Closet Systems 101
While some might have the budget for a shop-built wood closet system with custom millwork, most homeowners go with a wire or melamine shelf-and-bracket closet system they found at a home-improvement store, online retailer or specialty store offering closet storage solutions. From do-it-yourself to professionally installed, closets can range from very simple to highly-customized systems created just for your closets.
To help you decide on the right storage solution for your home, here are some things to consider when it comes to different systems:
Coated wire is economical, versatile and widely available. These vinyl or epoxy-coated wire systems allow you to clearly see the items in your closet and provide good air circulation. Depending on the system you choose, many support a good amount of weight and tend to be very durable if installed properly.
While most wire systems are white, some manufacturers offer other colors and finishes. If you need to store small items in your closet with this kind of system, use baskets or bins so the items don't end up lost or misplaced. You may also want to use shelf liner to prevent indentation marks in your folded clothing.
Melamine systems are made of an ultra-thin sheet of paper printed with color and pattern, then saturated with resin and thermally fused to industrial-grade particleboard or MDF (medium-density fiberboard). They often come in white or wood-grain finishes.
While economical and attractive, the quality of melamine systems will vary. The best melamine systems use thermally fused, thick (3/4") boards. The thickness of the material, the process used to make the system (thermally fused melamine is preferred over cold-pressed) and the quality of the accessories and fittings determine the durability of the product.