Need dimensions help for master closet and 2-car garage please

papergirlNovember 1, 2010

Hello all. I just love all of the great advice on this forum. I am working on a floor plan and am stumped on how big to make the master closet. Our current master closet is a 5' x 5' "walk in" and it is tiny! It drives me nuts. I know I want the next one a lot bigger, but I also don't want to go overboard and regret that I may have wasted square footage. What size is your master closet, or what size do you wish it was?

My GC/builder has suggested an attached 2-car garage that is 24' deep x 28' wide. I am actually considering making it smaller to save some money, like 24' x 26' or 24' x 24'. I have no garage now, so I really don't have anything to compare these dimensions to. We will have a basement for storage too, but I just want to make sure 2 vehicles won't feel crowded. I drive a mid-sized car and my husband drives a Dodge Dakota truck (pretty much a smaller version of a Ram). He may buy a larger truck in a few years though, and I know we may need to think about the house's resale value someday too. Any advice on garage dimensions is greatly appreciated!

p.s. If anyone feels like throwing in their master bath dimensions or laundry room dimensions that would be terrific :)

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If you want to hang clothes on both sides of a closet, the minimum width is 7'.

'Standard' two-car garages are never wide enough for two cars, especially when the cars aren't sub-compacts. The added width will cost very little when building.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 5:24AM
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I don't think it's possible to have a garage that is too big! :) I think that the 24' x 28' your builder proposed is a good one. Hopefully, you will get an 18' wide door (if a single door) and 9' wide doors if 2 doors. Are you going to put the garage doors to one side so that you will get good storage on the other? 24' is the minimum depth I'd make a garage. I like to be able to pull our minivan in and be able to open the trunk with the garage door closed and not be parked up against the wall. I think that some full sized trucks are close to 20' long. Do you have kids' toys and bikes to contend with? Lawn mower, snow blower, work bench, large garbage and recycling bins, etc? I would personally draw out your garage and draw in your cars and the other large items you plan to have in it. That way, you can see what is realisitic.

As for master bedroom closet, I think we probably went too small. People seem to favor huge oversized closets. Ours is an L shape with the longest part being 13'8", the bottom of the L being 8' and the top of the L being 5'6". It fits all of our clothes and we have a lot of unused empty space. Still, people have told us that our master closet seems small. I am no clothes horse though.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:39AM
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In planning our closet design for our next house, I measured our hanging clothes from the wall to the outside edge of the sleeves to see how much space clothes take up. I measured 28 inches from the wall. I read on Fine Homebuilding that a person needs about 36 inches of space to stand in front of hanging clothes and not feel crowded. So that is 64 inches (5 feet, 4 inches) minimum closet width.

Our current closet is a rectangle, with the door on the short end, and has about 5 1/2 feet of what I call double stacked space for hanging on each long side - one side is his and one side is mine. This is where we hang shirts, blouses, skirts and shorts. Also, on each side is a section about 3 feet, for hanging long items like slacks and dresses.

Also there are 2 sets of shelves that are about 24 inches, maybe a little less. I am going off memory here. Plus there is a high shelf over the hanging clothes area.

All of this fits in a space of 5'-11" x 10'-8" with the entry door on the short end. This is too small for a master closet in this size/quality of house (~ 3400 sq ft w/ fin bst, medium level of finish) I just know it will be an issue when we go to sell.

If you are fortunate enough to design your own plan, think about how you use your closet (I like to dress in my closet), how much 'stuff' you have and measure your current hanging space for comparison.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 12:28PM
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Our garage is 24x24 and should have been bigger. We have a Chevy Traverse and a GMC Sierra crew cab (short bed) and while they both fit, the truck really needed more depth to be comfortable. I can open the rear gate on my car without pulling up to the wall, btw, so it's fine for that size vehicle. We have a 20' wide door and it works fine side to side, but if we wanted to use the garage for storage there would not be room. We have a seperate storage building, and will have a seperate metal carport for my horse truck, so we weren't worried about having extra storage room.

