Many people may not even think of the importance of closets until they sell, rent or appraise their homes. They find out that their five bedroom home is only a three bedroom home because two of the rooms do not have built-in closets. Most people are generally unaware that they cannot call a room a bedroom without its own closet. As a result, their houses sell, rent or appraise lower than their asking price. Don’t despair if you find yourself in this situation. Add a closet– preferably a walk-in closet (if you have enough space), to give you the best bang for your buck!
Start with the end in mind by creating a plan and visualizing how you would like your walk-in closet to look like. Indicate the size, location, number of shelves and the materials you will use. Take time to research on ideal designs before finalizing your plan. In some cases, you may need a permit to build your walk-in closet. Inquire with your local building department for any requirements they have.
Identify and mark the place where you plan on installing your walk-in closet. It will save you a great deal of time and construction headaches if you prepare that space and make all the materials needed beforehand. This step is essential as you make progress with the actual construction of the closet. No matter how much you plan the design and its outcome, you will need room for adjustments and modifications, so make sure you leave enough room for any possibility. The most appropriate location for your walk-in closet is against three walls of a room. With three walls, you can easily control the length or width of one wall and adjust the depth of your closet to match the size of the main room.
Start laying out the groundwork for your walk-in closet. Take all precautionary measures to avoid pitfalls and other safety hazards. Be very accurate with your size and dimension settings. For the door, the standard size is about 36-by-80 inches tall. The best option is to install a dual-fold door. In most cases, you would need to install the walls one structure at a time. Measure the width of each wall and cut one board. Make sure that the crowns on the stud are pointing towards one direction to avoid a shaky foundation. Proceed with measuring the width of the wall and cut one board for the top layer following this measurement. Cut another one following the width of the wall plus allowance for the door. Cut this board in half and use the pieces for the bottom side. Measure the distance between the floor and the ceiling, then cut four 2×4’s using this measurement. Double up these pieces to make up for the side walls. Nail down these pieces together. Ensure that your wall is straight by using a level while building the wall.
Add Shelves, Drawers and Organizers
Your next task is to install blockings for the shelves. Install 2×4 solid scraps of material on their sides in between studs for wider coverage. These blockings provide stronger and firmer anchorage for screws to support all kinds of fixtures. Choose shelves available commercially; they are easy to install, adjustable and very affordable. Install closet organizers if you have budget to do so. They come in modules with drawers and shelves meant for different items you want to store. Bins made of plastic and canvases are excellent choices of organizers to keep seasonal clothing protected.
Install Lighting Fixtures
Walk-in closets occupy large spaces, hence, your choice of lighting fixture should be able to fill in the light requirements you aim to achieve. You can choose to install recessed lighting or, better yet, track lighting. If budget and space permits, try hanging a crystal chandelier at the center of your walk-in closet. This style will make your walk-in closet worthy of a celebrity. Make sure to give ample room for your light fixtures so that they do not touch any items that can burn. Place the switch next to the door so that you do not have to fumble finding it in the dark. Avoid using pull-chain bulb fixtures, which can be fire hazards. Consult the latest National Electric Code for proper lighting fixture installations.
Go to http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=70&cookie_test=1 for further information.