Designer Talk: 9 Words You Should Know When Working with a Custom Closet Builder

You shouldn’t need to be a professional interior designer to decode the conversation you’re having with your custom closet builder. Understanding some key words and concepts will help mold you into a more informed buyer and allow you to make smarter design decisions for your closet space.

Here are nine crucial terms you should know when embarking on any kind of interior design project.

Custom Closet Vocabulary

  1. Reach-In Closet

What you may know as a regular old closet is actually called a reach-in closet. A linen closet, hallway closet, entryway closet, coat closet—these are all examples of reach-in closets. Reach-in closets are generally 24 inches deep and are given their name because you reach into them rather than walk into them; this is another common type of closet all together: a walk-in. Typical space-saving features of reach-in closets include hanging rods, adjustable shelving, and cabinets with drawers.

  1. Walk-In Closet

The term walk-in closet may be more familiar to you. If not, it is exactly what it sounds like: a closet that you can walk into. Whether they are large or small, walk-in closets are highly customizable. They are perfect for for visual organization: seeing everything you own, knowing exactly where things are; they are also a great way to add a touch of your personal style and even showing off your beautiful belongings.

  1. Under Eaves Storage

One creative way to build in more storage space is to utilize the space underneath your eaves. If you have a closet there already, that’s great. If you have open space, you can use this for hanging clothes or create cabinets and custom adjustable shelving to suit your specific needs.

  1. Walk-In Closet Island

Closet islands can generally be found in oversized walk-in closets. Islands are a stylish and functional element that adds additional storage and a touch of drama to walk-ins. While an island isn’t for every walk-in (see No. 6 for the space requirements of an island,) it can make the world of difference in terms of appearance and organization. Islands are generally used to store accessories, jewelry, folded clothes, and offer additional work space for laying out clothes, piecing together an outfit, or display space for exceptional jewelry and accessories.

Custom Closet Design Terms

  1. Unity.

Unity is what ties a room together. Unity generally refers to design elements like a color scheme or particular style, which brings a room together. When design elements in a room or custom walk-in closet are cohesive, the space looks consistent, organized, and visually pleasing.

  1. Balance.

While unity is what ties a room together, balance is what ensures it is properly weighted and symmetrical. Balance is what more or less makes a room feel right. If a room is laid out with all of it’s big furniture such as couches and tables on one side and just a lamp on the other, the room will feel unbalanced. A room with two identical couches facing each other with a coffee table in between, on the other hand, will feel symmetrical. Further, an advanced design technique known as asymmetrical balance is when imbalance is purposefully brought into a room. This generally requires the help of a professional designer. More relevant to us, a walk-in closet may be lined with the exact same shelving and hanging units on either side for a matching, balanced “his and hers” closet. Alternatively, based on a couple’s needs, one side may be devoted to hanging while the other may include shelving and a vanity, achieving asymmetrical balance.

  1. Focal Point.

Many interior spaces have one truly eye-catching element. You know it when you see it—like a fireplace, a large sunny bay window, or in the case of a custom walk-in closet, an island or ornate light fixture. The focal point is the center of the room’s drama and also acts as an anchor, giving a custom closet designer something to build the rest of the details around such as where to place furniture and storage, and which style, colors, and texture should be used.

  1. Walkable floor space.

Square footage is one thing, but the walkable floor space is something completely different. It is definitely a phrase you should know when redesigning your closet. Walkability is key in any room of the house, but it’s especially important in your walk-in closet—emphasis on the WALK-in part. When your custom closet builder is designing your space, you both should keep in mind how easy it will be to walk, turn, try on outfits, and kneel, sit, or stand to put on shoes—not to mention sharing in the same space with your husband or wife while trying to rush out the door. That’s why it’s also important to have the appropriate space for an island as discussed above. Your new walk-in closet should look good, feel comfortable, and be functional.

  1. Flow.

Flow is what makes your home feel spacious, airy, and welcoming. Flow is what carries your eye seamlessly throughout a space. Balance and unity help achieve flow. Some specific design elements that assist with flow, if executed correctly, are area rugs, runners, and mirrors. Flow is what helps keep a room from feeling overcrowded.