Whether you’ve decided to stay in your home and do a remodel or take the plunge and buy a home – odds are you’ll be addressing storage issues.
Almost every American home has them, and homeowners define them as very important, according to research conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, which indicates that two of the most important things to home buyers these days are “built-in cabinetry and cleverly hidden storage spaces.”
So if you’re about to embark upon the journey to organization Mecca by getting custom closets
– here are some things to look for if you’re comparing designs and bids:Hanging Out
Are the closets designed with a Hanging System or a Floor Based System? If the panels don’t touch the floor (such as the closet in the picture on the left), it’s a hanging system, which is more economical and easier to install. Floor based systems look more like built-in furniture. They also offer more flexibility for future design changes because the structure is already in place.Drawer Details
How many drawers are included – are the slides full extension, self-closing or 75% extension - are the boxes wood, melamine (white or matching color) or metal? And how deep are the drawers?Accessorize and Glamorize
What accessories are included – and how many - and are they basic or deluxe. There are lots of closet accessories on the market that function but have minimal beauty (meaning that the hardware and mechanisms are not concealed). Here's a downloadable PDF of all Closet Works accessories
. Height Matters
Is it an 84” high system, a 96” high system or something custom?A Pretty Face
Are the fronts on the doors and drawers flat, edgebanded melamine or Thermofoil, decorative (such as Raised Panel or Shaker Style). Thermofoil adds to the price but looks better and there’s no chance of the edgebanding ever coming off because there isn’t any. And do the designs include any other decorative touches such as crown, base or fluted mouldings.
Is any element custom in size, color or shape? That adds to the costs and doesn’t lend itself to doing an accurate, apples-to-apples comparison.
And last, but not least, how do you relate with the sales person/designer? As my colleague Joyce Hardison from Ventura, California so aptly put it "You need to be a well informed consumer. You need to know what to look for - how to compare designs and what's in the design."
And we both agree that being comfortable with the person who's in one of the most intimate environments in your home is just about as important as having enough space to store your shoe collection.
Design it as a "Hybrid"
- have the closet designed so the perimeter of the room (the hanging and shelves) is in melamine. Have the island and drawer/door fronts fabricated in wood that is stained to match the melamine. That way, what you see the most of (the fronts and cabinetry) is also the most beautiful and luxurious.Use Pre-Finished Wood
- you can get a wood closet for a smaller investment if you use a prefinished wood like cherry or maple. These are typically only available in clear finishes, so your choices are limited, but you avoid the cost of custom finishing.Select Your Own Pulls/Knobs
- Pick the most wonderful, gorgeous handles you can afford. Handles function like great buttons on suits - they elevate the look. Spend big here. I promise that you won't regret it. What's big? Up to $50 (or so) per pull. You touch these everyday and there's luxury in touching something that feels wonderful.Slide In & Out
- Drawer slides are the most unseen (hopefully), under appreciated elements of storage. There's no satisfaction quite like that derived from a smooth-moving drawer. With just a gentle push, you get a quick shot of luxury. And not having to worry about closing the drawer because it does it on its own...aaahhh! Life just got easier.Know Thyself
- know what it is you like about the pictures you've torn from those magazine pages. That way a good designer can guide you on which are expensive to duplicate and which aren't. If the unusual rod used on the Italian system doesn't matter to you (it's the grain of the wood that you like) then there's no point in spending a lot of money on that element. Simple looking details are often involved and expensive to fabricate and install.