Modular Closet Systems

Give your closet an easy, affordable update with a modular closet system.

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Photography by Michael Arnaud

Photography by Michael Arnaud

By: Jennifer Crutchfield
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Modular closet systems can make designing a new closet easy and affordable. You pick and choose the components that work for your home. Installation is easy — all you need is hammer or a screwdriver.

Before you get started, research the closet systems that are available by shopping online and checking out home stores and organizing companies. Then evaluate the contents of your closet to make sure you're picking the right system — it seems obvious, but if you have 100 pairs of shoes, don't choose a closet with room for only one small shoe rack.

17 Ways to Maximize Storage in Your Walk-in Closet

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Give Your Accessories the Perfect Home

If you thought shoes caused closet chaos, imagine a heap of tangled belts and ties. This chic closet system from LA Closet Design prevents that mess. It features separate square compartments, ideal for keeping belts organized and easy to identify. Plus, just below that are drawers for jewelry, ties and a pullout table for folding clothes. Getting (and staying) organized has never been so easy! Photo courtesy of LA Closet Design

Give Everything a Home of Its Own

Imagine walking into your closet and being able to see where every single shoe, accessory and article of clothing lives on the spot. This super-organized closet system from The Container Store does just that. Clear shelves and compartments are convenient, time-saving solutions to make your morning routine that much easier. Plus, there's not a single foot of vertical wall space left to spare, ensuring each and every item has a proper home.

Customize Your Closet Design

No matter what closet design you choose, you can easily customize the shelves, racks and compartments to suit your lifestyle. (Even if that means you don't make the most of every single square inch.) Instead of choosing a vertical wall rack for your shoes, why not display your collection along the horizontal shelves if you have the extra room? It adds a boutique look to your walk-in and keeps your shoes in tiptop shape. Photo courtesy of The Container Store

Utilize Corners in a Clever Way

Even in our homes, corners are generally considered dead space, but in closets they can be utilized in a surprising way to free up space for additional shelves and compartments. Lisa Adams, CEO and designer of LA Closet Design, suggests incorporating a corner carousel into your closet design to really utilize a corner that would otherwise go unused. "The carousel rotates 360 degrees and allows for hanging all the way around. Rather than voiding out the corner or doing an awkward reach-in cabinet, a corner carousel is a great solution for capitalizing on storage space," Lisa says. Photo courtesy of LA Closet Design

Opt for Wall-to-Wall Shelves

Cubby-style shelving units are the perfect storage solution for pants, sweaters, shoes, hats and other accessories that can be neatly folded and displayed. The shelves can even be adjusted to offer flexibility for boots and higher stacks of clothing. The unit keeps everything nice and tidy but also in plain sight for those who like to have all their options laid out right in front of them. Photo courtesy of California Closets

Reach Up High With Ease

Say goodbye to all that dead closet space once and for all. Innovative closet systems allow you to use hard-to-reach spots, while still being able to access everything with ease. For example, this pull-down clothing rod keeps dresses up and out of the way when not in use, but the hydraulic rod folds out in a snap when it's time to get ready. Photo courtesy of LA Closet Design

From Work to Play: The Ultimate Closet for Him

Now this is one organized closet. On the left side, the closet houses all of the homeowner's casual clothes, with all of his work/business clothes on the right. The center shelving unit also keeps his casual and work shoes separated, making it easy to decipher where each appropriate item is when he needs it. Flat walnut veneer drawer fronts dress up the off-white shelving unit and offer additional storage for underwear and other accessories. Photo courtesy of California Closets

Use Every Inch of Vertical Wall Space

In this glamorous walk-in closet, HGTV fan Curly888 took advantage of the vaulted ceilings by expanding the built-ins and making them even higher. This doubled her storage space all the way around the room. To make those top shelves functional, she added a custom rolling ladder to help easily retrieve items not within reach.

