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His and Hers Closet

Happy couple standing in a his and hers closet

Shared closets come with special challenges. Since every bedroom closet is inherently a very private space, sharing frequently presents challenges — even among the happiest couples. The solution is usually to partition the space. However, a closet can be difficult to divide in a fair and equitable manner. Especially if one partner has more "stuff" than the other. Pent up resentment may ensue. Left unsolved, problems in the closet can lead to other troubles later. Luckily, issues with closets are easy to fix. Just follow these tips. Your his and hers closet is sure to become the hallmark of your happy and healthy relationship.

For some couples, sharing the closet is a source of contention. It can be fraught with difficulty. For others, it's no trouble at all. The difference may depend on how well your closet design accommodates both partner's needs. Avoid the trials and tribulations of sharing a closet that just doesn't work. Look here for his and hers closet ideas that make the most of your space.

8 Design tips for planning a successful his and hers closet.

1. Start by measuring your space.

Every closet design should start by measuring the space. Measuring can be a nice couple's activity. It's important to understand that you can't plan any type of closet construction without basic dimensions. If you want to skip the measuring or just think you can wing it, think again. Closets that have been improperly measured or not measured at all are almost always doomed to failure. Success comes from thoughtful planning for every inch of the available space. That means you must take accurate numbers right from the beginning. You know yourself best. If you don't like to sweat the details, hire a professional closet designer to measure and plan for you. You're better off making this determination up front because a poorly designed closet doesn't help anyone. A poorly measured closet may not even be useable — a waste of time and money.

While measuring, be sure to note what type of door you have on your closet and where it is located as well. Does it swing in or swing out? Are there bifold doors or sliding? Do the sliding doors recess into a wall pocket, or do they stack up? The type and placement of the closet door often determines what kind of storage can be used next to it. Ditto for light switches, outlets, attic access, or other obstacles to storage or shelving placement. A closet planning guide can help you with this early step.

A man and woman measure their space

2. Take an inventory of both wardrobes.

After you've got your basic measurements, you'll know how much space you've got to work with. Next take stock of what you'd like to keep in the closet. It's important to know how much folded clothes versus hanging clothes, number of shoes, etc. when choosing types of closet organizers and planning the design. Divide the wardrobes by his and her, and by category. By this we mean how many shirts versus how many suits, sweaters, skirts, or dresses versus how many jeans or slacks, etc. When making your inventory, jot everything down on a piece of paper or use a professionally prepared inventory sheet to help with this step.

A woman sorting clothing on her bed

3. Take height into consideration when planning the closet.

A tall man next to a short woman

One person's long-hang may be another's medium-hang. If there is a big difference in length of garments, take this into consideration when planning your closet. Common recommendations for closet rod spacing include 40.5-inches for shirts and blouses. This usually allows closet rods to be placed one over the other in a double-hang configuration. A closet rod placed at 52.5-inches from the floor is standard for shorter dresses, suits, as well as pants hung by the waistband or cuff. And 64.5-inches is typical for long dresses, trench coats, and formal wear. If one partner is particularly tall, you may need to increase these heights. You don't want any of the clothes to touch the floor. However, increasing the hanging space usually necessitates the loss of some shelf height, so plan carefully.

Heights of standard closet hanging sections
Keep standard closet hanging rod heights in mind when designing your closet. If one partner is particularly tall, these numbers may need to be adjusted.

4. Do not get hung up on trying to divide the closet evenly.

Don't get hung up on whether one person has more clothes and shoes than the other. Differences are to be expected. Chances are that one partner will probably require more closet space than the other. Design your closet with this in mind and give that person more room. But remember, every closet has its limitations — no matter how clever the design. If one or both partners have way too much to fit into the closet, you may have to rotate that person's wardrobe(s) seasonally.

5. Look for an equitable way to divide the space based on need.

closet with built-in closet dresser
This walk-in closet is divided into his and hers sections by a large, built-in closet dresser. One partner gets an extra drawer to handle underwear and small items.

If the closet floor plan naturally divides the space into sections, such as with an L-shaped closet, take advantage of this when planning your his and her closet areas. But don't worry even if your closet is just a basic box. You can always design a built-in dresser, closet hutch, bank of shelving, or another closet organizer to be your divider. Very large closets can substitute a tall peninsula rather than the usual island to effectively separate the space into two distinct closet spaces.

closet with built-in closet dresser
This large walk-in closet space is divided central peninsula into separate his and hers closets. A separate wall of shoe storage is shared.

6. Plan for some limited shared space.

Certain areas of the closet should be shared. Accessories like built-in ironing boards, closet seating, and mirrors are a few examples. No need to clutter the space with two of everything. However, many couples also share their long-hang closet space because there are so few garments that need this type of storage. Evening gowns and formal wear are examples of items that need long-hang closet space. In this instance, you can place a small section of long-hang behind a door or other less accessible area because the garments aren't worn very frequently.

closet corner with built-in ironing board that folds out of drawer
This closet ironing board folds out a drawer. It's located on a shared corner of the closet containing long-hang garments. The mirrored cabinet conceals storage for his and hers formal wear.

7. Don't forget shoe storage.

Every closet needs a place for shoes. This is true even if you usually remove your footwear when entering the home. Shoes are best when organized on shelves unless you have very few, in which case a pull-out shoe rack will suffice. Shoe storage is a common source of contention between partners. Especially when one person has a large collection that overwhelms the closet or overshadows the other's ability to access their own footwear. If shoes are in danger of taking over your space, go with separate shoe storage areas. In fact, a completely separate shoe closet may be beneficial. This will prevent any unspoken resentment from building up.

Luxury closet dressing room with an arm chair next to the island
These closet shoe shelves in a shared section of the closet hold shoes for a man and woman. The shelves are slanted so that even shoes stored overhead are visible. Vertical strip lighting keeps them well-lit.

8. Include a space for everything, leaving room for new purchases.

When everything has an assigned place to, it is easier to keep the closet neat and organized. This should be the priority of your design. However, if you want the closet to last, include empty space for future purchases. It's good to purge your closet on a routine basis, eliminating items you no longer wear. However, most couples are lucky to get this done once a year. In the interim, make sure the closet has enough storage to accommodate items purchased throughout the year. Think "loose pack" when it comes to hanging. If you simply don't have room, switching from wood to slimline velvet hangers can often free up enough space for new purchases.

Think of sharing the closet as an opportunity to bring you closer together.

The bedroom closet is one of the most personal spaces in the home. It's second only to the bathroom and bedroom proper. That's why a certain intimacy is derived from sharing a closet. Love your closet, love your partner. What more motivation do you need to get your his and hers closet design right?