What You Can Add to Your Closet to Make it Feel Elevated — 5 Simple Tricks the Experts Swear by

Closets so often get forgotten about, but these simple edits can give them the lift they need to become style-forward spaces

A wooden closet with seating and pamper station
(Image credit: Jason Busch Photographer: Jacqui Koska Interior Design)

Closets don't have the best rep. They often end up as forgotten spaces and can quickly spiral to become messy and unorganized. As chaos compounds, we can easily hide those unsightly piles of laundry behind closed doors. For Sophie Nguyen of Sophie Nguyen Architects, closets should be embraced.

'They perform the noble and necessary function of tidying our living spaces and consequently freeing our minds from the debilitating tyranny of mess,' says Sophie. From walk-in closets to a smaller-scale freestanding unit, there is so much you can do to elevate your closet. We've spoken to the professional declutters and interior designers who advise trying these five edits.

1. Light the closet

A well-lit closet

(Image credit: Nicole England. Design: Studio Minosa)

The importance of lighting in closets is often underestimated, but these are spaces where we get ready for the day ahead, so task lighting that is designed to flatter is much-needed.

Think interior closet lights that illuminate shelves when you open the door, or consider installing strip LED lighting or spotlights inside closets on automatic sensors, ensuring that you can easily see and access your clothes and belongings, making your daily routine more efficient.

'If you're able to go an extra step, lighted closet rods are amazing,' says Adriana Chetty, senior interior designer at Cuppett Kilpatrick Architecture + Interior Design. 'They highlight your clothes, instead of ambient light originating from the ceiling.'

More than just an aesthetic touch, lighting is also always beneficial to think about the color temperature of the lighting in your closet. Are you dressing for an evening occasion where the color temperature is likely to be warmer or a daytime event, where the lighting is natural and therefore cooler? Having the ability within your dressing area to tune the lighting temperature to suit gives you a truer sense of how you will be seen.

2. Don't forget a statement mirror

A wooden closet with seating and pamper station

(Image credit: Jason Busch Photographer: Jacqui Koska Interior Design)

It goes without saying that your closet space is all about you, so reinforce the area of your closet as a pamper station by decorating with mirrors.

Set yourself up for a good day ahead with a floor-to-ceiling-sized mirror. If you are working with a small footprint or even just a wardrobe, create a walk-in wardrobe-feel by hanging a mirror on the inside of your wardrobe.

Again, flattering lighting is important, and lighting either side of your mirror will help cast an aesthetic glow on your face, as showcased here by Jacqui Koska Interior Design. Contrary to popular belief, overhead lighting isn't the most flattering as it can cast pronounced shadows from above, enhancing those imperfections we'd rather not notice.

3. Go uniform with smart storage accessories

A closet that has uniform hardware and ladder

(Image credit: Tim Lenz. Design: MK WORKSHOP)

You want your fitted storage, walk-in wardrobe or small closet to be nifty, nimble and easy-to-use. While you might not have given much thought to the hardware, it's an important decision that directly affects how you interact with the furniture.

‘It’s one of those pieces of detail that really does have to blend form and function. It’s no good choosing something beautiful if you can’t get a grip and open anything,’ says the founder of Buster + Punch, Massimo Buster Minale. Edge pulls are great for a minimalist style, installed on the reverse of the cabinet and wrapping around the cabinet drawer edge.

Other accessories might include a ladder for those hard-to-reach spots like this example from MK Workshop. 'Alternatively, simply adding hooks or even valet hooks can personalize your closet and make it more specific to your needs,' says Adriana.

'Open shelves are also great- you're able to see what you have and a well-folded sweater or pant creates the feeling of a retail display.'

For Meridith Nettleton of Studio MKN, one transformative tip is to do away with closet doors altogether. 'By removing this barrier, your entire wardrobe and shoe collection becomes readily visible, eliminating the need to hunt behind closed doors.'

4. If space permits, add a seating area

A closet with seating area and overhead lighting

(Image credit: Tony Soluri. Von Weise Associates)

A seating area reinforces the idea that your closet is more of a destination and not a space to hurriedly navigate when you're in a rush to get out the door. This bench addition in this closet by Von Weise Associates helps to balance the scheme, but a ottoman storage bench could have been another solution, providing yet more storage for bulky items like shoes.

You might even want to ground your seating space with a small circular rug underneath. 'A soft runner or bedroom rug can make picking out an outfit a bit more fun,' says Adriana.

5. Organize the space so everything is stored perfectly

A well-organised closet

(Image credit: Ohra Studio)

Some efficient closet organization might be all your closet needs. Try removing everything and resorting, pack clothes back in fabric boxes, and add hangers for the larger, bulkier items of clothing like coats, suits and dresses.

Resist the temptation to overcram your closet as this will lead to crumpled clothes. Try the hanger trick to help you streamline your closet, turning every hanger the wrong way round, then as you wear each item, replace the hanger the right way round - this will quickly reveal to you what you aren't wearing that much, and help you declutter.

'In a general composition, we would say 60 percent hanging and 40 percent shelves,' says Giovanni Pedulla, design team manager at Poliform. 'Although in the vast majority of cases we also add at least an internal chest of drawers. In this scenario the percentages are: hanging 50-60 percent - shelves 20 percent and drawers 20 percent.'

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Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.