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Demand for home organization projects, including custom closets, is expected to rise 3.8% annually and reach $12.7 billion by 2023, according to leading business research company The Freedonia Group. As closet sizes trend larger and shows like Marie Kondo and The Home Edit get everyone in the mood to color code and catalogue their storage areas, you’re wondering: How much does a custom closet cost, and can I afford it?
When your precariously stacked crates, boxes, and bins start to drive you crazy on a daily basis, a custom closet for your main bedroom could be just what you need to cut the chaos. You could pay $20,000 and beyond for a Kardashian-esque walk-in with high-end materials and a center island, but HomeAdvisor pegs the average cost of a custom closet cost to be $2,040 nationally. So, adding a few more shelves, drawers, and hanging rods is certainly doable without a celebrity budget.
Using data we scoured from the most reputable cost estimators on the web, this guide will walk you through typical closet expenses based on size and the level of add-ons you desire. We’ll also take a look at how your investment in a custom closet now will impact your home’s value when you’re ready to sell.
Custom bedroom closet costs
There’s a clear difference between customizing your own closet with DIY shelving from a home improvement store and having a custom closet professionally installed, both in cost and quality. Both can help you organize your closet, but only a custom closet has potential to increase your home’s value.
“A true custom closet has to have a variety of built-in shelving and drawers, as opposed to the mass produced wire shelving. All open shelving tends to make a closet more chaotic and cluttered, whereas a well-designed custom closet controls and conceals the chaos,” top-selling real estate agent Eric Forney who serves the Indianapolis, Indiana area.
Here’s a round-up of custom closet cost estimates from across the web:
Average custom closet cost: $1,800 to $6,500
Methodology: Fixr pulls its cost data from multiple sources including “specialized publications, websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites.”
Average custom closet cost: $1,200 to $20,000
Source: Home Depot
Methodology: Numbers are based on the company’s custom closet offerings through its Home Organization Services division.
Average custom closet cost: $2,000 to $6,000
Methodology: Thumbtack tracks the price estimates it receives from millions of people annually and shares average pricing data on an array of home improvement projects.
Average custom closet cost: $1,092 to $5,000
Methodology: Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 571 HomeAdvisor members.
Costs per linear square foot
While these broad level cost estimates are a good starting point, you can get more exact by looking at the cost of your custom closet addition per linear square footage. This too varies greatly depending on your design and material choices.
The following cost estimates were curated from Home Depot:
Wall mount custom closet (attached with a steel rail to wall studs)
Standard color and design: $135 per linear foot
Standard color with accessories: $185 per linear foot
Upgraded color and design: $205 per linear foot
Upgraded color with accessories: $235 per linear foot
Floor mount custom closet (attached to the floor using brackets)
Standard color and style: $200 per linear foot
Standard color with accessories: $235 per linear foot
Upgraded color and design: $240 per linear foot
Upgraded color with accessories: $285 per linear foot
Premium color and design with accessories: $330 per linear foot
Costs by closet type
The price ranges for custom closets are so broad because size and style also influence the cost, including whether it’s walk in or reach in.
Basic reach-in closet
Reach-in closets typically measure 6 by 2 feet or 8 by 3 feet. They’ll have room for one or two shelving units with customizable shelves and drawers, plus one or two rods for hanging clothes.
If you’re customizing an eight-foot, reach-in closet with built-in drawers and adjustable shelving and rods, that’ll run you closer to the $1,000 to $2,000 range.
Standard walk-in closet
Walk-in closets vary in size, from the small end at 6 by 6 feet to 15 by 12 feet or larger. They can also vary in layout, from long and lean to L-shaped, and may include some awkward nooks and crannies that will impact your custom closet costs.
Depending on the size and shape, these closets tend to have room for multiple built-in units of drawers, shelves, and storage cupboards, as well as customizable rods for hanging clothes.
Homeowners customizing a large walk-in closet will hit closer to the $5,000 to $7,000 range, with oddly-shaped walk-ins nearing closer to the high end of the price range.
Lavish dressing room closet
It’s Carrie Bradshaw’s dream closet. These luxury custom closets that dedicate a whole room to storing and displaying clothing have everything you can imagine: a dressing table, full length mirror, display shelves for shoes and handbags, jewelry storage, and more.
“In the luxury market, shelves that showcase shoes at an angle are a big deal, but those displays are usually angled downward. To accommodate changing wardrobes, those shelves can be adjusted to a zero-degree angle to display handbags,” explains Forney.
Luxury homeowners who are transforming a room-sized closet with custom built-ins are looking at the $20,000 price tag, or higher.
Core expense considerations
Every professionally designed custom closet includes some main expenses that contribute to the overall cost. Let’s take a look at what they are and why they’re worth paying for:
Design and closet renderings
This is the vital step where you figure out exactly what you need from a custom closet, and how your options will work in the space. As part of the design process, many custom closet designers create 3-D CAD renderings that integrate images of your current closet with proposed design options so you can get a clear picture of how your custom closet will turn out.
Whether you opt for one of the big custom closet companies like California Closets and The Container Store, or you opt to hire a local custom closet company, most offer complimentary design services and renderings.
