The needs of an infant are much different than those of a school-age child, teen, or young adult. Yet, that child may be in the same bedroom, with the same closet, until they leave for college. You don’t want to waste money. So how do you design a closet so that it will consistently serve the child’s needs through every stage of development? Adaptability is a must. Use these kids’ closet ideas to make sure your design decisions stand the test of time.

Adaptable design is essential for children.

Everyone wants furnishings that will last. The baby’s room is no exception. As proof, consider all the modern cribs made to convert into a full-size bed later on. With a change of mattress, these “baby beds” will serve into the teen years and beyond. Don’t you want the same for the baby’s closet?

Baby crib designed with full-size headboard for adult use later on.
This baby crib is designed to change and grow with the child. It features both a mattress and box spring, plus a full-size headboard on one side that can be used by an older child/young adult.

How to design a kid’s closet so that it lasts from infancy into adulthood.

All closet components must be adjustable.

Baby closet with full bore panels.
Essential kids’ closet ideas include full bore panels so that shelves, rods, and other accessories can be easily repositioned as the child grows older.

The most important consideration in designing a kid’s closet is adaptability. Like the crib shown above, the closet must be able to grow and change with the child. To accomplish this, you need a laminate or wood closet organization system. Wire simply does not offer the same adaptability. Make sure you order all your laminate closet organizer panels with full bore rather than selective drilling.

Full bore means that the closet panels will have an entire series of small holes running up and down their length. The holes are used for inserting shelf pins, rods, and other closet organizers. Selective bore, on the other hand, means that holes are only drilled where a particular closet component is planned to be installed. You don’t see any exposed holes with a selective bore. This looks nice, but the series of predrilled holes allow for greater flexibility. You will be able to easily reconfigure and move things around if you have full bore panels. It is not so easy when there are no holes.

The best kids closet ideas always include a lot of shelves.

Close up of a kids closet with many shelves
This kids closet for a toddler follows best practices by including a lot of shelves in the initial design. These same shelves will be used later by older children for toys, games, and books. Shoes for the teen or young adult are best stored on closet shelves.

When it comes to storage, you can never have enough shelves. And nowhere is this more apparent than in your kid’s closet. Shelves are essential for young children. Use them for boxes of diapers and baby wipes during infancy. Later, those same shelves can be repositioned lower in the closet and used to help organize toys and books. They are also useful for teens and young adults. There is no better organizer for shoes than closet shelves.

Use multiple clothes hanging rods.

Kids Closet with multiple hanging rods.
This shared kids’ closet for a baby boy and girl uses several short length hanging rods rather than one long one. It is easier to divide the closet sections this way when the closet is shared by multiple children. It also makes it possible to replace rods with other closet accessories such as pull-out baskets at a later date.

Several short closet rods installed one over the other are better than a single long one. Children’s clothes don’t need a lot of hanging space. Any garments hung on hangers should be arranged on triple or double clothes rods. This will maximize the storage in the closet. Anything that you want your kids to be able to access themselves can go on the bottom rod. Use the shelf above each rod for folded blankets, bibs, delicate knits, or other items that don’t hang nicely. These same rods and shelves can be moved and/or removed to make room for longer adult clothes as time passes. That’s why several short closet rods are simply more versatile and adaptable than a single long rod.

Keep your closet sections to standard widths and depths.

Tween closet with closet organizers in standard sizes.
This “tween” closet includes various closet organizers and closet accessories in standard sizes. By keeping them all to the same width, they can be moved around in the closet as the needs of the child change.

Standard closet section widths are 18-inches, 24-inches, 30-inches, and 36-inches. By section, we mean a section of shelves or hanging, etc. in the closet. The width is the amount of space between the two closet panels and does not include the thickness of the vertical closet panel itself, adds an additional 5/8 or 3/4-inches depending on the manufacturer.

Standard closet organizer depth is 12 or 14 inches. This measurement is different than the standard depth of a closet. It only refers to the dimensions of the various closet organizers inside the closet. Standard widths will help you in the long run because you will be able to swap out accessories and components for new ones with relative ease. Custom sizes always require a custom solution and are less adaptable to future changes.

Use deep pull-out baskets in your kids’ closet.

Large pull-out closet wire basket used as a hamper.
This large pull-out closet wire basket is being used as a built-in hamper.

Pull-out wire baskets are recommended for kids’ closets. The large, deep baskets are especially useful as a closet organizer. Use them in an infant’s closet for storing thick blankets and bedding. They make great toy boxes for the slightly older child. Use them to corral all the Legos and small playthings — but be sure to use a canvas basket liner so the small pieces don’t fall through the slats. Smaller wire baskets can be used in place of drawers. They are less expensive than closet drawers and easier to install in a retrofit. Use them to organize and store underwear and small wardrobe accessories just as you would a drawer. They offer a similar function to traditional drawers at a fraction of the cost.

Ready to put these kids closet ideas to the test?

There’s no reason why a closet that you design and install for your baby can’t last a lifetime. With minor modifications to the placement of rods and shelves, it should last throughout childhood and into adulthood. Accessories may need to be moved, added, or repurposed, but the bones of the closet should remain. All it takes is a little advance planning to ensure your home stays organized forever.

If you’d like to give closet design a try, we offer a free online closet design tool to get you started. Alternately, feel free to contact our professional closet design service. They’ll be happy to work up a no-cost, no-obligation proposal for your next project.

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