closet remodel

Closet Remodel Tips, Ideas, & Makeover Cost

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up


Creating the perfect closet takes a lot of work. However, a well-designed closet is the foundation of an organized dwelling. In this article, I will explore how to remodel your closet, a few ideas to try out, and the project's overall cost.

How Do I Decide if My Closet Needs a Remodel?

Before remodeling your entire closet, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. Do you always find what you want to wear? If the answer is no, you need a remodel to give you more storage space.

You also need to ask yourself if any clothes you chose to wear come out wrinkled straight out of the closet. This means your closet can't fit all your clothes, and it might be time to reconsider changing it. In the same breath, you might also be wearing mismatched clothes because of bad lighting.

I will go over some tips and ideas for how you can get the custom closet you always wished for.

Closet Remodel Tips

These tips will act as a guideline throughout the project. Remember that if you see everything, you tend to wear everything. Additionally, don't be scared to increase the space of your closet and extend it a little into your bedroom. Here are some helpful tips for your remodel project.

1) Planning Is Key

Planning the project from the beginning to the end will keep you grounded. It will also give any professional you hire a rough idea of the whole project. Your planning should also include a closet organization system. To create a plan, I started by sizing up my space. I also tried to ensure the measurements were as accurate as possible.

Image source:

Make a note of how the closet is shaped. It would help if you also noted any weird angles in the closet or sloped ceilings. Your closet size will likely determine how much remodeling and customization it can tolerate. Since my house is old, it was crucial to look for anything that might pose a problem during remodeling.

Next, it is important to divide the contents of your closet as you empty it. Labeling boxes for shoes, shirts, trousers, and coats makes it easier to unpack. Additionally, since I would be dressing out of my boxes for the term of the remodel, labeling will make it easier.

However, you don't have to go with my dressing out-of-the-box idea. You can always set up a temporary dressing area. Between dealing with dust bunnies and a cramped room, getting dressed out of moving bins was the least of my worries.

2) Choose Your Closet Type

Selecting a closet type to go with is not an easy task. Of course, after doing the planning, you have to go with the best bet for your closet. Built-ins can be an option if the structure already exists. Furthermore, a walk-in could be very lucrative because the different storage solutions will make you want more.

A reach-in closet is smaller compared to a walk-in closet. However, it still has some of the same features as a walk-in closet, such as multiple partitions and sliding doors. My reach-in closet has a width of 5 feet. That much closet storage offers me plenty of leeway for shelving space.

An armoire or wardrobe is versatile since it can be tailored to your requirements. It usually has lots of shelving. You can have the shelving re-arranged any way you please to accommodate your requirements. However, wardrobes can be huge and inconvenient when you don't have much space.

3) DIY vs. Professionals

As I was planning the remodel, I thought I could DIY everything since I'm pretty good with woodwork. However, that would not be the case since I was expanding the reach-in closet, and it would need specialty installs. Keep in mind that the scale of your remodel also informs the type of labor you will require.

Image source:

Towards the end of the project, you will have your dream closet; the labor will be worth it. Remember that adding more shelves and hanging rods will be easier if you want to go with a DIY system. Any other specialty add-ons might be out of the range of your abilities.

Personally, hiring professionals for the main job was my best decision. I got them out of my hair when I had estimated and proceeded with the finishing and small details. Keep in mind; if you plan to do this, it will take you more time, given your busy schedule. After completing the main job, it took me 2 weeks to fully arrange the closet.

4) Choose a Closet System

Remember that selecting a closet system is important because it's tailored to meet your needs. A DIY closet system is the best option if you are on a tight budget. A few simple shelves and other accessories can make all the difference. Additionally, some shelves and drawers can be made to order, which will customize your space.

Image source:

Pre-fab wire closets like the one I have are super versatile and accessible. It is also easier to organize with a pre-fab wire closet. Additionally, they are easy to find at home improvement stores. You can easily make a wire closet with a few tweaks using shelves and a wire rack. Apart from that, you can also purchase an out-of-the-box option.

A semi-closet can be a good choice since you map it out with a closet specialist. Or even a professional at your nearest furniture store. You will also know what accessories and storage solutions to go with. On the other hand, a custom closet is a type you hire an interior designer for. You also get high-end pieces and a custom closet system tailored to your requirements.

5) Closet Doors

Closet doors are a tricky part. Most closets come with sliding doors. However, my contractor cautioned against it. This is because sliding doors interfere with the ability to use the available space. Bifold doors are a good option. However, the best doors are full-size doors in a custom closet installation.

