Top 5 Custom Closet Accessories

Question: Hi Kay, I am thinking of getting a custom closet organizer system in my master bedroom closet. Call me a copycat, but I am always interested in seeing what the best selling products are when making a purchase. What would you say your top closet accessories are? Thanks Kay. Looking forward to your response. – Markus Rhodes

When planning a custom closet system this is actually a common question.  I’m happy to tell you what my top 5 custom closet accessories are! I hope this information is helpful.

1. Valet rod

A valet rod is a very useful closet accessory to have.  It is a small rod that pulls out so you can hang your dry cleaning, robe, or the outfit you’ve planned to wear the next day. I
t just slides out when you need it and slides back in when you don’t. It is such a simple concept, but as soon as you have one, you won’t know what you ever did without it.

2. Tie and belt racks

Tie and belt racks are are a popular custom closet accessory. Many people throw tie and belts in drawers, which only results in them getting tangled or damaged.  These racks allow you to hang your belts and ties up so they can stay neat and avoid creases and wrinkles. Another advantage of having them hung you is that you can easily see the style you looking for.

3. Slanted shoe shelves

How many times have you gone into the back of your closet and found a pair of shoes you forgot you had?  All shoe shelves are great, but slanted shelves are especially nice because you can organize your shoes by style and color and even see shoes that are stored above eye level. Slanted shelves always have a toe stop to keep your pairs in place. These shelving are available in wood and melamine, and the toe stops are available in Lucite® or contemporary metallic fences.

4. Drawer and shelf dividers

Nothing is better to keep the contents of your drawers organized than having dividers to keep the contents into sections.  Especially for smaller items like scarves, socks and underwear, drawer dividers make it so easy to keep everything neat and easy to find.  I also love shelf dividers for hard to store items that tend to fall over like boots and handbags. Shelf dividers help keep them standing upright instead of ending up in a big pile.

5. Jewelry drawer dividers

Not only women enjoy jewelry drawers, men love these as well. Jewelry drawer inserts and dividers are available in velvet or a Lucite® which is pictured here.  The top drawer is where I suggest to keep jewelry, glasses, and other small items that are easy to misplace.  It is especially nice to have one custom made that not only holds your precious items but also keeps them organized and protected in a beautiful way.  We also make custom valet drawers for men that can hold his glasses, wallets, cufflinks, watch collection and other small items.

Hope this helps give you some helpful ideas to consider while you are planning your custom closet design with a professional designer. The great thing about Closet Factory is that we offer free design consultations!

Check out this post: Closet Organizers: What To Expect From A Custom Closet Company

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The Closet Factory Design Difference – Custom Storage Systems

Question: I saw on Closet Factory’s website that you have different closet series. What are the differences between Essentials and Design, and how do I know which series is right for me?  – Nikki L.

The main difference between the Essentials and Design  is the level of “aesthetic layering” each series includes.  Layering takes place once the design is laid out. The Essentials usually focuses more on organization,  layering may be as simple as upgrading your materials from white melamine to a wood grain. Design series on the other hand, focuses on adding many aesthetic layers such as solid wood edges, crown, and base molding. For example, the client might pick wood edges, crown molding and other style elements that are from our Design Series by adding additional or “aesthetic layering” decorative treatments from our product line that can be viewed in the Expressions section of our website.

Essential Series Basic Closet

The Essentials are usually made of melamine, which comes in a wide selection of colors and patterns. The Design series is generally made of wood veneer and solid wood trim pieces. These days there are also a hybrid of the Essentials and Design. This option incorporates some style elements of the Design Series but is more affordable and often combines melamine with wood accents.

Design Series Master Closet with Wood Accents

The Closet Factory design process begins with an organizational plan.  The organizational plan is how we ensure that all of your things fit properly into the space.  Once that is done, it is all about the look you would like to have.  Keep in mind the more aesthetic layering of material, color and design elements onto your design, the more the unit will cost.

