Custom closet vs. closet kit

When you set out to install a new closet organizer or re-design a current closet, one of your first decisions is to determine if you would like to choose your own custom layout or if you will choose a pre-configured closet design. Below is a comparison of these two approaches, along with some pros and cons of each.

Custom Closet Designs
To install a custom closet, you can hire a professional designer and installer, but this can be quite costly. A skilled DIY'er can successfully tackle this project by purchasing the "open stock" shelves, brackets, hardware and accessories needed for the job at a home improvement center like Lowes, Home Depot, or Menards. Depending on the size of your closet and the complexity of your design, you can plan on these components to cost you between $40 - $150 USD. This cost can go up dramatically if you choose to add wood shelves or cabinets to your design.

Before starting a custom closet installation, a layout must be developed that will accommodate your mix of clothes, shoes, hats, etc. You must then have the know-how to determine which components are needed and in what quantity to complete the job. However, my experience shows that the process of shopping for the open stock components needed to complete a custom closet design is very confusing for the average DIY'er. Additionally, many of the shelves and other components in a custom design will have to be cut to length to fit your closet, a task that is quite difficult and will require specialized tools like heavy duty wire cutters or an angle grinder.

In summary, you can expect the following if you choose to do a custom closet design:
  • Freedom to choose a layout that best meets your needs
  • Complexity in selecting the right shelves, hardware, and accessories to complete the job
  • Difficulty in cutting the shelving and other components to length

Pre-Configured Closet Kits
Closet organizer kits ("closets in a box") can also be purchased at home improvement centers for roughly $25 - $100 USD per kit. These kits include all of the required shelves and hardware to complete the job, along with detailed instructions on how to install the system. One watch-out is that depending on the size of your closet, you may still need to cut shelves and other components to fit your space. An additional drawback of pre-configured designs is that there is typically little flexibility in how you design the closet. You are often "stuck with" with design that is pictured on the box.

In summary, you can expect the following if you choose a pre-configured closet kit:
  • Limited or no options to select your desired design
  • Ease of selecting the shelves and hardware needed to complete the job since everything is included in the box
  • Difficulty in cutting the shelves and other components to length

There are a variety of pre-configured kits to choose from to meet your needs. To further investigate what options are available with pre-configured kits, you can check out some of the kits available for sale on Amazon.com:
 

Ultimately, you should choose the solution that works best for you: A custom design to meet your specific needs that can be complex to purchase and install, or a pre-configured design that is easier to shop for, but leaves you little to no flexibility in the layout of your closet.