Great for sharing, these roomy closets have enough space to hold everything at once—so you can avoid the hassle of switching out clothing seasonally—but they need to be organized or you risk winding up with a new clutter zone.
• MAKING SPACE To add a walk-in closet, homeowners often annex an extra bedroom, or part of it. To create the one at left, DIYers Michelle and Erik Dagenhart of Charlotte, North Carolina, converted an existing bedroom in their 1922 Craftsman into a master bath and walk-in closet, with a small hallway between the two. The his-and-hers closet, which is 19½ feet long and 6½ feet deep, features the cabinet at left at its center, on display through the cased opening. Michelle’s side holds four sections of four drawers, topped with a counter and open shelves, and 10 feet of hanging space; Erik’s side holds half as much.
• BUILT-IN LOOK That focal-point cabinet was salvaged during a friend’s renovation; Erik customized it with metal screening left over from their own kitchen reno, and built two smaller side cabinets to match. The screened “windows” let them see at a glance what’s where, while the closed doors keep things feeling neat and contained. Labeled linen-covered boxes up top house Michelle’s dress shoes and special-occasion gear.
• SEPARATE PEACE Sharing obviously doesn’t have to mean dividing the space equally. Take stock of each partner’s possessions first: folded items (T-shirts and sweaters, no more than five to a stack), long hanging clothing (dresses, coats, long skirts), and short hanging (jackets, skirts, trousers folded in half). Designate a drawer for any item you have a lot of, such as tank tops or jeans. In addition, pro organizer Barbara Reich likes to set up a “Marriage Saver” drawer or cabinet, in which husband or wife has permission to be messy (picture crumpled receipts, loose change, pocket tools, and other flotsam that might clutter the top of a dresser). “Make it small and something that closes, so you don’t have to look at it,” she says. “Then you’ve put a limit on how much is appropriate to store.”