How you know what is right for you will be based upon your budget and how much you are willing to pay for the custom storage system look that you want.  The great thing about Closet Factory is that all our designs are completely customized for your organizational needs. So, don’t be discouraged if your budget doesn’t allow for the look that you desire.  You can select an element or two that you really like and we can add it to your design as a focal point! This will provide you with the feel of the design you love at a cost that works for you.

Your Closet Factory Designer is are trained to provide you with all options and will work with you to create a design that incorporates elements of the look you want at a price that works for you!  So look at all the photos in all the Series, select your favorite elements and let your Designer work with you to find a way to incorporate your favorite elements into your custom closet design.

Set up a Free Design Consultation with a Closet Factory Designer in your Area!

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Universal Design – Custom Closets For Seniors

Kay, what does the Closet Factory have for offerings/solutions to the mega-trend of aging in place (or Universal Design)?  Best, Patrick J. Roden PhD

I’m happy to have a question about Aging in Place, as this is an area that we have tackled on quite a few occasions.   Closet Factory is totally custom, which allows us to address many issues specific to accessibility or aging in place.  We are not tied to a standard set of designs or specifications, but can work with each client to come up with the design that fits their individual needs.  That means we can adjust counter heights, door heights, create access below the unit and modify it to work exactly for the person who will use it.

For The New American Home 2009, I created an in-laws suite closet.  This closet was designed to accommodate aging parents.  The special design adjustments that I made for that unit were:

This image features: pull down rods, low drawers with touch lathes and finger pulls, large easy to hold handles, pull out shelves for shoes and other items needing easy access.

Although the closet is tall, all of the higher areas are designed for storage.  All of the lower areas are designed for accessibility.  Pull out shelves, touch latches, lower drawers for wheel chair access and an area wide enough for a wheel chair to move.

Special accessories such as pull out tie and belt racks can be place at a location that works.

We can even make a special drawer to hold any items that are important to reach and organized them to make them easy to see.

Special options such as tip out laundry bins, make having to trek into another room to dispense laundry unnecessary.

Valet rods are another element that makes using a closet easier.  You don’t have to hold clothing but can just drop it on the valet rod while you are putting your outfit together or putting things away.

We offer drawer glides that are self closing and touch latch all with easy to closet and open ball bearing slides.

All these elements and more can be designed with the individual needs of the client in mind.  Just let Closet Factory know what your needs are and we will create a design that works.

Also, as a member of the 50+ Housing Council, these are issues that are often discussed during our meetings at the International Builders Show and other NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) National Conferences.  I agree that this is going to be an important area as we move forward with all the baby boomers moving into retirement.  Because of that, I have taken several CAPS (Certified Aging in Place) courses to add to my education in this area.

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What Is A Man Cave?

Question: Hi Kay! I keep hearing the term “man cave.” Can you please explain what a man cave is? Thanks!

The premise of a man cave is that guys need a special place to hang out.  A place that reflects their interests, becomes a personal refuge, or is just a place where they can be with their friends without disturbing others in the family, namely the wife! A man cave is a dedicated area of the house such as basement, workshop or garage where a man can be alone or socialize with his friends.

A man cave can be designed to reflect the specific interests of the man.  If he is into golf, it could contain a small putting green or a state of the art virtual driving range.  If he is into music it could be a rock and roll lounge with limited edition guitars or a just a bar area with a place to enjoy music and hang out.  If he is into media, it could be a media center with top-notch equipment and a computer. Most man caves have a sofa, a TV, and a stereo.

The man cave is that one place that the guys can relax be together or alone with their toys. It can be simple and small or elaborate and unique.  Either way it can and will reflect the nature and personality of the owner.

If there is a man in your life that is looking for a special hideaway, a Closet Factory designer will be happy to give you a free consultation on a custom man cave. Look for the launch of our new product line in the next month with tons of new custom garage and man cave features!

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Planning A Master Walk-In Closet Island!

Question: We are planning to start a master bedroom remodel this summer and want to include a walk-in closet that can have a large size island in it. What dimensions should the closet be?  Should I meet with a closet designer before we finalize the blueprints? – Teresa L.

