Types of Closets

A variety of closets keep your messy secrets, your self-indulgent shoe collection, and your essential stuff hidden from public view.

A home without closets is like a handbag without compartments -- all the mess gets jumbled in the middle. Closets are the ultimate organizers; they dictate where you put various categories of stuff, and how much of that stuff you get to acquire. They help you find clothes, gear, tools and supplies in a hurry. The best ones have doors to afford you the luxury of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. The two main types of closets are reach-ins and walk-ins, each of which has many iterations.


Reach-in closets come in several flavors, but they are always fairly shallow, ranging from just enough room to hang your clothes to deep enough to stash off-season gear behind the hanging bar. This is the most common closet style and can be found throughout a home -- a bedroom without one of these will lower the value of your house. Reach-ins may be very narrow or very wide -- almost wall-length. The narrow closets typically have hinged doors or boho pull-aside curtains. Wider closets often have sliding doors or bi-fold doors, and some have enough room inside for a shallow dresser, small shelves or a home office.


A walk-in closet is a room with a view -- of your clothes, accessories and shoes. Walk-in closets are usually connected to a master suite, but capacious homes may have more than one closet-room. The closet often has a hinged door and independent lighting. It may feature a window or a vent for good air circulation. Shelves and hanging bars along the walls leave the center of the space clear for a try-on area with a mirror, a small bench or chair, or a carpet. Built-ins make a walk-in closet luxurious -- bespoke shelves for shoes and handbags, drawers for folded garments and lingerie, hooks for belts and other accessories, cedar linings for moth-proofing -- your walk-in is your personal boutique.


The linen closet is a reach-in that corrals spare sheets, towels, bedding, bathroom supplies, extra blankets and pillows for guests, and anything else you can cram in, um, arrange neatly on the shelves. Linen closets are usually fairly narrow, tucked into a hallway between the main bath and the bedrooms, or even squeezed into the corner of a large, old-fashioned bathroom. They provide simple storage, accessible to everyone, located near where the stored items are used. In contemporary homes, a linen closet may be wide enough to house a stacked washer and dryer -- in that case, it will probably have bi-fold doors for easy access.

Hall or Entry

The hall closet, usually a reach-in, holds the jackets, winter coats, hats, sports gear, shoes and boots, and guest's coats, all the things that get shed, and grabbed, at the front door. If it's deep enough -- some qualify as small walk-in closets -- a hall closet is an excellent place to store off-season clothes, luggage, and even a broom or snow shovel for the front walk. An umbrella stand goes inside or just outside the hall closet. Remember to keep the space well organized with enough empty hangers for visitors' things.

Pantry or Kitchen

Lucky you if you have a kitchen closet to become a pantry for your culinary gear, cans and jars. In an older home, a kitchen closet is a reach-in with a hinged door -- you can replace it with a pair of shutters, a curtain or no door at all. Keep the cuisine-based clutter to a minimum by storing food staples, extra serving dishes and bakeware, dishtowels, a mop or broom, and immediate cleaning and packaging supplies, like dishwashing liquid, aluminum foil, and clear wrap. Maximize the use of a roomy closet, by tucking a recycling center or a closed garbage pail into your mini-pantry.

Utility Closets

A utility closet is a reach-in worth a king's ransom for all kinds of storage. What goes in may not be pretty enough to see the light of day, but a lot of it helps keep your household running, and in good repair. Utility closets pop up anywhere except bedrooms -- most often in hallways, mudrooms, or near the entrance to the kitchen, garage or basement. Good uses of the storage include homes for the vacuum, mops and brooms, cleaning supplies, a quick-repair toolbox, craft supplies, and labelled boxes of seasonal decor.

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