Closet projects can make some people nervous. Maybe they haven’t done many or aren’t sure of best practices or questions to ask in order to end up with a great design and a happy client.

And this sense is magnified if the closet project is a large one where the client may want to turn a room into a closet. Large closet spaces can quickly become as complicated as a custom kitchen.

So whether your company manufactures closet components or cabinets or both, here’s two helpful things.
I’m teaching a “LIVE” session about designing high end closets. My live sessions are always fun, plus you get a chance to ask questions.  Here’s how to connect with that:

Second, if you want to start learning right now, here are the top design issues to think through as you approach this kind of project:

1st - discuss specifically what the client needs to store in this space and what else she would like to accomplish with it. Some people want desk space for administrative tasks. Others dream of coffee bars and wine refrigerators. Many want vanity space where they can put on make-up and accessorize themselves. And get specific style and aesthetic preferences, as they are keys to success.

2nd - after taking your measurements and recording all of the obstacles, windows, outlets and clearances for any existing reach-in closet doors, do a “rough math”, space planning layout. In this kind of closet, it’s less about SOP’s (standard operating procedures) and more about the aesthetic and the flow and function, matched with the parameters of the room.

3rd - be prepared to take this design to the top, both literally and figuratively. A request like this is for more than just placing a system of panels for double hang, long hang and shelving. It’s also beyond just adding an island and thinking that equals a “dream closet”. Particularly for this client. So you need to know what their style is because the aesthetics are as important as the function. Plan to incorporate crown molding, base molding and other embellishments (like corbels and pilasters and table legs) to give this room a real furniture feeling. If you need suggestions on if certain things “go” together, Osborne Wood Products can help - Another personal favorite for contemporary accents is Doug Mockett and Company -

4th - consider lighting and mirrors. In this situation, a three-way should be pretty easy (I’m talking about a 3-way mirror here people).If not, a large, full length mirror as a door is a great solution. Just be sure there’s enough space to step back and get a full view.

And when it comes to lighting, some responsibility will be on your design shoulders and some will not. If a vanity is called for, you need to provide good sources of lighting so the client can see what she looks like. Excellent, helpful sources for getting any specific questions answered are Hafele ( and Rev-A-Shelf (
Their people will look at your design and make suggestions on lighting solutions.

If the client is asking you about fixture recommendations on the overhead lighting/chandelier, I would stear clear of this request. I’m not a lighting expert. I don’t want to take on the responsibility of suggesting or endorsing a beautiful fixture that doesn’t provide the desired lighting effect after being installed. I love lighting enough not to pretend I know more about it than I actually do.

5th - Plan on custom sizes. Custom finishes. Custom almost everything. The biggest “hurdles” you need to overcome are the traditional thinking and training you have about efficiency in closet design. While you will still apply principles like appropriate shelf depths and accessibility, the other “rules” about 24” wide and 16” deep will serve the price element. However, they don’t serve the “I have a dream” element.

The challenge with the “I have a dream” element is that you go from having a select menu of options to unlimited options. Selling and designing from this space (literally and figuratively) is VERY different. So, when faced with unlimited choices, my tip here is to:

6th - embrace the expert in you. This is where your design rubber will meet the road. Now is the time to let your design light shine. Take all the things you’ve seen and thought were beautiful, or things that inspired you from either a form or function perspective, and run your design plan filter through those. This will allow you to likely come up with terrific design solutions that aren’t run of the mill. And that’s what leads to success in projects like these.

And if you’d like more tips about great closet design - you can access them here:

And if you’re interested in a live presentation on this topic - you can register here:


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