Labor and installation
Custom work requires custom labor. You need people who are experienced with installing custom built-ins into existing spaces. Most custom closet companies include labor and installation costs in their price per square foot estimates.
In some cases, you’ll also need to bring in a general contractor to get your bedroom ready for the custom closet installation.
For example, if you’re converting a reach-in closet to a walk-in, or you’re changing your home’s layout to alter a small, existing bedroom into a walk-in closet that opens into the primary bedroom.
For a small closet or minor changes, you can hire a general contractor for between $45 to $85 per hour. For larger closets or major changes, general contractors typically charge 10% to 20% of the total construction project costs.
FYI, when your custom closet installation requires modifications to the house, you may also need to get a building permit, which can run between $400 to $2,200.
We’ve already covered the fact that your choice in materials can make your price per square foot increase by around $200 when you upgrade from basic materials and finishes to premium ones.
Custom closet projects also come with several other material costs that you might not have considered. For example, you’ll want new light fixtures in your custom closet, which can run between $350 to $750 for a decorative ceiling fixture, including installation. LED under cabinet and shelf lighting will cost around $233 to $315.
You also don’t want to install custom built-ins into your old walk-in closet without changing out the dingy carpet and faded paint. New laminate wood flooring runs around $3 to $10 per square foot, depending on the flooring quality and installation fees. Fresh interior paint runs around $2 to $6 per square foot.
Keep in mind that a custom closet is a major project that requires emptying out the closet and shifting furniture in the main bedroom to give the installers room to work. When taking on a project this big in the primary bedroom, many homeowners decide to continue the new flooring and paint throughout the bedroom suite to maintain the design flow.
The most attractive part of a custom closet is that you can customize it to exactly meet your needs and desires. Fulfilling that closet wish list will probably include extras and add ons that can increase your total custom closet bill.
“We actually just finished installing custom closets in our own house, and we realized that having options was most important for us. We wanted options for hanging dresses and other clothes, as well as drawers to tuck foldable clothing like T-shirts and sweaters out of sight to keep the closet neat and organized,” recalls Forney.
Here’s a rundown of the most common add ons and the cost estimate for each to help keep your budget in check when you’re in the design phase of your custom closet adventure:
- Jewelry drawers: $55 per unit
- Built-in hamper: $90
- Shoe organizers: $35 per shelf
- Full length mirror: $100 to $300
- Tie and belt organizers: $20
Keep in mind that the estimates for these extras will increase if you upgrade your custom closet with premium colors, materials, or finishes.
3 tips to maximize the value of your custom closet
Whenever you’re investing several thousand dollars into a significant home improvement project like a custom closet, consider how the upgrade affects your home’s value.
“It’s tough to assign a specific dollar amount to the added value of a custom closet. It’s really not about adding value, it’s about evaluating what you’re losing if you don’t have one. For example, in my market, the standard is that homes have custom closets, so not having one takes away from market value,” explains Forney.
While there’s no hard data on how much of a return on your investment you’ll see from a custom closet installation when you sell your house, there are steps you can take to keep your design decisions from hurting your home’s value.
1. Design your closet to be versatile
Once upon a time, “built-in” was a scary word when it came to closets, because it meant that the organization options were limited by permanently installed shelves, drawers, and rods.
Today’s custom closet designers have eliminated that issue by creating closet built-ins that continue to be customizable after they’re installed. When you make your design decisions, be sure to pick adjustable shelves, hooks, rods, and organizers so that your future buyer can modify the closet to meet their needs.
“There’s this disconnect between design and functionality. Buyers typically pay more for design but they don’t realize that it’s not as functional until after they move in. Versatility will pay dividends during the resale because the closet can continuously be customized to accommodate changing needs.
It’s the best way to future proof your custom closet investment,” advises Forney.
2. Stick with neutral materials and design choices
Maybe you’re the type who fantasized about living in Barbie’s dream house and now that you’re a homeowner, you’re ready to bring her pink and gold walk-in closet to life. Unfortunately, fulfilling that childhood fantasy will hurt your home’s value in the long run.
No matter how in love you are with some of the wild and vibrant custom closet colors and finishes that are available, keep in mind that this custom closet will be permanent, so you need to make neutral choices won’t turn off future buyers.
For example, opt for sleek, shiny white built-ins with marble countertops. You can still add your childhood fantasy touches with a removable gold gilt full length mirror and a pink velvet pouf seat at your dressing table.
3. Don’t over-improve for your area
If you’ve already upgraded your home so that it’s at the top of the market value range, then adding a custom closet just for the purposes of selling isn’t going to move the needle. You’ll already be selling for the most amount of money, so spending on a custom closet isn’t going to net you any more money.
The only time it makes sense to install a custom closet purely to increase your home’s value is if yours is a luxury home that doesn’t have one yet.
“Custom closets are more valuable in luxury homes mainly because as homes go up in size and value, custom additions and upgrades are expected. But an appraiser has a really hard justifying added value for a custom closet in a $200,000 mass production home,” explains Forney.
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