How to Remodel a Closet: A Beginner's Guide to Creating the Perfect Closet

No matter who (or where) you are, how much inspiration you’ve got, or how handy you may be, creating the perfect closet takes a lot of work and a lot of patience. It can be difficult to keep it all organized in your head or on paper, and it’s all too easy to get stuck on one step and lose sight of where you’re hoping to ultimately end up. Even figuring out something as seemingly simple as where to begin may be more daunting than you’d expect.

That’s where guides like this come in. If you have questions about closet products or manufacturers, are looking for inspiration, or maybe just need some trusted advice for how to remodel a closet simply and efficiently, keep reading. This beginner’s guide for creating your perfect closet will give you an in-depth look at the remodeling process and expert guidance for planning, designing, and installing your ideal closet.

Note: Frequently asked questions will accompany each section in boxes just like this one to address any queries that might pop up along your remodeling journey.

Preparing to Remodel Your Closet

Sometimes the best tips are obvious ones. Other times, we need assistance with getting started when it comes to a long remodel process. Expert tips can guide us through to the perfect closet installation—one that is incredibly organized and decluttered.

Cleaning the closet area and painting the walls is part of the refreshing of the space, and adding value to the future of your closet so it becomes your dream custom closet. Here are some expert tips on how to prepare for your perfect closet.

Declutter and Organize Your Closet

Just like an artist needs a blank canvas to start a new painting, you’re going to need a clean closet before you can start remodeling. Decluttering requires removing everything you’ve been storing in your closet and sorting through it.

First, decide what you want to keep—ideally, items you enjoy and that you’ve worn or used within the last year (at the very least), and any sentimental items too precious to part with—and what you no longer need.

For items you’re keeping:

  • Place hanging items in another closet or in a flat pile grouped on plastic canvas to protect your clothing.
  • Organize folded shirts in smaller piles according to color or size, removing them for the time being, and taking into account how much shelving space you may need for them in the future.
  • Organize accessories and other odds and ends according to type in boxes or bins so you can easily find and access them later.
  • Size up everything that will be going back into the closet to determine how much room you will need to store it all after your remodel. If you have a particularly small space, it helps to incorporate sliding shelves and slide-out racks to minimize clutter.

For items you no longer need:

  • Before tossing everything you don’t want into the garbage can, see what you can donate. Organizations like Goodwill or your local thrift stores will take most lightly-used items—even that outdated neon yellow jacket you loved in the 90s but eventually relegated to the closet corner of shame, never to be seen again.
  • Similarly, friends or family might be interested in taking a few items off your hands. You can even make a party of it by hosting a clothing or jewelry shop, or simply inviting some people over to hang out and take home whatever catches their fancy.
  • Even items that are no longer usable might still not need to go in the trash pile. Whether it’s a shirt with a hole in it or a pair of shoes without soles, it’s possible that you might be able to recycle it—check to see if there are any centers near you that will take those items before you toss them.

What remodeling options will help me keep my clothes off the closet floor for good?

Adding a built-in laundry hamper gives you a great place to toss your dirty laundry, and choosing one with removable liners simplifies things greatly when it’s time to gather laundry for the wash. Similarly, adding extra hanging rods or even a wardrobe lift can help you maximize your closet space and give your clothes enough space to store them comfortably, without the risk of them being accidentally pulled off their hangers or falling to the floor due to a cluttered, cramped closet space.

Clean and Paint Your Closet

Once you’re closet is clear of clutter, it’s time to clean and paint. This is one of those steps you’ve probably been dreading—but just remember, in the end, it will all be worth it. We promise.

First, clean your closet space. Clear out the dust bunnies with a dusting cloth or broom. If you think you’ll be keeping the same flooring you have now, clean it. For carpet, vacuum and steam clean; for tile, ceramic, or hardwood, mop. If the walls are dirty, wash them—you’ll need them freshened up for the next phase.

Now it’s time to paint your walls. According to interior designer Nicole Gibbons, timeless colors are your best bet for selecting a custom closet color that won’t fade over time. A bright white, pale pink, blue hue, or beautiful beige will never steer you wrong and will keep looking good for years to come.

