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Tips and Trends from the 2024 Closet Conference for a Better Closet or Garage Design

The 2024 Closet Conference is THE event for the best and brightest minds in the closet design and garage cabinetry industry (and yes, it’s true – I just barely made the ‘intelligence cutoff’ to attend!).

It’s THE event where top closet designers, manufacturers, and influencers meet to learn the latest styles, strategies, software and product selection tools, and even security features for custom closets and garage organization systems.

However, even if you’re not a ‘closet geek’ (like me, or the hundreds attending this event), but are simply a homeowner trying to create a more functional (and dare I say fun) reach-in or walk-in closet, or want to eliminate the DIS-AS-TER of a garage you ‘endure’ today, you’ll want to read these 2024 tips and trends and get ideas for a more efficient, effective, and exciting design.

Now, let’s dig into these tips and trends

Part 1 – Style tips and trends from the 2024 Closet Conference 

Although form (and style) should follow function, there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy style if you’re investing in a new closet or garage project. Here are some tips and trends to ramp up your design.

Style tip or trend #1 – Go big or go home (at least with your handles that is!)

According to Ariane Brabant from Tag Hardware who spoke to the group about emerging trends in accessories and decorative hardware, the market is moving towards large pulls for custom closets. And if you have a 30” or 36” wide drawers and use a small handle – it’ll look out of scale and make your design look odd.

So – the wider your drawers, the wider you should make your handles. After all, pulls and handles are the ‘jewelry’ or a closet design, so why shouldn’t they be special, and bold?

trend 1 larger matte black handle on a closet drawer Columbus | Innovate home org | columbus ohio custom closet storage | organization tips | closet handle bars | custom organization ideas

Style tip or trend #2 – Textures – and closets – are NOT mutually exclusive!

Whether you’re looking at closet door and drawer hardware, inserts for jewelry trays, or a wall organization system, there’s no reason your custom closet shouldn’t leverage texture to create interest and style.

In this year’s show texture took center stage and Tag Hardware had several cool products. They were showing faux leather drawer pulls, wall organizers with faux leather components, and even faux leather-lined flexible jewelry drawer trays (more about this later).

Trend 2 faux leather wrapped handels on a drawerpng | Innovate Home org | Storage Organization | Custom Storage organization tips | handles for custom closet

trend 2 faux leather wrapped drawer handles Tag Hardware | Innovate Home Org | Storage Organization | home remodeling ideas | custom storage organization

Image Source: Tag Hardware

Style tip or trend #3 – A drawer is not a drawer, is not a drawer

Whenever you create what I call a ‘feature wall’ in your closet (this is the first wall you see when you come in which shows off your design), usually the #1 element that makes this feature wall look organized – and shows off your style – are the drawer fronts. And while most people think of drawer fronts as a simple piece of flat wood or laminate with a handle, they’ve become much more than that.

At this show I saw the following:

Trend 3 fabric drawers Engage line Tag hardware | Innovate Home Org | Storage Organization | Custom Closet drawers

Image Source: Tag Hardware
  • Laminate drawer fronts in leading styles like ‘slim shaker’ (and NO this isn’t a Shaker drawer front which has been attending Jenny Craig regularly!).
  • Contemporary glass drawer fronts with a sleek Euro look (these ones were from Kessebohmer).

The lesson to be learned is drawer fronts ARE NOT created equal. Since drawer fronts (and door fronts) are a major style element – choose one that not only fits you but also will look good in the context of the room adjacent to the closet (which is often the master bathroom). To learn more about how to design the closet and master bathroom together read, “10 Practical Questions to Ask if You’re Remodeling Your Master Bathroom and Closet Together.”

Style tip or trend #4 – Hardware finishes have progressed beyond brushed nickel and chrome!

I would be ‘telling a fib or half-truth’ (as is recounted in the hilarious movie called The Campaign) if I didn’t admit most of my rods, pulls, and knobs today in my Columbus closet designs are brushed nickel and chrome. However, that doesn’t mean that’s where the trends are evolving.

According to Knikki Grantham of Keeler Brass Company, when it comes to hardware trends the growth is happening is in gold (brushed or champagne gold), matte black (which is hotter than ever), and even in a new finish called gunmetal.

