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Design Mistakes to Avoid


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Custom Closets Add Value to Your Home | Nashville | Atlanta

We see all types of design projects that people share on Houzz and Instagram, however, most homeowners are not experienced in closet design. Designing a custom closet is not a project that you should try on your own without some extensive research. If you try to do it yourself, your space could be filled with issues that could have been avoided by bringing in a certified closet designer from Artisan Custom Closets. Mistakes can be costly; here are some to avoid:

Design Mistake #1: Not building your closet system to the correct height

The average person needs 84" in height to have "double hanging" space (hanging above and hanging below). If you are tall (above 6'0"), you may need to make your top shelf at 90" high or 96" high to accommodate your clothing in a double hanging section (to avoid the clothing touching the floor or the shelf below). The best solution for storage on the top shelf is to build 12" from the ceiling. But what if you're tall and your ceilings are 8' in height? Then you must build to the ceiling to allow for proper hanging space. If your ceilings are higher than 8', try building 12" from the ceiling so that you have space on top for storage. If your ceiling is 8' (or 96"), then build to about 92" and fill in the top with crown for a complete look. If you have a small footprint in your closet, but tall ceilings, use the height!

Design Mistake #2: Using a trim carpenter

Often, a builder will have his trim carpenter complete the closet. Typically, it looks great, however, we tear these out at least a couple of times a month. Why? Because trim carpenters are not trained in closet and storage design and although the closet may look great, it is not functional. Most closet companies use a 32 mm system for drilling holes in the vertical panels. This 32 mm system allows for adjusting the shelves and rods so that, as your needs change, your closet can change. This is key when designing storage systems in reach-in closets, guest closets and kids closets. Things change over time and your closet should be able to change with you!

Design Mistake #3: Shelving that is too shallow

It makes sense that closet manufacturers would want you to have your closet shelving at 12" deep. After all, most of the board that is used to make closets comes in a sheet that is 48" wide. Going 12" deep means that you can get four vertical panels out of each sheet. This is great for the manufacturer but not so great for the customer buying a closet or storage system.

First, when folding clothes like heavy sweaters or blue jeans, these work best on a shelf because they take up too much drawer space. However, the shelves need to be a minimum of 14" deep so that the clothes do not hang over the edge of the shelf! Yes, it costs a bit more, but so worth it in the end.

Second, if you have larger shoulders, the hanging rod in a 12" deep section isn't set far enough forward to accommodate your clothes (it is usually set 1.25" from the front of the vertical panel). The clothes with touch the wall in the back and crunch your clothing. Shelves at 14" deep are option for both folded clothes and hanging clothes. Artisan Custom Closets does their shelving at 14" deep as a standard. Other depths (larger and smaller) are available as needed. Remember, it's called a custom closet for a reason! Our certified designers are here to meet your needs.

Design Mistake #4: A Dark Closet

The newest trend in closets is LIGHTING! We can light your vertical panels either down the sides, across the top or drop in puck lighting. The lights can work from your light switch in the closet, they can have a remote control, or they can have their own switch installed. Any way you choose, a closet with lighting will shed new light on the possibilities.

Design Mistake #5: Not measuring your shoes

Some closet companies will come in and give you a stack of "shoe shelves." They typically do this without ever measuring your shoes. This is NOT a custom closet. A trained designer will measure your shoes so that the correct size is made so that you can have 3 pair or 4 pair of shoes per shelf; not 3 ½ pair! Men and women need very different size shoe shelves. Men's shoes are typically between 9" and 10" wide per pair and women's shoes are typically 7" to 8" wide per pair. Having a shoe shelf for a man that is 24" wide is counter-productive. Make sure that the shoe shelves designed for you will actually fit the shoes that you wear! And let's not forget about the spacing of the shelves … flat shoes can be placed on shelves approximately 5" - 6" apart; your boots need 15" to 18" between shelves. Size matters. Make sure those cowboy boots fit perfectly in your newly designed custom storage space.

Design Mistake #6: Thinking you will only accept a "Real Wood Closet"

Melamine is less expensive than traditional hard wood. As an alternative to plywood, it can be less expensive as well, especially when you take into account plywood peeling and warping, which can render it unusable for many applications including closets. Melamine is a great alternative to solid wood because of its sustainable development. Melamine helps to conserve natural hardwood and endangered forests by use of wood waste and fast-growing softwood in boards and panels. Using melamine for construction of closets is both financially and environmentally responsible, since melamine uses soft woods in their construction process that would otherwise be thrown away. Even in Asia where melamine is constructed using melamine urea resins, the markets require increasingly stringent requirements for low formaldehyde emissions.

On top of being inexpensive and more reliable than plywood, it is available in an array of different colors, making it an ideal choice for custom closets or cabinets. Melamine is also available in different wood grain colors and textures to simulate different hardwood effects, colors and stains.

Melamine is strong as well, and in many cases more structurally sound than ordinary particle board or plywood. Because the glue used in manufacturing melamine creates a water-resistant integrity, it is commonly used in furniture production, flooring and as a plywood substitute.

Artisan Custom Closets offers more than 40 melamine colors in both smooth and textured finishes. Visit our showroom in Marietta, Georgia, or Nashville, Tennessee, to see, touch and feel them in person.

Design Mistake #7: Rookie designer placing drawers in your closet

Drawers are an integral part of closet design in almost any walk-in closet. However, the placement of the drawers is critical. Make sure that your design does not include drawers in a corner (that won't open), drawers on one of your return walls that hit the trim when opened, or drawers that are generally in a bad location for everyday use. Custom closet companies should be able to create standard or custom drawer sizes to meet your needs. Make sure you don't end up with all 6" tall drawers! Bulky items, such as t-shirts, need a taller drawer for proper storage.

Design Mistake #8: Poor design of a narrow closet

If your closet is less than 72" wide, do not place hanging on both sides of the closet. Remember that hanging items are approximately 22" - 24" wide. If you hang on both sides of the closet, this takes up 48" and at 72" wide, this leaves a 24" walk space through the closet. If your closet is less than 72" wide, you should place hanging on the back wall and one side but reserve the other side for shelves or drawers. This rookie mistake is made by closet designers throughout the Country, but a certified storage designer knows better.

Design Mistake #9: Not "Seeing" Your Closet Before Installation

A hand drawn closet plan is difficult to read and understand. To see and feel how a closet works, you need another viewpoint than just 2D. You need to be able to ask the important questions like: Is it roomy enough? Can you use deeper shelving or drawers on a feature wall? Will the doorway be open and inviting?

If your closet company or designer is still drawing designs on paper, ask them to move into the 21st century. Most closet companies now have design software that will allow you to see your closet in 3d so that you can get the feel of how it will actually look and perform.

Design Mistake #10: Not Bringing Beauty into Your Custom Closet Design

Generally, you use your custom closet every day or multiple times per day. Get rid of the wire! Custom closets add value to your home. Instead of being just a storage space, closets have moved from drab, boring spaces, into becoming wardrobe rooms where you get ready in the morning or for a big night out, which calls for them to have a touch of design and beauty infused in them!

Create a Great Custom Closet

Create the custom closet of your dreams and call on Artisan Custom Closets in Atlanta or Nashville to help design, manufacture and install your custom closet or storage space. We are offering 18 months same-as-cash financing until June 30, 2021. Call us at 844-567-3477 to schedule your free in-home consultation today.


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