Everything in Its Place

According to Lisa Adams, CEO and designer of LA Closet Design, if you created a closet to accommodate all of your shoes, clothing and accessories, then there should be a designated spot for everything, from wedges and flats to socks and ties. In this spacious and organized walk-in closet, there are two design details that Lisa loves: the pullout shoe shelves and the pullout tie trays. "The pullout shoe shelves are excellent for two main reasons: The pullout allows you to see shoes at the back of the shelf, and, also, it takes advantage of the depth and allows you to store two to three rows of shoes," she says. Similar to the shoe shelves, the pullout tie trays allow you to see all of your ties in one glance since they're organized into separate compartments. Photo courtesy of LA Closet Design

Put Your Shoes on Display

Shoes can oftentimes be one of the greatest causes of closet clutter. All you need are some shelves to keep your shoes nice and tidy and off the floor, and your clutter problems will instantly be solved. In this boutique-style walk-in closet, the entire back wall is devoted to displaying the homeowner's luxurious shoe collection. A built-in wooden unit with cabinets and drawers offers even more space to tuck away shoes and accessories. Photo courtesy of ClosetMaid

Photo By: Courtesy of ClosetMaid

Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact

Sometimes you can simply eliminate a shelf or two and your storage space will expand significantly. Barriers and other dividers just create dead space within your closet, so the sooner you can remove them, the more space you can create for your essentials. Lisa Adams, CEO and designer of LA Closet Design, made a few cosmetic changes to this walk-in closet that make it feel more spacious and maximize the storage space. "In this closet I eliminated the vertical panels between individual cabinets/sections, creating an open, horizontal look. This opens up the space and makes it feel much bigger," Lisa says. "The use of L-shaped shelves and hanging rods at the corners, again, maximizes the corner spaces and makes the closet feel more customized and luxurious." Photo courtesy of LA Closet Design

Take Advantage of Adjustable Shelves

One of the best ways to make the most out of your closet is to line the walls with adjustable shelves. You can use them for casual shirts, sweaters, jeans, shoes and handbags. Plus, you can move the shelves around at any time, completely customizing the amount of space in between. Photo courtesy of California Closets

Double Your Storage With Built-Ins

Virtually any bedroom nook can be turned into your own walk-in closet. HGTV fan CvilleJanice turned some extra space located off the master bedroom into a high-end walk-in closet by adding custom floor-to-ceiling wooden built-ins. The combination of shelves, racks, cabinets and drawers offers an abundance of storage that would typically be unimaginable in such a small space.

Alternative (But Traditional) Storage Solutions

Running short on drawer space? Baskets are a classic solution to keeping household items organized and they can work just as well in your closet, too. If your closet system doesn't include drawers, then baskets may very well be your new best friends. After adjusting your shelves to the right height, choose baskets that fit in easily, leaving a few inches on top (just in case you decide to readjust your shelves later on). Now you have the perfect containers to store scarves, belts, headbands and other glam accessories. Photo courtesy of California Closets

Give Your Closet the Royal Treatment

Yes, give your closet the royal treatment by combining drawers, shelves, clothing racks, a storage island and a hutch for the ultimate in walk-in closet luxury. Not only will your walk-in look like it came straight from a boutique, but you'll have an unlimited amount of storage space to work with, making the word "clutter" unutterable. In this suite system, the shelves are designed for those on-display items, whereas drawers are perfect for underwear, accessories and any other items ideal for concealment. With clothing racks separated, you can even organize your clothes according to function: casual, work, dressy. Photo courtesy of California Closets

Budget-Friendly Closet Solution

Clear plastic storage containers are great for corralling clutter in your closet while still keeping everything close at hand and easy to find. In this attic-turned-closet, clear storage bins house individual pairs of shoes and seasonal clothing. The bins are easy to stack on the floor and on shelves, making them the best budget-friendly organizational system.

Using Clothing Rods to Free Up Space

If you have a lot of clothes that require life on hangers, devote an entire wall to clothing rods to free up space for surrounding shelves and storage solutions. In this walk-in, a majority of the clothes are neatly hung on the back wall, while folded pants, sweaters and shoes are housed on shelves along the side.

Some retailers have online tools, or concierge services, that can turn your measurements into a layout, which you can the install on your own. Consider a mix of shelves and hanging racks — most modular systems also come with drawers on sliders that make storing things like socks or T-shirts easy.

You can choose from a variety of components, from wood to wire, and a variety of colors — check for bright pink or navy blue in kids' sections at your home store. Or, go for a simple white wire system — it's affordable, simple to install, and with shelves, drawers and hanging rods can transform a useless closet into an organizer's dream.

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