Have you considered using any of these hardware finishes in your design? I know I’m getting more requests than ever for matte black and brushed gold.

Trend 4 - matte brass in a custom closet credit - Closets of Tulsa | Innovate home org | Closet storage organization | Custom Storage Solutions | Brass handle finishes | Columbus Storage Organization

Image Source: Closets of Tulsa

And just as an FYI for you – I heard almost nothing about ‘mixed metals’ when it came to closet designs. Maybe closets are too small for design experts to recommend using more than one hardware finish, but that’s just my guess.

Style tip or trend #5 – Traditional closet decors are making a comeback.

I’ll admit when I heard there’s growth in traditional closets with ornate woodworking this was news for me. Maybe this is because I design closets in Columbus Ohio where a ‘middle-of-the-road’ transitional look closet (with Shaker fronts) is still the rage.

Are you drawn to a traditional look closet?

Trend 5 - traditional closet design - credit | Innovate Home Org Closet Storage Solutions | Organization Tips | Custom Closet Systems

Image Source: Houzz

And now that we’ve looked at style trends from the show, let’s turn our attention to functional ‘strategy’ tips and trends to get more ‘bang’ from your ‘smaller-than-you’d-like’ spaces.

Part 2 – Strategy (and function) Tips and Trends from the 2024 Closet Conference

Strategy tip or trend #6 – Flexible storage is a smart storage

One thing most homeowners don’t realize – until it’s too late – is just because a storage space looks stylish – DOES NOT mean it’ll ‘live’ well.

For example, when separators (in the industry we call them verticals) between closet sections don’t have adjustment holes, while they look nice, they provide no ability to adjust your wardrobe as styles change. For example, if you start wearing longer dresses vs. shorter skirts you won’t be able to adjust rods and shelves to make the longer clothes fit.

And another place where ‘fixed’ has been the mantra for years has been in the jewelry drawer inserts. The standard felt jewelry tray drawers may ‘feel’ good – but when your mix of sunglasses to necklaces to rings changes as your style evolves, your jewelry drawer tray can’t evolve with your new mix of accessories.

And when I saw the new ‘Contour’ line from Tag Hardware I was impressed how the stylish faux leather jewelry drawer inserts could ‘move’ inside the drawer for it to ‘evolve’ as the accessories you wear change. A very cool innovation IMHO.

Trend 6 contour flexible faux leather jewelry trays credit Tag Hardware | Innovate Home Org | Organization Solutions in Columbus, Ohio | Dublin ohio custom closet | Sunglass Storage in Closet

Image Source: Tag Hardware

Strategy tip or trend #7 – The ‘devil’ is where you put the details 

Closet and garage storage projects (or home organization projects of any type actually) are all about the details. It’s not good enough to choose the right products for the right space –you also need to place the right products in the right locations to get the most out of them.

So – when I talked to Marie Keenan from storeWALL she gave me an idea that quite frankly I had never thought of before. You see I have used the Steady Rack Bike Rack system they were exhibiting before, AND I knew the bikes had to be placed 20” apart so the handlebars wouldn’t bang into one another. However, when she told me you could get a lot more bikes in the same space by ‘staggering’ these bike hooks at different heights (so handlebars wouldn’t bang into one another), I thought – “that’s so doggone logical, why didn’t I think of that?” Ok, maybe it’s because I’m not the ‘brightest tool in the shed’ – or own the shiniest bike in the garage, but it’s this type of expert advice that separates an industry professional from a novice!

trend 7 steady rack bike rack at different heights - credit | Bike Rack Storage | Organization tips | Storage Tips for Garage Storage

Image Source:

Strategy tip or trend #8 – Remember your doors can be the key to a cooler – and more functional – walk-in or reach-in closet.

Sliding doors on a reach-in closet can make the space so hard to use – and nearly impossible to include drawers (which hold more space than hanging) in a design. And even though traditional sliding doors are a cheap option for the original builder, (and often not very attractive) they also make your reach-in closet a storage P.I.A.

I visited Wayne Coe of NY/NJ Sales Support (who was showing stylish Nevato closet doors) and was excited to see doors that literally ‘open up’ storage opportunities to use deeper drawers in your (way smaller than you’d like) reach-in closet.

