Closets are one of those structural elements we tend to take for granted until we live in a place that doesn’t have them. Traditional houses and even most apartments include bedroom closets as a standard architectural feature, but there are times you might rent a place (especially loft-style or studio apartments in renovated turn-of-the century buildings) that doesn’t. Foldable clothes are stored easily in dressers or on open shelves, but some clothing needs to be hung. Where do you hang clothes, and how do you create a closet area where one doesn’t exist?
Depending on your style and preferences, there are a variety of options for creating an attractive and functional closet area either tucked away in a bedroom, or as a part of an open floor plan.
Fixed Location Closets
The first consideration is whether you are able to mount anything to the walls, and have a permanent location in mind. If so, one of the following options might appeal to you.
- Wall-mounted clothing rods/shelves. These fixtures come with anchoring brackets and usually include built-in shelves for additional storage. To keep them from looking out of place, mount them above a lower dresser or cube shelf, or stack two of them vertically to maximize high space.
- Anchored modular closet systems. Usually placed inside closets, these systems are ideal if you have a large section of wall to work with since they take up so much space. With their ready-made shelves, cubbies, and staggered clothing rods, they take the guesswork out of creating a functional closet set-up, and aren’t that expensive, either.
If you prefer not to attach anything to the walls, or want something more mobile, there are other options. For those who prefer the modular look, there are ready-made tension systems that brace between the floor and ceiling for stability but can still be moved without too much difficulty when they’re unloaded. Choose either PVC or metal based on the weight of the items you’ll be storing on it.
Even more mobile are stand-alone closet systems built like warehouse racks.
Boutique clothing racks are gaining popularity since they’re lightweight, hold a large volume of clothing, and can be placed anywhere in a room. Many styles even feature wheels for easy movement. Starting at $50 for smaller units and upwards of $100 for more deluxe versions, they’re also comparable in price to modular closet systems. To save even more money, take a web tutorial on a homemade version made out of incredibly diverse PVC pipe.
Stand-alone canvas wardrobes and fully-closing armoires are perfect for a classy look, although they will cost a bit more than open closet systems. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, metal supply cabinets (like the ones that sit in teacher’s classrooms) can be refitted with a tension rod or two, and repainted to match your decor. Another attractive option is to repurpose a china cabinet fitted with a tension rod.
The need to live simply and maximize square footage pushes people towards creative solutions, and that includes closet space. Do you have a lofted bed? Consider using the space under it by placing a tension rod between the bed frame or mounting one discreetly to the wall behind the ladder.
Another discreet idea: clothing bars that hang from the ceiling. These are the epitome of minimal, and based on the material and placement, can double as a decoration (for instance, a wood or medal bar with a unique design or texture).
Lastly, for a truly unconventional approach, mount some wood folding chairs to your wall. The seat portion functions as a shelf, and the chair legs make instant multi-directional clothing rods. Check out the blog ‘Et Cetera e Casa’ for a view of this and other creative ways to use chairs as hanging fixtures throughout your apartment.
Open-space closets require precise neatness to look presentable, and even then, can tend to add a messy appearance to your apartment. Create instant, functional doors for your new closet by mounting yet another tension rod and curtaining it off from view. If the closet curves out, install a curved curtain track from the ceiling above it.
With so many options to consider, the lack of closets in an apartment isn’t a major concern. If anything, it will help push you towards a minimal, need-based approach to your wardrobe and streamlining your living area to be a functional yet attractive reflection of your tiny living lifestyle.