We have 2 master closets because I didn't want to share. haha Mine is 9' wide and 6.5' deep and is perfect for me. I have 17 linear feet of hanging space including 2 sets of double racks and 1 single rack for longer items, 2 shoe racks, a full length mirror and a 3' wide 5 shelf unit. Oh, and 8 hooks above one of the shoe racks. I love my closet!

Hubby's closet is an L shape, but I only let him have half of it. ;-) He has 14' of hanging space (2 sets of doubles), a chest, 8 hooks, and a shoe rack. I'm not sure what the exact dimensions are. The other half I use as a linen closet and for storing luggage. He too is very happy with his space.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 12:44PM
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My master closet is 19x7 that I share with hubby and it is perfect! My husband is 6'7" and his clothes are huge and he has lots of clothes! I love having a full length mirror in the closet as well as lots of cubby storage for folded clothes and a small wall for hooks to hang some robes/towels. We have no dressers in our bedroom so everything goes in here and it fits.

Our garage is 1300 sq feet... and we love it. It is a 4 car -- one 18 foot door and 2 9 feet single doors. It varies from 24 to 28 feet deep and that is wonderful. I can pull my van in and close the door and open up the hatch. We have alot of stuff -- riding and push lawn mower, golf cart, bikes, workbench, snowblower, etc... We love the garage.

For a 2 car, I would definitely go as deep as possible -- maybe 28 feet and an 18 foot garage door.

good luck!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:47PM
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We wanted our master closet to feel like a room. It has a window that's set high. The natural light is really nice but privacy is maintained. We want to put an upholstered bench in there. It's a long and narrow room. It's 8' wide with a his and her side. That's wider that needed but I didn't want it to feel like a tunnel. The "her" side is 16'and his side is 11'. It's big enough, but certainly not empty and neither DH nor I have a lot of clothes.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:53PM
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Thanks so much for the info. Some of your closets sound like heaven! I am going to try to make mine as big as possible. Your tips on aisle widths were especially helpful.

arkansasfarmchick - I laughed when I read your comment about not wanting to share your closet. I feel the same way and my husband is amused/confused by this. I just don't want him complaining about my stuff spilling onto his side of the closet like it does now. I want my own space!

I looked at a ton of house plans the other night and was surprised that so many plans listed the garage at 20 x 20. That's why I started thinking maybe 24 x 24 wasn't too bad. Thanks for changing my mind. I still might go as small as 24 x 26 but definitely no smaller. I like the idea of extra space for recycling, etc. though so maybe I'll stick with the 24 x 28. Decisions, decisions...and it's just beginning! Thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 10:21PM
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I struggled with both of these when we were designing our plans as well! In our case, we are pretty limited as we are maxing out our city size lot (83' x 106'), so some things we have had to compromise on. We ended up with a 9' 4" x 12' 3" his-n-hers shared master closet, which includes a window looking into the backyard which I am happy about. Actually, I'm just so excited to finally have a real walk in closet, lol! For our garage, we live in the midwest so room to park both cars (2 SUVs) inside during the winter as well as have some room for bikes, etc. on the sides was our hope. Again, we became limited by space on our lot as well as the max allowable, so we ended up with a 24' x 24' 9" garage.

Framing has just started this week, so I cannot comment on how living with these dimensions will be, but I believe it will work great for us. Best wishes in your new build, I know how hard the planning stage is!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 11:56PM
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I haven't read all of the comments above. When we sold our last house, the closet there was 4'2" x 10' with hanging only along the length of the 10' facing the closet wall. It was wide enough for us. My girlfriend had a walk in closet less than 4'2" and it was too narrow. You felt like you were squished between the clothes and the wall.

