30 Custom Reach-In Closet Storage System Designs

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Just because you don’t the space for a walk-in closet doesn’t mean you can’t have outstanding clothing storage.

These days you have many amazing options for closet systems that are implemented in the reach-in closet.

What is a reach-in closet?

It’s a traditional closet usually concealed behind sliding doors, curtain, full swing doors or folding doors.  While old-school reach-in closets were pretty simple consisting of only a bar on which to hang clothes, these days closet systems can efficiently store your entire wardrobe.

In fact, if you’re able to run reach-in closets the full length of a wall or along two walls, you can end up with as much storage as a walk-in closet.

What’s a closet system?

A closet system, also referred to as a closet organizer or closet built-in, is a series of storage elements configured and built-into a closet space that includes some or all of the following:

  • shelves;
  • cabinets;
  • drawers;
  • racks (tie rack, pant rack, belt rack, etc.);
  • vanity table;
  • hanging rod(s);
  • built-in hamper;
  • shoe storage;
  • hutch/dresser;
  • jewelry storage;
  • cubbies.

Together these various storage elements make up a comprehensive storage solution inside of a closet.  While some can be fairly expensive, it’s often less expensive than a full renovation to build a walk-in closet.  Besides, not all homes have the space for adding a walk-in closet and so the best option to improve a home’s clothing storage is to invest in a closet system in the existing closet.

Below is our extensive gallery featuring many amazing reach-in closets that have custom closet systems.

Reach-In Closet Examples (Photo Gallery)

custom-built-reach-in-closets2018-10-11 at 2.41.40 PM

The home also has a huge walk-in closet with two chairs on a hardwood flooring.

Designed by: GAO Arhitekti


Where can you get a closet system?

You have many options, including buying them pre-built here or here or here or hiring a custom cabinetry shop to design and/or build one for you.

In fact, storage and closet design is such a big industry these days that there are interior designers that focus on closet systems and designs. Lisa Adams is one such designer. Closet Factory and Easy Closets are two companies that offer custom closet systems as well.

Can you build closet organizers yourself?

Of course.  DIY is huge these days and many people design and build their own closet systems.  You can save significant money doing it yourself.  Moreover, you can get all you need at today’s mega home improvement stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and others.  Here are few profiled online to get you inspired.

DIY Closet System Examples:

  • Ana White:  Ana White profiles a DIY closet system costing less than $250. Click here to check it out.
  • Bob Vila:  Bob Vila showcases 5 different designs you can build. Click here.
  • Familyhandyman.com:  This is a comprehensive DIY closet system project you can check out. Click here.

Before getting started with your DIY closet organizer project, read this great article offering tips of what NOT to do.

Closet Systems for Other Rooms in the House

While closets are usually restricted to bedrooms, these days with such a big need for storage, closets are actually built into many rooms of the home.  With a nice closet system installed, they can look fabulous and offer plenty of storage.

Non-bedroom rooms that can have a closet system:


Otherwise known as a pantry.  Check it out:

Source: EasyClosets

Living room

this can be a built-in of sorts that provides both storage and display decorative elements.  More often a closet system is referred to as an entertainment center when used in a living room or family room.  Check this awesome custom unit out:

Source: Closet Factory

Family room

same concept and purpose as living room.

Source: Closet Factory

Home office

Frankly, a home office is an ideal space for a well designed closet system.  I have a closet system (circa 1983) in my home office and couldn’t imagine not having it.

Source: Closet Factory

Laundry room

Of course a laundry room could benefit from a closet system.

Source: EasyClosets


Any entry way can have a closet which includes a closet system.

Source: EasyClosets


Source: EasyClosets

Laundry Room

Source: Closet Factory


What garage couldn’t use more storage.  Check this example out:

Source: Closet Factory

Kids spaces

Toys and books gotta go somewhere.  Check it out:

Source: Closet Factory

Source: Closet Factory

Source: EasyClosets

Wine Cellar

Wine cellars are all about storage. Check out this beautiful example:

Source: Closet Factory

How much do reach-in closet organizers cost?

  • DIY:  $100 to $500.  The DIY option is key if you’re looking to save money.  The cost will depend on the quality of materials you buy.  This assumes you have the tools.
  • Pre-made:  $100 to $1,000.  The low end is not a lot of storage… often a single shelving unit, or else it’s very low cost such as the wire type of shelving.  If you’re looking for a full scale, decent organizer, expect to pay upwards of $700 to $1,000.  For example, IKEA’S PAX closet system is insanely popular and costs $890 (at time this post was published).IKEA, Wayfair, Amazon, Home Depot and many other “home improvement” stores offer all kinds of pre-built closet organizers.  Just be sure you know your closet dimensions when buying a pre-built organizer.  What’s cool about IKEA closet organizers is that you can buy the individual pieces a la carte so that you can get a great closet system regardless the size of your existing closet space. Check out the various components and pieces you can buy at IKEA.
  • Custom:  $1,500 to $5,000.  Now you’re talking some bucks.  You’re paying for design, materials and installation.  However, you get exactly what you want without breaking a sweat.

