In 2019, I had a fabulous closet makeover by Closets by Design. And, although I’ve managed to keep it reasonably tidy since, the “creep” of clothing, shoes, and handbags was starting to take over again. Once roomy shelves became cramped, space between hanging items disappeared, and my top shelf storage threatened an avalanche regularly.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I went on a cleaning and organizing rampage. Locked in quarantine, here was my golden opportunity to purge all of the clothes that I had hoped I’d love, fit into, or wear… someday. Many items were donated to charity. Some were consigned to threadUP. What was left now had room to breathe a bit. (Plus, I made space for new and exciting acquisitions!)
But, creating a dream closet involves more than just purging to the bare bones or creating a capsule wardrobe. A dream closet brings peace-of-mind through organization, but it should beautifully inspire, as well.
A dream closet can feel like your own personal boutique. When items are arranged by category, season, and color, putting together the perfect outfit is as easy as “shopping” in your own closet.
What do you need in your dream closet?
In addition to practical considerations, such as adequate hanging space and properly sized shelves, aesthetics play a large part in the success of the finished space. These include:
Color. When I received my closet makeover, I selected white cabinetry. For me, the crisp, clean white was the perfect backdrop for my favorite clothing and accessories. But wood cabinetry can provide a rich, traditional look. And, painted cabinetry and trim in a beautiful shade can be stunning. A dresser or center island in a contrasting color to cabinetry is particularly effective.
I painted any exposed drywall white. But, since there’s often very little drywall showing after the cabinetry has been installed, this is an opportunity to play with a bold color or wallpaper. While you might never be brave enough to paint an entire room shocking pink, navy blue or sunshine yellow, the closet affords a unique opportunity to indulge a yearning for a true pop of color.
Lighting. Have you ever gone into a dressing room with terrible lighting? Nothing looks good! And, chances are, you may have left without a purchase. Your closet is the same. Adequate lighting is essential, particularly if the space is large. And, lighting that is true to life (no fluorescents!) will ensure that your ensembles and color combinations look the way they were meant to once you leave the house.
Lighting also provides an opportunity to add an over-the-top-glam accent. I personally adore the look of a classic chandelier dripping with sparkling crystals. But a mod Sputnik fixture, a French country wood spindle chandelier, or a whimsical painted piece all add personality and panache.
Furnishings. If your space is large enough, consider a chair, bench, ottoman or even pouf. It’s a perfect place to lace up boots or buckle ankle strap shoes. If the space is massive, consider a chaise lounge for the ultimate in luxury.
As with a kitchen, a piece of freestanding furniture (cabinet, dressing table, center island) breaks up the monotony of rows of cabinets and shelves in the same color. Go for broke with a mirrored island, a frou-frou dressing table with Lucite ghost chair, or a showstopping, vintage armoire.
Flooring. This depends upon your personal taste and the décor in the rest of the room. I personally love the look of hardwoods and the continuity from my bedroom to closet made the decision easy. But you may also opt for tile or carpet.
Pretty area rugs add a cozy touch and make the space truly feel like a room. Narrow closet? Try a carpet runner.
Display space. Even if it’s just one shelf, create a personal space with framed photos, a vase for seasonal flowers, and trinket dishes for jewelry and assorted bits and pieces. I use several decorative cake stands which is where all of my “debris” winds up. This keeps all of the horizontal surfaces in the bedroom blissfully clear.
Art. If space allows, add art that inspires you. From framed verse, to original oil paintings, the choice is yours. No wall space? Look up! The space between cabinet tops and the ceiling can become a mini gallery. Bonus: Drawing the eye upwards makes the ceiling look higher.
Mirror(s). I am a firm believer that you can never have too many! A full-length mirror is a must-have, as is a good magnifying mirror. If space allows, a pretty cheval mirror is a true luxury. Some versions even cleverly conceal jewelry storage, as a bonus. And, if you have lots of real estate, go for broke and install a three-way mirror.
If you’re creating a dream closet, I’ve showcased some of my favorite, ultimate dream closets for inspiration. Even if your space is small, incorporating a few of these elements will make getting dressed each morning… a dream!
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Named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com, Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to a life filled with style. From must-have fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors, plus the latest products and ideas for chic parties, you’ll find it here. Editor Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!