Design your reach in closet to maximize your storage

Reach In Closet Design

Our guest bedroom closet was the roughest closet in the house when we moved in 3 years ago. The wire shelving from the previous owners was tacked up with a 2×4 and still falling down. While the guest room was the one of the first rooms I painted, we didn’t finish the reach in closet for 3 years because I had other priorities. Since staying at home from COVID-19, I’ve had plenty of time to plan and build this closet.

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Closet Dimensions

Our guest bedroom closet is a long reach in closet with double doors. At the far right side, the floor is angled diagonally where the stairs run beneath it. This closet is deeper than a typical reach in at 39″, but not deep enough to really be a walk in. With the length on either side of the doors being 22″ (on the left) and 27″ (on the right, plus another 24″ where the floor slopes) I wanted to make sure we could access whatever was stored far left or far right. The ceilings in the closet are 8′ (96″), but the door opening is for a standard 80″ door.

How does this closet need to function?

First I brainstormed what this closet needed to do for us. A few years ago we packed our master closet with hanging space, because we stored mostly clothes in there. The guest closet is different though. I only wanted a small amount of hanging space for suits and rarely worn formal wear. The majority of our space would be shelving for general storage. We also do not have a linen closet, and will store most our linens in the guest closet.

IKEA Pax Closet

We used IKEA’s Pax closet system in our master closet, and have been very happy with it. For this closet, I spent some more time designing a closet layout that works for us using IKEA’s Pax Planner. The 22 7/8″ deep Pax frames would fit, but they would have cut down on our ability to maneuver [shimmy] into the far left and far right wings of the closet. Instead I chose the 13 3/4″ deep frames to have more foot room.

I went with the 79 1/8″ tall frames, because the 92 7/8″ would have been super difficult to build standing within the closet (which is what we had to do for our other closet). There’s not enough door clearance to build the taller frames in the floor than stand them up into the closet. Plus the shorter height frames meant we could slide stuff on top of them to store and still use that space.

The Pax Planner tool is a massive time suck because there are SO MANY options.

With the 109″ length I had to work with in our closet, I played around with different frame widths to get a configuration that maximized the space. On the far left and the far right are two 19 5/8″ frames. In the middle are one each of the 29 1/2″ and 39 3/8″ frames. That comes in at ~108″ which maximizes the length of the closet.

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Interior Closet Accessories

I measured the length of my fiance’s suits, and determined how many shelves for shoes could work underneath them in the far left frame. The right frame I earmarked for storage of long garments. These frames aren’t deep enough for clothing bars to run left to right like the 22 7/8″ deep frames are. Instead the bar secures in the back and comes forward. This worked well since we wanted so little hanging space.

I ordered shelves to fill the two middle frames. The spacing between shelves was a bit arbitrary. I did measure the height of some storage cubes we have around the house, figuring I’d want the selves at least that tall. IKEA’s Pax Planner keeps track of all of the interior accessories, as well as the frames so you have a running list and cost all together.

The BEST closet build supervisor!

Assembling the Closet

We assembled one of the wardrobe frames to figure out what height they needed to be secured to the wall at. Then we screwed a piece of trim onto the wall at that height, using a stud finder to determine screw placement. The trim board serves two purposes – it bumps the wardrobe frames at the top the same distance the trim bumps them out at the bottom and it provides a sturdy way to secure the frames to the wall.

After we built all the frames, we stood them up in the closet. We clamped them and screwed them together according to IKEA’s directions. Then secured them to the trim board at the back.

I added some items to our closet; as time goes on I’m sure we’ll add more. Eventually I want to have storage cubes (that are all the same) on the shelves to make everything feel more cohesive, but that’s another project for another day. All of my yarn now has a home, and that’s important!

Do you have a reach in closet in your house that needs some love?

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