New constructions and old homes do not follow specific standards for bedroom closets. The basic design of a bedroom closet is a recessed hole at least as wide as the standard shoulder-width of an adult with a hanging bar for clothes. The generalized standards include size, layout, and access doors.
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The size of a closet can vary widely. The term "walk-in" closet implies enough room for a person to walk into the room. A typical closet is approximately 24-inches deep. A walk-in closet should be at least 36- to 48-inches deep. The width of the closet ideally is half the width of the room, if not more. A standard 12-by-12 bedroom would ideally have a closet 6-feet wide by 48-inches deep. Bedroom closets need to be larger than linen closets or pantries to accommodate the additional needs of hanging lots of clothing. A good rule of thumb when designing a closet is that you should be able to stand with your back against the back wall and barely be able to touch the front wall. Extending your hands out to the side should allow for full-extension of your arms with your fingertips touching the side walls.
The layout of bedroom closets does not follow any preset standards. The basic closet layout positions a hanging bar at just above eye level with a 12-inch to 24-inch shelf right above the hanging bar. Additional layouts include the use of shelving from the floor to the waist along the back wall. Some larger closets position a center floor-to-ceiling shelf system in the center of the closet with clothes racks to each side. Several manufacturers offer custom-made closet kits that are built to your needs based upon the measurements of the closet.
The access doors are the most important aspect to a closet. Most closets use sliding panel doors for access. Walk-in closets typically use standard doors that open into the room. If you design a closet to use a standard door, avoid placing the door in the path of another door; typically, you would position the closet door on an opposing wall from the main room door. Smaller rooms benefit from doors that slide into the walls or behind another sliding door. Some people remove the doors entirely to increase the square footage of a room. Regardless of the type of door used, the access door should be at least the width of a standard-sized adult and approximately 6 feet high.