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Planning a Walk-In Closet

Battling with an overstuffed closet isn’t the best way to start the day. Searching through piles of shoes and navigating stacks of sweaters is not only a major time waster but can create a massive headache. Indulge yourself with ample space for your wardrobe, as well as a little piece of mind, with a walk-in closet.

Whether you decide to take on the project yourself, or hire a professional contractor, there are several important factors to consider before getting started. These factors help determine whether or not a walk-in is right for your space.

1. Space

First things first: do you have the space? Ideally a walk-in should be between 72 and 75 inches wide. This allows enough space for clothing to stick out 24 inches on each side of the closet, and for you to have a nice 24-inch-wide walkway down the center.

You also want to determine if there is going to be enough space in the bedroom for the closet doors to open and close without being impeded by furniture. If there isn’t, consider sliding doors, a pocket door, or a door that opens inward.

2. Walls

Building a walk-in closet involves both knocking down and rebuilding walls. If you’re a homeowner it’s worth it to bring in a general contractor to inspect the existing structure. They’ll be able to tell you whether or not the house can withstand the remodeling, or if you’re going to encounter structural issues.

Apartment renters need to check their lease to see if knocking down walls is even allowed. Even if you own your apartment, you need to check the residential building codes before planning any construction.

3.  Windows

Closets with one or more windows require a little extra thought, especially when it comes to finalizing the design. Obviously if you want to enjoy the window’s access to natural light, you’re not going to hang clothes over it.

However, if you plan on hanging clothes below the window casing, or shelving above it, you need to make sure there is enough space. You don’t want clothes dragging on the floor because the rod is too low, or for shelves to be unusable because they are too close to the ceiling.

4. Lighting

Switching from a standard closet to a walk-in requires a new lighting scheme. Before you start the remodeling process, it’s best to know whether or not the lighting you want requires rewiring. Depending on how extensive the rewiring is, it could add a significant amount to your budget. You’ll also want to think about where you want to put the switch plate and if you’d like to install any power outlets in your new closet.

Remodeling can be stressful. Explore these factors before you pick up the hammer and you’ll prevent potentially costly problems once you start the process.

By Megan Mostyn-Brown

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