Unless you've inherited a closet from previous buyers or a landlord who completely overhauled the standard design, chances are your setup includes a single rod and not much else. And while that works for hanging rows of jackets and dresses, you'd be remiss not to look into additional organization and storage options. Perfect for folded items, shoes, and accessories, closet shelving is quickly becoming one of our favorite wardrobe features, not to mention a go-to for designers and professional organizers alike.
"I like closet shelving because you can see everything at first glance, and it's an opportunity to create cute vignettes and inject your personality," Lisa Adams, the CEO of L.A. Closet Design, shares with us. "Corner shelving is a great way to use the spaces that can be awkward and unused properly."
Meet the Expert
Ahead are 15 closet shelving ideas that will inspire ways to get the most out of your wardrobe.
Play With Proportions
When it comes to shoes, shelving is not a one-size fits all situation. Whether you're working with a contractor or are customizing pre-made closet organizers, consider the height of the shoes you plan to store. Create more narrow shelving for flats, taller compartments for boots, and accommodate for heels in between.
Don't Let Corners Go to Waste
While rods work to create storage on a single wall, corners can be tricky. Since hangers don't fit in tight spaces, corner shelving is the perfect solution for walk-in closets. Perfect for utilizing dead space, wraparound shelves work wonders for storing more shoes, accessories, and folded items.
Mind the Lighting
Dark closets (and specifically cramped, dark closets) can make it difficult to find items when you need them. You'd be surprised how much the right amount of light can make it easier to organize and keep your space organized. If you're an owner looking to upgrade, consider investing in hard-wired lighting. Renters, consider DIY battery-powered lighting kits.
Hack Your Way to More Space
When you're strapped for space, every inch matters. Instead of placing the soles side by side, alternate the placement to include one facing forward, and the next facing back. This allows the arches to interlock and utilize otherwise unused space.
Use Shelves For Sweaters
Hangers can damage sweaters, so it's best to store them folded. Stacking folded sweaters on shelves is best for knit longevity, and it makes them much easier to access than piled in a drawer.
Display Your Handbags
Shelves are a great way to organize your accessories and an even better way to show off your prized purses. Merchandise them like a boutique setting and you'll feel like you're shopping your closet every time you get ready.
Make Them Accessible
Deeper shelves positioned high overhead can make it difficult to reach items at the back. A foolproof solution for making those further-back items more accessible is to create slide-out cabinets. They're like drawers, but without the enclosure. Just pull them out when you need to access those seasonal items that get pushed further to the back.
Stack Your Jeans
Jeans are bulky and draping them over hangers can eat up valuable hanging space. Instead, fold them and stack them neatly on open shelving.
The best part? They're all within view, so picking your favorites is always easy.
Make Shelving Work For You
Organizing can often feel like a game of Tetris, and all we can suggest is you roll with it. If you're working on a new setup, consider the items you'd like to keep front and center and build around them. We love how this closet utilizes straight shelves on the left for shoes and squared-off cubby-style shelves on the right for handbags.
Add Your Personal Touches
Just as your clothing is an expression of your personal style, your closet is an expression of your wardrobe as a whole. Incorporate personal touches, like collectibles, worldly souvenirs and even a fun wallpaper. Getting dressed every morning will be much more fun when you love the look and feel of your closet.
Bring In Additional Storage Solutions
Smaller items may require additional solutions to keep them organized and within arm's reach. We love how this space displays necklaces on velvet jewelry holders.
File Your Clutches
Evening clutches are special pieces, and they should be treated as such. Store them standing up, facing the same way—almost like your own fashion-forward filing system—to keep them organized and avoid damaging them.
Investing in clear dividers will keep everything tidy and in place.
Create a Good Mix of Storage Types
Just like you can't store everything you have on a rod, you can't rely on solely shelving to create a functional closet. A good mix of shelves, rods, and drawers will ensure everything has its place. When everything has its place, it's easier to stay organized in the long run.
Make It Look Expensive
Your closet is an extension of your home décor—invest in pieces that make it feel as such. French glass doors add a ton of style and make your space look expensive. And the best part is you can even find them at IKEA, ensuring you won't spend a fortune on a closet that looks like a million bucks.
Keep Lesser-Used Items Further Out of Reach
Part of the battle of designing a beautiful closet is placing things in a functional way that's easy to navigate. Place items that you use every day within your eye line and lower down below. Seasonal items, special-occasion pieces, and accessories you rarely use are best stored on shelves overhead.
If you decide to dip into overhead space for additional storage, be sure to keep a step stool within reach to make retrieving and replacing items easy.