The human body undergoes dramatic changes from infancy through adulthood. And then not so much. This means the older you get, the more clothes, shoes, and accessories you'll accumulate. Some of those you'll ship off to charity or resale shops; others you'll wear out and throw away. But many you'll want to hold onto because they're impervious to time. Chinos and denim are forever, and skinny ties and big heels? They've gone in and out of style so many times that it's hard to keep count.
So if you hold onto stuff, there's only going to be more ... and more. You'll need a closet that can accommodate your desire to have striped and solid dress shirts in every color, as well as heavy and lightweight sweaters so that no matter the weather, you're both prepared and ready to rock your look.
Here then, are 40 different joyful approaches to the walk-in closet. One may be perfect for you, but don't forget that you're welcome to adapt and mix or match ideas to get the one that suits you best.
Space is indeed the final frontier, and the best way to keep it clean and organized is to use every inch as efficiently as possible. Note that everything here seems to have found its ideal spot in the arrangement, and yet there are drawers aplenty to gather and tuck away items like socks, underwear, and accessories.
Not all closets are created equal, of course. In this example, there's abundant room — where everything is visible — for hanging garments and a little less emphasis on drawers. The lesson: make your closet work for you, not the inverse.
Does someone actually live here, or is this the dressing room at a high-end fashion salon? A tasteful rug and an ottoman provide a place to sit and slip into whatever fashion strikes your fancy. Notice that the wood hits just the right notes between light and dark for a nice balance of light.
Is it a day room or a walk-in closet? Well, the correct answer is ... yes. There's an abundance of visible storage as well as a vanity and a relaxing nook. This is what form meeting function looks like.
"No man is an island," according to famed writer John Donne. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have one in your walk-in closet. Here, there's an element of the urban professional at work through dark woods, polished surfaces, and color-coordinated open storage.
Can you get more pampered than to have a chandelier in your closet? Luxe only begins to describe what's on display here, with an island containing multiple drawers, enormous space for hanging clothes, rolled-up items, plus space for shoes and accouterments. Even the spare pillows take it easy here.
On the one hand, you're not reinventing the wheel when you're creating storage for your wardrobe and personal effects. But, on the other, you should never be afraid to play with shapes, designs, and materials. Just look at the whimsical wonder here. You'll be able to see not only where everything is but identify individual items because it's all exposed.
This walk-in really does take up an entire room, although all of the garments are arranged to be seen and chosen at a glance. Check out the contrast between the light-colored flooring, the snow-white walls and fixtures, and that transparent closet. You have to wonder if there's a superhero costume among the outfits contained inside.
Remember how closets can look with a single overhead light and a pitch-black interior? Here, lighter wood and glass make this walk-in closet much more than a storage area. Instead, it's a place where you can transform from your private to your public self.
It's as much a showroom as it is a walk-in closet. Here, no expense has been spared to provide the kind of love and care for your clothes as many people give to their most cherished possessions. Obviously, for some, those things are your everyday wear and the fanciest garments you own.
Back when Michael Douglas was showing Charlie Sheen how to turn a profit in "Wall Street," a closet like this would be reserved for the so-called "Masters of the Universe." A flatscreen and fireplace keep you comfy and up-to-date on the stock market while you choose the power outfit of the day.
Here's a relatively modest apartment (note the loft bed at the top of the stairs) with a walk-in closet that suits the resident's needs. From the look of it, every possible bit of space is put to its best use, resulting in a place that, while small, doesn't appear cramped or cluttered.
Q: When is a walk-in closet not a walk-in closet? A: When you can find no real evidence that's the purpose of the room, that's when. Here, everything is tucked away so you can't see anything except for the result — when the occupant emerges like a butterfly from its cocoon.
Of course, some people like to have everything right where they can make eye contact. While everything is well organized (and there is a wardrobe off to the left here), the off-white contents in an off-white room says everything about keeping even the most opulent things simple.
Sometimes having few budgetary restrictions seems like an invitation to go overboard. Here, the designers have once again gone for a charm borne of simplicity. Everything is neatly arranged and, for the most part, tucked out of sight.
Who's the star here? It's certainly not the wardrobe, which is kept from view. There's a zebra print faux animal carpet in the foreground, giving man cave vibes, and there's a subtle but professional use of lighting throughout, highlighting everything from flowers to sneakers.
Do you prefer your martinis shaken or stirred? The vintage luggage, the two-tone wardrobe of dress shirts and suits ... this is a walk-in that you'd expect of someone with Top Secret clearance. It's cooler than an autumn breeze.