Once your closet is fresh, clean, and clear of clutter, you’ll finally be ready to begin planning and creating your new closet space.

How to Remodel Your Closet in Four Easy Steps

Custom closets add value to your home and help you bring organization to your life. Remodeling can be a daunting task, especially for beginners, but take heart—even the most major closet remodeling projects can be broken down into four basic steps:

  1. Designing your dream closet
  2. Choosing companies and products to work with
  3. Installing your closet
  4. Enjoying it!

Let’s take a closer look at how you can put each of these steps into action for your remodeling project.

1. Design Your Dream Closet

Every good closet remodel begins with a good floor plan. You can try measuring your space and creating your own simple floor plan on your own, but especially for more involved projects, you may want to consider working with a professional custom closet designer who can draft up a detailed plan and even render a 3-D model to really help you nail down what you want before you start actually remodeling.

What measurements are needed before I shop?

Be sure to precisely measure the height of the ceilings (in all areas), the width of the closet, and the depth of all closet walls. Measure any doors or windows, and take note of outlets, sloped ceilings, et cetera. This will help you or a professional designer determine where to place elements such as adjustable shelves, hanging rods, or pull-out hampers.

Checking out the latest trends and classic go-to's can help you come up with great ideas for your own closet, and reading handy guides to everything from how to deep-clean your closet to increasing your home resale value will give you both the information and inspiration you’ll need to make the best decisions for you, your family, and your home.

When deciding how, exactly, to remodel your closet, think about the four major areas you’ll need to consider in your design.

Walls

Ceiling

Floor

Door

Walls can be used in so many ways. Functionally, they can hold adjustable shelving or support wardrobe lifts and hanging rods. Aesthetically, tasteful wall decor or an accent wall can take your closet design game to a whole new level.

Are you happy with your closet ceiling? You may want to consider changing the color or texture of your ceiling to better suit your tastes. Or, you might want to add to or change the lighting, perhaps install some dotted LED lights—or even a chandelier!

Are you tired of vacuuming a dusty closet floor—or maybe you’d prefer the warmth and coziness of carpet over tile? Now’s the time to think about textures and colors for your new closet floor—as well as decor options like area rugs.

If your closet doesn’t have a door, you may want to add one, or vice-versa. If you do have one, consider whether it needs to be retouched, repainted, or replaced. You can also add to its functionality by adding chrome hooks or a mirror.

You should also think about which features or closet accessories will make your closet both more inviting and more convenient. Some ideas to consider:

  • Is your jewelry always getting tangled up beyond recognition? Consider installing jewelry drawers with dividers to keep necklaces, earrings, and bracelets separate and organized.
  • Have a high closet ceiling? Make the most of that space with a wardrobe lift to easily reach seasonal or occasional wear stored higher up and out of the way of more frequently worn items.
  • Always have to dig through a mountain of shoes to find a matching pair? Imagine life with shoe shelves. You can even light them up with miniature spotlights if you really love your collection and want to put it on proper display.
  • Incorporating a dressing bench for getting dressed—putting on pants and shoes or just for deciding what you wish to wear for the day—can be a helpful addition to any walk-in closet.
  • Built-in laundry hampers ensure your laundry is tucked away neatly, and incorporating more than one laundry hamper can help you sort your laundry whites and colors.
  • Add a personalized touch to your closet’s look by placing a favorite sculpture, a treasured family photo, or even a vase with flowers on a closet island or corner shelf.

Once you know what you want to put in your new closet and how to organize it all, it’s time to...

2. Choose Quality Materials and a Trusted Manufacturer

Knowledge is power—especially when it comes to renovating any space in your home. Take your time to consider your options and shop around. After all, the ideal closet remodel is one that will last a lifetime—or at least a very long time—without wearing down or wearing out its welcome.

Selecting the best-quality materials from a reputable manufacturer is key to creating a closet that will look great for years to come. Thermofused laminate shelving with metal tab shelf supports will help you feel confident about your closet staying intact for the lifetime of your home.

