20 Small Yet Super Functional Closets

Don’t let valuable storage space go to waste — with proper planning, even the tiniest closet can hold tons of stuff and still stay tidy. Kick-start your imagination for organizing a small closet with these ideas.

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February 19, 2016
By: Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

Photo By: Tailored Living

Photo By: Elizabeth Joan Designs

Photo By: Elizabeth Joan Designs

Photo By: Darla DeMorrow, HeartWork Organizing

Photo By: Four Brothers LLC

Photo By: Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath

Photo By: Tailored Living

Photo By: Michael Moran

Photo By: Four Generations Under One Roof

Photo By: Four Generations Under One Roof

Photo By: Elizabeth Joan Designs

Photo By: Lisa Janvrin, YouthfulNest

Photo By: Darla DeMorrow, HeartWork Organizing

Photo By: Darla DeMorrow, HeartWork Organizing

Photo By: Darla DeMorrow, HeartWork Organizing

Photo By: Pottery Barn Teen

Photo By: Tailored Living

Photo By: Organized Living

Photo By: Old World Kitchens & Custom Cabinets

Photo By: Kenarry Ideas for the Home

Swept Away

Stash away unsightly cleaning tools in a tiny broom closet. Designed by Northern Virginia-based Tailored Living, this closet is located just off the staircase and near high-traffic family room and kitchen area. Hooks staggered along the wall make the most of the petite space and keep supplies handy.

Kiddie Coat Check

Get your kids in the habit of putting things away with their own coat closet. Elizabeth Joan Designs created a coat closet to store children’s outerwear, backpacks and shoes.

Comings and Goings

Convert an entry coat closet into a cozy area for storing outerwear, keys, scarves and all other items you take off or put on depending on whether you’re coming or going. The built-in seating provides a comfortable space to put on or take off shoes, which can be stored underneath.

Boot Buggy

Keep the bottom of a hall or coat closet organized with a rolling boot tray. Wheel out wintry footwear only when needed with this boot caddy made from the base of a drawer.

Incognito Mudroom

This Washington, D.C.-area homeowner wanted the convenience of a mudroom near her kitchen. However, she also wanted its contents concealed. Four Brothers, a carpentry company, granted her wish with two side-by-side small closets to house traditional mudroom supplies that blends seamlessly with the kitchen cabinetry.

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Create the illusion of more space by blending a small pantry door with surrounding walls. Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath replaced a traditional six-panel door with a flat door and painted it the same color as the wall. By adding baseboard and shoe molding to the door and installing a touch latch similar to those used airplane cockpit doors, the pantry disappears into the wall. 

Hide-a-Way Pantry

Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as too much storage. Grab unused space anywhere you can, such as under the stairs. Make it a catch-all closet to hold extra food, cleaning supplies and small appliances.

Hide the Hooch

James Wagman Architect created an elegant and fully stocked bar in this tiny closet in the entryway of an apartment. Pocket doors disappear to reveal the ultimate impromptu party.

Tiny Transformation

A tiny bathroom linen closet is transformed into a more functional space for cleaning supplies. The closet had become a junky catchall space. Jessica Bruno, a DIY blogger for Four Generations One Roof, attached affordable wire pull-out trays to the shelves. She then stocked the closet with laundry and bathroom supplies. 

Easy Access

Pull-out bins make the most of the narrow closet's depth, putting items stored at the very back within reach.

Satellite Office

Even the tiniest closet can provide ample storage space for a home office. This hall closet is equipped with a desk and storage bins. The always-functional shoe holder provides pockets for everything a working girl needs when conducting business from home.

Nursery Nook

Create more space in the baby’s room by tucking all your nursery needs in the closet. Lisa Janvrin, owner of YouthfulNest, designed this adorable space that includes changing table and drawers for baby supplies. The clothing rack above the changing table is all you need for a wee little wardrobe.

Pop-Up Storage

Darla DeMorrow, organizer extraordinaire, used pop-up hampers to keep childhood clutter in order. It’s an inexpensive and light-weight solution for corralling wayward shoes, stuffed animals and toys.

Good Will

Stop sifting through clothing that no longer fits. DeMorrow suggests keeping a box labeled “too small” for items your child has outgrown. When you have time, donate or pass down.

A Desk for Guests

Even house guests travel with smartphones, laptops and tablets, so give them a space to work. DeMorrow converted a closet in a spare bedroom into an office and study station. She also used hidden space on the side of the closet by breaking through a wall and creating display shelving.

Just Hanging Out

Afraid to invest in built-in systems for the trend-chasing teens? Try removable modular systems such as these hanging options from Pottery Barn Teen. Available in different colors and styles, these can be rearranged as easily as hanging cloths.

Tidy Toddler

Keep a child’s things nice and neat in this built-in closet created by Tailored Living. Drawers, shelves, an accessible hamper and a clothing rod eliminate the need for bulky furniture in the room. A decluttered bedroom makes for pleasant dreams. 

Custom Look, Low Price

To get a high-end customized look on a low-end budget, use systems like Cincinnati-based Organized Living’s “Freedom Railway.” These easy-to-install systems, available from organization-focused retailers, are perfect for the not-so-handy man. Shown here in cypress, the rail system includes adjustable drawers and shelving.

Luxury Laundry

When space is tight and the laundry room is located in the heart of the home, use upgraded cabinetry that blends in with living spaces. Vancouver-based Old World Kitchens & Custom Cabinets created this luxurious laundry room with teak cabinetry.

Closet Castle

Nurture a child’s creativity with an enchanted castle playhouse. Kenarry Ideas for the Home designed this castle playroom in a small basement closet beneath the stairs. It’s the perfect playhouse that opens the door to a child’s imagination. Meanwhile, parents can shut the door to a playroom mess.

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