Elfa or Home Depot closet system?

daphnarAugust 10, 2006

We are building a house and the builder's price includes the home depot closet systems. Part of his cost is installation.

I saw the Elfa system at the Container Store and like the way it looks but it is more $$. The builder has yet to get back to me as to whether he would charge for installation of the Elfa as it is just one high plate screwed into the studs. Even I could do the rest.

My question: Do you think that it is worth the extra $$ to get the Elfa system?

All input appreciated.

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I have Elfa in my daughter's closet and HD in my office. Both have the single bar at the top, with bracket mounting rods that extend down the wall at regular intervals.
I also bought a separate standalone unit with wire baskets for smaller items for the office closet.

Elfa plusses:
- Slightly nicer details - for example the ends of the brackets look better; the main bar at the very top as a more finished look.
- Many more options to customize the space.
- Elfa store consultant can give you lots of cool ideas based on your needs and your closet measurements. For my daughter, I put the closet rod at her level and designed it so that it only reached across half the closet (she was 4 at the time). We used lots of sliding baskets for her clothes.
- Will custom cut lengths to fit space.

Elfa minuses:
- Very expensive, but they go on sale at the Container Store once or twice a year (may not help in your situation).
- Not as easy to assemble as they would have you believe. The store consultant made a mistake on my closet materials, and as an apology they came out and assembled the whole closet - it took them half a day and they knew what they were doing. So count on spending lots of time. You need to use a plastic mallet to hammer things into place.
- Quality is good.

HD plusses:
- Very inexpensive.
- Quality is good-adequate.

HD minuses:
- Not as many options and features.
- Store help and consultation is either thin or nonexistent.

I think if you enjoy organizing, appreciate details and can afford it, you will enjoy the Elfa system. However, if you view closets as just places to get stuff out of sight, then HD's shelves would be fine.

One other thing - I love the wire shelves because they don't collect dust and they provide additional ventilation.

My thoughts - hope they help!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 11:50AM
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I'm surprised that you say that it took them half a day to assemble the closet. When I was at the store the salesperson but together a bunch of shelves in minutes. I'm counting on the setup to be minimal so that the builder will give me a break on installation. I suppose I could put it together but I'm busy with last minute details so that we'll be ready to move in...

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 9:43PM
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It took them over three hours - locating studs, leveling, drilling holes and installing the top rail, figuring out where all the shelves go (several different lengths and widths, and separate shelves at both ends of the closet, with a space for the sliding baskets in the middle), installing the brackets and end caps, and assembling the frames for the sliding baskets, plus some other optional fittings.

If your builder puts in the top rail, it will save you some time. And if you're only putting in straight shelving with no bells and whistles, then that will go faster.

You start with a pile of shelves, rails, brackets, endcaps and hardware (and baskets and basket frames) that you have to sort through. I don't really enjoy that kind of work - would rather be doing other things - I think it's a personal choice. If you have a helper it would make a big difference too.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 10:23PM
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I haven't used the HD closet stuff, but we have various Elfa systems throughout the house and have the found the quality to be quite good. IMO, the mesh Elfa is better quality than the ventilated wire (but more $$).

On the other hand, Consumer Reports just rated DIY closet systems and placed Rubbermaid first, Elfa second. Rubbermaid is cheaper, but has fewer options.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 2:55PM
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we let CS design our closets, and some we did the execution with HD supplies, some with CS supplies.

HD Plus: cost :-)

CS Plus:
1) The shelves are structured with a middle horizontal bar that lends itself to more stability and less sag. if you're not storing anything heavy, you could go with HD.
2) After they design it you let them fulfill the order, they cut it all to measure, and load it in your car for you. Nice !!!
3) A bit more choice of options for components and colors.
4) When they fulfill the order, you have everything you need - exactly how much you need, not too much - like screws, brackets, endcaps, etc etc.

So we did HD in the toy closet (not a lot of weight, just needed organization.
And we did CS in master closet and DD's closet, and love it!!!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 12:27PM
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I have HD wire shelving in my office - weight capacity (up to a point) depends on how many vertical bracket mounting bars you install across the horizontal bar at the top - as long as the horizontal bar is screwed into the studs securely. I store all my office supplies, including a 5-ream box of printer paper, on these shelves. It is a double closet with 72" shelves and three vertical bars - one at each end and one in the middle. No sagging and I've had the shelves for several years.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 10:51AM
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I have HD in an upstairs loft closet, and it holds several (like 7) bags of out-of-season clothes (the sweaters can get heavy, too). Easy to put up, good stability.

But I understand the Elfa is more changeable. A few years down the line, take down a few shelves and replace them with 2 hanging bars, that kind of thing.

I'm waiting for the CS sale so I can redo my front-hall closet. It's really small, so I want to have more versatility there--being able to hang a few jackets and next to it have lots of shelves and some baskets and other options.

I also like the fact that CS has customer service--somebody to do all the cutting (at HD, I had to wander around looking for a salesperson to cut the shelves), to make sure you have everything you need (of course, not everyone's perfect!).

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 10:22PM
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I just completed 2 closets systems as a DYI. WE have a new home.

For the MBR I used FreedomRail System. It is comparable in cost as ElFA. I live in Southern NJ and we are just getting a CS. I bbought the system online from Organizedliving.com. They d list places to buy the components but orgainized living is having a 20% off sale. I also prefer non ventilated drawers since I do not like wire lines. Your builder may be able to get FreedomRail discounted.

I used Closetmaid in our second closet which is my BF's closet. It works fine for him and we were able to recycle some of the brackets, etc from the MBR. We only had to buy the shelfs that are required for the railing bracket that allow the closes to move freely. We did not use a mounting bracket for his

We also incoporated IKEA chests of drawers into our closets. We are really happy with the results. It helped us save $$ since the drawer components are a little pricey.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 6:16PM
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I apologize for all the typos. I thought I had corrected them before submitting. I hope you can make out what I was trying to say.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 11:58AM
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Steve O,

My apologies. This is the first time I've ever blogged on a site. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

The Shelving Guy

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 7:41AM
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My thoughts on this debate are on this thread for those looking for more current insight on this topic.

Here is a link that might be useful: closet system reviews

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 3:47AM
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I got the John Louis set at Home Depot. It's not the cheapest, but it was really well thought out and looked a lot better than the Elfa system. A nice closet setup can be a nice selling point.

In terms of the instalation, you don't want someone rushing through it. Installing these is easy. Installing them properly so it's all level and doesn't fall apart takes some time.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 3:47PM
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I posted my review of my extensive (LOL) use of Elfa at the link Chris has provided. Love it. Their 30% off sale is starting on Dec 23rd, I believe.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2014 at 2:42PM
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