I have mocked up a lot of different closet styles to see how they feel in real life and here is what I have come up with ... minimum walk in closet width - - more is ok but this is bare min. comfortable width ...
hanging clothes with nothing on facing wall 4'2"; our old home
hanging clothes facing 12" deep shelves 5'2";
hanging clothes facing 15" deep shelves 5'5";
hanging clothes facing hanging clothes 6'2" wide; note - our current home is 6'3" wide and it is plenty wide enough to feel comfortable in with hanging clothes facing hanging clothes

My mom's closet is 7'6" clothes facing shelves (not sure delth of shelves) and it is way too wide (meaning space is wasted). People tend to laugh when they go in her closet. It has so much empty space in the middle that she leaves the ironing board up a lot of the time.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 3:34PM
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I'm trying to figure out how large our master closets should be. I'd like a 2 ft island in the middle of my closet with adequate storage for a medium to large sized wardrobe. Also want a separate closet for my husband. We are building and our home is about 3900sf. Please help. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:46AM
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While adding garage space does cost money, it is relatively cheap. That being said, the 24x28 is a great size. From what I have seen on garage building forums, you can probably say $20/ft for the garage. Chopping down from 24x28 to 24x26 would only save you $900ish. That will be cheaper than fixing the door dings when the kids get out of the car and swing one car door into the other.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:02AM
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We are building a 4000 sqft home and here are some of our dimensions. I have put the entire master suite measurements to help. Also, like someone else we have put a small high window in to let natural light through.

Master Bed: 311 sqft
Master Closet: 131 sqft (13ft 6 by 9ft 9)

Garage (3 car garage): 765sqft (21ft 3 by 35ft 9)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:18AM
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Lots of answers to a very simple question. Here's some design guidelines:

Closets: Depth of clothes on hangars and compartmentalized storage units is 2'-0. Aisle space to access the hanging and stored items is 3'-0 minimum for one person. Length depends on desired capacity. Most efficient use of space is a 3'-0 aisle with 2'-0 space on each side.

Garage: 24' X 24' is a reasonable planning dimension for a 2-car garage, plus some perimeter storage. Parking stalls in public parking lots tend to be 10' X 20' max, as an example. Additional storage for mowers, etc. can be added to one side or the other of the garage, with external access if desired.

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:40AM
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You probably know that goldfish grow to fit the size of their bowl, then they grow no more.

Closets and garages are somewhat subject to the goldfish principle: The stuff we want to store in them accumulates to fit the size. So -- to some extent -- a larger closet gives you "permission" to accumulate more clothes /more stuff and excuses you from weeding out things that just aren't being used.

I suggest you take a look at what you have now, and measure it. If your current storage is lacking, ask yourself how much it should expand -- half again as much? double the space? same amount of space, but with more shelves /less hanging space? If you had more space, would you add more clothes? Do you need more clothes?

What else will you store in your closet besides clothes? Do you want to store your suitcases there, or do you prefer to keep them elsewhere? Do you want a spot for jewelry? Do you want ALL your clothes to store in the closet, or will you have a dresser in the bedroom as well? How many handbags /shoes do you have? How about oddball stuff like gift wrap? Do you store coats in your bedroom closet? Ski wear? Your old wedding dress? A box of baby clothes even though your kids are teens? Again, measure your own needs.

I don't know what's "enough" for you, but I can tell you what we're thinking:

- 8x12 rectangle closet in the master bedroom -- based up on our current wardrobes, this will hold everything we have (and more) and will allow us to e x p a n d our clothing storage so that things aren't just crammed in. I like the idea of things being easy to see /easy to reach.
- We're placing the laundry room next to the closet -- the convenience feature being obvious. If not for the door to the laundry, we'd have gone with an 8x10 closet.
- We're leaving a "blank space" on the wall for some hooks. This'll be for hanging worn-once jeans, etc.
- This is to be our retirement house, and the 8' width allows space for a walker. Also, my 99-year old grandmother keeps a chair in her closet so she can sit down while choosing clothes -- the extra width would be valuable for that.
- I do not want a window because sunlight bleaches clothes. I do hate walking into a dark closet with my hands full of things to put away, so I'm planning to use automatic lights.
- I would not plan an island. Given that you need clearance space on both sides, an island would require more space than I'd devote to a storage space.
- A mirror is a good idea, but I'd try to put it on the back of the door rather than allowing it to eat up valuable hanging /shelf space.
- I intend to have a medium-sized dresser in the bedroom, which will hold undergarments, swimsuits and pajamas. Everything else'll be stored in the closet -- we'll have shelves for jeans and sweatshirts.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:45AM
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I agree with almost everything Ms. Pete said and our closet is designed almost exactly as she described.

