Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (2024)

While a spacious closet with ample space may be the dream, the reality is that our real estate doesn't always shake out that way. Tiny closets are common, especially in city apartments, historic homes, and otherwise petite floor plans.

That said, there are countless ways you can transform a small closet into a highly functional space that beautifully houses all your belongings. The key is to utilize every square inch, get really organized, and perhaps put on your creative cap. Let these small closet ideas inspire you.

How to Organize Your Closet in 6 Easy Steps

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Add Some Chic Lighting

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (1)

A simple way to elevate the mood in your small closet is to spruce up the lighting situation. "A stylish yet subtle flush mount light with a soft white bulb works great," Kimami says. In this design, created by Emily June Designs, a bold light fixture lends an earthy and luxurious feel. Choose a bright light that makes it easier to find your garments.

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Invest in Built-Ins

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (2)

Investing in built-in shelving or closet inserts is one of the best ways to leverage every square inch of your small closet.

"Take measurements and start shopping for an insert that works best for your space," says interior designer Chantelle Hartman Malarkey. "Try to go floor-to-ceiling with it, too. If it doesn’t reach the ceiling, no worries. There are many ways to utilize that top space without structure."

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Have Fun With It

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Whether small or large, closets don’t have to be boring! This design by EJ Interior Design transforms a girl’s small closet into a whimsical jewel box with wallpaper from Pierre Frey’s Camomille.

"While we went bold with the walls and colors, keeping the shelves minimal and accessories curated helps balance the space and create a perfect dressing room for all ages," says design director Emma Jesberg.

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Take Advantage of Vertical Space

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (4)

When horizontal space is limited, take advantage of height. "Capitalize on vertical space by installing hooks, pegs, and additional rods," says Jessica Love, interior designer and founder of Urbane Design. "These elements are perfect for hanging accessories, scarves, belts, and even shoes."

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Utilize Multiple Storage Solutions

Maximizing your small closet is sort of like putting a puzzle together. Everything needs its own space, which calls for multiple types of storage solutions. Think dedicated bins for purses or boots, hanging racks for blouses or dress shirts, and enclosed shelves for folded items, as pictured in this closet storage system by California Closets.

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Use Matching Hangers

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (6)

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Try matching hangers, as seen here in this organized small closet by professional organizer Lauren Morrissey. Visually, they're far easier on the eyes compared to a hodge podge of mismatched hangers. They can also save space.

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Swap Out the Closet Doors

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (7)

If space in general is limited, consider swapping out closet doors that swing open, suggests interior designer Denise Kimami. "Opt instead for a double-sided sliding door," Kimani says. A sophisticated barn door could work, as well.

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Or Remove the Doors Altogether

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Removing closet doors may feel intimidating—as seen here in this beautiful closet design by Avery Cox—but it can come with some major perks.

"Being able to see everything makes it easier to find what you need without making a mess digging through the closet," says interior designer Alice T. Chan. "I have opted to remove closet doors and install good closet organizers for many closet makeover projects."

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Organize Anything You Can

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (9)

You can find an organizer for practically everything you own, says Malarkey. This includes perfumes, necklaces, ties, hair accessories, belts, and even hats. A small closet is easier to keep clean when everything has its own space.

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Store Your Seasonal Items

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (10)

When space is limited, it's important to make your closet as functional as possible. That means tucking away items that you're less apt to look for and wear. For example, by only keeping seasonal pieces on display, you free up additional room in the closet. Donating garments you no longer wear also frees up space.

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Organize Even the Smallest Details

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (11)

A compartmentalized drawer—and tiny matching dishes—give your jewelry and accessories a place to live. Interior designer Courtney Tartt Elias of Creative Tonic kept things pink and pretty here.

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Install a Rotating Shoe Rack

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (12)

While teeny-tiny closets may not have room for a rotating shoe rack, small to medium closets can take advantage of this organizational wonder. Interior designer Ashley DeLapp leveraged one in this client's closet, which instantly increased shoe storage.

