Efficient closets: open vs walk-in

rjlydersMarch 21, 2014

In our remodeling project, we are creating somewhat of a master bedroom downstairs and I am trying to create the most functional closet space possible. We currently have in the plans to create a walk-in closet, but it is tight. I think we might be better off with open or reach-in closets because walk-in closets inevitably waste space with a walkway inside the closet. I am hoping to come up with a more efficient design that uses possibly multiple reach-in closets and end up with more actual storage space. Any help is appreciated! :-)

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"walk-in closets inevitably waste space with a walkway inside the closet"

You got that right.

I like to use upper and lower clothes hanging rods to double up. 40" off the floor and 80" off the floor is the typical height.

A long closet can be divided by a full height cabinet to add some drawers below and some adjustable shelves. If i had an 8' long space to create a reach-in closet, I would place the full height cabinet in the center. The cabinet would be about 2' wide by 8' tall by the depth of the reach in closet. The lower part would have 4 or 5 drawers and the upper part would have adjustable shelving. The clothes hanging rods would be about 3' long, and there would be upper and lower, for a total of 12' linear of hanging clothes. Compare the storage capacity of this proposed layout to a 6x6 walk in closet, and you'll find they're about equal. The reach in closet uses 16 sq ft of space and the walk in uses 36 sq ft.

Believe it or not, i've got my wife comfortable with 5' linear of reach in closet like I described above. There are also 3 large drawers underneath each side of our bed and a separate storage place for shoes. You gotta make use of every space available.

We're a family of 5 in a 1200 sq ft house. We make the space work for us!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:15AM
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Thanks for your insight, Aidan.

One thing I should have mentioned is that the walls of the bath/closet can be moved since we are remodeling the space. It would be nice to come up with layout that allowed reach-in closets and avoid wasting space with walk-ins.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:37AM
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I saw your post in the Kitchen forum. You are doing quite an extensive renovation.

Why is the closet access in the hall outside the bedroom? Why not close off that door and put the entry on the yellow wall, opening against the bathroom wall? Would you consider moving the bedroom entry back toward the stairs and having double doors? I was thinking moving them back to "hall 42 sq. ft."

I know you don't care for walk-in closets, but they can be quite convenient. The closet could be like a dressing room. Everything would be accessible in one space. (Then, with no dresser in the bedroom, you could add a coffee/beverage center in there.)*grin* . Or add a private small porch and put in a walk-out.

In the back section of the closet:
-hang-up on both sides, if you can find another 18" (perhaps shifting the bathroom down) to increase the 4'6" to 6' : 24"+24"(each side hang-up) + 24"(aisle) = 72"
-2 rows of shelves above all the hang-up
-a bench at the end of the row against the kitchen wall.
-2 or 3 overhead lights (depending on size)

On the wall where the old entry was:
-shoe/boots shelves/cubbies in the corner by the bench
-a multiple drawer cabinet, with shallow and deep drawers
-a jewelry, scarves, accessories cabinet by the entry door
-3 or 4 overhead lights (depending on size)

There are a lot of great walk-ins online. Key: "organized walk-in closets" and go to images. I'm sure you could get some great inspiration just from the photos.

For the bathroom:
-if your sink is under a window, there is no where for a mirror. Could you put the window on the porch wall?
-there is no linen closet. Could you shift the sink toward the porch wall and put in a linen/storage cabinet at the end by the door. It wouldn't have to be any deeper than the vanity.
-the door into the bathroom will hit the toilet. Not fun if someone is sitting there. What about a pocket door?

This post was edited by canuckplayer on Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 5:00

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:57AM
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rjlyders, you have a great big house. While I understand not wanting to waste space, with what you've shown here (and I can't recall the rest of your layout), there doesn't appear to be a better use of the space. If you tried to force a reach-in into your bedroom, what would you do with the space now designated as closet?

Leaving the closet dimensions as shown, moving the door to the right allows you to put a hanging rod the full length of the left wall. The bumpout on the right would be great for drawers and shelves.

You didn't ask, but I love that your master bath is designed to be functional - not larger than the bedroom, as so many are! But it doesn't look like you have much storage space there. Depending on your needs in the closet, you could push back the yellow wall between closet and bedroom and put in cupboards for bathroom and bedroom linens, opening to the bedroom.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:33AM
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A walk in closet 4' 6" wide is basically useless. There is no way to utilize both walls and keep a walkway. Why not combine the bathroom/closet space?

Put the shower back into the closet into the 4' 6" wide nook. Put the toilet where the shower is. Eliminate the door from the closet to the hallway and build a linear closet along that wall. There will be ample room for a walkway, and the closet will be walk-in in the sense that it affords the user privacy to get dressed. It also adds a great deal of functioinallity to have everything placed in a convenient assembly line type of layout. The entry from the hallway into the closet is a major design flaw, and really interrupts the user's work flow. Work flow in the sense of underssing, bathing, and dressing again.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:30PM
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I think we have finally found a nice balance between closet and bathroom space in this downstairs guest bedroom.
1. This option has a bigger bathroom that can fit a standard tub.
2. The toilet is set off to a small corner for privacy.
3. This plan fits a much bigger counter for work space around the sink. We could even install a double sink if desired
4. This plan requires moving both bathroom walls to increase the size, so there is added cost.
5. The closets become smaller but I think it is still a good closet size for a guest room.
a. There is a smallish walk-in closet accessible from the bathroom for dressing in the morning.
b. There is also a small closet just inside the bedroom door for coats, hats, shoes, toys, boxes, etc⦠things that you may want to organize separately from the closet off the bath.
6. This plan could even fit a double-sink if it might be used as a second master bath.
7. I chopped off that corner near the entrance that juts out into the kitchen to soften that kitchen corner next to the fridge.

My wife and I are excited about these plans. We are also excited to be very close to getting started on the actual work. What a project!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 7:44PM
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I agree that is a nice balance. I also like that now you enter the closet from the room (albeit bathroom) rather than from the hallway.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 8:11PM
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