Accessories can easily become an unwieldy mess on closet hangers and shelves. Ann Wise, co-owner of Louisiana Custom Closets, suggests space-saving pullout racks for belts, neckties and scarves and costume jewelry. Acrylic shelf dividers keep purses standing up or folded sweaters and blouses neatly stacked.
If your closet is big enough, consider an island with drawer storage or shelving. For frequent travelers, that island might serve as a “packing station” on which they can place luggage for easy travel prep and post-trip unpacking.
In utility and laundry room closets, hooks can prevent brooms and mops from toppling out when the closet door is opened. Shelves offer storage for cleaning products, while baskets can handle dirty laundry, shoes and more. Tilt-out hampers offer a more polished option for dirty duds.
Use every inch
Small or awkwardly shaped closets present additional challenges, particularly in New Orleans’ high-ceilinged homes. Wise urges clients to take advantage of vertical space with double-hanging rods. Many of the city’s older homes are also notoriously short on closets, so wardrobes or wardrobe-style cabinets with both shelving and hanging space offer an alternative to new closet construction.
Because our needs evolve over time, Wise emphasizes the value of adjustable elements in closet design. That applies to children’s closets, which serve different functions as kids get older (and taller). Low rods can help young children access their clothing to get dressed — and teach them the virtue of hanging things back up! As they grow, the bar is raised, and baskets of toys make way for additional clothing or gear storage.
Many closets feature drawer storage, with built-in dressers or as part of an island. Drawer organizers create tidy homes for lingerie, socks and jewelry.
If the shoe fits
Wise favors flat, straight-on shelving for shoe storage. Though “shoe fences,” which slant downward at an angle with a metal guard to keep the shoes in place, offer an attractive way to display special pairs, a standard flat shelf will hold the most.
No room for wrinkles
Do you need a last-minute touch-up before slipping into those linen pants? Ironing boards can be built into closets, either as drawer-style pullouts, fold-downs or stashed in their own vertical compartment for easy access.