Picture this; you’re in the middle of a house search, touring yet another property. The master bedroom is generously-sized, and a comfortable master bathroom is attached. Then, you open a door and find a game-changer, a walk-in closet that’ll solve your storage needs.
Walk-in closets don’t come in a single size. Generally speaking, the average walk-in closet dimensions are near 7 x 10 feet. However, those aren’t the only sizes around, as the walk-in closet has to fit the home’s dimensions.
On the small side, a walk-in closet may be closer to 5 x 5 feet. If you’re looking at a luxury closet, it may be closer to 10 x 10 feet or even larger. The style of the closet can also play a factor in altering the walk-in closet dimensions. If you’re wondering what’s normal to find, here’s a complete guide.
Average Walk-In Closet Dimensions
As mentioned above, an average walk-in closet is usually something near 7 x 10 feet; however, the norms vary depending on the style and layout of the closet.
Single-sided, double-sided, island and wrap-around walk-in closets have unique size requirements. Since that’s the case, their averages can vary, as seen in the chart below.
|Single-Sided||7 to 10 ft.||4 to 5 ft.|
|Double-Sided||7 to 8 ft.||4 to 8 ft.|
|Island||11 to 12 ft.||10 to 16 ft.|
|Wrap Around||7 to 8 ft.||7 to 11 ft.|
Typical Walk-In Closet Floor Plans and Layouts
When it comes to walk-in closet dimensions, the floor plan or layout plays a big role in the size requirements. Along with accommodating a walkway, you need enough room for shelving, rods, or other installed features.
Depending on the style, you may need far more width or depth than you would with other options. If you don’t have enough room, certain layouts may feel cramped or non-functional. Similarly, some floor plans may feel sparse if the space is ample.
Here’s an overview of the most common walk-in closet layouts and insights into their size requirements.
A single-sided walk-in closet is a hybrid between a classic walk-in and a reach-in closet. It’s also typically the smallest option, working well in homes with just a bit more room than necessary for a regular reach-in design.
Generally, a single-sided walk-in closet is about 4 to 5 ft. deep. That leaves enough room for storage on the back wall, which usually extends around 2 ft. into the space, all while leaving about 3 ft. of clearance past the closet doors. It’s enough room for a person to physically step into the closet when accessing stored items and potentially enough room to dress inside the closet.
With a double-sided closet, there’s some flexibility regarding the depth. While most are in the 5 to 6-foot range, they could potentially be just 4 ft. deep or well above 8 ft. deep, depending on the available space.
However, the width of a double-sided closet usually falls near 7 to 8 ft. That ensures at least 2 ft. on each side for storage, as well as at least 3 ft. between those two sides, leaving a comfortable walkway or dressing area in the center.
In many cases, the island walk-in requires the most space of any walk-in closet design. Mainly, this is because the smallest island is usually around 2 x 3 ft., and larger ones can take up far more room. Since you typically need space to open drawers or access shelves under the counter, having enough space to do that comfortably is also essential.
Most island walk-in closets fall in the 10 x 11 ft. to 12 x 16 ft. range. Either dimension could function as the width or depth, as the orientation of the island is usually what dictates the widest point.
However, island walk-in closets typically can’t be slimmer than 10 ft. in any direction. That ensures enough room on the island, a 3-ft. walkway on the rear side, and a 2-ft. section for wall storage on a back wall, suggesting that the closet door is within 1-foot of the island.
On the larger size, only the house structure itself sets a limit. Islands can come in nearly any size, so a closet of this type could be huge if that’s the homeowner’s desire. However, they tend to stay at or below 16 ft. on the longest side, aside from certain luxury homes.
While a double-sided closet has storage on two sides, wrap-around closets have storage on essentially every wall. For a U-shape wrap-around, the minimum dimensions usually come in at 7 x 7 ft., which leaves a 3 x 3 ft. square in the center.
For something closer to a C-shape, with storage on the same wall as the door, you typically need at least an 11 x 7 ft. space, As that creates enough workable room while leaving the walkway reasonably open.
Walk-In Closet Shapes
In most cases, walk-in closets come in specific shapes, particularly in newer builds. They represent classic designs that typically use the available space efficiently, ensuring homeowners get ample storage without feeling cramped.
Small and Square
The first traditional walk-in closet shape is small and square. This option may be as small as 5 x 5 ft., creating a new single-sided walk-in closet. However, they can be larger, creating enough room for a double-sided walk-in instead.
