Lighting is critically important to the design, since closets are naturally dark spaces and clients need to be able to tell the difference between blue and black.
“You can do a lot of creative things in the closet with regard to lighting, so it’s important to talk with a lighting consultant,” comments Adams. She likes to incorporate cans and sconces in her designs to provide different types of lighting. “You can also use lighting to illuminate the items that are housed behind glass doors,” she reports.
“When we do an island or a full-length table, we do a chandelier as well as canned lights,” offers Young. “Since there usually is no window in the closet, you need to really get some good light, because there is nothing worse than a closet with dark shelving.”
Ilin’s firm recently designed a closet that was very dark, so they installed a light fixture into the back wall. “The entire back wall was frosted glass with lights behind it, so everything lights up, making it very easy to see,” he remarks.
Daraselia sometimes uses a rod light – a light that is embedded in the hanging rod – to help illuminate the space.
While many associate upscale closets with dark wood finishes, kitchen and bath designers note that white is increasing in popularity.
“With light-colored closets, people can see their clothes better and really concentrate on them,” Daraselia notes.
Adams agrees, noting that some people prefer lighter colors because they are more reflective, making the room brighter.
Still, the classical style is wood, with earthy or even dark colors, acknowledges Daraselia.
With custom cabinetry, a client can choose any finish and wood species. However Adams notes that, depending on the choice, the price goes up. “But, when people are investing thousands of dollars in their clothing, they want their closet to look like a store or their favorite boutique,” she states.
To achieve the look of furniture, Adams often customizes her cabinets with furniture legs and other trims. “The more you embellish the cabinet, the more it looks like a French armoire,” she states.
“I see a lot of people coming in who want traditional-style closets. But, when they realize how much space it’s going to waste, and all of the details and moldings and the added cost, many of them end up switching to a more modern looking, minimalistic design, just because it’s a lot more practical inside the closet,” notes Ilin, who uses clean-lined systems from Italian manufacturer Pianca for many of his closet creations.
Minimalistic design often goes hand-in-hand with full access, which means the spaces will be open and easily viewed. However, some clients want doors to hide their storage.
“The clients who want doors are usually concerned about dust,” notes Ilin.
Falk adds that he currently has a client who wants doors because his wife is concerned about moths getting into her clothes.
Glass doors and drawer fronts are another solution because they provide both the protection and easier viewing of items inside.
“Women often have a lot of bags, and they work well behind glass doors,” notes Adams. “They won’t get all dusty, and the customer can see what she has.”
Glass enclosed storage can also be used to house jewelry for easy viewing. “I’m always looking for a creative way to hold jewelry so you can see it, because oftentimes we don’t wear some of our things because we don’t remember we have them,” notes Adams.
But display isn’t the choice for everyone when it comes to jewelry. In fact, many people prefer to have their valuables hidden away in a locked area. As a result, many clients are asking for safes to be incorporated within the closet.
“People like it there because it’s hidden – even inside the house, it’s hidden,” notes Ilin. The closet is also a convenient spot for the safe, he continues, since that’s where people get dressed up for a big event. “It makes it easy to open the safe box and take out expensive jewelry. Even the maids or the kids don’t see you when you’re in there.”
Overall, the design and installation of closet systems have been a positive for kitchen and bath designers – in both income and exposure.