An argument against walk-in closetsThink that walk-in closet you always wanted is a better way than a regular closet for storing your clothes? Think again.  A side-by-side comparison of a bedroom plan, one with a standard closet and one with a walk-in closet, shows that a standard closet is the more efficient organizer.

As we know, with a standard closet you open the closet door(s) and reach into the closet while standing in the bedroom space; with a walk-in closet you open the door and walk into the closet to access your clothes; hence the name ‘walk-in’.  The main piece that makes the walk-in closet less efficient is the fact that you need space inside the closet to stand while accessing your clothing.

A little math is the best way to explain why a standard reach-in closet is more efficient than a walk-in.  In our sample, generic plan a 7-foot wide standard closet, with a 7-foot long hanger rod and shelf, needs 14-1/2 square feet in area.  This means that for every one foot of hanger rod length you want, you need to use two square feet of floor space; mathematically, a ratio of 1 to 2.  Also in our sample, a 7-foot by 7-foot walk-in closet, with over 15 feet of hanger rod and shelf, needs 49 square feet in area.  This means that for everWalk-in closet vs small closety one foot of hanger rod length you want, you need to use about three and quarter square feet in floor area; mathematically, a ratio of 1 to 3.26.

If you consider that construction costs of interior renovations can be $200 per square foot, would you want to spend $652 or $400 for every one foot of hanger rod?  Maybe you really need 15 feet of hanger rod because 7 feet is not enough; well, the per-foot cost remains the same. It’s more cost effective, to build 2 standard closets, because 15 feet of hanger rod in a walk-in closet would cost $9,780 in floor area, where 15 feet of hanger rod in a standard closet would cost $6,000 in floor area, a savings of nearly $3,800 for the exact same amount of clothing storage.

The other problematic issue with a walk-in closet is the reduction of useful space on the other side of the closet wall. In our example, “Room 2” becomes too compromised with the walk-in closet encroaching into its space.  With installation of a standard closet, both rooms are habitable in terms of being bedrooms; with the walk-in closet plan, “Room 2” loses its ability to be a bedroom.

Advice: keep your clothing access space in the bedroom, not inside the closet. It’s a better use of space inside and on both sides of the closet.  Don’t feel like you can use the bedroom space for something else if the clothing access space is inside the closet. Other than open the closet door, what else are going to do in front of the walk-in closet door?

Maybe you like to use the floor of a walk-in closet for your laundry piles? We agree with your mother: shame on you!

The argument above can also be applied to comparing reach-in and walk-in pantries for kitchens.

Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.