1. Ours is 9x11. No you don't need 9' width if you are hanging clothes on either side, but it feels nice and more like a dressing room.

2. We store EVERYTHING in the closet. We do not have any dressers or other storage elsewhere.

3. Although we do not have a door to the laundry room, we have a pass thought. it is so convenient!

Closet side hamper;

Laundry room side:

4. We ordered our closet door such that there is a mirror on the back built in. I just talked to DH about adding a few hooks.

5. We have a window and I love it! Our closet faces north and we never get direct sunlight on the clothes. We've put a bench under a window which DH requested for putting shoes on.

6. We had orignially thought about putting in an island but it did make the closet extremely large so we cut it out.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 3:16PM
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I apologize for resurrecting a dead thread thread but this came up as a top result in a simple query and so I wanted to add my observations.

I was remodeling a bedroom that was way too large (30 feet long) with closets way too small (10 feet of reach in). We went back and forth for a couple of weeks on the closet size, When I was looking up interior organizers I kept coming back to the Ikea stuff as some of the best bang for the buck. I have previously had similar wardrobes when I lived in Europe and prefer them to closets personally, but really not accepted in the US yet.

So we decided to drive to Ikea and buy the wardrobes and put them up where we imagined the closet would go. We hung clothes in them and lived with the ugly back of the cabinet exposed for a few weeks then we moved them around and tried again.

Here is what we decided:

Depth is way more important than length. Any decent length can work but depth (distance between hanging clothes and something else) is not as flexible.

Hanging clothes take up 24" and the minimum distance between 2 sets of hanging clothes that we liked was 30" and the maximum was 48",

Therefore, the maximum closet without an island we found was 8'. If your closet is bigger than this then congratulations you now have square dancing space, so grab your partner and do si do.

Any closet depth between 8' and 11.5' is a complete waste of space. Too small to fit a decent island in (minimum of 30") and way too large for dressing space even for two good sized adults.

We ended up with a 24" clothes rack - 36' path - 2 x 18" deep (31" tall) chest of drawers placed back to back for an island - 36" path - 24" clothes rack.

The room feels bigger as the island is out of your site line. But is probably the most useful and used thing we have in the closet. We actually ended up covering our nice island top with some felt and I doubt now I could put on a suit without using an island.

I really can't put into words how helpful the wardrobes were in figuring this out. But you don't need to run to Ikea. You can just grab a couple of mobile clothes racks from Amazon and move them around until you figure out what you like.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Any walk in that doesn't have hanging on both sides wastes square footage as it could be repaced by a reach in from the bedroom served, losing the interior passage space to the bedroom to make it bigger.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 11:22AM
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I would like to add that it is a good idea to use height in your closet as well. We see many closets stop heightwise at the single shelf above the tall rod, and in houses with tall ceilings, it is possible to place pull down rods almost next to the ceiling- allowing a great means of switching out seasonal items in the same space. Here is a picture of that type of system.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 11:43AM
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What a great idea! The space above the top rack is so useless to me because I'm short, and I don't like to store boxes up there, because I always forget what's in them. Placing the top rack higher (say for dresses that I wear less frequently) then using the 'shopping mall stick" to bring them down as needed, is a great solution. I'll still be able to see them, and access them with the stick, but I'll be able to fit 'stuff' underneath that is more easily accessible!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 6:09AM
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