What is a Walk-In Closet?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A walk-in closet is a very large closet that is big enough for a person to enter and is often as large as a small room. This kind of closet differs from normal closets which, while also used for storage, are not large enough to enter. In most cases, a walk-in closet adjoins the master bedroom in a house or apartment. In particularly lavish houses, apartments, and mansions, multiple bedrooms may be outfitted with a walk-in closet. However, even in these cases the walk-in closet in the master bedroom is usually the largest and the most lavish.

A walk-in closet is spacious enough for a person to walk around inside of it.
A walk-in closet is spacious enough for a person to walk around inside of it.

The size, dimensions, and layout of a walk-in closet can vary quite a bit. A rather simple example would be a closet that was designed like a short, dead- end hallway with a rack for hanging clothes on one side. This kind of walk-in closet may closely resemble the design of a kitchen pantry. Larger walk-in closets may be large enough for multiple racks and dressers. They may even have enough space for a vanity, couch, or chaise lounge.

One of the keys to a useful walk-in closet is organization.
One of the keys to a useful walk-in closet is organization.

In most cases, walk-in closets do not have windows. However, there are some cases of very large closets that are designed in a manner that allows natural light to enter the space. Whether the space is lit by natural light, artificial light, or both, lighting systems in closets are important. As they are naturally dark spaces, it is important for the lighting design for a walk-in closet to allow one to see well and locate items or store items as needed. In some large walk-in closets, there are floor-level lights as well as lights at the ceiling level in order to illuminate the clothing from top and bottom angles and improve visibility within the space.

One of the keys to a useful walk-in closet is organization. In addition to racks upon which garments can be hung, there should also be space for items that must be folded as well as shoes and accessories. There are a number of companies that specialize in systems for walk-in closets of all sizes. Such organizational systems usually include shoe racks or shelves that are designed to accommodate shoes, small drawers for items like socks and underwear, and larger drawers for items like sweaters and sportswear. It is also common for these walk-in closet organizational systems to include drawers specifically for jewelry, the size of which depends on the vastness of the owner's jewelry collection.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


If you can afford it, I would get one of those systems that will store and rotate your clothes around so that you can fill up the closet more efficiency. I think they are actually pretty common these days.

It makes use of the space more efficiently and it makes it much easier to find things in the morning when you haven't got a lot of time to spare.


@umbra21 - I couldn't do without my walk in closet for storage these days, although as a kid I wouldn't have known what to do with one.

I try not to have too many clothes, but it can be very difficult not to collect them. I guess I'm a bit of a pack rat.

But I also store a bunch of other things in the closet and it serves to keep my room tidy, with most of the clutter out of sight. I don't really think of it as a luxury though.


When I was a kid my parents decided to build a house in a new neighborhood (I think because it was actually cheaper than buying a house). They made sure there was a lot of space for everyone. I can still remember the excitement of going from sharing a room with my two sisters, to having my own room with its own little walk in closet. It was barely bigger than a pantry and, to be honest, I didn't have all that much stuff to put in there, but it felt so decadent to have what was practically two whole rooms to myself.

I remember I would even sit in the little closet space and pretend that I was in a space ship.

We ended up selling that house anyway, but I still remember the walk in closet design better than anything else it had.

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