Small Closet Ideas: Smart Tips to Make Over Your Tiny Space

“Life can get messy, but your closet doesn’t have to be,” says Shira Gill, professional organizer and author of Minimalista. Small closet ideas can greatly impact storage solutions—especially if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option.

Think of your small closet design as a makeover that takes something standard and transforms it into a custom closet. Interior designer Ghislaine Viñas likes to add lovely details to these oft forgotten spaces. “Painting the interior of a closet a fresh color adds an extra flair and happiness to a room,” she says. “If there’s no wallpaper in a room, you can wallpaper inside a closet to create a fun effect.”

DIY expert Emily Rayna echoes this sentiment, encouraging people to use peel-and-stick wallpaper in a closet space that lacks personality. “The whole point of home decor is to build confidence,” says Rayna, who just released a new mood-boosting collection with RoomMates.

Here, experts offer actionable tactics and hacks for finding order, decluttering, and other small closet ideas, even in the most space-challenged nooks.

How do I maximize space in my small closet?

Even royalty needs smart small closet hacks: The 1913 Manhattan townhouse of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, designed by François Catroux embraces the reach-in closet design by treating it as a clothing rack and leaving space for floor storage via travel bags as extra compartments in lieu of cubbies.Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Editing your small closet is the name of the game here. “Your space should dictate your inventory,” says Pamela Meluskey, cofounder of home organizing company Settled, along with Larisa Bright. “Aim to keep your space 80% full.”

Paring down the volume of what you own is the easiest way to create more shelf space in your closet instantly. To save space, reduce the clothing volume so you have less to maintain. “Every time a new item enters your closet, a similar item should be donated,” Gill says. “Keep a basket or tote bag in your closet for storing donations as they arise.”

Other small closet organization ideas? take into account what kind of clothes you want to store. “If you wear dresses and long skirts, you definitely want as much hanging room as possible,” Viñas suggests. However, shirts and pants only need enough space so they can be folded—typically around 16 inches, so 18-inch-wide shelves in the middle of the small closet will suffice. Adding adjustable rods on either side should give you hanging space for both long and short items in your wardrobe. If possible, make the width of the closet doors the same size as the actual closet. Skip the cubbies on the left or right side of the closet. “They are awkward and not practical,” Viñas adds.

What is the cheapest way to organize a small closet?

Set aside some time—perhaps a whole day—and start with a clean slate to make the most of the budget for your small closet.

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