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Master Closet: DIY vs Custom

Every master closet — and probably every other closet you have — can use a facelift.

But deciding between a do-it-yourself closet system and hiring a professional to design and install your master closet storage isn’t only about budget. The time you have available, the desired appearance, special options, and quality all factor in your decision.

The DIY Option

At the low end of the price range are do-it-yourself master closet kits, made from melamine (laminate-surfaced fiberboard) or coated wire. Installation is fairly easy — you just screw the attachment brackets to the wall and attach the shelves and poles.

The hard part is planning the layout. You’ll need to measure your space, then choose modular components from the home center or at online sites like EasyClosets or The Container Store.

Easy DIY Design

A typical master closet is about 8-by-10 feet. Most closet modules are 1-3 feet wide and 7 feet tall, so you need to figure out the best combination of units to fill the wall. Check online sites for free tools that suggest the best combination of modules for your master closet dimensions and layout.

You’ll likely have four basic components to choose from: a shelf unit, a drawer unit, a unit with two closet poles — typically spaced about 42 inches apart — for hanging shirts and pants, and a unit consisting of a single closet pole for hanging dresses and long jackets.

Then add components that will accommodate your storage needs and fit in the space. For enough components to outfit an 8-by-10-foot master closet, expect to pay $800-$2,000.

Your Custom Master Closet

Hire a closet company, a contractor, or a kitchen and bath designer to outfit your custom master closet, and you’ll get a setup that uses every inch of space. Instead of fiberboard or coated wire, components will be made of high-density melamine or even solid wood.

You’ll also have a much wider range of storage options — jewelry drawers, tie and belt holders, shoe racks, hamper baskets — and accessories, like a fold-down ironing board, alighted beauty/makeup station, or a full-length mirror that slides out from between the shelves and swivels open for use.

Plan to keep your master closet design flexible, so you (or a future owner) can change shelf and pole heights and compartment configurations as needs change.

The Cost of Custom

All those bells and whistles come with a big price tag, ranging from $3,000-$5,000 and up for a typical 8-by-10-foot custom master closet, installed. Luxury appointments can take the price to $10,000 and beyond. That’s a lot of money, but your deluxe closet is an upgrade you’ll use and love everyday.

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These articles are not intended to give legal or tax advice, and you should consult your attorney or financial advisor for additional information.

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