How Deep Are Closets?

March 7, 2024 Kira Gavalakis

When it comes to organizing your home, the question “How deep are closets?” might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

But the depth of your closet determines how much you can store and how easily you can access your items (and make your day-to-day life a lot easier!).

A deeper closet allows for more storage space, making it easier to organize and find your belongings. However, if a closet is too deep, it can become difficult to reach items at the back, leading to underutilized space and frustration.

The depth of your closet affects not only the quantity of items you can store but also how you organize and access them. In a deeper closet, you have the flexibility to install multiple rows of hanging rods or shelves, increasing your storage capacity.

So, how deep are closets?

How Deep Are Closets?

Standard Closets

When we talk about standard closets, we’re typically referring to reach-in closets, which are the most common type found in bedrooms and hallways.

The standard depth for these closets is usually around 24 inches.

image of a woman wearing a white shirt looking into her walk-in closet

This measurement is the norm because it provides enough space to hang clothes without them being cramped or touching the back wall, while also ensuring that the closet doesn’t protrude too much into the room.

A standard-depth closet is ideal for storing a variety of clothing items, including shirts, blouses, jackets, and pants hung on hangers. This depth also accommodates folded clothes on shelves, shoes on the floor or shoe racks, and smaller accessories in bins or baskets.

For longer items like dresses or coats, a standard closet depth should suffice, but it’s always a good idea to measure your longest garments to ensure they fit comfortably.

Note: One of the main limitations of standard closets is their inability to store bulkier items, such as large coats, suitcases, or storage boxes, without feeling cramped.

To work around this, homeowners have to use slim hangers to maximize hanging space, install adjustable shelves to accommodate different item sizes, and use the inside of the closet door for additional storage solutions like hooks, racks, or over-the-door organizers.

Walk-In Closets

The ideal depth for walk-in closets is usually between 36 to 48 inches.

This range provides enough room for a comfortable walkway while still allowing for deep shelving, drawers, and hanging space on either side.

Walk-in closets are a dream for many homeowners, offering ample space for storage and a touch of luxury to the bedroom.

The deeper dimensions of walk-in closets make them perfect for storing larger items, such as suitcases, bulky winter coats, or even an extra set of drawers. The added depth also allows for more creative storage solutions, such as a center island for accessories, a built-in bench for seating and shoe storage, or multiple layers of hanging rods to maximize vertical space.

Tips for Walk-In Closets

Although you won’t have the limitations you’ll have with standard, reach-in closets, you’ll still need to know some tips on keeping things organized:

  • Zone your space: Divide your closet into specific areas for different types of clothing and accessories. For example, designate one section for hanging items, another for folded clothes, and a separate area for shoes and bags.
  • Use adjustable shelving: Opt for adjustable shelving units to customize the storage to your needs. This allows you to change the layout as your wardrobe evolves or as seasonal items rotate.
  • Incorporate drawers: Drawers are excellent for storing smaller items like underwear, socks, and jewelry. Consider adding a set of drawers to your walk-in closet to keep these items organized and easily accessible.
  • Utilize vertical space: Install shelves or hanging rods at different heights to take advantage of the closet’s depth and height. This is especially useful for storing out-of-season clothing or items you don’t use frequently.
  • Add lighting: Good lighting is essential in a walk-in closet, especially in deeper spaces. Install overhead lighting and consider adding LED strips or puck lights inside shelves or cabinets to illuminate every corner.

By considering the depth of your walk-in closet and organizing it effectively, you can create a functional and luxurious space that makes getting dressed a pleasure.

image of a reach in closet designed in a showroom

Other Considerations of a Closet

Closet Height

While the depth of a closet is crucial for determining how much you can store, you’ll also want to pay attention to the height of the closet. This is equally important for ensuring balanced proportions and maximizing storage capacity.

Standard closet heights typically range from 72 to 96 inches. For reach-in closets, a height of 72 inches is common, allowing for a single hanging rod and a shelf above. Walk-in closets often have taller ceilings, up to 96 inches or more, providing the opportunity for multiple levels of hanging space or additional shelving.

