Tips to understanding basic closet design standards
April 22, 2016 | 8:26 am CDT

As a specialized niche’ with the bigger design/build pie, closet design has its own special merits.

Most professionals can quickly understand that when designing and installing simple closet systems, you don’t build boxes, you share panels.

And the industry standard is that you don’t put backing in a closet system.

You also understand that the standard toe kick is 2-1/2” (264 millimeters), the standard system height is 84” and shelves are designed for above hanging, not below.

But do you know why these “standards” are practiced by closet companies nation wide?

Most came about because of efficiencies in manufacturing. Installed closet systems were driven by efficient manufacturing and installation considerations. And that’s from the early 70’s when California Closets took us beyond a standard rod and shelf and into double hang, long hang, drawers and shelving.

And many of those principles are still valid and practiced on a daily basis.

However, today’s consumer is much more sophisticated and is big, big, big (did I mention big?) on “using every inch of space.” I can’t remember the last consultation I was on where the customer didn’t mention that.

So being able to explain the logic and practicality behind the industry standard practices is a valuable key to a successful sale.

Explaining to a 5’ 1” client that the reason we use a 2 ½” toe kick is to allow her to reach the top rod of the double hang builds confidence that you’re the expert.

And explaining the differences in costs and functionality between “boxes” (cabinets) and “parts” (closet systems) is another great confidence builder that leads you closer to closing the sale.

This is just a snippet of the insights and concrete info that I share in the course “Closet Design 101."

And while you’ve been able to go through this course at your own pace “on demand” I’ve decided to teach the “live” version in May.

This is the best opportunity out there to not only get training on how to design and sell closets, but ask me questions and benefit from the group dynamic. I promise you an awesome experience that will hold value for the life of your closet career.

If this sounds interesting to you, please reach out to me and ask any questions you might have. The basic details are here:

However, I love getting to know the people I work with and train, so I’m happy to clarify things for you. I’m also happy to offer you a $100 discount off the price. You can also reach me via email at:


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About the author
Denise Butchko

Denise Butchko is a design and marketing expert who teaches these concepts with the intention of helping people grow their businesses (particularly those in the design/build industries). She’s been a contributor to Closets magazine since 2003 and is a judge for the closet industries “Top Shelf” Design Competition. She's also a member of the first graduating class of Registered Storage Designers. Her design work has been featured in national publications like “Better Homes & Gardens” and The Chicago Tribune and she works with some of the top interior design firms in the country. She’s helped cabinet companies launch closet product lines and trained sales professionals in both design and marketing, including ways to leverage social media and design to increase opportunities and brand themselves as the “go to expert”. If you want to have fun while you learn and bring your “A” game to your business, Denise is the one to partner with to make that happen. You can find her at or at the above links.