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How to Choose a Closet Designer

7 tips when selecting someone to help design your next custom closet.

Choose closet designer

A lot of your satisfaction with your next custom closet design depends on the rapport and relationship you establish with your closet designer. But how to choose the right person? Read on for tips and best practices to get you started down the right path.

So, you've decided to take the plunge and get organized with a new custom closet system. There are many reasons for making this decision and they can impact your choice of closet designer. Are you building a new home that doesn't include any type of closet systems? Are you in an old home and simply out of space with your current organization systems? Are you just looking to update the style left from a previous homeowner? All of these questions and more can impact your designer selection process.

    7 tips when selecting someone to help design your next custom closet.

  1. Select the Company Before the Individual Designer

    Select a company with good reviews
    Select a company with good reviews.

    Most closet companies have more than one designer working for them. Furthermore, different companies have different specialties. Their staff will reflect the company's area of expertise. Some custom closet companies specialize in working with builders on big projects and don't have a lot of experience dealing with individual homeowners. This is where word of mouth comes in. Do you know anyone who has used the company you are thinking of trying? At the very least, check the online reviews. Google is a good place to start. When you type in the company's address you should get a picture of it and a link to reviews. Social media is another good place to check. Most consumer facing businesses have Facebook pages these days. It's almost a necessity of doing business. And Facebook allows users to leave reviews on their site. Angie's List and Yelp are two other outside sources that specialize in reviews of local businesses. Read what other customers have to say about the business. No one will have all 5-star ratings. No matter how good the company is there will always be someone with a gripe. (Unhappy customers are always the first to leave a review). But good reviews should definitely dominate over bad ones.

  2. Identify Your Style (& Ask About Theirs)

    Decide on your closet design style before selecting a closet designer
    Decide on your closet design style before selecting a closet designer. Are you traditional, modern, or somewhere in between with a transitional style?

    Decide on your style before selecting your designer. It will help with the selection process. For example, if you know you are a traditional girl at heart who loves Waterford chandeliers and dark wood cabinetry, you don't want to pick a designer who only likes to do contemporary. Even though the designer may say they'll work in any style, if their heart isn't in the work, you won't get a good result.

  3. Make a Budget

    Have a total budget in mind before selecting a closet designer
    Have a total budget in mind before selecting a closet designer.

    Try to have a budget in mind before selecting your closet designer. You don't have to tell the designer the maximum that you are willing to spend as soon as they walk in the door, but your ability to communicate a range will get you a better proposal and a better result in the long run. If you are on a budget, let that be known upfront. You don't really want to waste your time or theirs on things that are out-of-reach. Furthermore, there are often several ways to approach the same project, all resulting in a similar closet, but a different price point. The price you need in order to purchase is often just as important as the number of garments you need to fit inside that closet.

  4. Look at Portfolios

    Woman checking closet designer portfolio on her iPad
    Woman checking closet designer portfolio on her iPad.

    Seeing is believing. Does this designer have real life examples to show in your preferred style? Individual designer portfolios may be available on the company website. If not, Check Houzz, the social media platform for interior (and closet) design. It will give you a sense of what this designer has done in the past, and what they might do in the future. You may also get a chance to check references, and ask about certain projects in the portfolio at this stage.

  5. Ask Questions

    interview your potential designers
    Ask a lot of questions during the initial consultation to see if the designer is a good fit for you.

    Meet your designer beforehand and select a compatible personality. This can be done during the initial consultation. Initial consultations are usually free from any reputable company. The designer will want to measure and see the scope of the project. You will want to conduct what is basically a job interview. Ask a lot of questions and make sure this person is really the right fit for you. Designing a closet can get quite personal. You have to go through all of your clothes and accessories to determine what needs to fit in the closet. If you are including drawers or pull-out baskets for lingerie, you will want to consider whether you are comfortable discussing your underwear storage needs with this person. Think of it as a temporary marriage. Like your work spouse.

  6. Presentation and Follow-Up

    design consultation
    How was your design consultation? Did your designer seem attentive and interested in your project? Did they make the effort to give a good presentation?

    There is a lot more to be done even after a closet design and design has been selected. There are a lot of decisions to be made. You will have questions and want to make changes along the way. The initial consultation can offer a lot of clues as to what to expect in the future. How was the presentation during your initial appointment? Did your designer seem attentive or distracted? Did your design proposal arrive in a reasonable amount of time? Was your designer reachable after the initial consultation? Ask about their availability for future appointments/questions. Just because a designer seems experienced this does not always mean they are the best fit for you. There are a lot of factors that come into play. Different designers tend to specialize in different kinds of projects. Does your project meet the type of scale that this designer is accustomed to? If not, you may find yourself pushed to a lower priority level. This doesn't necessarily mean your person is a bad designer, you may simply be vying for their time along with a lot of others. Depending on your needs and timeline, it may or may not matter. But, if you have a small project and want a lot of individualized attention, you may be better off with a less experienced designer who is still trying to establish a following so that you can get the level of attention you desire.

  7. Involve Your Significant Other(s)

    Compare notes
    Compare notes with your spouse/significant other before making your final choice of closet designer. Even if the closet is for you, the entire household will be effected by the remodeling project.

    It's usually best to include your spouse/significant other in the selection process. Any type of home remodelling is disruptive and closets are no exception. Even if you are the going to be the point person on the project, everyone who lives in the home ends up being effected by your choice of designer. Choose the one that's best for the whole family. Go on an excurion to the company's showroom if possible to give everyone an idea of what is involved and make sure you're all on board for the project.

Now You're Ready to Choose Your Closet Designer

If you've done your homework and considered all the pros and cons to a particular person, it's time to make your decision. Buying a new custom closet should be fun, but the designer can make or break the experience. Nirvana or nightmare? It's up to you! But relax. As long as you've followed the tips above, you're bound to choose the best designer for your project.