus | Innovate home org | Dublin, Ohio Custom Closet | Organization Tips | Kids Closet On a Budget

  • Do the ‘Pinterest’ basket thing. Even though baskets were invented before Pinterest, I can’t say I remember so many fun organization ideas with baskets until Pinterest came along. Use multi-colored baskets to put pizzazz in their closet.

Idea 2 colored baskets in a kids closet credit | Innovate home org | Custom Storage | Color Bins for Kids Closet | Columbus, OH

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  • Vary the pattern/style of the drawer fronts to add color/texture/interest to the design.

And as an aside if you’re wondering why kids have so much more fun than adults it’s because they know how to laugh. As a matter of fact, kids laugh 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 17 times. Isn’t it time (as parents) we stop being allergic to fun and laugh more?

Kids closet design idea #3 – To see, or not to see, that is the question (drawers vs. baskets).

My wife loves cabinets with doors and drawers. And why, you might ask? It’s because they hide the mess. In addition, in a closet you can store 2 times more things in a drawer than on hangers!  

And when it comes to kids closets it’s smart to have storage compartments (designated spaces) for socks, underwear, t-shirts, diapers, you name it (and many of these items you obviously can’t hang). And while you could put these in pull out wire baskets, the biggest negative with this option is you can see the contents (and if you lean towards being O.C.D., this may be a killer for you).

Idea 3 pull out baskets columbus kids closet | Innovate Home Org | basket Storage solutions | Custom Organization in Kids Closet | Reach in closet for kids | Columbus, OH

It’s for this reason – if your budget permits –add drawers. It’ll keep the mess from view (of course, that’s assuming you can get them to put stuff in the drawers…. OK, just keepin’ it real!).

Kids closet design idea #4 – Have a strategy to handle closets shared between brothers and sisters (and not have any ‘storage wars.)’

When you’ve got more than one child using the same closet it can be a recipe for disaster. But just like an adult closet shared by two partners, you need to create a ‘Mason/Dixon’ line (AKA a dividing ‘line’ in the closet) to keep the fighting down.

In a shared closet with 2 siblings, if possible, position the drawers or shelving in the center to visually separate one kid’s side from another (and attempt to keep the peace and ‘turf wars’ to a minimum).

Idea 4 How to organize a shared kids closet credit Open Doors Open Hearts | Innovate Home Org | Kids Closet | how to design a kids closet in columbus ohio

(Little) kids closet design idea #5 – Make the closet safe

Most people don’t think about closet safety…or at least until a little one cuts themselves on a sharp edge or they start pulling the shelves out AND the contents are still on them.

And although closets usually don’t cause serious injuries, there are a couple of things you can do – especially when it comes to toddlers – so they’ll be safer.

One idea is to insist the separators between sections have rounded edges (in closet industry terms they’re called radius verticals) vs. sharp edges.

Idea 5 rounded radius edges kids closet safety | Innovate Home Org | Reach in closet Design for Columbus ohio homes | Custom Storage

Another idea is to use notched shelves where the adjustable shelf pins are ‘notched’ into the shelves so a little one can’t simply pull the shelves out.

Idea 5 safer kids closet notched shelves columbus | How to design a custom closet | DIY storage solutions | Dublin Ohio

Kids closet design idea #6 – For a reach in closet, eliminate the door

Whenever you have a reach in closet with sliding or bifold doors, it’s harder to reach the clothes inside (whether it’s you putting things away, or it’s their little arms attempting to reach something).

A stylish way to end this challenge is remove your door(s) and swap them out with curtains. Curtains not only add style, but they’ll make it infinitely easier to reach everything.

Idea 6 colorful curtains girls closet credit | Innovate Home Org | Storage System | organization ideas | How to design a reach in closet for kids in Upper Arlington

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Kids closet design idea #7 – Add hooks so there’s fewer things you’re picking off the floor.

The bookbag thrown in the corner.

Their favorite jacket placed lovingly (‘er not) on the floor.

And while it doesn’t bother your kids in the least to use their (chuck-it-anywhere) ‘organization system’ (sarcasm intended), the mess drives you N-U-T-S! So, how can you provide a better system to minimize (OK, it’ll likely include occasional nagging) this problem?

A smart solution (especially on narrow walls where the door swings in) is to use a hook board. It’s convenient – and provides a place for bookbags, jackets, sports bags, favorite sweatshirts, you name it.

idea 7 hooks in a boys rooms for jackets and bookbags | Innovate Home Org | Columbus Ohio Boys closet design | Custom organization tips

Idea 7 colorful hookboard little girls closet credit | Innovate home org | Storage Solutions | Home Organization ideas | Columbus ohio kids reach in closet

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Kids closet design idea #8 – Make sure baskets and drawers can be fully extended (which is challenging in a reach in closet).

As a guy who leads a professional closet design company, I’ll tell you providing the most efficient kids closet design requires a mix of hanging, shelving, and drawers. And while your hanging and shelving sections should be adjustable up and down (as discussed in idea 1), they rarely need to be pulled out.

However, baskets and drawers are different. They’ll be pulled out. And since kids reach in closets are only 24” deep and usually have walls on the side, when you’re adding drawers (or baskets) to your design you need to make sure they’ll be able to clear the door (and not bang into the side walls).

