4 Places to Squeeze an Extra Closet into Your Rental, According to Home Stagers

published Jul 15, 2020
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To enjoy multiple closets is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, many apartments don’t have that coveted amenity. One bedroom closet—and maybe a small coat closet—come with the place if you’re lucky. At your unluckiest, an older building might not have proper closets at all.

Since it’s not in the cards to ask your landlord to somehow build a new closet in your apartment, it’s up to you to carve out space for another one. All the clever storage solutions in the world can’t replace what a built-in closet gives you, but homemade mini-closets are a close second. Here, home stagers offer tips for how to squeeze in an extra closet in a tiny rental.

Get a hanging garment rack

“Wheel in a freestanding garment rack with horizontal hangers,” says Lori Sperling with L&A Home Styling & Staging. “Or, if you are like me and love clothes, opt for vertical hangers that can hold up to about nine garments each. Place a plant or tall pampas in a vase next to your exposed closet, and voila! It becomes chic.”

Sperling suggests getting (or DIYing) a mounted garment rack so that precious floor space can be preserved inside a compact residence. 

“Bedroom and bathroom doors, and really any door, can take on the closet role,” the designer continued. “Over-the-door hanging systems can be great places to house trousers, skirts, and shirts.” This could feel especially natural on an existing closet door, if you prefer to keep everything consolidated. 

Put a freestanding wardrobe outside of your bedroom

Many small apartment dwellers know that space is precious, and sometimes the bedroom just doesn’t have enough square footage to host any more furniture than a bed and a side table. But if you have space in your kitchen or living room, a freestanding wardrobe could look quite natural when positioned next to existing cabinets or shelves.

To avoid going back and forth between your bedroom and the room with your wardrobe, hang a pretty mirror on a wall nearby.

Install shelves and rods under a lofted bed

Under-the-bed storage is a no-brainer for those lacking closet space. 

“A great trick is to purchase a lifted bed frame,” suggests Kate Touhill with Seattle Staged to Sell. “You can fit a lot of storage under your bed that often goes wasted. If you don’t have enough room in your closets, you can rotate your clothes out by the season, and put the off-season clothes in vacuum sealed bags under the bed.”

But to truly create an additional closet, there’s another way to maximize under-the-bed space.

“Taking it a step further would be to elevate your bed to a loft-like height and use the bottom half as a closet.” says Sperling. 

Under-loft closets can be created by using freestanding or wall-mounted garment racks and storage solutions. If you’re the type who usually has a messy closet and you know that the space is going to get a bit cluttered, feel free to tuck your items away behind a curtain or a room divider. 

Add bars to your existing closet 

The most unexpected place to add an extra closet? In your closet—like closet-ception.

“If you are fortunate enough to have a closet, no matter how small, installing closet organizers are a must,” Sperling says. “There are great custom choices for shelves and hanging units to fit your needs.”

It’s also a good idea to add an extra bar or tension rod to the very top of your closet, maximizing that vertical space. This extra bar would offer room to hang another row of shirts and blouses.

Of course, the truly foolproof way to have more space is to have less stuff.

“Be thoughtful in what you buy,” Touhill says. “An invaluable piece of advice for living in a small space that I received is to donate or dispose of an item you currently have if you want to buy something new.”