Impossibly small master bedroom closet

zagyzebraMay 6, 2011

My home was built in 1931. Back then it seems they didn't have the monstrous wardrobes we own now.

The master bedroom, which is circular and huge and impossibly beautiful, alas, suffers from two dinky walk-in closets with enough room on the facing end to hang some clothes and on the left wall to put some shelves. I've been perusing pictures of closet design to get ideas on how to maximize a minimal space. But I thought I would post here to see if any of you feel you have particularly clever tips to pass on.

Much obliged.

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My home was built in 1922. The "master" bedroom has one dinky closet. I feel your pain.

Have you considered getting a wardrobe/armoire to store some of your clothes? Or fixing up a larger closet space in another room? If you have a small, unused bedroom, you could create a dressing room with the addition of some hanging bars and shelves. Or you could get a plain hanging rack and hide it behind a decorative screen.

If the closets have high ceilings, you might be able to fit two hanging rods, one above the other.

Since you say the room is huge, you could also consider putting as much clothing as possible in dressers, and maybe looking for an additional dresser, or finding larger dressers to hold more stuff.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 10:52PM
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We have tiny closets and I've come to the sad conclusion that there are real limits as to what you can do with dinky. In a big room, I would definitely go the wardrobe/dresser route.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:44AM
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This discussion has been had over at the Old House forum, so you might want to check that thread there for other ideas. I definitely agree with the armoire idea, or have some period-style built-ins constructed. Put your funeral suit and cocktail dresses in a guest closet along with other occasional items.

What I do is switch out my wardrobe seasonally, which is a great option if your climate allows it. This also gives you an opportunity to really purge your clothing. (That would be another choice. Harsh reality as it is, part of the trade-off in living in our beautiful old homes is compromised storage space by modern standards. When we moved in here, I got rid of soooooo much stuff, and I cannot tell you how great it still feels. Most people really only wear a few things over and over again. You don't need 75 t-shirts if you really only wear 5 regularly. Same thing with work clothes, I found even though I kept buying them, I didn't really wear most of them - so out they went. I also religiously follow the "one-in, one-out" method for mine and DH's clothes and shoes. It's harder for him to choose than me!)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:06PM
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My sympathies - it takes time to get used to a small closet.

My house was built in 1938. The closet door is two feet wide and the closet is about three feet wide and just a few inches deeper than a hanger. I have two racks, the top one for slacks and dresses, and the bottom one for blouses. We found a short bar for hangers that goes inside the door instead of the ugly over the door hangers. My longer things go on that.

Out of season clothes are stored in a larger closet in the converted attic. DH keeps his clothes in the guest BR closet - same size and same system. Switching clothes at the end of the season is a bother, but it gives us a chance to realize we didn't wear something and get rid of those pieces of clothing.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:28PM
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we have a newer home with a large walkin master closet (mostly mine :) and a small, dinky one (all dh's :)
we changed the swing of the closet door, so it swings outward, for more space (pocket would have worked too) and then put 2 rods for hanging on the back part of the closet and then shelves on the right wall...still tight, still small, but better than it was! also, have multihook hangers on inside of the door...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:59AM
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Our 1931 home was as you describe yours.

We have been here long enough that we actually did an addition to add his/hers master closets.

But before that, I am not exaggerating when I say that we all kept most of our clothes in the laundry room in the basement. We had a hanging rod made from 2 inch plumbing pipe that was about 10 feet long. We sorted out undies/socks/ and tshirts in baskets for each household member, so they would be in each person's basket.

In all honesty, the clothes in our closets were the dry clean clothes that didn't go through the laundry.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 8:51PM
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Our house was built in 1939. Rather small master bedroom but that's okay. But what I really hate are the two puny closets - each about 48" by 43". Have combined them into one and now plan to steal space from the adjacent spare room which is also rather small but walk in closet has priority.

Hoping that resulting closet will be at least 6ft by 6ft with only one door now instead of two which means I now will have wall space to fit a chest of drawers in the master bedroom. Haven't decided yet how much space to steal. This is a project for later on this year.

I think of when we will sell (long time from now) but being able to have a "walk-in closet" in this old neighborhood is going to be a very positive selling point.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 11:33AM
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Entertainment centers are being turned in at Good Will, Habitat for humanity, etc. They are usually about $200 in my area. I needed a linen closet in my bathroom. So I bought an entertainment center that was professionally painted and put shelves inside. It worked beautifully, did not look out of place as the design went with my decor. Maybe you could try this for hanging shirts, pants or put in shelves.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 5:24PM
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