Our first “room” reveal of 2021! We’d been hanging our clothes on garment racks for over a year ever since moving the wall in our bedroom when we first moved in and this past fall we worked with the same builder who did our kitchen and mudroom renovations to build out a custom closet. As much as it made me crazy to have our clothes on garment racks and shoes all over the floor for a year, living in the space for over a year gave us a really good idea of our exact needs and allowed me to get super specific when mapping out the best plan for the space. Sharing a bunch of photos and a few tips for building out a custom closet that we learned along the way below!


design darling closet

There’s currently a cased opening between our bedroom and our closet and then a door opposite the cased opening that leads to our bathroom. This is the view to the left of the doorway where you’ll see my clothes, bags, and shoes. We wanted the closet to feel more like original built-ins as opposed to the more modern, modular shelving units that are so popular (and definitely budget-friendly/practical!) today, so I literally counted and measured every pair of shoes Will and I own to make sure we were maximizing storage to fit our particular needs and still allowing for floor space in the center since there are two doors to contend with. If you’re building out a closet in a home you intend to live in for some time, I highly recommend taking a personal inventory and basing your walk in closet design around your individual needs vs. a generic online recommendation!

design darling closet lucite rods

Based on the more casual clothing I wear every day, I wanted to maximize drawer space and shelving for bags and shoes vs. hanging space for dresses and tops. Again these were my personal preferences and yours could be the exact opposite, so it’s important to do your own counting and measuring! These acrylic closet rods can easily be cut down to size and hung with closet rod brackets for an easy upgrade to traditional wooden closet rods. We did the same detail in our son’s nursery and it’s an inexpensive change that elevates the inside of any closet!

design darling closet acrylic box for wedding shoes

We made the top shelf 12″ tall in every section which works well for most bags and even small suitcases. The majority of the shelves are 8″ tall which fits flats, heels, and ankle boots as well as my lightship basket and the acrylic box I ordered to display my wedding shoes. Technically it’s a display box intended for a football, but you know, if the shoe fits…!

design darling closet shoe shelves

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see my shoes organized on shelves after a year of having them in a heap on the floor and in boxes in our attic!

design darling building out our closet

I’m sure someone will ask about whether I change over my closet for each season and the truth is that’s not a habit that’s ever stuck for me. So many of my most-worn wardrobe staples — these cable-knit sweaters, these knit oxford shirts, blue and white jeans — can be worn year-round and I’d rather keep my go-to pieces front and center and store a few special occasion numbers in a spare closet elsewhere than have to do a big swap a couple times a year. I know people who swear by having a warm weather wardrobe and a cold weather wardrobe so again it’s a matter of finding the closet organization systems that work best for you! I wouldn’t say this is a small closet, but it’s definitely not enormous so it was important to maximize every bit of hanging and shelf space.

design darling building out a closet with a window

To the right of the doorway is my husband’s side of the master closet, although my folded clothes are currently in these drawers and his folded clothes are currently in the dresser in our bedroom and there’s no real need to switch places. We did a lot of brainstorming with our builder about how best to build out a closet with a window and he came up with the idea to maximize hanging and drawer space on one wall and build lower shoe shelving on the opposite wall that jut out in front of the window. These closet shelves have worked out really nicely for us!

design darling closet drawers

The priority for Will’s side of the closet was ample hanging space for the button-downs, dress shirts, blazers, and suits that he wears daily in non-pandemic times. His belts and ties are on these hangers and the bin pulls on the drawers are the same ones we used in our kitchen renovation.

design darling closet shoe shelf below closet window

These low shoe shelves were a great way to build around the closet window. It wasn’t easy to find inspiration images for designing a narrow closet with a window so I hope this will help anyone who’s in a similar spot!

design darling closet hat hooks

The 12″ shelf at the top fits a small piece of luggage but could also work for baskets or stacked sweaters if need be. I hung the baseball caps using these Command hooks.

wayfair Wivenhoe Round Modern Beveled Accent Mirror

This round mirror breaks up all the right angles in the room and it was a practical way to fill the wall without competing with the window.

design darling closet hat box

I hope you enjoyed the little tour of our closet! It’s been finished since early October but I finally got it organized the way I want and I’m on a mission to keep it this tidy from here on out. I can officially cross #54 off my 101 in 1001 list!

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  1. This is gorgeous! It must have been so satisfying to put everything away just so.

    Are your sweaters still in the drawers? I’m in the process of renovating my closet and just canNOT figure out what to do with those bulky pieces that can’t be hung. Would love to know how you handle your knits.


  2. Your closet is beautiful…please be aware that closets with windows are lovely, light and bright but the light fades everything…I finally had to put a blind on mine.

  3. This is a beautiful closet! I must say that I’m surprised how little hanging space you need, even if you fold a lot. Any chance you’d share your inventory numbers or explain what pieces are stored elsewhere (I’m assuming coats in addition to special occasion items)? I have an ikea billy bookshelf that stores 95% of my shoes and having them on shelves makes it so easy to keep them organized. I bought extra shelves and it works well for a budget friendly shoe shelf.

    I can’t wait to see as you continue revealing spaces in your stunning home. Even though we have different style preferences, I always learn and appreciate the detail you share.

    1. Oh yes, all my coats are either in the coat closet in our front hallway or hanging in the mudroom! There’s no way they would fit in here as we definitely prioritized drawer and shelf space over hanging space. I do a big edit of my closet at least once or twice a year and fold all my sweaters and jeans in addition to keeping the usual stuff (workout wear, swimsuits) in drawers.