The height of a closet should be proportional to its depth to maintain a harmonious look and feel. A taller closet can accommodate more shelves or hanging rods, increasing the overall storage capacity. However, it’s essential to ensure that the top shelves are still accessible, possibly with the help of a step stool or pull-down rods.

Closet Furniture

The furniture inside your closet, like drawers and shelves, plays a big role in the overall functionality and should be chosen to complement the closet’s depth.

The depth of closet furniture should be slightly less than the depth of the closet to allow for easy access and to prevent items from being pushed too far back. For standard closets, furniture with a depth of 12 to 18 inches works well, while deeper walk-in closets can accommodate furniture with a depth of 18 to 24 inches.

In deeper closets, consider using furniture that maximizes the available space without making the closet feel cramped. Pull-out drawers and shelves are great for accessing items stored at the back.

Vertical storage solutions, like tall dressers or shelving units, can help utilize the height of the closet. Additionally, corner shelves or rotating storage units can make use of otherwise wasted space in the corners of a walk-in closet.

Closet Lighting

Proper lighting is a crucial element in any closet, especially in deeper closets where items can easily get lost in the shadows! Good lighting ensures visibility and accessibility, making it easier to find what you’re looking for and to keep your closet organized.

For various closet depths, consider a combination of overhead lighting and targeted task lighting. LED recessed lights or flush-mount ceiling fixtures provide general illumination, while LED strip lights or puck lights can be installed under shelves or along closet rods to illuminate specific areas.

For walk-in closets, consider adding a central light fixture or chandelier for a touch of elegance and additional light.

In deeper closets, lighting becomes even more important as it helps illuminate the entire space, reducing the risk of items being overlooked or forgotten. It also enhances the overall appearance of the closet, making it a more pleasant and inviting space.

Closet Shelving

The depth of shelving in your closet should be carefully considered to ensure efficient storage and to make the most of the available space.

Shelving depth should be chosen based on the items you plan to store. For standard closets, shelves with a depth of 12 to 16 inches are usually sufficient for folded clothes, shoes, and accessories. In deeper walk-in closets, you can opt for deeper shelves (18 to 24 inches) to store larger items or to accommodate storage bins and baskets.

In deeper closets, arrange shelves strategically to maximize space usage and accessibility. Place frequently used items at eye level and within easy reach. Use adjustable shelves to create custom storage solutions that can change with your needs.

Consider adding dividers or organizers to keep items neatly separated and to prevent them from toppling over. For very deep shelves, use labeled bins or baskets to store items, making it easier to pull them out and access their contents.

image of a wooden walk in closet designed in a showroom


Closet Design

The design of your closet is key to maximizing its functionality and ensuring it meets your specific storage needs. Customizing your closet design to accommodate different depths can make all the difference in creating an organized and efficient space.

When designing a closet, consider how the depth will impact the overall layout and storage options. For standard-depth closets, focus on maximizing vertical space with multiple hanging rods and shelves. For deeper walk-in closets, you might incorporate an island for additional storage and a folding area, or deeper shelving and drawer units to store larger items.

There are many innovative design solutions for closets of varying depths. For example, pull-out shelves or drawers in deeper closets can make it easier to access items stored at the back.

A rotating shoe rack or a pull-down hanging rod can maximize space and improve accessibility. Incorporating modular components for you to adjust or rearrange can also make your storage more flexible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How deep are closets usually?

Closets can vary in depth depending on their purpose and the size of the space available. However, a standard depth for a closet is typically around 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm). This depth allows for efficient storage of clothing and other items.

How deep are bedroom closets?

Bedroom closets can vary in depth, but a bedroom closet is typically around 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm), the same as the standard depth of a closet. This depth allows for enough space to hang clothes on hangers and store shoes or other items on shelves or in drawers.

How deep are closet shelves?

Closet shelves are typically around 12 to 16 inches (30 to 41 cm) deep. This depth allows for the storage of folded clothes, shoes, boxes, and other items without taking up too much space in the closet.

How deep are coat closets?

Coat closets are usually deeper than other types of closets to accommodate the storage of coats, jackets, and other bulky items. A standard depth for a coat closet is typically around 30 to 36 inches (76 to 91 cm), providing enough space for hanging coats and storing other items like hats, scarves, and gloves.

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