BY DANIELLE POPE
From bedroom walk-ins to hallway wardrobes, creating the ideal closet for your needs can transform your home.
The closet is the one room in the house that’s used every day. It is relied on for storage and does the heavy lifting of deep organization.
Creating the ideal closet for your needs takes more than carving out a niche in your room, though. From bedroom walk-ins to office storage, how we use closets says as much about who we are as what we put in them.
To discover the trade secrets for what people should think about when launching into a closet reno, Spruce chatted with Ted Hancock, owner and manager of Incredible Home (formerly known as Incredible Closets), to find out how to turn each closet into a success.
When it comes to a closet renovation, what do you suggest people consider?
In all cases, making someone a better closet comes down to asking a lot of questions. What do you find frustrating about your closet now? Maybe there’s no hanging space for your jewelry, or you’re always struggling to separate your black and your navy pieces.
You want to look at maximizing storage for the items you use on a daily basis. It’s ideal for a closet to fit your entire wardrobe, of course, but unless you have unlimited space, that isn’t always possible, so we try to compartmentalize the most-used items.
Back in the 1930s, bedroom closets were about two to three feet wide. Now, we consider how we can use the whole home. Room conversions are a popular way to consider space — whether by repurposing rooms once the kids move out or creating a linen closet out of a storage space. It’s about making it work for you now.
How do you help people narrow down the choices — from style and design to colour palette?
This depends on individual needs and what a client has in their home. We offer a variety of finishes, laminates and colours, and we use industrial-grade board so these pieces look good forever — with no chips or scratches like you get with veneer or real wood.
We also work with clients in-home to help them visualize certain themes. For example, if you have a fairly small space, you want to focus on brightening it. That means choosing light or white options. If you have a very large walk-in, however, you might choose a darker finish. People also might want wood grain that matches the rest of the house on the outside, but is white on the inside.
White is still our most popular choice, though light greys are very popular, too. High gloss looks amazing and bounces the light around, but matte is a very “in” look right now. Try to tie these in with finishes around the house, like tables and chairs.
We do have five full-time designers on staff who can help with design, too. It’s not just about one area of the house — it’s about aligning the whole thing.
How does office or hallway storage differ in options from other closet spaces?
When it comes to the office, people are often looking for wood grain or modern finishes to brighten it up. You can have recessed strip lighting under floating shelves, or personalize it with purpose-built puzzle tables or desks.
Lighting is the biggest revelation in closet organization, and that includes for office and hallway storage. We have things now like recessed closet-rod lights that shine on hanging clothes so you can easily see between colours. There are also conveniences like pull-out pant racks with strip lighting, wardrobes with clear shelves and hooks with differing hanging levels so everything remains visible.
The secret we go by is this: if it’s visible, it’s accessible. If it’s accessible, it’s functional. So good function comes back to good lighting.
Can a closet be too big or do too much?
That’s not even a question. You want a closet to hold everything you need — one that lets you choose your wardrobe, get dressed and put your laundry away. If you have one place to hang your belts, for example, you will always know where to look for them.
In terms of closets that do a lot, however, the entry closet is the most popular one in the house. It’s used the most, guests see it, yet it’s often the last one considered in design.
What’s your favourite closet space you’ve worked on so far?
One of my favourites is a walk-in we completed with a beautiful chandelier and sensor lighting. Each cabinet drawer used translucent glass fronts so all was tucked away but was visible. Another was a 12 x 12 room with an island that hosted rows of shoes. Accessories are a huge thing in closets and they often make the difference for people.
There’s a big difference between creating a closet and having a designer design you something that’s easy to use and works for your life. It’s about giving people that moment when they say, “I didn’t know that could be done.”