12 Clever Ways to Customize a Closet for Less

1. Try a Track System

Standard wire shelving is exactly what it sounds like: Basic and boring. Rather than hiring a closet design company to install a costly custom system, you can swap out the wire for something better, yet more reasonably priced. Track systems are a smart alternative because they’re relatively easy to put together, can be modified or added onto as your needs change, and, although most versions are comprised of ventilated or wire shelves, many also provide alternative options such as wood or melamine. You can also dress up a plain wire shelving system with simple wood covers and added hardware.

2. Use an IKEA Hack

There’s no shortage of IKEA hacks on the internet so if you're relatively handy, you can construct your own closet system with minimal investment. You’ll probably find the sweat equity to be worthwhile because you can create a closet from scratch and completely personalize its storage by combining popular IKEA furniture pieces.

3. Forgo Floor-Based Setups

Whether you’re considering getting creative with an IKEA bookcase, installing tracks, or purchasing another type of DIY closet system, here’s something to bear in mind if you want to save even more money: Off-the-wall or wall-hung closets are generally less expensive than floor-based models. True, systems with bases that fit flush to the floor definitely give off a more polished look since they mimic built-ins, but a wall-mounted model can still be a major upgrade.

4. Double Up on Hanging Space

If your closet sports a single rod, you’re doing yourself (and your clothes) a disservice. The wasted space underneath your hanging clothes can be put to good use and, consequently, will improve the closet’s overall appearance—especially if it’s currently cramped and cluttered. By installing a secondary rod below the existing one, you can move half of your clothes onto it and give everything more breathing room.

5. Use Open and Closed Storage

No matter what kind of closet upgrade you choose to do, always take into account what you need to store in it. Having all open shelving sounds easy and straightforward, but if you plan to stoer things like socks, underwear, or jewelry, you'll need drawers as well. Not only will closed storage allow you to hide visual clutter, having a mix of open and closed storage also gives the illusion of a higher-end custom closet.

6. Paint or Paper the Back Panel Walls

Even if it consists of mundane all-white shelving, you can bring a DIY closet to life by involving minor design details. A simple technique is to paint or wallpaper (peel and stick will work too!) the back panels in between shelves (or the back wall itself if panels are absent) in a bold hue or cheerful pattern. The pops of color peeking through your clothes, shoes, and accessories will add a fun, customized element to the space.

7. Put Prized Possessions on Display

Use any open shelves, especially those at eye level, to show off your favorite pieces. Stuff a designer handbag so that it sits upright and sort evening clutches in an acrylic divider. Use stands to prop up your favorite hat or statement necklace. Polish your fancy pumps and let them act as a piece of art when you’re not wearing them. By strategically displaying your best accessories, you keep them in good condition and create a boutique look right in your own closet.

8. Splurge on Matching Organizers

Any space looks infinitely more put together when it has a cohesive design, and your closet is no exception. Switching to a set of matching hangers or coordinating baskets is minor investment compared to a total overhaul, but it still gives you a lot of bang for your buck by pulling the look together. While you’re at it, ditch the mismatched original shoe boxes and replace them with something like clear drop-front organizers.

9. Level Up Your Hardware

This idea might seem insignificant and costs very little, but it’s bound to create a big impact on the closet as a whole. Substitute existing closet hardware with something that stands out, such as antique pulls or crystal knobs to give the closet a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.

10. Include Luxe Lighting

The right lighting can take a so-so space and turn it into something truly spectacular. If the electrical wiring in your closet allows, install a chandelier or striking pendant overhead to give it a glam look and make it easier to look for your things. An additional—and even easier—way to illuminate the area is by mounting strips or spotlights to the bottom of shelves similar to how you can attach under-cabinet lights in the kitchen.

11. Add a Spot to Sit

Assuming you have some open floor space in the closet, feel free to take advantage of it by bringing in a seat of sorts. It can be an elegant arm chair, a bench that adds storage for shoes, or a simple stool that lets you to sit comfortably while you try on different pairs. A little more wiggle room gives you the perfect opportunity to add a vanity so you can feel like a star in your dressing room.

12. Don’t Forget the Decor

It’s indisputable that a closet’s main purpose is to keep your clothing and accessories organized. But beyond it’s functionality, it’s still a space in your home that should feel cozy and special. You can make it so by sprinkling in sentimental items such as souvenirs, framed artwork with inspirational quotes, or a low-maintenance plant. Whatever you choose to include will bring your closet one step closer to looking custom.

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