Image source:

A closet door is super expensive, depending on the manufacturing. Some doors have complex manufacturing and hence the price. Before selecting a door type, it is imperative that you select the door that goes with your décor. Keep in mind your closet might not require full-size doors. Therefore, discuss it with your contractor or designer before making a decision.

Closet Remodeling Ideas

Here are some remodeling ideas that I implemented for my closet remodel. Keep in mind that all these were accomplished within a month. Therefore, don't be in a rush to remodel. However, setting timelines is crucial if you don't want the project to drag on for longer than expected. You can try checking out walk-in closet ideas to maximize the storage space below.

a) Adding a Vanity

Adding a vanity greatly improved the aesthetics of my custom closet design. I didn't purchase a new vanity, but I worked with the one I had. I turned it around with a new coat of white paint. I added a wall-mounted mirror, and with a few beautiful jars and a beautiful vase of fresh flowers, I had a beautiful and functional space.

Image source:

The stool goes under the vanity and doesn't take up any valuable space. The vanity makes a statement and provides a well-lit place for me to go through my self-care routine. For example, the vanity provides a place for me to sip my tea as I journal or get ready for work. In addition, it provides a dedicated space to make my motions easier.

Image source:

The best part of having a vanity is that it's very versatile, and you can use it for several things. For example, a friend recently converted her vanity table from a makeup station to a beautiful reading nook with study lights. The drawers make excellent storage for books. There is no single use for a vanity table.

b) Use an Unexpected Paint Color

Of course, white is always my go-to paint color because who doesn't love white? However, this time I decided not to go with white. Instead, I picked a beautiful pink paint color without picking a sample first. It was worth the risk since the pink turned out very chic. You can try other non-conventional colors to give your closet an edge. You can also try other colors that go with pink and how to combine them correctly.

Image source:

Additionally, my bedroom complements the pink since its very symmetrical. Therefore, I felt I had enough leeway to go crazy with the walk-in paint colors. I aimed to create a unique closet space with non-traditional colors. The pink color is very eye-catching since it's a warm color.

Image source:

It is important to note that from the beginning, I had it in mind that my closet would have to be a non-traditional color. Therefore, I was mentally prepared for the outcome when I chose the color. Therefore, picking samples and comparing them before painting the walls is a good idea.

c) Add Carpeting

Carpeting was a given for my closet floors because carpeting can bring a look together and make a space cozy. If you don't want to carpet and are looking for an edgy nook, then you should try rugs all over the closet. I went with carpeting because it minimizes noise and is generally comfortable.

Image source:

The floor can get very cold if you live in a cold place, even with central heating. Therefore you should install carpeting in areas you frequent. I didn't want to wake up and walk into my closet on a cold floor. It can be very uncomfortable, and not to mention I could catch a cold.

Image source:

I should mention that your carpet doesn't have to be something you spend too long selecting. Since my walls are non-traditional, my carpeting is a simple but modern, neutral color and design. This ensures the whole look is cohesive and nothing is an eye sore. If I change my closet color, I won't change the carpet.

d) Save Space with Storage Solutions

Storage solutions are why a closet renovation was the first renovation in my house. First, it was time for a custom closet installation with my ever-growing collection of clothes, shoes, purses, and jewelry. Then, I increased my hanging space by installing hooks and rods.

Image source:

They helped to put away the work attire that I wear every day. The hanging space has enabled easier access when searching for clothes to wear. The adjustable shelves have helped with displaying my large collection of purses. Additionally, the slide-out racks currently house all my jewelry. This has been the best idea for a previously small reach-in closet.

Image source:

On the other side of the closet, I had shelves without dividers to easily display my footwear. They are shoe storage ideas for organizing your space. The shoe shelves give lots of aeration to my shoes and make it easier to organize them. However, the best feature, in my opinion, was the pull-out hampers. The hampers elevate the space and prevent clutter.

e) Lighting

When it comes to lighting, it's one of the closet components I tend to go overboard with. Lights placed in the right places can open up the space. Mostly, there is nothing wrong with going a little overboard since not all lights have to be on simultaneously. However, going overboard can make smaller closets look overdone.

Image source:

I placed twin lighting fixtures near my vanity table, and the rest were placed near the shelves. The ambient lighting is strong enough to cover everything. However, the task lighting emphasizes each nook in my closet.

Image source:

I realized that the secret to task lighting is not to take up too much vertical space. Therefore, a few sconces and fixtures and your task lighting should be functional. Knowing how to balance out these light fixtures is key.

f) Staying Organized

Sometimes keeping a space clutter-free is harder than it sounds. Therefore, it is important to stay organized to avoid making a mess. For example, I use my closet as a dressing room, so I tend to leave clothes strewn on the floor when I'm running late. However, after installing the laundry bins, it has been much simpler.

