My Top 10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Luxury Closet


I love designing kitchens, but if there is one thing that I love, even more, it is being able to create an amazing luxury closet for a client.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to work with a few clients over the years who really treasured their wardrobes and had dedicated fairly large spaces in which to bring their closet dreams to life.  In my opinion, however, a luxury closet doesn't necessarily need to be huge.  Rather, it's about adhering to certain design principles and creating useful features.  So whether you have a large space or a smaller walk-in closet, I think you'll benefit from these…

10 Tips to Put the Luxe in Your Luxury Closet

 

Source:  Heather Hungeling Design | Wentworth Place Project

TIP #1...QUALITY COUNTS

When considering luxury closet brands or a high-end custom closet design, keep in mind that the most amazing dressing rooms have invested heavily in quality cabinetry.  I've worked on many estate homes built in the early 1900's and I never cease to be mesmerized by the tall, custom wardrobe units that were built into the bedrooms and dressing rooms of these homes.  There were no melamine shelves if you get my drift!  These rooms featured bespoke custom cabinetry with the same attention to quality as in other areas of the home. They were also frequently integrated with the home's millwork and paneling. 

Many of the closet brands that are out there right now do not build real cabinetry.  They are a system of shelves, drawer boxes, and rods that are designed to maximize how much stuff you can squeeze into your closet, but they are not true bench-made cabinetry.  Seek out the very best custom cabinetry your budget will allow.  No other aspect of your closet design is as important as this.

 

Source:  Heather Hungeling Design | Wentworth Place Project

TIP #2...GIVE YOURSELF SOME BREATHING ROOM

The best luxury closets always provide a feeling of spacious when you enter.  However, luxury closets do not need to be large to feel enchanting.  A small walk-in closet can feel as equally high-end if you adhere to these two suggestions regarding spaciousness.

  • Don't stuff in as many shoes, handbags and clothing as you can make fit. Even if everything else is perfect, your closet won't look or feel fabulous if it's crammed. Channel the high-end stores when you are stocking your closet and consider how spaciousness between articles of clothing and shoes helps the store to sell their goods. Your own belongings will appear so much more appealing to you if you do the same...and that's a tip anyone can implement, regardless of the size of their closet. The closet simply needs to feel spacious relative to the amount of clothing you wish to keep in it. If you find yourself with a wardrobe larger than your closet, you may wish to consider creating a cedar lined storage closet somewhere else in your home in which to keep seasonal or rotational garments. While you may feel that keeping everything in one place is desirable, consider again the stress and aggravation induced by shoes crammed into every nook and cranny and not being able to find that special blouse that you know came back from the cleaners.

  • When creating the layout, try to maintain some visual space and a line of sight as you walk in. It's often tempting to pack as much storage as you can when working with the floor plan, but maintaining that breathing room makes the space feel much larger and calmer, which translates to luxurious. For instance, take the floor plan above. My client had a very large wardrobe and we discussed trying to accommodate more clothing in this particular space by making a floating tower of tall cabinetry down the whole center of the room. However, I felt it was very important to create an open line of sight and re-worked the plan to have a singular tower of cabinetry at the top end and then a regular height island at the lower end of the plan. Now, as my client enters the room, she sees the sunlight dancing off of the crystal chandelier and the marble on the island - making for a really lovely, and spacious entrance.

 

Source:  Heather Hungeling Design | Wentworth Place Project

Tip #3...Shoes are art

This may seem rather obvious to some out there (a.k.a. "women"), but there are others out there (a.k.a. "men") that may need this specifically pointed out.  A lady's shoes are a form of art and she wants to see them!  Well, maybe not all of them - but at least the heels and the prettier shoes.   I have had a lot of fun working with a few clients who truly had an impressive shoe collection.  For one client, I spent many hours trying to calculate how many shoes I could accommodate on a particular wall of her dressing room.  Her husband encouraged me to find storage solutions to accommodate more shoes in a consolidated area, such as a revolving Lazy Susan style contraption for the corner of a closet, or a pull-out tower that will accommodate shoes turned sideways.  However, we ladies know that a good outfit begins with the shoes!  So we were able to convince him that the best place was actually in open, shallow shelves all along a major focal point wall.  You'll be so much happier if you can see your shoes and enjoy looking at them on a daily basis.  Also, I've got say, those storage solutions really don't make that much difference.  There are pros and cons to those in terms of space, and for most layouts, they won't make a dramatic difference.  So go ahead and just display your shoes like a beautiful collection and be done...no guilt allowed!

  • Consider leather-lined shoe shelves for the ultimate luxury indulgence.

  • Hang your boots by special boot hangers. I like to create a space for boots that the client can convert to additional shoe storage (maybe sandals or flats) in the off-season by providing a removable shelf.

  • Utilize the vertical space in the closet by rotating seasonal shoes (i.e., boots & sandals). You can use the upper areas of your closet to store the off-season shoes.

  • Allow yourself to have a few places to store everyday shoes, sneakers, house shoes, etc., that you may not wish to show off. If you have a large walk-in closet that can accommodate an island, creating some open shelving on the back side of that is a great way to keep them visible and accessible to you, without them being seen when you first walk into the room. Otherwise, dedicate a space behind wardrobe doors for these items.

 

Source:  David Dunkley, Design Director for Clive Christian

TIP #4...DITTO WITH THE HANDBAGS

I could have just about copied and pasted everything I said above about the shoes and applied that to handbags.  Whether you have a collection to show off, or just an assortment of stylish handbags, displaying them will make your closet feel like a high-end boutique.  We all know that every good outfit ends with the right handbag!  So here are a few additional tips regarding how to display them.

