Closets can quickly become an afterthought in many homes, a place to frantically search through in the morning or hide unwanted clutter before company arrives. Closet designer Vera DeVincenzo believes these spaces are a valuable piece of real estate within the home. When designed with functionality in mind, a closet can bring a sense of calm to the daily grind.
Long Island Pulse: Should a closet’s walls have a color scheme?
Vera DeVincenzo: Unless you really have a passion for color, white walls are the best and the reason is that closets are often windowless spaces. You want to see the true color of what your garment is and with minimum light, it will show up best on white.
What about lighting?
VD: A walk-in closet usually has a big light fixture on the ceiling and that’s sufficient. But you can also put track lighting with directional lights to highlight certain areas. Most reach-in closets don’t have a light, but tiny LEDs are the future. We actually have LED-lit rods and shelving for featured items…and this cool LED light that’s activated by motion.
Pulse: What’s the best way to utilize shelving and hangers?
VD: I find that there are two categories of people: Hangers and folders. Anything that’s neatly foldable should go on shelves. Put shelves waist high and up so they’re in your face and you’re not going to just put junk on it and leave it there. Clothes that belong on hangers would be more like the blousy-type things and slacks. First recommendation: Everything off of the wire dry cleaner hangers; you’re creating a sense of chaos and the clothes hang so close together. Transfer everything to uniform wooden hangers.
Pulse: What about shelving and fixture material?
VD: I’m a proponent of using a manufactured wood in a closet because it’s more durable and cleanable. It’s not like a stained-wood product that’s going to get scratched.
Pulse: Any accessories you recommend?
VD: The one feature no closet should be without is a valet rod. It attaches to shelves and telescopes out so when you come home with dry-cleaning you can place it on there until you have time to put it away. It’s fabulous for laying out the next day’s wardrobe or to hang what’s recently been pressed.
Make sure closet doors are the right size. Sometimes, builders put small doors on closets and hide as much as two feet of space on either side that could have been used for hanging. Don’t want to replace the doors? Install two rods on each side to fill the depth, which can add up to eight feet of unused hanging space.
words: esme mazzeo | photo: yvonne albinowski