Image source:

Additionally, I purchased baskets for other accessories that I hardly use. They hold heavy winter coats, sheets, blankets, and camping gear. Giving everything space to occupy has greatly reduced the clutter. If everything can stay in its place, then there is no leaving messes behind. Likewise, if you install all these accessories and add-ons, there will be no reason to make a mess.

Image source:

Closet Remodel Cost

Depending on your specific requirements, the price will vary. No two bedroom closet remodels are priced the same. Before you decide on a custom closet, remember a closet remodel is a lot of work. Here are some factors I had to go through to have a rough idea of the total cost. In total, I spent $6000.

i) Closet Size

As I have previously mentioned, I wanted to expand my reach-in closet into a walk-in closet. However, the closet remodels cost more since there was construction to be done to expand the closet. I discovered that the larger you want your closet remodeled, the higher the remodeling cost. This is because these closets are considered custom closets.

I went with a standard 7 by 10 closet remodel. I didn't want the closet to be too large such that it encroached on the bedroom. However, you can get a larger bedroom closet if you have the space. You can also use a spare room and convert it into a closet. Converting a spare room will be cheaper. Extending a reach-in closet might be the next best thing if you don't have a spare room to convert.

ii) Accessories, Inserts, and Cabinetry

Of course, the whole point of my closet makeover is more storage for my clothes and shoes. This means installing shelves, cubbies, drawers, and other closet ideas for storage spaces. Remember that mine were custom-made because I dismantled the reach-in closet walls. The rod and shelf configurations also hiked the closet remodel cost.

Image source:

The stock and custom cabinetry were all locally sourced, but they still added to the cost since they were made specifically for my closet. You might be better off purchasing ready-made shelves and accessories if you have a small space. This will save you money to put into the small closets in your kid's rooms.

iii) Professional Services

I had to hire a contracting company to retrofit the walk-in closet since it required some specialty work. Additionally, I also hired a designer. Of course, you can always go that route if you are more comfortable with DIY. However, hiring professionals might be in your best interest if areas require construction.

Image source:

The team did a great job. Since I was dressing out of boxes for a month, I wanted the project to be over as soon as possible. Thankfully the team understood and delivered the most professional work in the least amount of time. Get quotations from different companies to ensure you have the best price and service.

iv) Change Requests

Since this was my first closet remodel, I had a few change requests mid-project. They weren't major changes, but they still added to the cost. Keep in mind that if your changes are major, they will be more expensive. For example, I initially wanted the set of pull-out hampers to be further into the closet near the back wall.

Image source:

However, I changed my mind and had them installed near the entrance so I could easily toss clothes in them without walking to the back of the closet. The pull-out drawers that were supposed to be near the entrance now replaced the space left by the hampers. Unfortunately, it set the project back by a day and cost more.

v) Permits

I required permits for this closet remodel, and the inspector had to come over and give us the go-ahead. I was taking a wall down. Therefore it was necessary to get the necessary permits. Each permit costs between $500-$750 and takes a few days to reach you. The number of permits you need is determined by the work you want to accomplish.

Image source:

I didn't have to go through with the actual application for the permits because the contracting company did it for me. Therefore, before doing any construction, select a company that knows the ropes and can easily help you with the permits.

vi) Are You Building from Scratch?

There are different prices for building a closet where there wasn't one before and converting a closet from one type to another. Building a closet where there wasn't one before would cost you more, depending on if you need to make structural changes to your house. Additionally, you would need more permits.

Image source:

It will be cheaper if you are remodeling your closet that's always been there. Additionally, you might not need to take anything apart depending on the scope of the remodel you want.

The Bottom Line

A walk-in closet could be the highlight of your day, every day. The best thing I did was seek advice and hire professionals. Additionally, taking lots of before and after pictures put everything into perspective and justified the budget. This remodel was the best choice because I have more storage and everything has a spot.

Featured Image Source:

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles
Foggy Window Repair Options

Foggy Window Repair Options: The Benefits

Having clear, unobstructed windows is essential for any home. They not only allow natural light to fill your living spaces ...

Modern Home Addition Ideas

10 Modern Home Addition Ideas To Revamp Your House

Now we’re right into that time span where the rents are jumping so much that it is imperative to handle ...

Installing a New Front Door

4 Easy Steps for Installing a New Front Door in Your House

Your home must have a front door. If you have been living in the same home for many years, your ...