Selecting the best-quality materials from a reputable manufacturer is key to creating a closet that will look great for years to come. Thermofused laminate shelving with metal tab shelf supports will help you feel confident about your closet staying intact for the lifetime of your home.

Is it easier to work with a custom closet designer or renovate my closet on my own with DIY materials?

If you compare custom closets with DIY organizers, you can quickly see the many options for constructing your closet. Ultimately, DIY may give you more control over the entire remodeling process. But it’s much more complicated and requires a lot more backbreaking work than working with a closet company that can manufacture and install your closet for you, no DIY kits—or trips to the hospital for the inevitable DIY mishaps—required. Plus, a good closet company will make sure to use the highest-quality materials, meaning it’ll be a nice, long time before you’ll have to worry about repairs or another remodel.

3. Install a Custom Closet System that Incorporates All Your Needs

Okay—you’ve got your floor plan and your components. Now it’s time to put it all together and actually build the closet you’ve been imagining all this time.

Start by imagining your install day or week, and ask yourself: How long will it take you to accomplish this task alone? If you’re going to be working by yourself, carve out plenty of time and strength for the installation. Some of the components of DIY kits can be very difficult to put together, and the instructions aren’t always clear. Will you need a friend to help? Or, better yet...

Consider hiring professionals. Some of us are blessed with top-notch DIY skills—or at least a friend who possesses such talents. But in most cases, it’s better to rely on professionals to create and build the closet of your dreams. The quality of the workmanship will be higher—and your back will thank you for sparing it the hard work of a custom closet installation.

Does a closet remodel have to take so long? Is there any way to shorten the process?

Custom closet design is like any fine design; it takes time and effort. Be prepared to spend days, weeks, even a month or more preparing and creating your space. If you don’t have that kind of time, custom closet professionals can bear the majority of the burden of responsibility for you and create and install your closet in half the time (or less!) that most DIY projects take.

4. Wrap Up and Enjoy Your Closet

Remember all that stuff you pulled out of your closet awhile back? Once your new closet components are installed and your new closet is ready to go, it’s time to fill it up with all the clothes, accessories, and myriad miscellany you decided you wanted to keep. Place items where you intend to keep them long-term—don’t just toss everything in there and tell yourself you’ll do it later! By organizing now, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of stress and reorganizing down the road.

As soon as everything is put away, nice and neat, it’s time to step back and admire your new closet. Pat yourself on the back. You did it! You’ve given an old closet a fresh look and feel, and yourself a means of staying organized and clutter-free for good.

Enjoy your new closet—you’ve earned it!

Bring Your Closet Remodeling Plans to Life

The vision of your closet remodel is now ready to take shape and bring to reality. Armed with a fully-fledged plan for moving forward with your remodel, you’ll be ready to see your project through to a final custom closet masterpiece.

However, by now, you have probably realized your vision is going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort—and may agree that the job is going to go beyond simply rearranging your space. It’s a major undertaking of deconstructing the total area and reconstructing it into something far better than you could ever imagine.

So, if you’re ready to bring your big plans to fruition, you can either tackle this project on your own, with a DIYer, or with a custom closet designer. While all of this work and effort—from start to finish—can be difficult and time-consuming, a custom closet company that understands the process can help design, produce, and implement a closet that perfectly fits your vision and your space.

A leading closet designer who has years of experience offering advice on how to remodel a closet—incorporating the latest in designer trends, a proven implementation process, and high-quality closet components—to DC, Maryland, and Virginia homeowners successfully for many years can really make all the difference. Before you know it, you’ll have the perfect custom organizational system for your cozy, personalized, and newly tidied-up closet. The best part? It’ll last you for decades to come.

Closet America proudly manufactures durable, stylish custom closet components guaranteed to last. All of our products are crafted from the highest-quality materials and made-to-order in our local Landover, MD factory, and our experts love nothing more than to help homeowners like you learn how to remodel a closet the right way—with custom solutions, expert guidance, and a personal touch.

Reach out today to schedule a free design consultation. If you’re ready to organize and remodel your perfect closet, don’t wait—contact Closet America today!