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Bedroom, Guest Author

John DeSilvia Answers Your Closet Design and Installation Questions

Posted by: Storganization Staff Tags: Bedroom, Guest Author

Thanks to all of our Facebook fans and blogger friends for submitting great questions for our Q&A session with John DeSilvia, licensed contractor and TV host! Watch the full webcast on our Facebook page by clicking here.

John couldn’t answer everyone’s questions during our studio session, but see more of his answers below:


Q:  We are building and have a six-foot by five-foot closet. I want to maximize every inch as I have never had this size closet before! Help!!!!! – Susan W.

A: I would recommend going to and using the online design tool. Simply input the measurements of your closet and answer the questions about how much space you need for folded and hanging items, and it will give you a design that maximizes your space. Also, don’t forget to utilize your vertical height by adding shelves at the upper level to hold seasonal and less frequently used items.


Q:  I live in a 14' x 70' [apartment] with very limited closet space for organization. Looking forward to an innovative idea for organization. Can't wait to see the grand results!!!!! – Eloise V.

A:  Eloise, if you are looking for an innovative organization product, I would consider ClosetMaid’s new ShelfTrack Elite system. It’s the best of both worlds – wire and laminate – and offers maximum flexibility because of its adjustable mounting system. You simply install the hang track and standards, and then attach the shelves and optional accessories, like drawers and cubbies. It’s a very affordable system that works well for both large and small closets, and you can buy it at your local Home Depot.


Q:  I have a bungalow room where the closets are deep, but weird shaped…One closet is very long and skinny.  – Diane M.

A:  For awkward shaped closets, I recommend utilizing your largest wall and taking advantage of all the vertical space. And, if you’re really stuck on how to design the closet space, use ClosetMaid’s free online design tool. Or, for just $5, ClosetMaid’s design team can create two designs for you.


Q:  Hello, John. We are eventually planning to make a walk-in closet in one of our spare bedrooms because our closets in our current master and guest rooms are extreeeemely too small. I had to remove the doors in the master just so I can get to everything. Any thoughts or ideas for us?? So much clutter!! Thanks  - Lisa D.

A.  Removing the doors can definitely help make your closet more accessible – especially when it is a small or tight space. If you haven’t already, make sure to use all of the vertical wall space by adding shelving. And, don’t forget about accessories like bins, belt and tie racks, valet rods, wire baskets and drawers to help maximize your space. When it comes time to turn your spare bedroom into your new master closet, consider using a DIY laminate system, which can provide that higher-end, custom look – but at an affordable price. ClosetMaid’s Impressions line is a great option. It comes in a Dark Cherry finish and I’d use a combination of the 25” and 16” towers, as well as the corner units. The towers have open shelving, which can hold your folded items, and you can also add drawers. To help figure out exactly how much space you’ll want to allocate for your hanging and folded items, I’d use the online design tool. Once you have a design you like, it will give you a parts list of what to buy. I hope this helps!


Q:  Hello, John! We built our house almost seven years ago. I had to give up almost two feet (deep) of my closet in order to get a longer whirlpool tub for my tall husband! It has been a dilemma ever since. The builder used wire shelving that uses the metal supports. There is hardly room to move as it is only between four and five feet deep, and 12-13 feet a very long, skinny rectangular shape closet. The door is in the center. What can we do to make our closet more "user friendly?"  Thank you!  - Kari H.

A:  Kari, that’s great that you have a 12’ long closet to work with – not many people do. But, reducing the depth to 4-5’ does present a challenge for walk-in closets. So, let’s do the math: The typical ClosetMaid wire shelving is 12” and most hangers are 18”, so your clothes are using 21” of the space. With that in mind, here are my thoughts on how you can make your closet more user-friendly:

  • Start by making sure you are using 12” deep shelves on the ShelfTrack system. A 16” deep shelving is also available, but in this case, that would make the situation worse.
  • The ShelfTrack system is adjustable, so think about moving your hanging items to the left and right sides of the closet and using the center section for stacked items – this would make the closet entrance easier to maneuver.
  • And finally, if you and your husband are up for the challenge: Consider changing out your single door for a bi-fold door or maybe two. Opening up the narrow closet to the room should help remove the restricted feeling you have now and make it more accessible.


 Q:  We built in 1995 and did not put in enough closet space in [the] master [bedroom]. We have a small office space in the front of the house that I'm thinking about making a closet. The back wall of this space is across from the closet in the master.  Is this a do-able DIY project for a fairly skilled guy to tackle? – Pat M.  

A.  Pat, how big is this space? Is the wall structure already in place and you just need to add some type of storage system? If that is the case, then yes, I think you could easily install a ClosetMaid wire or laminate storage system. In most cases, depending on how large the space is, you can install one of these systems in a day or weekend. To give you a better sense of how much work is involved, watch ClosetMaid’s installation videos. Also, go to and browse the idea gallery and use the design tool to help you decide which system will work best for your space. Good luck!  


Q:  I have a closet in a newly constructed addition, which measures about 8x8x12' high. It’s off the master bedroom. Am doing all the work myself, but lost as to how to design the closet. I need help. (Some say in more ways than one ) – Robert L.

A:  My first question is whether you want to complete your closet using a wire or laminate system. Each has its advantages – wire provides the best utilization of space and you can easily see everything you need. ClosetMaid’s ShelfTrack wire system is easy to install and adjustable over time. Prefer a more custom-looking system that resembles furniture? ClosetMaid’s Impressions system has decorative molding details and drawers for increased storage. Both are available at The Home Depot and you can visit for design options. Use ClosetMaid’s professional design service – it’s just $5 – and you’ll get two designs based upon your needs. Both are perfect for those DIYers like you!

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