Custom closets aren't only for the rich, famous


We've all thought about what our "dream home" would look like, but what about your "dream closet?" If you haven't thought about it, maybe you should.

"For 2015, luxury closets are becoming one of the hot topics, so if you can put some money into your closet, as far as some upgrades, even basic ones, you're probably going to see that come back in a return on investment down the road when you're selling your house," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

A tricked-out custom closet could cost you 3,500 dollars or more, but there are less expensive alternatives – even some do-it-yourself options – to give your closet a magical make-over.

"Design is really what's going to drive price, and the client has control of all of that. A lot of times I'll do a good/better/best option where I'll design the same space three different ways and let them navigate and figure out which one fits them the best." explained Jennifer Phelan with California Closets.

If you work with an experienced professional, expect to pay an hourly rate of 55 to 85 dollars. If you choose the DIY route, do your research and know what you want to accomplish. The time and effort can produce amazing results.

"You're in your closet a lot. On average, probably 50 times a week, and better organized closets are going to make things much more easy to find, and closet companies can do things on any level of budget, so be creative," Hicks said.

Experts say one common upgrade is to place hanging rods at two different levels to maximize your hanging space. Adding cubbies and shelves will help organize your shoes and accessories.

"If you have double-hanging, you want to hang your pants at the top and your shirts at the bottom. It's kind of the reverse of the way you dress," Phelan explained. "Another feature would be to put your shoes at eye level. Don't put them on the floor or underneath things, kick them around. They're going to get damaged that way."

At the far end of the spectrum, custom closets can include furniture and fixtures, mirrors, benches and other features that mimic an upscale boutique. But for most of us, a better arrangement that gives us more space will make our closet make-over a huge success.

Hicks says if you're upgrading on your own, don't forget about the lighting, which can add a whole new feel to the room and help you fully appreciate your newly remodeled space.

10 Ways to Have a Better Closet

  • Purge: Go through your clothes and be really honest. If you haven't worn something in a year, get rid of it. There's no point in spending time organizing clothes you'll never wear.
  • Hanger Time: Put all your hangers backwards. After you wear and wash something, put it back on a hanger facing the correct way. If there are any hangers left backwards after six months, then it's time to give those garments a new home.
  • Store the seasonals: Keep only clothes that are in season in your closet. Store the others. The seasonal switch is a great time to purge.
  • Birds of a feather: Placing shirts, skirts, pants and shoes together, showcases your wardrobe inventory and may tip you off to a need to add a splash of color or trend to your look.
  • A place for everything: Your everyday closet should be prime real estate. Don't keep items there that you don't use on a weekly basis. Find a new spot in your home to store those holiday decorations.
  • Matchy-matchy: An assortment of wooden, plastic and wire hangers are common to most closets. Coordinating these tools will help display your clothes better and give the closet a cleaner, sleeker look.
  • Quality over quantity: A stuffed closet isn't necessarily your best fashion sense. Evaluate what you need before you buy more. Mix trendy (cheaper) with higher quality staples.
  • Double the fun: Two hanging rods will fill up wasted space and give you more room.
  • Lighten it up: Quality lighting is key to seeing all your fashion options.
  • Space savers: Adding shelves or cubbies can make optimal use of your space. But don't buy a bunch of these pretty items until you've purged. You may find you don't need as much space.