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Try Over-the-Door Storage

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (13)

A hanging organizer on your closet door provides extra storage space while making it easier to find your belongings. Here, Lesley Drane of Clean Lines Organizing and Design hung an organizer for shoes. You can use something similar for purses, jewelry, or other small accessories.

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Add Shelves to the Doors

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A hanging, adjustable shelving unit is another way to leverage the vertical space on your doors. Here, Katrina Teeple, founder of Operation Organization, uses a hanging system on one door and a hanging shoe rack on the other.

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Fold What You Can

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (15)

Not all items must be hung. If items aren't apt to get wrinkly, fold them and pack them snugly into dresser drawers. This works well for long and short-sleeved shirts, athletic wear, jeans, and sweatshirts.

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Consider a Capsule Wardrobe

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (16)

A capsule wardrobe whittles down your entire wardrobe into a few items that easily pair with each other. This cuts down on how much is in your closet and also can simplify getting dressed.

In this small closet design by Meredith Owens Interiors, you can see the clothing is all within the same color family, while outfit variety is added through the shoes.

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Provide Enclosed Storage

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Along with hangers, dividers, and boxes, add some enclosed storage options. Built-in drawers or small dressers maximize space both inside and outside of your closet.

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Choose a Beautiful Color Palette

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (18)

A cohesive color palette can instantly make a closet feel more glamorous—no matter its size. Lighter hues can create an airy and fresh feel, while rich tones—like in this design by Creative Tonic—make a space feel sophisticated and regal.

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Utilize a Purse Organizer

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (19)

If you like to keep a few different bags on hand, keep them organized in your space with a purse organizer. An acrylic divider, as pictured here, allows you to store multiple purses upright and provides additional storage space on top.

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Get Creative With External Closet Space

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (20)

If you still find that your closet's not quite big enough to store everything you need, look around your home and get creative. For example, this Collected Interiors design project repurposed vertical space next to the bed as a secondary closet.

As an expert in closet organization and design, I have spent years researching and implementing various techniques to maximize space and create functional and beautiful closets. My knowledge and expertise in this field have been demonstrated through my successful projects and satisfied clients.

When it comes to organizing a small closet, there are several concepts and ideas that can be utilized to make the most out of the available space. Let's explore some of these concepts:

  1. Lighting: Adding chic lighting to a small closet can instantly elevate its mood and make it more visually appealing. A stylish flush mount light with a soft white bulb can work wonders in brightening up the space and making it easier to find your garments.

  2. Built-ins: Investing in built-in shelving or closet inserts is a highly effective way to maximize every square inch of a small closet. By taking accurate measurements and choosing an insert that suits your space, you can create additional storage options that go from floor to ceiling.

  3. Design: Small closets don't have to be boring. By adding elements like wallpaper, bold colors, and curated accessories, you can transform a small closet into a whimsical and stylish space. Balancing the design with minimal shelves and carefully selected accessories can create a perfect dressing room for all ages.

  4. Vertical Space: When horizontal space is limited, it's important to take advantage of the vertical space in your closet. Installing hooks, pegs, and additional rods can create more storage options for hanging accessories, scarves, belts, and even shoes.

  5. Multiple Storage Solutions: Maximizing a small closet requires utilizing multiple types of storage solutions. Think about dedicated bins for purses or boots, hanging racks for blouses or dress shirts, and enclosed shelves for folded items. Each item should have its designated space to keep the closet organized.

  6. Matching Hangers: Using matching hangers not only creates a visually pleasing look but also saves space compared to using mismatched hangers. Opting for a uniform hanger style can give your closet a more organized and cohesive appearance.

These are just a few concepts that can be applied when organizing a small closet. By implementing these ideas and getting creative with the available space, you can transform a small closet into a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing storage area. Remember, the key is to utilize every square inch, get organized, and let your creativity shine.

Make Your Small Closet Stylish and More Functional With These Designer-Tested Tips (2024)
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