The configuration of the space must be considered to make sure that an island is the best solution and a consultation with a Closet Factory designer is always a good idea.  I absolutely recommend reviewing your blue prints with a designer before you start building.  Architects often under estimate the size required for the closet islands, especially a master.  Only after taking a closet inventory, can you determine if your closet is large enough to accommodate your inventory needs, your style and your storage requirements.

When considering an island for a space, the rule of thumb is 96″ width plus the size of the island.  That includes 24″ each side for hanging, then 24″ each side for an aisle.  If you have a slightly smaller space you could consider having shelving on the sides instead of hanging then it would be 12 or 16″ each side + 24 each side for an aisle, plus the size of the island. Don’t forget to consider the factor of the drawers opening into the space. Is there enough room to stand behind the drawers to open them?  I usually try to have the drawers open into the length of the closet, where there is additional room to stand behind the drawers as you open them.

Closet Factory Designers are always available to provide you a consultation in preparation for your project to make sure that your plans reflect the closet of your dreams and more.

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What does the term “wood overlay” mean?

Hi Kay: I have seen some products out there that say “wood overlay.” What is this? Is this melamine or actually wood or wood veneer? What is the difference with all? Thanks!
- Kathy O.

Wood Overlay is real wood, however it is not wood in its natural state.  It’s a powder that is mixed with a bonding agent and is then applied to another solid wood product base. This is often poured on the surface of another more inexpensive hardwood such as poplar.

Melamine is an ultra-thin sheet of paper, printed with color and pattern, and then saturated with resin. The melamine is then thermally fused to a substrate material of industrial grade particleboard or MDF. This process permanently bonds the paper to the board and provides a seamless integration of the pattern and color to the board material.

Wood Veneer is a composite or very thin layer of high-quality wood that is usually laid over a less expensive piece of wood. Using a thin but high-quality piece of wood veneer laid over a less expensive framework for furniture enables a woodworker to save money and make more creative pieces of furniture. Wood veneer is peeled, sliced, or sawed from a piece of wood. Numerous kinds of grains are used as decorative veneers.

I hope this helps! Thanks for the question!

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Green Materials for the Environmentally Conscious Client

Dear Kay: We are converting our home to be as environmentally conscious as possible. I was wondering if Closet Factory offer’s any green materials and if there is a price difference?

For many years some of our clients have been interested in going green! The cost and selection for green materials varies by location and probably average around 15% higher in pricing. Many Closet Factory melamine and wood veneers can be purchased with “green substrate materials.”  Again, that percentage is just a ballpark figure due to the different costs per location , and we offer locations nationally to serve your home organization needs.

All of the manufacturers we use offer EPP certified substrate that contains 100% recycled wood fiber that meets Carb Phase 1 standards and NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde) certified. Since we do all our own finishing  its good for you to know know that when selecting wood and wood veneer we use all water based stains and paints.

One of our newest products is engineered wood veneer. These materials are designed to mimic many rare woods and provide the same look without requiring the cutting of these beautiful rare trees.

Another sustainable product to consider is bamboo, which is also available as a veneer panels along with the already existing solid veneer panel collection. The beauty and unique look of bamboo makes it worth considering despite the higher price point.

You can view many of these options mentioned in the Green Material Expressions section on the company website. I know that whatever level of green product that interests you we can satisfy your design need for look, price and sustainability! Contact a Closet Factory designer in your local area and they will be able to provide you with all the informational and design tips you need for your new environmentally friendly home!

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How To Design Your Perfect Laundry Room

Hi Kay! I’m going to renovate my laundry room and I’m currently shopping for a new washer and dryer. The laundry room is pretty bare with minimal storage. I want this room to be organized and functional. Do you have any design suggestions and tips for me? Thanks so much!

Access, organization, lighting, and aesthetics are the main elements I consider when designing a laundry room. Designing your perfect laundry room is all about optimizing your space, whatever size it happens to be, and about making the layout work efficiently for you. Start by measuring the room and have on hand the size of the new washer and dryer.  Washer and dryers require a hook up connection to the plumbing of the home. Consider if the washer and dryer have any flexibility in placement or if they should remain where the current hook up is located. Popular today are energy efficient space saving stackables.  If possible consider buying one so you have extra room for shelving, cabinets and counter space. Once the washer and dryer are placed the rest of the design can be completed.