And if you have a walk-in closet, perhaps (if you have a blank wall on the side) you could convert to a sliding barn door vs. your current inswing door to add more storage without adding any additional square footage (or should I say ‘inch-age’) to your closet.

Trend 8 high fashion pivoting or sliding closet doors | innovate home org | storage organizations | home organization tips | closet tips for columbus ohio

Doors can be the opening (yes, bad pun intended) to a more efficient closet.

Strategy tip or trend #9 – Look for opportunities to use your ‘volume’ – whether it’s in an apartment parking garage, your own personal garage, or closet.

When I saw these big rentable metal boxes from BradylBox for apartment parking spaces – I thought that’s a smart idea (especially for city garage storage spaces and condos where you pay a ‘pretty penny’ -as opposed to an ugly penny- for space)! These big ‘ol metal boxes are positioned above your car or SUV to take advantage of unused cubic storage.

Trend 9 apartment garage storage boxes over a car | Innovate Home Org | Garage Storage | Garage Organization Systems | TIps and Tricks for Garage Storage

And while there are lot of people who don’t live in cities where this rentable metal box is needed – there’s still an opportunity to ‘create’ storage above your rigs with garage cabinets or overhead metal storage bins installed into the ceiling.

Trend 9 - 1 4 foot x 8 foot overhead ceiling storage Columbus | Innovate Home Org | Storage organization ideas | Closet Storage tips

For any space think about ways you can ‘claim’ the unused cubic space above your storage today. There are often more space-gaining opportunities than meet the eye.

Now that we’ve looked at using innovative space-improving ideas from the 2024 show, let’s turn our attention to software that’ll help you to ‘see’ what you’re getting before investing in storage systems that won’t look (or live) the way you pictured them.

Part 3 – Software (and selection) Tips and Trends from the 2024 Closet Conference

It doesn’t take a technical genius to know technology advances are happening faster than ANY OF US can keep up with them. However, with that being said, in many cases, you don’t need to be a tenured professor of technology at a prestigious university to literally (see) the benefit of technology when buying a custom closet or garage cabinets. Here are examples of how garage and closet design have been improved through technologies and systems.

System (and selection) tip or trend #10 – See your handles and knobs before buying.

Let’s face it, accessories (and especially handles and knobs) are the jewelry of your closet. Even if you have plain white drawers – you can personalize them – and make them simpler to use, when you make the right selection of handles and knobs.

That’s why I thought it was cool when Knikki Grantham of Keeler Brass talked about their customized 3D knob selection configurator software. Whoever thought there would be so many handle and knob choices? However, at least with software like this, it becomes easier for you or your interior designer to make sense of it all.

Trend 10 3D knob selection configurator from Keeler Brass | Innovate home org | garage storage tips | Garage organization tips | Garage storage solutions in Columbus ohio

System (and selection) tip or trend #11 – Look for ‘design groupings’ when selecting your garage hooks and accessories.

Are you a gardening enthusiast yet unsure how to choose the right mix of hooks, baskets, and garage accessories to store your things?

Or are you a sports junky but don’t know how to protect your fishing rods, or how to store the kid’s balls so they’re not CONSTANTLY laying on the garage floor when you attempt to drive in?

When you dig into garage storage accessories the options are overwhelming. So, I thought it was smart that storeWALL developed suggested groupings of slatwall accessories based on the hobbies/interests of people.

Trend 11 lawn and garden hooks assembly credit | Innovate Home Org | Storage Organization | Slatwall Storage Solutions | wall storage in garage

Image Source:

System (and selection) tip or trend #12 – Hire designers who use 3D design programs.

I can’t for the life of me figure out why some large franchise companies still hand draw closet plans and expect an average homeowner to ‘see’ (and understand) what their closet will look like! Hand drawings are messy and impossible to understand.

That’s why I love closet design programs like ClosetPro or Studio. Seeing is not only believing, but even an experienced closet designer will see things they like (or don’t like) after they’ve created the 3D renderings.

Trend 12 closetpro software closet design software | Innovate Home Org | Closet Storage Organization | Custom Garage Storage | Columbus ohio garage storage

Are you insisting on seeing a 3D design before buying a closet or garage cabinetry system? If not – you should be.