What are the typical reach-in closet dimensions?

The only standard reach-in closet dimension is depth, which is 24 inches (2 feet).  Width will vary, but you want at least 48 inches (4 feet) in width per person.  Therefore a kids room would be fine with a single 4 foot wide closet; however, a master bedroom should have an 8 foot wide closet (at a minimum).

A terrific resource for many standard closet dimensions is the Architectural Student blog which sets out standard depth, width dimensions along with suggested spacing and rod heights for your various closet system items. This is a must-read article if you’re designing your own closet system.

Free closet design tools and software

If you’re going the DIY route, the starting point is designing your closet.  You can certainly go old-school with pen and paper or you can use software.  The following are some decent closet design software options:

  1. Easy Closets design software:  I like this software because you don’t have download anything, you can input custom dimensions and then it creates a suggested design which you can customize from there. Super easy to use.  Designs reach-in, walk-in and custom closets.  As you design the closet, the price is presented so you know how much each element you implement will cost you.
  2. Easy Track Software:  Designs reach-in and walk-in closets.  Just like Easy Closets software, it comes up with a suggested design based on the dimensions you provide.  From there you can customize the design.  As you design the closet, there’s a price displayed so you know how much it’ll cost.
  3. Organized Living:  This is a robust closet design software option for reach-in and walk-in closet design.  You can choose from simple to premium designs as well as choose your materials.  It’s pretty cool.
  4. ClosetMaid:  This offers some nice choices including inexpensive suggested wire organization or the more expensive options.  It generates several suggested designs that you can customize.
  5. Closet Organizers USA:  Offers plenty of customization options.  All software is online (nothing to download).
  6. Home Depot Closet Design Software:  Decent, online closet design software option.  Great if you want to buy from Home Depot since the designs will be those for which Home Depot can provide the materials.
  7. elfa design center (The Container Store):  Online closet design software that offers some decent design solutions.
  8. IKEA Pax Wardroom Planning Software:  You can customize your IKEA Pax wardrobe design.

While the above software is free to use, obviously buying the materials and/or installation of the suggested designs will cost you money.

Best doors for reach-in closets

Door options for reach-in closets are as follows:

Source: EasyClosets

  • Sliding doors: Arguably the best door option for reach-in closets because it requires no empty space around the closet.
  • Bifold doors:  Folding doors are space-saving doors for sure and they were widely used for closets in the 1960’s through 1990’s, but they’re no longer the most popular having been taken over by sliding doors.
  • Curtain:  This can be an inexpensive option, but I don’t really care for the look.  I prefer no doors over curatins.
  • Single traditional swinging door:  This is probably the worst option since it requires so much empty space surrounding the closet just for the door to open.  Avoid this.
  • French doors:  If you have plenty of space, while this isn’t space-efficient, it can look fabulous.
  • No door:  Actually, because a well designed closet system can look pretty cool, I think leaving it open is a viable option.
  • Barn-style sliding doors: I think the sliding barn door is a design fad that will go away, but for now they’re popular especially in rustic spaces.

What’s the best door type for a reach-in closet?  These days, sliding doors are popular because they don’t require any additional space.  You can have a bed closer to the closet than if you have a full size swing door which needs space to open.  In fact, sliding doors require less space than folding doors too, which are old-school closet doors.

The only downside with sliding doors is they tend to break down if they’re not high quality.  By break down I mean they come off the rails.  If you have pocket doors or sliding doors, you know what I’m talking about and getting them back on the rail is not an easy task.

Actually, sliding doors reminds me of a funny story.  In the Summer of 2016, my wife and I along with 2 young kids rented our first motorhome for an epic 5,000 kilometer road trip.  The motorhome was pretty new.  We were about 20 minutes down the road when all of a sudden the bathroom sliding door rolled backward and shot off the rail slamming into the rear of the motorhome.   We couldn’t get that door back on the rail for the rest of the trip.  We stored it in the sleeping area above the cab and had to move it in and out of our motorhome every time we set up camp.  Goes to show you that if you opt for sliding doors, ensure they’re well made.