In some cases, these closets generally stand alone. However, they may also be incorporated in a master bath, particularly positioned along the entry hallway.
Long, Narrow Rectangle
A long and narrow rectangle is another classic choice for walk-in closets. These are more commonly single-sided, though they may also be single-sided with an island, depending on the door position.
With these, the walk-in may run the entire length of a bedroom wall but takes advantage of extra depth to make the closet feel more luxurious. Plus, it’s a design that forgoes the kinds of folding or sliding doors that you often find with reach-in closets, which can create a cleaner overall look.
Large and Luxurious
With large and luxurious, any size or shape is possible. Whether square or rectangular, they usually offer up enough floor space to reasonably support storage in at least two sizes while maintaining a comfortable walkway. However, they’re often wide or deep enough for wrap-around or island design, if not both.
In many cases, the amount of open space in a large and luxurious closet is significant. It isn’t uncommon for seating areas and similar features to be part of the plan, allowing them to have a more functional dressing area inside.
Typical Walk In Closet Dimensions
Walk-in closets can come in all shapes and sizes. However, certain walk-in closet dimensions are more common. Here’s a quick look at what you usually find.
While the concept of “large” is a bit ambiguous, most people would put a walk-around or island design in this category. As a result, anything above 10 x 10 ft. can qualify, though 12 x 12 ft. is more likely to be considered luxurious.
For a long and narrow closet, the width is usually the smaller measurement, with the storage running the depth of the space. Often, it ranges from 5 to 7 ft., depending on whether it’s single or double-sided.
As for the depth, anything above the width may qualify; however, an 8 ft. depth may feel like the minimum.
In most cases, small walk-in closets are single-sided. As a result, they tend to be around 5 ft. deep at most. Regarding the width, you may see closets as slim as 5 ft. However, something closer to 7 to 8 ft. is more common, as that provides enough room for a set of double folding doors.
With double-sided walk-in closets, expect a depth of 4 to 8 ft. in most cases. That ensures the storage on either side is ample and justifies the closet’s design.
When it comes to width, 7 to 8 ft. is common. Usually, double-sided walk-in closets use regular doors, not folding ones, so something in that range ensures the door will fit and leaves enough room in the center to stand comfortably.
As mentioned, island walk-in closets have to be large to accommodate the island and any storage on either side. In most cases, 10 x 12 ft. is about as small as an island walk-in can be while accommodating all of the features and maintaining walking room. However, something closer to 12 x 16 ft. isn’t uncommon.
Plus, you may see larger island walk-in closets in high-end homes. Overall, these closets are perceived as the most luxurious option, so some home designs feature oversized closets with islands, chandeliers, and other fancy touches to attract a particular buyer.
Minimum Walk-In Closet Dimensions
Functionally, 4 x 4 ft. is the smallest possible dimensions for a walk-in closet. Any less depth and stepping into the closet isn’t technically an option; turning it into a reach-in closet. That width ensures there’s enough room for a reasonable amount of storage.
However, some wouldn’t classify a depth of 4 ft. as a walk-in, depending on how far any shelving or rods extend into the space. As a result, many people treat a depth of 5 ft. as the minimum, as that usually provides at least 3 ft. of floor space when stepping into the closet.
What Is a Good Size for a Walk-In Master Closet?
In most cases, you want to aim for at least 100 sq. ft. of usable space for a master walk-in closet. For example, 10 x 10 ft. can work incredibly well. You could also go with 9 x 12 ft.
That ensures enough room for two people to use the closet without much issue. Along with being able to use a double-sided design, there’s typically enough room for both people to navigate the space comfortably, even when it’s filled with clothing.
Average Walk-In Closet Size for One Person
For one person, you can have a slightly smaller walk-in closet. Often a 7 x 10 ft. design is enough to have storage on two or three sides and leaves enough floor space that one person can walk around or dress comfortably.
However, you may be able to go with something closer to 5 x 7 ft. or 5 x 8 ft. for rooms intended for a single person. For example, if placed in a secondary or guest bedroom, that size would seem luxurious compared to reach-in alternatives.
ADA Compliant Walk-In Closet Requirements
If you want to make sure that a walk-in closet complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), then you need to ensure that wheelchair and walker users can successfully navigate the space without impediment. Typically, that means providing enough floor space to turn around entirely without having to leave the closet.
