Storage is an area of home improvement that has taken a life of its own in recent times. Once seen as a mere utility and something to be tucked away from sight securely, storage solutions are now getting a lot of attention — and for good reason. Today, a chic closet is much more than a practical addition to a house: it is a style statement.
Now, we all know an efficient storage plan can alleviate a lot of stress from your day to day life. Not having to look for our socks every morning is a luxury that only a few of us experience if our closets are not organized properly. That’s what makes storage such an important yet underrated part of any home. It streamlines your life and gets rid of any unnecessary energy leaks. The question is not, “Do I need to update my closet?”. Chances are, your storage space is insufficient for your needs and needs to be organized properly, and that is why you are here, reading this. The better questions to ask are: Which one should I choose and why? Should I customize it? Should I just buy a built-in one?
We are going to answer some of these questions and help you make the right choice.
Choosing the Right Closet
In 2019, we are seeing an influx of inspired designs and styles in the storage world. Whether it is a monochromatic and minimalist design for a master bedroom or a superhero motif for the kids’ rooms — there are a lot of options available. You can blend the storage areas into an overarching theme or vice versa too; it’s completely up to you.
Related: Easy Storage Ideas For Every Room In Your House
Walk-in closets, built-in closets, armoires, pantries, linen closets, utility closets, etc. are some of the countless options in the storage world. The preference for these depends both on style and purpose. For this article, we will be talking about the fundamental differences between a built-in and walk-in closet, what makes each of them unique, and how you can get the most out of either of them.
A walk-in closet is the king when it comes to storage solutions.
As is obvious from the name, a walk-in closet is essentially a small room that you can walk into. Typically starting from 6.5 feet in terms of depth, there is no upper limit to the size of a walk-in. In fact, those with a passion for fashion, have been known to have closets that are bigger than a standard master bedroom.
The only limitation when you choose a walk-in closet is that you need to have some extra space for it. However, in our years of service, we have found that a significant majority of people who can afford the extra space go for walk-in without a second thought. That is to say, that walk-in closets enjoy a lot of popularity among those who want to add a personal touch to their closets.
Advantages of a Walk-In Closet
- A walk-in closet can double up as a dressing room most of the time.
- Some people use ironing boards in there; so you can iron, fold/hang and store your clothes — all in one place.
- Walk-in closets provide ample storage. Shoes, jewelry, make-up, clothes — everything can be found at the same place at the same time.
- A walk-in closet helps in removing clutter from both your bedroom and the master bathroom. Since you can get ready in the closet from start to finish, the bedroom is left untouched by the morning chaos.
- By relieving your bathroom from the pressure of hair and make-up every day, a walk-in closet indirectly reduces the workload of cleaning up a bathroom.
- A large enough walk-in can incorporate an island in the middle, which can be used as an organizer or even an ironing board.
Who Should You Choose a Walk-In Closet?
The biggest hurdle on your path to a walk-in closet is space.
In most of the major cities where real estate prices can give anyone a heart attack, a walk-in is seen as a luxury add-on. So, the first thing you should ask yourself is, do you really have the space to accommodate a walk-in closet?
Another factor to be taken into consideration is utility. If you don’t have enough clothes or accessories, it might not really be a necessary addition for you. If you live alone and do not really plan on starting a family, a walk-in closet can be overkill. On the other hand, if shopping is your go-to stressbusting activity or you have a family, it might be worth considering.
To put it concisely, if you have the space AND the items to fill the said space up with — go for a walk-in closet. In some social circles, it is even a brag-worthy addition and can add some extra oomph to your house. It is certainly a very luxurious buy, so make sure you make enough space and budget for it beforehand.
Making Up Your Mind About Walk-in Closets
The question of unnecessary opulence is a valid one, but let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want a private closet space that you can walk in and use as a trial room?
If you decide to get a walk-in closet, make sure:
- the space is not being used at the expense of any other important household project.
- you have ample lighting inside the walk-in closet.
- there’s ventilation in the room so that it doesn’t feel claustrophobic.
- you resist the temptation of using the walk-in closet floor as a laundry basket.
- everything is well organized. Since there are a lot of different items a walk-in closet would have to support, it is fairly easy for everything to go south and turn into a cluttered mess.
A worthy alternative to walk-in closets, built-in closets are perfect if you do not want to waste any area for a “storage room”.
You cannot walk into a built-in closet, and that lack of extra space is perhaps the only difference between the two.
However, built-in closets are equally favored as walk-ins if not more. They do not take a lot of space and are overall more efficient. Walk-in closets can feel like a waste of space after a while, especially since their size makes them prone to cluttering and chaos. That’s where the ease of maintaining a smaller closet comes out as the winner.
Why Should You Choose a Built-In?
If you live in a small house or a tiny apartment, utilizing every available square inch of space should be your top priority.
Built-in closets, if organized properly, can bear the weight of your entire wardrobe quite easily. And just like a walk-in, they reduce the clutter from the bedroom.
Even if you do have the space for a walk-in closet, you need to consider if you actually own enough things to have a separate room for those. With a walk-in closet, people tend to hold on to things they no longer use, just because they have the space to do so.
If you don’t have space, or want a low maintenance storage solution — built-in closets are the way to go.
Advantages of a Built-In Closet
- Built-in closets force you to be more minimalistic and purge your wardrobe of anything you don’t absolutely need.
- They are cheaper, easier to install, and easier to upgrade. You can swap the panels out if they get too old or outdated easily. Whereas renovating a walk-in can be a costly affair.
- With a built-in closet, nearly everything you own will be in plain sight; as compared to walk-ins where things can get lost in a nook or a cranny if it is left unorganized.
- Built-in closets are amazing for using the available space frugally. There are several add-ons available in the market which dramatically increase the capacities of a built-in closet like shelves, hanging rods, etc.
- You can have a mirror stationed at one end or behind one of the closet’s door, thus doubling it up as a dressing space.
Making Up Your Mind About Built-in Closets
If you do not have space and/or enough items to fill up the said space, go for a built-in closet. They are cheaper, easier to maintain, compact, and even a little prudent when compared to the excesses of a walk-in closet.
Make sure you take into consideration the following points before you buy a built-in closet:
- Built-in closets will naturally have less space for storage as compared to walk-in closets; so you must be willing to give up stuff you don’t need or use infrequently.
- Although not as much as walk-ins, built-in closets do need some space to be installed or built. If you are extremely low on space, consider freestanding wardrobes or armoires instead.
- Do you plan on staying put in your house, or do you plan on moving once the family expands? If you plan on staying put, it would be wise to think ahead and design the place in a way that it can sustain your future needs. If you feel that your storage space might become insufficient in the coming months, it may be better to go for a walk-in closet instead.