So, whether you’re using a professional closet design company – or DIYing yourself, make sure your drawers and baskets are lined up with the closet door and won’t bang into side walls.

Kids closet design idea #9 – Make sure the shelves are deep enough so stuff doesn’t hang over the edge when they get older.

One reason many closets (adult and kids closets alike) look sloppy is because the wire, or painted wood shelves are only 12” deep. Therefore, bulky sweaters and sweatshirts hang over the edge.

To eliminate this problem, insist on a professional system which uses 14” deep shelving.

Kids closet design idea #10 – Hang less, fold more.

What most parent’s don’t realize is you get less clothes on a hanging rod than folded on a shelf (or folded in a drawer). And since most ‘standard’ (AKA cheap and low cost) systems installed by the original builder included just one or two hanging rods (for double hanging), most of us were ‘conditioned’ (and scolded by our parents) to ‘hang up our clothes!’

Therefore, the idea of ‘hanging clothes’ (vs. folded clothes on shelves) has been burned into our heads.

However, if you want to gain space – use more shelves or drawers (for folded clothes) vs. rods (for hanging clothes) in your new design.

Idea 10 deeper shelves kids closet | Innovate Home Org | Reach in closet for kids | Columbus Ohio Storage solutions

Kids closet design idea #11 – Gain more hanging space (and uniformity) by REPLACING thick plastic hangers with thinner felt hangers.

Those thick plastic hangers – in various colors- you bought at the dollar store not only sag over time, but they’re space hogs (and make any closet look sloppier because they’re a mish-mosh of colors).

Save space, get a more consistent look, and see how fewer things slide off their hangers, when you replace your kids (and your own) plastic hangers with felt hangers. I know I wouldn’t leave home without mine.

Idea 11 felt hangers little girls closet credit | Innovate Home Org | Columbus ohio storage organization | Tips for design a kids closet

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Kids closet design idea #12 – DO NOT take kid’s shoe storage tips from Khloe Kardashian (or a high end shoe store)

Don’t the angled shoe shelves look ‘splendiferous’ in luxury shoe stores or images of (one of) Khloe Kardashian’s shoe closets? They really do.

However, in a kids closet (and likely in your closet as well) you’re FIGHTING for space. The worst thing you can do is use stylish (yet inefficient) storage approaches.

And the problem with (what we in the industry call) raised shoe shelves is because they’re angled there’s wasted space behind the shoes. With kids closets you need efficiency. Insist on flat adjustable shoe shelves – ESPECIALLY if your kids loves shoes and have lots of them thrown on the floor of their existing closet.

Idea 12 flat adjustable shoe shelves kids closet credit | Innovate Home Org | Columbus Ohio Home Interior Design | How to design a kids closet

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(and finally) Kids closet design idea #13 – Bedroom storage strategies if their closet is simply too doggone small.

Growing up I shared an 11’ x 11’ bedroom in our small ranch home with my (much uglier than I, I might add) older brother Frank. We shared one reach in closet and our beds (literally) were pushed together. And my childhood was soooo tough we had to walk to school uphill…. both ways (OK, I’m exaggerating, but I’ll bet many of you relate to the lack of space (and storage) in your kids bedrooms or closets today).

So, if your kids closet storage is too small, what can you do about it? Here’s a few ideas.

Idea 13 girls wardrobe kids bedroom credit | Innovate Home Org | Reach in closet for Kids | Wardrobe Closet Storage Tips

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  • Use under the bed storage bins –for out of season clothes. This prevents everything from being jammed in the closet.
  • Add shelves on the bedroom walls for shoes or folded clothes.

Idea 13 shelves in a kids bedroom more storage credit Better Homes and Gardens | Innovate Home Org | Storage Organization Tips | Kids Closet Design DIY in Columbus Ohio

So, which kids closet ideas are you going to use? Would you like help with a professional closet design for your kid’s closet?

After reading this article were there any closet ideas which ‘spoke to you?’ (yes, I know that’s a funny saying, that’s why I threw it in). If so- comment below which one ‘resonated’ with you (and that’s a ‘corporate term’ I hate but threw in for fun).

Do you have any cool things you’ve done to make your kid’s closets work better? If so – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share them below. As you know parenting is tough, so smart tips are always welcome.

And finally, I know if you’re like many parents, you’re barely keeping your head above water today as it is. And while you might (in theory) design and install your own kid’s closet, in practice it’ll be low on your list and never get done if you’re waiting for your spouse to ‘get around to it.’

If this describes your situation – and you live in Columbus Ohio – our team would be happy to do a Free 3D Kids Closet Design for you (or free adult closet design for that matter). Call 614-545-6888.

And if you don’t live in Columbus, I’ll try to refer you to a closet buddy in your hometown through my industry association (or my friend network – and yes, even a guy as a wacky as me has a few friends, although sometimes I have to pay them to be my friend, but what can I say).

Thanks for reading. I hope you got a few solid ideas to improve your kid’s messy and cluttered closets, and if you’ve chuckled along the way I’ll also consider that a victory!





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.

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