For an ADA-compliant closet, make sure there is an open space at least 5 x 5 ft. That allows wheelchair or walker users to turn around without brushing a wall or hitting stored items.
Additionally, you’ll need to consider shelf placement. Generally, the maximum reach distance from a wheelchair is 21 inches. As a result, rods, shelves, and drawers usually need to be placed differently, ensuring a person in a wheelchair can reach all of the storage areas with reasonable ease.
Finally, the doorway into the closet must have an opening of at least 32 inches. However, 36 may be more comfortable, particularly if some items they may need to remove from the closet could extend past the width of a wheelchair or walker.
You may also need to adjust how the door opens. For example, if the door opens against a storage area and is 32 inches wide, you’d need the closet to be a minimum of 7 ft. deep. Otherwise, the person in a wheelchair can’t get into the closet and close the door behind them without hitting their chair.
How to Design a Walk In Closet
When designing a walk-in closet, you need to ensure that you use the space efficiently, even if it’s ample. Otherwise, you may find that you can’t make the most of the storage, can’t see every item, or don’t have enough room to move around comfortably.
Here are some general guidelines regarding designing a walk-in closet.
When placing rods, the minimum distance to the wall is 10 inches. Otherwise, the hangers will hit the back. However, 12 inches is usually more comfortable, so it is a better target if you have the room.
As for the distance from the rod to the floor – or the rod to the one below it – may depend on the items you want to store. If you have longer items, like full-length dresses or coats, 72 to 84 inches should be considered the minimum, depending on your height. If you don’t have full-length items, 60 to 72 inches may suffice.
If you’re going with double rods, the lowest one should sit about 40 inches off the floor. The second one would then go at 80 inches.
Shelving in a walk-in closet is a flexible option that you can essentially design based on your needs. Generally, 12 inches on-center is considered the standard for most closet shelves. However, you can potentially shrink that down to 8 inches if the shelf stores shoes or heels (but not boots).
If you’re storing structured bags or purses, the height may need an adjustment depending on the tallest bag’s design. With this, it’s best to measure the bag. Then, add about 2 inches to ensure it doesn’t scrape the shelf above it.
As for the depth, 12 inches is usually considered the minimum for shoes, but you’ll want to expand to 18 to 20 inches if you plan on storing folded clothing. It ensures there’s enough room to place the items without anything having to press against the back wall.
In most cases, drawers need to be at least 18 inches deep. However, 24 inches might be more comfortable, depending on what you want to store.
When it comes to the height of the drawer, 5, 8, and 12 inches are all common sizes. You may want to consider a mix if you’re storing a range of items.
For example, a 5-inch drawer may work well for accessories like belts or slimmer clothing items like socks or undergarments. An 8-inch drawer may be a good fit for typical clothing items, while 12-inch drawers might be a better choice for bulky sweaters.
If you’re specifically designing a shoe rack, the type of shoe plays the most significant role in determining which design is best. As mentioned above, you usually need a depth of at least 12 inches, which ensures the shoes don’t have to press against the back wall. For the height between shelves will vary depending on the shoe involved.
In most cases, 8 inches is enough space for regular shoes and most women’s heels. However, if you have exceptionally high heels – such as heels above 4 inches or a combined platform and heel above 4 inches – you may want to incorporate more room. In those cases, 12 inches between the shelves is likely a better choice.
Similarly, if you have structured boots, you may need more space between the shelves. Twelve inches usually accommodates most hiking-style boots, but fashion boots may require far more room. In this case, it’s wise to measure your tallest pair of boots, adding about 2 inches to ensure there’s enough space to get them out with ease.
While 3 x 3 ft. is usually enough floor room to comfortably be inside a walk-in closet, you’ll want more available space if you plan on using that area as a dressing area. Usually, an open spot at least 3 x 4 ft. is comfortable.
Along with ensuring you can stand in the closet, 3 x 4 ft. of floor space allows you to extend one arm out or bend over without necessarily brushing other items in your closet. However, if you’re a particularly tall individual or have a large wingspan, you may want to go with something a bit larger to ensure you’re comfortable.
Generally speaking, a walk-in closet is usually around 7 x 10 ft. to 10 x 10 ft. However, those aren’t the only possible walk-in closet dimensions. A closet as shallow as 4 or 5 ft. could qualify. Plus, luxury walk-in closets may be 12 x 16 ft. or even larger.
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