The Design Guide: Walk-in vs Reach-in Closets

The Design Guide: Walk-in vs Reach-in Closets

If you’re planning a closet redesign, choosing a high-quality closet system is important if you want to maximize its efficiency. Over the years, closets have evolved to become more functional, adaptable, and customizable spaces that can challenge even the most talented interior designers. But before you get into any design concepts, it’s important to ask yourself what your goals are for your new closet space. To begin, ask yourself the following questions:


  1. Where is the closet located?
  2. What type of closet is it? Can it be expanded?
  3. Who will use the space?
  4. What will be stored in the closet?


Once you have a good idea of how you plan to use your closet space, it will be much easier to incorporate lifestyle and personal touches into any modular or pre-designed closet options.

Closet Q & A

What closet dimensions do you need to know?

No closet is exactly the same, which is why the dimensions of your closet design will vary depending on the closet’s purpose and location. General closet dimensions to keep in mind are the depth, width, and height of your actual closet, the room space outside of the closet, as well as any pre-designed system, shelving, or rods that may be incorporated into the design.

How do you choose a closet design?

Choosing a closet design changes depending on how it will meet your needs and the capabilities of your space. If you’re planning a full walk-in closet design, make accommodations for the size of additions such as an island, dresser, or lighting.

Here's a great resource on walk in closet ideas.

If you’re creating a design for reach-in or open closet layouts, built-in closet systems with functional accessories can offer convenience, organization, and personality to any space in your home.

How do you start a closet design project?

Before you start your project, measure your design space. Once you know what dimensions you’ll be working with, use a closet design tool to help you visualize your customized or pre-designed closet system. Or, you can speak to a professional closet designer by filling out a free design form to help you find a closet that works for your home and lifestyle. If your budget doesn't allow for that, consider doing your walk-in closet DIY style.


Whether your closet project is meant to increase your home’s financial value, sell your home, or just manage your home’s storage and organization needs—deciding on the correct closet design is a key factor to a successful project. And while walk-in closets might not have been your first go-to home improvement project, according to Kiplinger’s survey to the NAHB, closet space is a top priority amongst second-time homebuyers.

Walk-in Closets

If you’re looking to maximize your storage options while giving your space the luxury treatment, walk-in closets are the most popular option—if you have the extra space. A walk-in closet with unique additional features can be the highlight of your home that guests won't stop raving about. These additions can also double as a linen closet to a designed master bedroom closet suite.



Small Walk-In Closets

General Dimensions: 4 ft. x 8 ft. x 4 ft

Smaller walk-in closet spaces are a great feature for any room in your home. To increase the storage and efficiency of a smaller walk-in closet, consider removing the doors. This offers more visual square footage of the room while also gaining space within the closet. Plus, without doors, your walk-in won’t have anything to hide behind, so it might stay tidier.

Large Walk-In Closets

General Dimensions 12 ft. x 14 ft. x 7 ft.

When designing a large walk-in space, it’s important to maximize the efficiency of the space by using built-ins to keep your closet organized. Large walk-in closets have the advantage of space, so you can incorporate an island into your design, and prevent big furniture clutter.

However, large walk-in closets take up a lot of square footage, which may not appeal to those looking to maximize their organization without losing usable space. Large walk-in closets are great options for master bedrooms, guestrooms, a kitchen pantry, or a laundry room.

Design Inspiration

Vista Tall Hanging Closet Organizer

WFB-TH 19.5


The Modular Closet Tall Hanging closet unit is the ideal module for dresses and long garments. It has a 12" shelf above the hanging rod, which is perfect for handbags, hats, and other accessories. It is also the perfect fixture for your coat closet or entryway closet.

Assembled Dimensions

Height: 18’’

Depth:  14’’

Width: 18’’ to 36’’


Vista 4 Drawer Shelf Closet Tower




The Modular Closet 4 Drawer Shelf Tower with drawers is a custom closet essential. This all-wood unit is the perfect tall closet storage solution to organize your wardrobe and can also be used in a pantry or bathroom closet. The drawers and adjustable shelves allow for lots of flexibility and can store pants, shirts, sweaters, shoes, and accessories. The drawers are solid wood and easy to install and come with complimentary chrome knobs.


Assembled Dimensions

Height: 71.25" (84" with optional legs)

Depth: 14"

Width: 19.5"| 25.5"| 31.5"

Reach-in Closets

Reach-in closets are designed for usefulness. But with less available space to use, you’ll have to get crafty in how you want to create your space. To help keep your space tidy, start by coming up with a closet design that focuses on specific and essential items that will live there. Because of the reduced size, reach-in closets can be easier to manage, making it easier to spot items quickly. Regardless of the size of your home, reach-in closets may be the best option if you’re looking to lead a minimalist lifestyle, follow a specific budget, or save space. However, most reach-in closets offer enough square footage and storage options for a homes’ needs by being placed in hallways, foyers, and other high-traffic areas.


Small Reach-in Closets

General Dimensions 6 ft. x 8 ft. x 24 in.


When you’re creating a small reach-in closet design, you will benefit by incorporating your lifestyle. If you’re a crafty person, using a reach-in closet with storage containers and bins to keep your items organized on a shelf is a great way to get more function out of your space. No matter what your hobbies or lifestyle choices are, customizing your reach-in with a built-in closet design helps you stay organized. If you find you have a lot of problems meeting your storage needs, you might consider donating any unused items to save space.


Large Reach-in And Open Closets

General Dimensions 6 ft. x 8 ft. x 24 in. or higher


Larger reach-in closets are a wonderful addition to laundry rooms, bedrooms, and pantries and add lots of room for helpful shelves and accessories. Large reach-ins and open closets are great at providing function, design, and creativity without taking up vast amounts of functional space. However, these closets are not without their limits. Reach-in and open closets tend to have more favorable options for people who don’t have many items to accommodate. For instance, residents living without children, or people in warmer climates who don’t need a winter wardrobe might find this option more practical.


Open closets have become a desirable design trend because of their incorporation of the room itself within its organizational system. Open closets comprise of built-in shelving units, doors, baskets, and other personalized accessories.


Design Inspiration




Vista 4 Drawer Short Tower



The Modular Closet 4 Drawer Short Tower unit is an excellent addition to any closet and especially closets with small spaces, nooks, or windows. The closet drawers allow for a neater and more organized closet and are solid wood and easy to install. Complimentary chrome knobs are included.


Assembled Dimensions

Height: 36"

Depth: 14"

Width: 19.5"| 25.5"| 31.5"





Vista Hanging Tower W/ Drawers


The Modular Closet Hanging Tower With Drawers is an all-wood closet unit that is great for organizing folded and hanging clothing. Transform your closet with this beautiful and practical tall closet section. The hanging space is large enough for 42" garments, which makes it perfect for suits, shirts, pants, and skirts. The solid wood drawers give you extra space for folded clothing. Use the shelf above the hanging rod for handbags, hats, and other accessories. The complete tower is 72" tall.


Assembled Dimensions

Height: 71.25"

Depth: 14"

Width: 19.5"| 25.5"| 31.5"


Any of these closets have benefits for each individual space. It’s important to choose a closet system that fits your home and your needs. Knowing that there are various ways to personalize and customize your closet’s space can help you make the best investment for your project.



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