Chances are, most of your home storage involves shelves in some form. The closet is no exception and usually contains at least one shelf. Yet, shelves are often taken for granted. But think about it. What would the average homeowner do without them? The importance of closet built-in shelving should not be undervalued. It gives us a place to put all those things that don’t get hung on a hanger. Believe me, that’s a lot of stuff that would otherwise probably end up on the floor.

A Few Facts About Built-In Closet Shelving:

When shelving is part of a storage system that is attached to the wall, whether or not it is covered by doors, it is considered to be built-in. This differentiates it from freestanding shelving racks that you can buy from any home improvement store for DIY assembly. Built-in shelves are generally sturdier than freestanding because some part of the shelving system is usually anchored to the home’s studs. This allows them to take advantage of the home’s structural strength and helps prevent collapse under heavy load. (If they’re strong enough to hold up the roof and walls, they can probably handle anything you’d like to store in your closet). Built-ins also look a whole lot nicer.

Shelves are important because they allow us to use the vertical space in our closets for folded clothing, shoes, and other items. Why then do most closets only come with a single shelf above a wire rod? This set-up wastes a lot of space and is inadequate for the needs of most homeowners. In my opinion, you can never have enough shelves or storage in your home. A custom closet with built-ins is one of the best home improvement projects you can make. And you should reclaim any costs involved at resale. Especially if you plan to be in your home another five years or more.

Closet Built-Ins as a Home Improvement Project

Closets built-ins are a great project for the handy homeowner.

Example of closet built-in shelving with lights
This example of closet built-in shelving goes all out with the addition of LED closet lighting. LED strip lights are installed along the vertical panels that support the shelves. This increases the visibility of items stored on the shelves and just looks plain cool.

Worth the Time, Effort & Money

Closet built-ins with shelves increase the overall storage in your home thus making it easier to live in. But efficiency is not all they have to offer. Closet built-in shelving is attractive and provides a sense of luxury that exceeds the typical closet with a single wire shelf and rod. People from all walks of life like and want it! That’s why you can expect increased profits at resale when you invest in built-ins for your closet.

Easy to Install

Handy homeowner installing closet built-in shelves
Closet built-in shelves are easy to install for the average homeowner experienced in DIY projects and light carpentry.

Closet built-in shelving is a quick and easy DIY project if you use a rail system. You don’t need the skills of a cabinet maker. Closets can be installed in a few easy to follow steps.

To make it easy on yourself without compromising the beauty or strength of the system, use a suspension rail for both your floor-based and suspended closet shelving. The rail can always be hidden with crown moulding or other trim when you are finished. Or you can just paint the vinyl cover that comes with it to match the wall. You just secure the metal rail to the home’s studs. Then hang vertical panels on the rail using suspension brackets made for the rail. The panels will divide your shelves into sections. Space them at your desired intervals, but no more than 36-inches apart if working with wood/plywood and 30-inches apart for laminate/particle board systems. Otherwise, the shelves might sag over time.

Individual shelves get installed between the panels. You can buy closet shelves pre-cut and finished to your preferred size and color to save time. The shelves on the top and bottom of the system should be fixed in place with locking cams or screws. Also, make sure to fix/lock a middle shelf for stability if the shelving unit is greater than 4-feet high. Any additional shelves can be either fixed or adjustable (meaning they sit on shelf pins). When finished, you can cover the shelves with cabinet doors if desired for the look of custom cabinetry. However, they often look just as good left open. This is especially true if you plan to trim the system out with moulding when finished.

Many Uses

Custom closet shelves with crown moulding
This closet has 36-inch wide closet shelves made of wood. They are being used to store folded pants and shirts. You can see that the top shelf is fixed in place using locking cams. The other shelves are set in place using adjustable shelf pins so that they can be moved later on if needed. Even though a suspension rail was used to install these shelves, you can’t see it behind the elegant crown moulding.

Use built-in closet shelving to organize shoes, folded articles of clothing, or store just about anything that fits on a shelf. Small knickknacks and accessories can be gathered in baskets that get stored on the shelf. Their use is basically unlimited.

Closet shelves with baskets.

Why Should You Add Closet Built-In Shelving to Your Home?

The reasons to add built-in shelving for your closet are straightforward and simple. Put custom shelving into your closets first and foremost because it will make your life easier. Having a place to put things is the key to staying organized. And we all know that everything is easier when you’re organized. Closet built-ins also look good. Having a closet that goes beyond the traditional wire system supplied by the builder adds an element of luxury and that WOW factor future buyers are sure to notice. It’s one of the easier home improvement projects available to the average DIYer with light carpentry skills. There are no negatives to this. Why not try it in one of your closets? With a little planning and attention to detail, you’re sure to love the result!

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