Closet Design Tips
Suspended vs. floor-based vs. mixed closet systems

Closet Design Basics

One of the first decisions that will have to be made when designing a new closet is the construction method. CLOSETS.COM offers suspended, floor-based or a mixture of these two methods for our closet systems. While most closets use the suspended method, there are pros and cons to each which can be reviewed below. Additionally, there are certain components/building blocks make up the "skeleton" of every closet no matter which construction method is chosen. The way these components are combined, in conjunction with the construction method, will determine your closet's storage accommodations, accessibility, maximum weight bearing capacity, and overall functionality.

Construction Methods

  • Example of a suspended closet organizer
      Suspended: Supported by a rail that is firmly secured to the wall studs. All of the structural closet components then hang off of the rail. The weight of the system is carried by the home's studs and is very strong.
    • Pros:
      • Least expensive.
      • Does not extend to the floor, so removing carpeting or baseboards is not an issue.
      • Custom cutouts around heating vents and electrical outlets are usually not necessary.
    • Cons:
      • Rail is visible, although a paintable rail cover is included.
      • Usually can't accept crown or base moulding.
      • Will not support as much weight as a floor-based closet system.
      • Cannot be used with plaster and lath walls.
  • Example of a floor-based closet organizer
      Floor-Based: Supported by the floor and includes a cabinet base box that raises the closet a few inches off the floor. Mouldings like base boards should be removed prior to installation so that the closet sits flush to the wall. Alternately, the vertical closet panels can be cut at the bottom to go around baseboard that you do not wish to remove.
    • Pros:
      • Can bear the most weight (Pantries must be floor-based due to the nature of the goods stored on their shelves).
      • Accepts custom crown and base mouldings, creating a very finished, furniture style look that adds decorative flair and can blend seamlessly with the style of the home.
      • Can be used with plaster and lath walls.
    • Cons:
      • More expensive.
      • Difficult to change the carpeting unless it is removed from under the unit prior to installation.
      • Custom cut-outs for vents are required when the system covers a heating or cooling duct.
  • Example of a mixed closet organizer Mixed: The majority of custom organization systems use a combination of suspended and floor-based components to create the greatest functionality along with the most beautiful appearance and value. For example, hanging sections are often suspended while cabinet and drawer sections might be floor-based, giving more of a furniture look to those components.

Closet Organizer Components

Closet organizer components can be categorized into Hanging Systems, Shelving and/or Drawer & Cabinet Systems, Basket Systems, and Combo Systems. Each category of component is designed to handle a specific type of storage.

  1. Hanging Systems:

    Hanging components for closet organizer systems can be categorized into five types.

    Double hang closet organizer
    Double Hang
    Long hang closet organizer
    Long Hang
    Medium hang closet organizer
    Medium Hang
    Low hang closet organizer
    Low Hang
    Triple hang closet organizer
    Triple Hang
    • Double hang is great for maximizing your hanging space for shirts, blouses, folded pants, and other garments where stacking the hanging space makes most sense.
    • Long hang is for overcoats, dresses, formal, coats, robes and other garments needing length.
    • Medium hang is used for suits, long skirts, pants hung from the waistband or cuff, blazers, and other medium length garments.
    • Low hang holds the same length garments as double hang with the option of more shelves rather than an upper rod — often preferred in children's closets.
    • Triple hang is used mainly in baby closets. The short length of the clothing allows the stacking of three rods to maximize space.
  2. Shelving, Drawer & Cabinet Systems:

    Shelving components for closet organizer systems can be categorized into five types.

    Seven shelf closet organizer
    All Shelves
    Four drawer closet organizer with shelves
    Drawer & Shelf
    Four drawer closet organizer with upper cabinet
    Drawer & Cabinet
    All drawers closet organizer
    All Drawers
    Cabinet closet organizer
    All Cabinet
    • Shelves are perfect for shoes, sweaters, knits and folded jeans or casual pants.
    • Components may feature only shelves, drawers, cabinets or any combination of these.
    • Shelves are the backbone of all three component types:
      • Cabinets are simply shelving units with doors.
      • In a bank of drawers, there will be a fixed shelf between every three drawers.
    • All drawers use undermount ball bearing slides with soft close, meaning you won't see any hardware and the drawers close quietly on their own.
    • Drawers are available in three standard heights:
      • 5-inch closet drawers are perfect for storing small items. Inserts are available for jewelry organization.
      • 7-1/2-inch closet drawers are good for socks and underwear or small accessories.
      • 10-inch closet drawers can store bulkier items like blankets. They also accept file drawer inserts for organizing papers.
  3. Basket Systems:

    Closet organizer with shelves and 1 basket
    1 Basket
    Closet organizer with shelves and 2 baskets
    2 Baskets
    Closet organizer with shelves and 3 baskets
    3 Baskets
    Closet organizer with shelves and 4 baskets
    4 Baskets
    • Pull-out wire closet baskets slide in and out on ball bearing slides with a functionality that is similar to drawers.
    • Baskets are less expensive than drawers.
    • Slide-out wire closet baskets are 14 inches deep and are available in 18, 24 and 30 inch widths plus three heights:
      • Small, 6-inch high baskets work well for small items and accessories.
      • Medium, 11-inch baskets are good for socks and underwear or other small accessory items like ties and belts.
      • Large 17-inch baskets can store bulkier items. They also function well as a built-in hamper for your closet.
    • Wire baskets are available in polished chrome, brushed chrome and oil rubbed bronze finishes to match your hardware selections.
    • Removable basket liners are available to keep things from falling through the wires.
    • Wire baskets should be installed below eye level. They are used in conjunction with shelves or other closet organizer components.
  4. Combo Systems:

    Combo components combine shelves, drawers and slide-out baskets for a very functional closet organizer system. By supplementing the drawers with the less costly slide-out baskets, price is kept down without sacrificing functionality. The number of shelves, drawers and baskets can vary per unit. Examples are shown below.

    Closet organizer with 1 drawer, 5 shelves and 2 baskets
    Mixed System
    Closet organizer with 4 drawers, 3 shelves and 1 basket
    Mixed with 1 Basket for Hamper

Please review the installation procedures before installing any of your closet organizer components.