The right walk-in for you is the one that does the job you ask of it. Not everyone needs (or wants) a Taj Mahal experience just to store clothes and change for the day's activities. This design is as basic as it gets and perfect for the person who appreciates its modest charms.
Walk-ins that evoke the essence of being inside a haberdashery are obviously having a moment in the limelight right now. The dark woods, muted lighting from above, and earth tones speak of woodsy colognes, snifters of brandy, and deep conversations about matters of geopolitical import.
Going somewhere? You can bet this walk-in closet belongs to a woman on the go. Handbags and shoes are all easily within reach, along with her assortment of professional business wear choices. There's not a lot this lady leaves to chance.
Imagine strolling into this room fresh from a shower and considering what to wear while Mother Nature looks on enviously from the outdoors. This floor plan is structured for ease and impresses you by not trying any harder than what's required. It's brilliant.
Imagine a walk-in so upper crust that it has aisles. In this design, you don't just get to look at what you want to wear; you get to stroll through an off-white museum housed with the clothes you love. Recessed lighting adds to the fanciful decor.
Self-made? Captain of Industry? Either way, this layout wants to help you celebrate your success by depositing you in a warm embrace of beige and brown and leaving you only to ask whether you take the Bentley or the Mercedes to work today.
You can make your walk-in a place to reflect rather than a place to simply check your reflection. Here, the warm and inviting atmosphere is created through brighter background woods, supplemented by cheery natural and artificial light.
Birchy light woods can do a lot to brighten a walk-in. This design feels like a seaside vacation with its many open areas and recessed spots for hat boxes and roller bags. Sometimes the luxury is not in the furnishings but in the way surroundings can put you at ease.
What do attorneys do when it's time to lawyer up? They retreat to places like this. Here, you can not only reflect on your opening remarks or closing statements; you can feel centered, powerful and organized.
Who wouldn't want a retreat like this? Ivory, gold, and ecru combine in a seamless display of Art Deco majesty. The couch island suggests the possibility of an afternoon tea break, and the vanity at the end is fit for a queen.
Sometimes all you want is a place to recharge. Here's a spot where you can relax in solitude before you have to put on your game face and take on the world. And when you feel you're ready, you can check your look — just to be sure.
No, this isn't the dressing room at some Beverly Hills dress shop. But, excluding public access, it might as well be. An adult collection of wearable art is at the owner's fingertips, enveloped in an intentionally posh atmosphere.
Here's a couple's concept that makes the most of what room is available. It's big enough to fit everyone's belongings and even looks to have enough potential space for you to both get ready at the same time.
Here's a walk-in configuration that just might accommodate an entire family, Brady bunch-style. Rows of open hanging clothes, stacks of summer wear, and special pieces behind glass. It's regal but serviceable as well.
There was something simple and sublime about the years between world wars. Here all of that pre-Atomic Age charm is preserved in a walk-in that calls to mind the starlets of yesteryear and Hollywood's Golden Age. Ready for your close-up?
Ahhh. This gold-meets-white concept really drives home the notion that the things we accumulate and cherish really are our trophies. Which won't make you materialistic — but instead imbues you with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude.
Here's someone who prizes his sneakers collection, and why not? Many are issued as limited editions or one-of-a-kind pieces that deserve the kind of care formerly reserved for museum pieces. This walk-in and what the owner chooses to display are reflective of that pride.
There's an ingenious use of space at work here, with a simple closet flanked by two rotating carousels. Heels and shoes to one side, scarves, accessories, and the rest off to another. It's a secret-agent concept brought into the real world.
What you see is what's needed in this utilitarian design. Banker's boxes may contain ties, cummerbunds, studs, and cufflinks. From stylish decor center stage to a fun little spot to sit to put shoes on, this closet has everything you need.
It's a walk-in that's also a library and retreat. Here's a place where you can not only pick your outfit for the day ahead but have a look at references past and present to decide which way to turn next for the look you want to achieve. Call it a study — for style.
Some gents would call a masculine walk-in like this their "war room" because it's where they go to gear up for the battles of the day ahead. The key ingredients here: polished wood, recessed subtle lighting, and a rug and oversized ottoman to add comfort to the ambiance of calm and control.
Not one, but two chandeliers. A simple recamier (a backless chaise, typically with scrolled arms — an effect achieved here with sofa pillows) and a playfully dignified color scheme of stark white and blacks augmented by cloudy-day-grays. And at the back, a ladder to ... one can only guess where.
Let's close with something breathtaking. Here's opulence at a level that many will never experience. But it is gorgeous and full of clever ideas brought to their most extravagant conclusion for what has to be a very particular — and well-funded — owner.