Now in the last part of this article let’s focus our attention on security- because closets (and garages) are both places many people use to not only store – but to protect their valuables whether it’s jewelry in your closet, or expensive vehicles in your garage.

Part 4 – Security tips and trends from the 2024 Closet Conference

Security tip or trend #13 – Not all slatwall is created equal!

While I’ll go out on a limb and say today’s Slatwall is better than the old pegboard used in your Dad’s garage– what’s not immediately obvious is how well-engineered Slatwall can not only support far more weight, but it can look more stylish as well.

This became obvious to me when I talked to Marie Keenan about the 3 thicknesses of Slatwall in their line. They’re called ‘basic duty, standard duty, and heavy duty.’ Their thickest slatwall can support 3X the weight of competitive systems. And this can be critical if you want to make sure your kayak doesn’t fall on your spouse’s brand-new Mercedes Benz. And if this were to occur, it could be grounds for divorce – or you get an ‘invitation’ to sleep in your garage!

Security tip or trend #14 – If your safe is not ‘bolted down’ (or touch protected) it could be fair game for an intruder (or service worker you thought you could trust)!

It’s not a secret to ‘bad guys and gals’ (note, I don’t want to be sexist here) who have their eye on your stuff that people store valuables (papers, jewelry etc.) in their closets. And I’ll bet in a break-in it’s one of the first place intruders go (and no, I’m just guessing that since I’m certainly NOT moonlighting in this ‘business’ – ha! ha!).

But let’s face it, your store-bought safe from the office supply store is easy for an intruder to take (lock, stock, and barrel) and then open later. So, how can you protect against this?

A smart way – which IS NOT crazy expensive – is to use a safe that is not only finger-touch protected – but is also bolted down and the bolts can only be removed AFTER you open the finger-touch protected safe. I saw several safes like this while talking to Lois Krasilovsk from My Cube Safe.

Trend 14 - bolted down touch safe credit My Cube Safes | Innovate Home Org | Garage Storage Cube | Closet Safe | Custom Closet safe

Image Source: My Cube Safes

If you’ve got valuables, does it really make sense to put them in a cheap safe someone could (literally) walk off with?

Security tip or trend #15 – If you’ve really got it, doesn’t it make sense to really protect it with a custom storage safe designed for you?

If you have really expensive things – and want to make sure they’re not only protected – but will all be covered by insurance – a custom safe could be your best option. And if that’s the case, check out the offerings from Casoro Jewely Safes. These safes are NOT for your average homeowner – but are for people who’ve got it, and under no circumstances want to ‘lose it,’ …. even if they do (on occasion) like to flaunt it.  

Trend 15 Casoro custom safes credit Casoro Safes | Innovate Home Org | Custom storage | Garage Safe | Closet storage safe columbus ohio | Dublin ohio storage solutions

Image Source: Casoro Safes

So, now that you know these trends, how can we help you?

I know it’s fun to see new and exciting trends, however, it can be much harder figuring out not only how you can leverage these trends – but also if they’ll even be affordable for your project.

And if you’re NOT called MOM (which stands for Made Of Money – which no mom has stated E-V-E-R), you’ll need help from home organization design experts to show you (and price) these trending products for you.

So, if you need help – and you’re in Columbus Ohio, call Innovate Home Org at 614-545-6888 or click for a Free Design Consultation. We’d be delighted to help.

And if you’re not in Central Ohio, let me know where you live in the comments below and I’ll try to find you a referral through my nationwide industry association or friends in the home organization business.

Thanks for reading and putting up with my humor.



If you’d like more information about a custom closet design, custom home office in Columbus, garage cabinetry, pantry, entryway, or Murphy wall bed (with a bit of bad humor thrown in for good…and bad…measure) follow me on LinkedIn @MikeFotiLinkedIn.



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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

    Cheryl Pineau


    Thank you for the mention, Mike! It was our pleasure to meet you at closetscon24 and hope to see you next year if not earlier.


    • Avatar

      Mike Foti


      You got it Cheryl – your company makes some phenomenal safes! Nice to meet you as well – Mike


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