Access and placement of the washer and dryer are what will determine if your laundry room works.  When selecting your washer and dryer make sure that you layout the space and see how that particular major appliance model will perfectly fit.  Will you be able to load and unload without bumping into walls, cabinets or counters? Is there room for sorting and folding? Be sure to note where your counter space will be. Do you need a place to keep sorted laundry? Consider installing built in laundry baskets and racks to optimize the storage space. Thinking about these questions will help to determine your key laundry organization needs.

Organization is often one of the least thought out considerations in the laundry room design.  It’s really a shame because space saving organization will determine if that room will save you time or cost you time.  Installing functional laundry accessories, like a space saving ironing board, will make your laundry room more useful! Closet Factory offers a variety of laundry organization accessories including ironing drawers and ironing board wall units. Additional examples are a valet rod for hanging clothing, a hanging rod, a built in wastebasket, a sink, fold-able drying rack, and storage shelves.

Lighting might be something that you don’t normally think about, but is an important element to a successfully designed laundry room.  Although Closet Factory does not offer room lighting options, you do need a well-lit space to be able to identify colors, stains, sort garments, and iron. Consider both overhead and task lighting to ensure that you have a strong overall and consistent lighting design for your needs.

Aesthetics should never be forgotten in the creation of your perfect laundry room.  Careful consideration of color, look, and materials that will provide a pleasant environment for all the hours you will probably spend doing laundry.  Music, flowers, and your favorite art should not be overlooked when creating your environment.  The more comfortable you feel, the more quickly the time will pass doing laundry, and the sooner you will be able to get out of there!

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The Benefit Of Closet Organizers

Question: What are closet organizers, and how would a pack rat like me benefit from having one? –Amanda

A closet organizer is an organizing system that includes a combination of rods, shelves, and perhaps drawers, shoe shelves and other accessories that are built into your closet. This organization system will help you find a home for all your things and make them easy to find. This will be a great opportunity to purge, just what every pack rat needs.

  1. One of the best things about installing the system is that you have to pull everything out of your closet.
  2. Sort your garments.
  3. This will be a great opportunity to purge old items… which is just what every pack rat needs!
  4. Everything left will find it’s own home in your fantastic new closet! Fold, hang and place items where necessary.

The advantages to having closet organizer are simple! It’s a time saver when getting ready since your items are far easier to find. You are able to extend the life span of your garments when they are nicely protected by the wood.

Your Closet Factory designer will help you inventory all of your things and make sure that every item is accounted for, so that even you, the pack rat, might just decide that organization is worth the effort. I hope this helps!

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Organizing & Sharing Your Closet Space

Question: I have a 8 feet wide closet that my girlfriend and I share. I use half of it and our clothes are piling on top of each other’s side. What different organizational tools can I use to keep my laundry organized from clean and dirty, and tools for my suits and ties? – Justin

Sharing a closet can often create a power struggle as one person usually has more stuff than the other.  Piling clothes on top of each other will definitely start to make it more difficult find things every morning in the rush to get dressed and can make it frustrating to get out the door on time.

My first recommendation is to add double hanging.  By adding double hanging for shorter clothing you will be able to fit twice as much into the same vertical space. The space that is gained by doubling up will allow you to add some shelving, either for those folded things that are piling up or shoe shelves, or a combination of both. A good inventory taken by your Closet Factory Designer will help determine how much space you will be able to gain from the addition of double hanging and how much space you will have left.

Consider this… if you double hung your entire closet half of the closet would be empty. That means that in your 8 ft closet you would gain an additional 4 feet for other things. You would be able to add either more hanging or drawers, shoes, baskets even a laundry and dry cleaning basket or bin. So far as ties and belts are concerned, the addition of sliding tie and belt racks are the perfect solution. Tie and belt racks can be pulled out to find just the right item, then slid back in when unused.  The greatest thing about them is that they don’t actually take up any of your hanging space!

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