The photos in this post are all from our Wood-Mode cabinet line at Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly.

20 tips for designing the best custom closet.

Customized storage is the best way to maximize available space and organize your clothing closet. Your closet design should be specific to your own personal needs and requirements. For example, I would rather keep my shoes in pull-out interior drawers, which keeps them dust free and saves me from having to fumble through shoeboxes. My preference is to open the drawer and see everything at quick glance, but some of our Long Island clients prefer that we create open shoe racks and eliminate the extra step of opening a drawer or door. It’s a matter of personal preference, and the ultimate closet design is the one that fits your style  best.

There are so many wonderful ideas and options for specialized storage components that you can add to your closet. Here are some essentials to make a wardrobe closet fully functional. Granted, you’ll need to pick and choose as your space and budget allows, but if you have room, consider them all!

1. Pull Out Interior Shoe Drawers (Shoes not included…and yes I’ve been known to borrow friends glamorous shoes for photoshoots! Thanks “B”)


2. Canvas Lined Matching Baskets. Matching baskets along a shelf can minimize the clutter. Here are some nice Baskets from Amazon (our affiliate).


3. Vertical Shelf Dividers. This is so simple and clever and keeps the stacks from running into each other.


4. Pull Out Platform Storage. Yes, you can really do the shoe shine thing on there. That’s why you bought a Wood-Mode finish!

5. Vallet Bar to hang outfits being considered for the next day.  I actually need to add this piece. It is much better than slipping hangars around the cabinet hardware.  —Did I just admit that is what I’m doing now?


6. A Built-in Hamper or a Fabulous Laundry Basket. This Wood-Mode built-in hamper cabinet features a pull-out scarf rack. Hafele also makes an interesting pull-out scarf rack. The African laundry basket shown is from Swahali Imports. More designs here.


7. Wood or Acrylic Drawer Divider Partitions with Acrylic Removable Jewelry Trays.  This is the ultimate luxury for keeping organized! Some clients opt for fixed wood partitions, but the  pre-notched slats and acrylic dividers will allow you the flexibility to change your custom configurations based on the size of the items you need to store.


8. Slacks Racks (either open or hidden behind cabinetry). 


9. Wardrobe Lift. The wardrobe lift features an adjustable rod that assists you in taking down garments that are stored high in your closet. We used the wardrobe lift from Hafele in our master closet. There is a perpendicular bar in the center of the rod that allows you to easily pull the rod to its lower position.


10. Wardrobe Tower. This is a very good use of space and can be configured for scarves, ties, shoes, belts and other accessories.


11. Roll Out Drawers. Roll outs are a luxury in the kitchen AND in the closet.

12. Belt Hooks. Inexpensive belt hook can be easily mounted to the back or sides of your cabinetry, or you can opt for the fancier pull-out versions similar to the scarf pull shown in the photo above.

13. A Mirror. A full length mirror is essential, and a double or three-way model is ideal.

14. A Steamer. I can’t live without my Jiffy steamer. It is fast, easy, and cuts down tremendously on ironing.

15. Matching Hangers and Skirt Hangers with Clips. The closet looks amazing when all the hangars match. Removing all dry cleaning bags and hangers keeps it neat.

16. A Chair or Bench to sit on. The window seat in the photo below is lovely, and the natural light from the window couldn’t be more perfect.

17. Great Lighting. When we design closets, we like to use plenty of lighting both in and out of the closets and on the shelves.

18. A Small Table or Island.  If space allows, an island table provides an area to lay out options being considered.

19. A small attractive trash basket. You may or may not need this in your closet, but I find it handy and keep a small stainless trash can behind a closet door. The decoupage wood wastebaskets from Layla Grace (one of our affiliates) are beautiful if you want something more decorative.

20. A Note Pad and Paper. Keep one handy to make notes of clothing needs or genius epiphanies that come to you while you’re getting dressed.

Other closet organizing tips: To keep your closet organized and easy to maintain, categorize and separate like items to be stored together: shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, and suits. Using all the same hangars really keeps the closet looking uniform. Another idea is this simple accessory for men’s ties: a mounted tie organizershown below.



It is not hard to maintain a closet when everything has a proper place. This same concept works for any custom closet we design for you in different areas of your home, especially the mudroom.

Are you ready to get organized? See our pantry closet essentials on our designers picks page!


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