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The Indoor Outside Closet

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The Indoor "Outside Closet"

Closet Solutions and Storage Ideas for People Who Have Absolutely No More Room in Their Closets

Whenever more storage space is required, the first order of business is to take a good, hard look at your existing closets to see what areas might be maximized through better organization. This is an excellent practice. Better closet organization — especially when a new closet organization system is installed — results in more storage for your home. A new cusom organization system, when installed in a closet that previously lacked this feature, will often double the amount of usable storage space. However, what do you do when you have already maximized your existing closets with a highly efficient custom closet system, and yet you still need more space? Or, what about rooms where there is no existing closet to maximize? The answer is the "outside closet." Not to be confused with an outdoor closet, an outside closet is a storage unit built against open/unused wall space inside the home. In effect, it's a closet built "outside the closet."

When closet space is tight, think outside the box for storage — think outside the closet.

An outside closet can occupy the same space often allocated to traditional furniture such as freestanding wardrobe closets and armoires. The advantage of the outside closet over regular furniture is that it is custom designed to fit the available space. Any unoccupied corner or section of wall can accommodate the outside closet. It can be made to any height, depth or width required. If desired, it can be made to resemble a piece of furniture, a Craftman Style built in, or designed to match other cabinets in the home for a cohesive look. The outside closet can be added to spaces where traditional stock furniture simply won't fit

Where to Use an Outside Closet:

  • THE BEDROOM:

    Many bedrooms do not come with large closets. This is especially common in vintage homes that were built for a different era when people simply did not have as many clothes. If your bedroom lacks sufficient closet space, you are a prime candidate for a new "outside closet." An outside closet for the bedroom is basically the same as a built in wardrobe closet. It would be a second closet for your bedroom. The closet can be built to resemble furniture if desired, however, the advantage over purchasing from a furniture store is that your custom built in wardrobe can be designed to fit your space exactly and will provide more storage in less space. Odd sizes are no problem when you go custom, and it can easily accommodate the odd corner or any jogs and quirks in the wall.

    closet solutions for bathoom linen and toiletry storage needs
    This vintage Victorian home did not include any usable closets in the bedrooms. Two new "outside closets" were installed for his and her use, making the home practical for modern living. See Project

    built in window seat
    Two new wardrobes/outside closets provide additional his and hers storage with a contemporary vibe for this bedroom that didn't have enough closet space.See Project
  • THE BATHROOM:

    Many bathrooms, especially powder rooms or "half baths" are quite small. Lack of storage is a common issue, since they rarely include their own closet space and there isn't really enough room for a furniture type of storage solution. A good way to add storage to small bathrooms is by building a small wardrobe style built in closet along any available wall space. This closet can be any depth needed to fit into the space. Ten inches can provide a surprizing amount of storage and is a good depth to use, however, smaller depth closets are possible when the space is extremely tight or narrow.

    closet solutions for bathoom linen and toiletry storage needs
    Closet solutions for this narrow bathroom with no existing storage include two tall, shallow cabinetry units. The cramped powder room did not have sufficient space for furniture or a traditional closet. This "outside closet" and custom over-the-toilet cabinetry were built with a 10 inch and 14 inch depths to solve the storage problem.
  • THE HALLWAY:

    Hallways are an area of the home that is frequently underutilized for storage. American standards call for a minimum 36 inch wide hallway in most circumstances. However, many hallways are 44 to 48 inches wide. This is enough to accommodate a shallow wardrobe style closet system of 8 - 12 inches depth, maintaining a 36 inch wide hallway. Additionally, there are often larger unused corners or staircase landings where larger closet systems can be installed.

    linen closet solution for a hallway
    This "outside closet" provides ample linen and other storage. The lack of overall closet space in this home was solved through the addition of this wardrobe closet. The "outside closet" was installed in the hallway along an open wall. See Project
  • THE PLAY ROOM:

    If you have a play room or other child space in your home, chances are you need more storage. A place to keep all the toys in an organized fashion is a universal need amongst todays parents. All the Legos®, blocks, cars, Barbie® shoes and accessories, etc. can easily get out of control and create a mess. Building a wardrobe style closet or other outside closet system can provide the exact storage needed so that it is simple and easy to keep the room tidy and picked up. Storage can even be designed to encourage children to pick up their own toys.

    closet storage added to hall with custom built in
    Closet storage added to a child's playroom/family movie room. The storage unit does double duty as a toy closet and entertainment center. See Project
  • THE MUD ROOM OR ENTRYWAY:

    An outside closet doesn't necessarily need to look like a traditional closet. Even if your rear entrance already has a closet for coats, hats, etc., chances are you can make better use of the space with a new mud room closet system. Designed to look more like a piece of furniture with integrsted seating, an "outside closet" that is installed in a mud room or entryway is often an open storage system that doesn't look like a closet at all.

    storage ideas for corner mud room include a custom hall-tree/locker closet
    This space previously hosted a traditional closet. By opening it up and incorporating a corner closet system without doors, the space appears much larger due to the increase in floor space. The new unit looks like a piece of furniture, but was custom designed to exactly fit the dimensions of the corner area near the door. An equal amount of hanging space is provided in the new srorage system through the use of hooks and cabinets.
  • THE GREAT ROOM OR FAMILY ROOM:

    Don't overlook your quasi public spaces when looking for a spot to incorporate extra storage. There is no need to despair if you have no room for additional closets in your bedroom. An outside closet can be built in any room that has a bit of open wall space, including your main living space or great room. A combination closet is a good choice for this type of space. A combination closet is usually a custom affair, built to provide both clothing storage and media center storage. This type of closet can handle your entertainment center needs with a built in space for a television and AV equipment, while providing concealed storage for the out-of-season or infrequently used overflow of clothing that doesn't necessarily need to be stored in the bedroom.

    combination closet and entertainment center
    This built in combination closet was designed to occupy the lower level rec room of the home. This area was chosen simply because there was an open wall for additional storage here. Space is provided for the television and general entertainment needs, but additional cabinets and drawers provide storage for excess clothing that the owner wants to keep, but doesn't have room for in the bedroom. See Project
  • Whether designed to resemble a craftsman built in or a traditional piece of furniture, the outside closet is a good way to add storage to any home. Custom wardrobe closet organization systems, which is what an outside closet essentially is, are able to maximize all available space while following the design aesthetic used elsewhere in the home. Flexible size and dimensions mean that they can be incorporated into any room, hallway or other space, making it more practical and function for the homeowner.