Have you found yourself in a situation where you need to know the parameters and size for a standard bedroom closet? How high should a clothing rod and top shelf be installed? How do you ensure you are building a bedroom closet to code?
A standard bedroom reach-in closet accounts for space to hang clothing and measures 36 inches wide by 24 inches deep. But there are specific standard dimensions set for each kind of closet build, whether you are planning a reach-in closet, walk-in closet, or linen closet.
In this article, we will detail the ins and outs of a standard bedroom closet size and design. We will also go over dimensions for different closet builds and any requirements set by the FHA or ADA.
What Are Standard Bedroom Closet Dimensions?
There are many different styles of closet designs available for a bedroom. There are reach-in closets and walk-in closets. Closets with rods, shelving, and some even with an island in the center. With each different closet design, the plan will require different dimensions suited to that style of storage. We will go through the different dimensions by type of closet.
Does a Bedroom Have to Have a Closet?
According to the IRC, International Building Code, a bedroom does not have to include a closet. However, state laws and regulations and building jurisdictions can modify the code. It is always a good idea to refer to your local laws and regulations to ensure you are building within the correct requirements.
FHA Bedroom Closet Size Requirements
If, for appraisal reasons, you are trying to determine if an existing closet, or lack thereof, will affect the evaluation of bedrooms in your home, you can rest easy. Contrary to popular belief, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) does not require a room to include a closet to be considered a bedroom at this time. The last time the FHA required this was in 1993.
Other lenders may have a form of closet requirements though, especially when considering the location or era of the home, so it is always beneficial to check your guidelines or building codes.
Reach-In Closet Dimensions
The minimum dimensions for a reach-in closet are 36 inches wide by 22 inches deep.
A standard reach-in closet would be 36 inches wide by 24 inches deep.
If this is a closet primarily used for coats, outerwear, or other bulky items, you should consider increasing the depth to 28 inches deep.
Walk-In Closet Dimensions
Smallest Walk-in Closet Size
The minimum acceptable dimensions for a walk-in closet are 4 feet wide by 4 feet deep.
This size walk-in closet only has space for hanging clothes on the back wall and one sidewall.
Narrow Walk-in Closet Dimensions
The key to calculating the correct dimensions of a walk-in closet is to consider how much space will be available to walk around in. At a minimum, a walk-in closet should be at least 4 feet wide by 4 feet deep. Then, address what kinds of clothes or storage will be within the closet.
Storage furniture must have at least 24 inches walking space between shelves, drawers, or hanging clothes. Hanging clothes take up an additional 2 feet of depth to account for the garments hung on the hangers.
A closet that is 6 feet wide can accommodate storage or hanging clothes along the back wall and both sidewalls.
The single-sided walk-in closet is the smallest type of walk-in closet. This build will include enough clearance space to walk into the closet but with only enough space for one wall of storage.
The standard single-sided walk-in closet dimensions are 4 feet deep by 4 feet wide, but the width can be altered to fit whatever space you have allotted.
When planning a double-sided walk-in closet, you have flexibility in dimension depending on what forms of storage you would like to implement. A double-sided walk-in closet features room for storage on opposite walls of the closet, with a clearance space that creates a hall-like passage splitting the storage.
If you are going to incorporate shelving on one end and a hanging rod, or rods, on the opposite end, the width can be between 6 feet and 6 ½ feet depending on how deep you make your shelves, paired with the standard 4 feet deep dimension.
If you prefer to opt for both storage options to be hanging rods on opposite ends, you will need to account for more hanging space. This will bring the dimensions to 7 feet wide and still at least 4 feet deep.
The island walk-in closet is the largest closet we will be going over in this guide. It includes an island fixture in the center of the closet that can either be used as seating, storage, or a work surface.
There must be ample clearance on all four sides of the island. Right off the bat, account for 3 feet of clearance on all sides of the island. Then you must account for the depth of storage you will be installing, whether that be for hanging clothing or shelving.
If you were to have a central island that is 3 feet wide by 5 feet long, with hanging closet space on either side of the walk-in build and shelving along the back wall, the overall dimensions of the closet itself would be 13 feet by 13 feet.
