Mastering Closet Design in the Master Suite

Clare Tattersall

Closets have been historically underutilized despite the fact that having a well-organized wardrobe can save both time and money – you can prominently see what you own so you don’t buy things you already have – and increase storage capacity. (And goodness knows, we all could use more space.) Of late, a change in mindset to their usefulness has fuelled demand for custom upgrades in both new and older homes, with many consumers opting for a walk-in over a reach-in closet when the opportunity arises. Now what was once an afterthought for most people is top of mind, resulting in a growing industry. The Container Store reported custom closet sales were up 14.7% for the first quarter of 2022, signifying massive market potential.

But what exactly do consumers want from their closets, particularly those located in the master suite?

The number one answer is space. This can be achieved with floor-to-ceiling storage, which utilizes the entire height of the wall and maximizes every bit of the closet. Seasonal items or showpieces can then be kept higher up, leaving easy access to the clothes used most, whether held in drawers, on open shelves or on racks.

Designated spots to place accessories are also a must-have. Built-in retractable rods are ideal for scarves, ties and belts, while a glass-front cabinet is perfect for showcasing necklaces, bracelets and rings tangle-free. Alternatively, drawers with dividers can store them out of sight. A well-made rack or open shelving allows for shoe or purse and oversized handbag display, making them easier to find at a moment’s notice and keeping them in good condition and in arm’s reach. For those with a larger collection, a carousel makes it even simpler to find what they want.

The need for multifunctional spaces during the pandemic has left no room untouched. This includes closets, which have become more than a storage solution for clothes. They are a bonus ‘room’ that can serve multiple uses, which homeowners are increasingly looking for with space at a premium. Rather than dedicating an entire closet to personal attire, manufacturers should consider carving out an area for a comfortable reading nook or make-up vanity, adding a built-in desk as a secondary or backup office, or creating a hub such as an island for sorting, folding and ironing clothes. Where an island isn’t an option, pull-out ironing boards, fold-out laundry hampers and even laundry chutes can be built into the cabinetry to be kept out of peoples’ way.

In terms of style, the most significant overall trend in closet design is the boutique look, driven by reality television (think the Kardashians) and Hollywood stars’ showing off their highly desired wardrobes. Homeowners want to feel like they’re shopping whenever they enter their closets. Think open-faced shelving and hanging space where everything is visible, an island for unique items and a convenient place to put together an outfit, a cozy chair or other seating option, and crown moulding atop cabinetry to create that high-end ambience. As for finishes, white always keeps it nice and bright, but a resurgence in natural wood tones in both lighter and darker stains, as recently seen at ClosetCon 2022, brings a level of luxury while simultaneously creating a calming effect.

Clare Tattersall is an interior designer and decorator in Toronto, and the editor of Canada’s floor covering magazine, Coverings.

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