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Small Walk-In Closet Ideas

A walk-in closet is always a plus, but what if it's tiny? Find out how others have solved this storage dilemma with these small walk-in closet ideas.

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Small Walk In Closet Ideas Openerucpage/Getty Images

The Challenges of a Small Walk-In Closet

We’ll admit, a walk-in bedroom closet is nothing to complain about! But not all walk-in closets are the expansive storage havens of your dreams. Some are small and maybe even cramped. So yes, technically you can “walk in,” but the limited space presents a set of challenges.

What are the best ways to take advantage of a small walk-in closet and utilize its full storage potential?

  • Maximize vertical space. According to professional organizer Michelle Vig of Neat Little Nest, “When you have a small closet, it’s important to maximize your vertical space. This might mean getting additional shelving installed so you can use all the space to the ceiling.”
  • Add bins. Bins and baskets are always a good idea for organizing, but in a small walk-in closet they can help with the top shelves. “To make it easier to get at the items on those higher shelves,” Vig says, “consider adding bins to those shelves so you can pull them down and grab what you need.”
  • Use thinner hangers. A small walk-in closet will have less rod space for your hanging clothes. “Hangers take up a lot of space,” Vig says. “By using thin hangers you can get more items into the closet.”
  • Install a closet system. If your small walk-in features standard builder-grade rods and shelves, chances are you can squeeze in a lot more storage potential with a closet system. Professional systems or DIY versions will add shelves, rods and drawers custom fit to your small closet.

See these ideas in action and check out more solutions to small walk-in closet challenges below from some of our favorite Instagram users!

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Add A Floor MirrorCourtesy @heyyallitsdenise/instagram

Add a Floor Mirror

The small size of this walk-in closet didn’t stop @heyyallitsdenise from transforming it into a cute dressing room. A floor mirror not only allows her to check out her outfits, but also makes the space feel bigger. A fluffy rug, small stool and hanging vines round out the whole look, creating a boutique vibe.

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Bring In A DresserCourtesy @rockycanyonrustic/instagram

Bring in a Dresser

A compact dresser fits nicely in a small walk-in closet and amps up the storage potential. In this kids’ closet by @rockycanyonrustic, she painted the dresser, added shelves made of 3/4-in. medium density fiberboard (MDF) and painted them to match. Now the space is not only easier to organize, it looks beautiful, too!

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Install A Closet SystemCourtesy @classyclosetsus/instagram

Install a Closet System

This small walk-in teen closet features a closet system by Classy Closets (@classyclosetsus). Closet systems are customized to meet your needs in the available space. In this case, plenty of clothing rods, basket shelves, drawers and shoe shelves are included.

Professional closet systems aren’t cheap, but worth the splurge if you can swing it. Check out these cheap DIY updates for some budget-friendly ideas.

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Use A Cube Shelf UnitCourtesy @jessadele Designs/instagram

Use a Cube Shelf Unit

With a cube shelf unit, you can make your closet feel custom without the steep price tag. This closet by @jessadele_designs utilizes an eight-cube storage unit that fits perfectly between the two walls of hanging clothes. The styled shelves are a great spot for jewelry, purses and other small items. No complicated installation required.

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Go GlamCourtesy @house On Woods Edge/instagram

Go Glam

This closet by @house_on_woods_edge proves that just because a walk-in closet is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be glamorous.

The gold chandelier, built-in shelf lighting and brass hardware all help an ordinary closet feel more luxurious. If you can, display accessories and shoes with a little breathing room. This helps your closet feel more like a high-end shop instead of a cramped storage space.

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Maximize Vertical SpaceCourtesy @mrsgoughshomedecor/instagram

Maximize Vertical Space

Remember to look up! When configuring your small walk-in closet, don’t let any space go to waste — take shelves all the way to the top of your usable space.

This closet by @mrsgoughshomedecor isn’t huge, but there’s plenty of storage thanks to the floor to ceiling cubbies. Keep a small foot stool nearby if you need help accessing the highest items.

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Don't Forget The Shoe ShelvesCourtesy @steelehomedesign/instagram

Don’t Forget the Shoe Shelves

With the limited space in a small walk-in closet, shoe storage is often overlooked, and they end up in a messy pile on the floor.

But as this closet by @steelehomedesign shows, shoe shelves are essential to maximizing your storage. They don’t take up lot of space because they only need to be the same depth as a shoe, but they make a huge impact on organization.

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Get CreativeCourtesy @lizgreenwalt/instagram

Get Creative

The many angles and small size of this walk-in closet by @lizgreenwalt forced her to find creative storage solutions.

“I was using space-saving hangers, a space-saving hat holder, space-saving shoe organizer and somehow, I didn’t have enough space, ” she says. So she got to work on DIY shelves, drawers and a genius hat rail using curtain ring clips. Now the closet is much more functional.

Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.

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