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walk-in closet or reach-in?

Posted by j-yk (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 16, 11 at 23:11

The dilema of maximizing the closet space without affecting the living space is a long discussed topic... And here we go again...

We have two tiny rooms in our 1928 home that we just bought to create a better sized master bedroom. Now the room is 19'x13'. Ideally, I would have just long reach-in of 13x3 and leave 16x13 living space but because of the location of windows and hot water radiator (windows on either ends and one end with a window and a radiator...) can't have use either end of the wall to create 13x ** closet.

Now the choices will be building a walk-in closet of 5'x5' (6'x5' would be ideal but it looked as though it was eating up too much room) on the corner away from the windows, or do 7 or 6'x3' reach-in, It would "look" better with the reach-in because the room is now a perfect rectangle without a closet and deeper closet space sticking into the living space amy look a bit weird (though I could turn the nook created into a mini-seating space...). One of my friends told me that despite everything, making a walk-in may be better for the home's resale than a reach-in, especially with the length of the possible reach-in being that small.

Would it be worth while to create a 5x5 "walk-in" (far from the ideal dimension as a WIC..) or stick to a reach in?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: walk-in closet or reach-in?

Personally, I wouldn't do anything to make a room look odd. Weird remodels make it harder to re-sell a home. Since it is an older home, I think you could get away with the reach in closet.


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RE: walk-in closet or reach-in?

Thank you for your input. Yes, a deeper closet would be a bit awkward... If I go with a reach in, I could put a backless storage bench by the window or do a built-in bench later when we have more money...


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RE: walk-in closet or reach-in?

I would give some thought to how you plan to customize the interior. A lot of walk-ins are created w/o regard to the dimensions that are really required to make "walking in" work. A reach-in with well-place rods, shelves and cubbies--especially nice if you use adjustable shelf supports in at least a portion--could be really useful and will LOOK useful to someone looking at it later.


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RE: walk-in closet or reach-in?

5' x 5' is really not enough room for a walk in closet to have rods on both sides. (Think that you need to devote 2' to each hanging side. Now, even if that 5' was the inside measurement of the closet, that still would just leave you with a foot to shimmy down. Not enough room to maneuver or to remove clothes. At minimum, you need 6' interior measurement for width to give you a 2' center aisle.

If you just do rods down one side, you have wasted a lot of space. What will you do with that space? You could do shelves, but make sure you don't block access to the hanging rod.

So, look at your storage needs. Most places need more hanging space in the master, not shelves. You can use a dresser, etc., to do the same as shelves would.

So, a 5'x'5' walk-in closet will give you 5' of hanging. With either of your reach-in dimensions, you get 6' or 7' of hanging space.

How tall are your ceilings? If they are tall, you can do quite a bit of storage above and I would recommend the 3' depth. If your ceilings are not tall, you could go with a 2' or 2.5' inside depth. (I would stick with at least 2.5', especially if you have any coats or puffy clothing that would stick out a bit more.)

Remember that the measurements I am saying are for the inside dimensions.

I vote for a reach in.


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RE: walk-in closet or reach-in?

What about window seats between 2 or 3 smaller reach-in closets? Sarah Susanka talks about 'setting in' windows by building around them so light bounces off the surrounding book cases or closets - to make rooms brighter. Perhaps 2 or 3 smaller closets (like wardrobes) but designed to let you have window seats would work.

If you do reach in closets you don't have to have just 1 and could plan them to look more like furniture.


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RE: walk-in closet or reach-in?

If you have a lot of clothes/shoes....etc. I would go with the walk in regardless. But for a small room I would do a reach in


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RE: walk-in closet or reach-in?

Our guest room has a 5 by 4.5 "walk-in". Those are interior dimensions. If you have clothes then it really isn't very useful. Remember that each rod needs a 2 foot depth for hanging clothes. More if you have larger people or adults using it. If you turn corners you have another 2 square feet of dead space.

The poster above covered the issues with rods on each side.

We ended up putting shelves on one side and a corner shelf/cubby thing my DH built. That left 34" of hanging space which we doubled by adding another rod below it when my DD was living here. Now we just use it for overflow.

Go with the reach in. There are closet systems available that make reach-ins just as organized as a walk in.


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RE: walk-in closet or reach-in?

Another vote for the reach in, as it is a better use of your space. We have a 1938 house with reach in closets, and we re-configured them to maximize the space, with a high and a low rod, as well as a short one inside the door (not an over the door rod). We got the last one at the Container Store. Out of season clothes are stored on the second floor.

If you are planning on being in the home for at least five years, I would not worry too much about resale value. Remodel it for how you want to live. We did not move or tear down any walls in our house, but the MBR was already a generous 12 x 12 feet.

Whatever you do, enjoy your house! They don't make them like that any more.


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