  • Small clutches and evening bags look great stored behind glass doors. You can use acrylic stands to artfully prop them up. Light up your cabinetry and get as much focal point light on them as you can.

  • Medium and larger sized handbags work best illuminated in individual cubby style shelves. Consider using an accent material behind them to really draw your eye to the handbag display.

  • If the cabinetry goes to the ceiling, the top row of cabinetry makes a stunning place to display handbags that aren't in heavy rotation (see rendering above).

  • Dramatic shelf lighting can really play a supporting role. LED lighting can be used around the frame of the opening to cast light on the handbags. Alternatively, you can make the actual shelves glow, casting light upwards on to the handbags.

  • In order to make the most luxurious display, consider featuring only your very best bags that bring you the most enjoyment. Allocate another place in a less conspicuous spot to more densely store the rest of your handbags and totes.

 

Source:  Heather Hungeling Design | Madison Street Project

TIP #5...THREE-WAY MIRROR

We all want to look good coming and going.  A three-way mirror is your ticket for that.  If you don't have the space to allocate to a dedicated dressing mirror as in the image above, you can often achieve the same effect by designing some of the wardrobe doors to have mirrors.  If you place them strategically across from each other, you can tilt the doors to the needed angle to see yourself from all sides. Or, line up three wide mirrored wardrobe doors and hinge them in such a way that you can see yourself in the center one and open the ones on either side of you to create the desired angle...instant 3-way mirror!

If you are able to allocate a special space to a three-way mirror as I did in the project above, make sure that you take advantage of the great space behind the angled mirrors.  For this client, I made the side mirror panels open with discreet piano hinges and created a shallow cabinet behind each one.  My client hung her long necklaces, scarves, and belts inside of these niches.

 

Source:  Heather Hungeling Design | Madison Street Project

TIP #6...Counter space

Having some sort of countertop in your closet will really enhance your enjoyment of the space.  It could just be for something as simple as a place to put a cup of coffee, a vase of flowers, or even a dedicated spot to take off your everyday jewelry.  If you have a large enough space to allow for a luxury closet island, then you're in great shape.   However, even if you don't have quite enough room to carve out an island in the middle of the room, you could still accomplish the same thing on a particular wall by designing a base unit with a countertop and a mirror above.  In the image above, the dressing room was shared between a husband and wife, so I used cabinetry to divide the room so that they each felt like they had a little bit of their own space.  I used the end of this "peninsula" to create a vanity area for my clients.  The drawers below contained flocked dividers for jewelry, sunglasses, and other accessories.

 

Source:  Heather Hungeling Design | Adair Place Project

TIP #7...have A SEAT

Every walk-in closet should have a place to sit down.  A smaller closet can get away with a pouf or small ottoman.  Larger luxury closets, however, should have ample room for sitting.  If the room is a spacious, personal haven for you, then you might be surprised at how much you enjoy spending time there.  Beside from the luxury of being able to sit while putting on your shoes, a settee, bench, or window seat will also provide a good place to pack a suitcase or lay out an outfit while getting dressed.  Alternatively, you might wish to consider a small desk or dressing table if you have enough space.

 

Source:  Clive Christian

TIP #8...BE MATCHY-MATCHY

There are so many visual things that can overwhelm a closet, particularly a small one, that it pays to bring some visual peace in the form of continuity.  If you have open wardrobe cabinets, you'll want to invest in very high-quality wooden hangers.  It will make your garments drape nicely and be much more appealing to you when you're getting dressed.  Sure, they take up a bit more room than other hanger types, but if you're after the look and feel of a true luxury closet, then you won't want to cram your clothing in there.  The more spacious your clothing looks inside your closet, the more luxurious the room will feel.  

 

Source:  Clive Christian

Tip #9...PERSONALIZATION

Luxury and custom are two terms that often go hand in hand.  A high-end consumer will usually seek out things that are not widely available so that their unique and individual style is revealed.  Luxury closets are the ideal representation of that because they are such personal and intimate spaces in our homes.  There are many ways in which to personalize the design of your closet, but here are a few of my favorites:

  • Personal mementos displayed in an artful way

  • Monograms via marquetry inlay into the cabinetry or wood countertops

  • Burled woods, leather, or special materials incorporated into cabinetry doors and countertop surfaces

  • Specialty finishes that are done by hand

 

Source:  Heather Hungeling Design | Wentworth Place Project

TIP #10...FIND A FABULOUS LIGHT FIXTURE

An amazing chandelier or pendant is really a mus-have item in any luxurious closet.  Whether your tastes run toward an ornate crystal chandelier or a sleek contemporary pendant, it should complement your style in a unique way.  In the image above, my client re-used an antique chandelier that had once hung in her family's home.  It is a very personal reminder of her childhood that brings her joy in one of her favorite rooms in the house.

 

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy popping over to my portfolio, where you will see the projects featured above, as well as many others.  Also, you may want to follow my Pinterest Board "Closet Design Inspiration" where I continue to pin inspiring luxury closets anytime I come across them!

 
 I love designing kitchens, but if there is one thing that I love even more, it is being able to create an amazing luxury closet for a client. A luxury closet doesn't necessarily need to be huge. Rather, it's about adhering to certain design principles and creating useful features. So whether you have a large space or a smaller walk-in closet, I think you'll benefit from some of my tips on putting the   luxe   in luxury closets. #luxurycloset, #closetdesign