25 Closet Shelving Ideas to Keep You Sorted

closet shelving ideas

Design by Calimia Home / Photo by Jeanne Canto

The smartest closet shelving ideas open up floor space and make it easy to visualize your belongings. Check out these shelving ideas for closets of every size and layout that will help you keep your items visible and accessible, making it easier to banish clutter and keep you—and your wardrobe—sorted.

  • 01 of 25

    Renter-Friendly Closet Shelving

    renter-friendly closet shelving ideas

    Fantastic Frank

    In this small Swedish apartment walk-in closet from Fantastic Frank, a freestanding shelving unit positioned below the hanging rack offers extra storage for folded items, complementing inexpensive wall-hung bracket shelving on the opposite side.

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  • 02 of 25

    U-Shaped Closet Shelving

    shoe closet shelving ideas

    Laura Cattano Organizational Design

    Laura Cattano Organizational Design created a small walk-in accessories closet for an extensive shoe and handbag collection by installing simple wrap-around shelves that offer maximum storage while leaving just enough room to maneuver in and out. Shoes are displayed with one of each pair facing in while the other faces out, ending the debate over which way is best by doing both.

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  • 03 of 25

    Shared Closet Shelving

    shared closet shelving ideas

    Studio Peake

    This galley-style shared closet from Studio Peake has a mix of open and closed storage, a top row of woven baskets to hide clutter and a colorful rug and pouf to give it a dressing room feel.

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  • 04 of 25

    Open and Closed Closet Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    Finding Lovely

    Finding Lovely multiplied the storage in this small walk-in closet with a combination of hanging rods and open and glass-front shelving, adding labeled storage baskets that hide clutter while making everything easy to find.

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  • 05 of 25

    Install a Custom Shelving Unit

    closet shelving ideas

    Casa Watkins Living

    Casa Watkins Living turned a small walk-in closet into a mini dressing room by installing a custom closet organization system made up of open shelving, a row of drawers, and hanging rods of different lengths, then embellishing it with decor touches like a Persian-style runner, a gold-rimmed mirror, and a rattan chair.

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  • 06 of 25

    DIY Plywood Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona

    Blogger Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona designed and built this DIY primary suite closet from plywood. Then she saved time by swapping in a thrifted set of drawers, painting everything bright white, then adding gold details and whimsical wallpaper to the sunny space.

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  • 07 of 25

    Long and Linear Closet Shelving

    open closet shelving ideas

    Design by Leanne Ford Interiors / Photo by Josh Franer

    This open closet from Leanne Ford Interiors has a laid back, glamorous feel, with long, linear open shelving for shoes and accessories on either side of the hanging rod, and a sparkly chandelier.

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  • 08 of 25

    Cubby Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    Laura Cattano Organizational Design

    Whether you're freestyling it or hiring a professional to build a custom storage system, be sure to maximize every last nook and cranny of your small walk-in closet, like this one from Laura Cattano Organizational Design, which includes a tall, skinny row of open shelving cubbies to house accessories.

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  • 09 of 25

    Don't Overcrowd Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona left plenty of space around the shoes, hats, and bags on display on these DIY open shelves so that the space retains a light and airy feel.

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  • 10 of 25

    Mix and Match Closet Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    Design by Emily Bowser for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    Emily Henderson Design left the doors off this small walk-in closet to maximize storage inside. A three-tiered shoe rack keeps shoes organized while leaving room for the dresser drawers inside to open. The top shelf in the closet stays tidy thanks to a series of matching fabric bins.

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  • 11 of 25

    Boutique-Style Closet Shelving

    accessories closet shelving ideas

    Maite Granda

    Interior designer Maite Granda used transparent glass doors on this jewel box accessories closet that shows off the floor-to-ceiling open shelving styled with bags, shoes, and jewelry and lit like a boutique display.

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  • 12 of 25

    Add Clear-Front Storage Drawers

    closet shelving organization ideas

    Laura Cattano Organizational Design

    Keep your clothes and accessories dust-free but visible by using stacks of identical transparent-front storage boxes that can be pulled out and slid back into place, like this small walk-in closet from Laura Cattano Organizational Design.