This graphic by dimensions.com details the exact layout we discussed and provides a clear plan for the space and storage.
How Deep Should a Closet Be?
The smallest a reach-in closet can be is 19 ¾ inches wide by 17 inches deep. This is ideal for a linen closet, pantry, or media closet, where clothing would be folded and not hung, or storage is primarily for items that are not clothes.
Minimum Closet Depth for Hanging Clothes
At a minimum, a closet must be 20 inches deep to account for the width of hangers. Once you add clothing to the hangers, this will create a tight squeeze, but one that is manageable. For hangers with clothing to comfortably hang, try to shoot for at least 24 inches deep, which is the standard depth for a reach-in closet.
Standard Height for Closet Rod and Shelf
The standard height for a single shelf and closet rod is at least 66 inches measured from the floor to account for possible storage of dresses and coats. The shelf will sit at 68 inches and leaves 16 inches of space on average for storage between the shelf and ceiling in a closet 8 feet tall.
If you consider installing a double rod design for storage optimization, the bottommost rod should be hung at 34 inches above the floor. Pants folded over a hanger will hang without touching the ground from this height. The next rod should be separated by 42 inches of space to account for hanging shirts that are on average 40 inches long. The shelf would be installed atop the tallest pole at 84 inches from the floor.
What Is the Standard Closet Door Opening?
Typically, a closet door opening will be 6 feet wide and 80 inches high. Today, many solutions are available for those who want to create a closet with a smaller opening, such as sliding doors, bifold doors, or even pocket doors. In the graphic shown below, the closet has a 5 feet wide opening.
What Are the ADA Closet Requirements?
The ADA requires at least one of each storage area within a reachable range from a level clear floor space and an accessible route. This means the furthest points in the closet, like the very back of a shelf, or a clothing rod, must not exceed 21 inches away from the access point. For a reach-in closet, that would be the opening, and for a walk-in closet, that would be from the passageway of clearance.
A door that swings open is not going to be wheelchair accessible. Instead, consider a pocket or sliding door or even eliminating a door for ultimate accessibility.
If the closet is of a walk-in design, then the opening must have enough clearance on either side and enough space within the closet to turn a wheelchair around. The opening must be at least 32 inches wide, but it is recommended to increase this width to at least 36 inches for comfortable access.
Additionally, in a walk-in closet that would meet ADA requirements, there should be a minimum of 5 feet of open space within the closet. This is to ensure the wheelchair can turn completely around.
If the closet has a rod or shelving within it, the entirety of the rod or shelf does not need to be accessible, but a portion must be. The accessible portion, at maximum, can be 54 inches above the finished floor.
Overall, you are trying to ensure that if an able-bodied person used the storage space alongside someone who requires a mobility device, there should be facilities within reachable range for both heights.
How Much Space Do You Need in Front of a Closet?
The rule of thumb is that at least 24 inches of walking space are required. As long as a closet has 24 inches or more of space on the front-end, someone will be able to comfortably utilize the storage space.
How to Maximize Storage Space Within a Bedroom Closet
Top Shelf Dimensions
Most closets will be 8 feet tall, and installing the top shelf at 84 inches leaves one foot of space between the shelf and ceiling. This is the perfect space to store shoe boxes, hat boxes, pull-out baskets, or other forms of storage.
Even the normally tallest of shoes, like pumps or high-tops, should only require, at most, 7 inches of height. A great way to maximize storage is to save the top shelf for larger items and to include shoe shelves in your closet design.
With a single closet-rod and shelf design, there will already be 16 inches of space at the very top of the closet. Consider adding shelf to split this distance, and now you will have two shelves dedicated to optimal shoe storage.
No matter your reasoning for perusing bedroom closet sizing, whether you are looking to garner an appraisal or redesign an existing bedroom plan, we hope this guide was helpful in your pursuits. If you found the information in this article useful, please consider sharing it with your friends and family. Don’t forget to comment below and let us know what projects you are planning or how this guide was helpful to you! As always, we appreciate your continuing support and can’t wait to see what DIY projects you tackle next!