Closet Design: What you need to know about custom closet systems

Your new home has an amazingly huge closet, but a startling lack of places to hang stuff. Sure, you could skip the closet design and just pile all your extra clothing, shoes and accessories in the corner. Or move your antique dressers into the empty space. But there’s probably a better solution. Why not try a custom closet system?

Closet Design: Getting Started With a Custom Closet Organizer

If you cruise the aisles of your favorite home improvement store, you’ll eventually come to the DIY custom closet systems. Here, you’ll find a wide range of products, from basic wire shelving to wire and metal kits and laminated wood kits. The choices are sometimes overwhelming, to be quite honest.

Do you need a double rod system? Should you get one of those fancy cubby hole pieces for your shoes? Where will your winter boots go in the closet? Shouldn’t there be a person here to help with the closet design?! Abort! Abort!! You have too many questions to do any buying today.

Now that you sort of know what’s available, take a step back and do some real planning. First, the budget. Can you afford a custom closet organizer? According to, even the cheapest walk-in closet system runs $200 to $500 when you do your own install. If you’ve hung long shelves before, this won’t necessarily be too much of a stretch of your skill set.

A good closet design will help you and your family keep all of your clothing, shoes, and other items neatly organized. (Photo by Victoria Borodinova from Pexels)

Considerations Before You Buy Your Custom Closet Systems

You know what you like, and really, you probably know what you need, even if you’re doubting yourself right now. Closet design starts with a basic sketch of your closet, preferably on graph paper or something similar on your phone. You need to know exact dimensions.

Now, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much upper rod space do I really need?
  • Do I need lower rods for jackets, shirts, and the like?
  • How many shoes do I own?
  • Would it be handy to have closet drawers?
  • Is my closet big enough that an island makes sense as a way to create more usable space?
  • Where will I put my hamper(s)?
  • Is this a shared space? If so, how will it be divided?

Once you’ve figured all of that out, you can sketch your closet out. This is just for the storage system; for this blog we’re going to ignore any lighting or electrical issues that could be applicable. Remember that if the space you have is 2 foot 3 inches wide, a cabinet that’s 2 foot 5 inches wide won’t fit. You can’t just smash these things and there’s no room to shave a little bit off. They either fit or they don’t — plan carefully.

What’s the Right Height for My Closet Rods?

Remodelers the world over have asked this question again and again. Technically, you can hang those rods anywhere you please. That goes double for an odd-shaped closet like those that often go with upstairs bedrooms or converted attics. However, according to the Family Handyman, this is where you should place rods for best results:

With a custom closet organizer, you can hang the types and lengths of rods that you need. (Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels)

Double hung rods.

The bottom should be at waist height, about 42 inches above the floor. The upper should be around 84 inches, so that each level has the same amount of vertical hanging space for shirts, jackets and other shorter items.

Long hang rods.

For your dusters, your long dresses, your overalls — anything that’s long enough that it’s going to reach close to the floor when you’re wearing it goes on this rod. Because of the length of the items on it, it should be set about 70 inches off the floor.

Medium hang rods.

Items that are roughly knee-length may fit better in your closet on their own rod. Hang them 60 inches off the floor and free up space on your long hang rod.

Pants rods.

Do you wear pants? If so, you may need some of these rods in your closet. Set them at 54 inches off the floor.

Also, when installing these custom closet systems on your own, remember that closet rods need support at least every three feet. Otherwise you risk bowing or collapse. However, adding one every two feet creates a much more secure setup if you have a lot of clothing.

Not Ready to DIY Your Closet?

No worries. We have connections with a number of closet professionals in the Tampa Bay area. We would love to connect you with one of our favorite partners who can help you with your closet design as well as the installation of your custom closet systems.