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  • 13 of 25

    Backlit Closet Shelving

    closet shelving lighting ideas

    Laura Cattano Organizational Design

    In this well organized and perfectly symmetrical dressing room from Laura Cattano Organizational Design, open shelving backlit with LED lighting creates ambiance and an at-home boutique feel.

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  • 14 of 25

    Maximize the Top Shelf

    open closet shelving ideas

    A Beautiful Mess

    A Beautiful Mess added a pair of top shelves that graze the ceiling in this open bedroom closet that is equipped with white fabric storage bins that keeps clutter hidden.

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  • 15 of 25

    Fight Dust With Glass Front Doors

    glass front closet shelving ideas

    Studio KT

    This spacious open closet from Studio KT built glass-front open shelving for a massive shoe collection that keeps everything on display while protecting it from dust.

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  • 16 of 25

    Customize Store Bought Closet Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    A Beautiful Mess

    A Beautiful Mess hacked a store-bought closet kit for a young kids bedroom, adding drawers where some of the shelves are, changing the hardware, and adding pastel pink baskets and a transparent sunglasses case that keeps the little one's collection of shades on display.

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  • 17 of 25

    White Wire Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona used light and airy white wire wall shelving that can be staggered to accommodate belongings and practically disappear against the white closet walls.

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  • 18 of 25

    Bonus Closet Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    Most Lovely Things

    Most Lovely Things added a small shelf decorated with art and wallpaper and lit with a tiny lamp that creates a landing spot for small accessories and makes the space feel personal and warm.

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  • 19 of 25

    Dressing Room Closet Shelving

    walk-in closet shelving ideas

    Britt Design Studio

    This dressing room from Britt Design Studio has wrap-around storage that includes a tall standalone shelving unit that holds and displays bags and shoes in neat rows.

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  • 20 of 25

    Wall of Cubby Closet Shelving

    closet cubby shelving ideas

    A Beautiful Mess

    A Beautiful Mess added a wall of cubby closet shelving that maximizes vertical space and keeps items visible and easy to grab.

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  • 21 of 25

    Whole Room Closet Shelving

    whole room closet shelving ideas

    Design by Calimia Home / Photo by Jeanne Canto

    This spare room turned closet from Calimia Home has wrap-around shelving for a large collection of shoes and accessories that maximizes the wall space and leaves the floor clear in the pass-through space.

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  • 22 of 25

    Add Labels

    labeled closet shelving bins

    A Beautiful Mess

    A Beautiful Mess used matching white pins labeled with simple black labels that keep scarves and other accessories hidden in plain sight.

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  • 23 of 25

    Build a Shoe Wall

    shoe closet shelving ideas

    Gray Space Interiors

    This dressing room in a contemporary New Jersey home from Gray Space Interiors has a custom-built wall of open shelving that puts a vast collection of colorful sneakers on proud display.

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  • 24 of 25

    Add Freestanding Shelving

    closet shelving ideas

    Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    Emily Henderson Design added freestanding shelving units in varying heights and sizes to add storage to a large closet. Open cubbies store shoes, while hyacinth baskets hold small accessories, and lightweight, fabric-covered pull-out drawers and bins keep items neatly stored and easy to access.

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  • 25 of 25

    Build Extra Shelving

    luxury closet shelving ideas

    Alvin Wayne

    Interior designer Alvin Wayne maximized vertical space in this large walk-in closet dressing room with floor-to-ceiling open shelving that provides storage for a well-edited wardrobe while leaving it plenty of room to breathe, the ultimate in closet luxury.

What can I use for closet shelves?

Plywood is an affordable and durable choice for closet shelves that won’t warp or sag under the weight of your wardrobe and can be painted any color that you like. While MDF shelving is inexpensive, it will not hold up as well over time, conceivably costing you (and the environment) more in the long run. 

How do you maximize a hanging space in a closet?

If your hanging wardrobe consists of short-hanging traditional work wear like suit jackets, dress shirts, and dress pants or skirts, you can double the space in your closet by handing double rods on top of one another. If your wardrobe is made up of maxi dresses and bathrobes for every season, skip the bottom rod but use slim, non-slip hangers that will allow you to hang more clothes without losing precious space to bulky hangers. You can also add hanging space for bags, jewelry, hats, ties, or other accessories with specially adapted hangers, wall hooks, or over-the-door organizers.