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12 Questions to Ask Before Overhauling Your Bedroom Closets

By Lea Schneider

As a professional organizer, my clients are often frustrated by their closets and overwhelmed by piles of garments. They seek me out for answers to their storage dilemmas, and they are usually surprised when I deliver a list of questions in response.

Those questions, based on years of experience as a professional organizer, are the basis for building terrific storage solutions.

1 Storage Hallway


A great custom closet should be designed and organized to suit the way you live and the way you think. The very reason the generic closet you have now isn’t really working is that it wasn’t designed with you in mind.

Closet designers and contractors are wizards at taking a space and creating storage in many different ways. Because there are so many variations, in order for them to work their magic in a way you will love, you need to be able to convey to them what you want.

Before you inquire about a custom closet project, start by asking yourself these 12 questions. The answers you come up with will help build a closet that truly suits you, and help you explain to experts the kind of storage you need.

Does more than one person share the closet? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to answer these questions separately for each person using the closet. The two sides of a shared closet do not have to be a mirror image of each other. A custom design can and should take in the needs of both people.



Do you love or detest hangers? Some people love to see everything hanging up. Other people are happiest with their clothes folded and stacked, and without smart storage, they end up piling them in chairs and even on the floor.

How tall are you? If anyone using the closet is tall, the bars should be raised so garments have plenty of room without dragging the ground or getting entangled in hangers on the lower bar. Likewise, if you are smaller in stature, you may wish bars to be lower so you can easily use them without a stepstool.

How many garments do you plan to hang in your closet? An accurate count of your hanging garments (plus things you wish were hanging) can best help your designer meet your needs. A foot of hanging bar space may hold about 10 dress shirts or 5-6 suits or dresses.

How many long garments do you have? By long, I mean anything that cannot hang on a double bar without dragging. If you prefer to hang trousers or slacks by the waist with clip-style hangers, you’ll need to count these in your long garments.



Are you ‘hidden storage’ or ‘open storage’ minded? Getting organized means different things to different people. While some would prefer for clothing to be put into drawers or armoires with doors that close, so clothing is hidden from sight, another group could simply not function that way. These folks do best if they can see and find items stacked on open shelving.

What do you have a lot of? You may have a collection because you love it, such as purses, or maybe the weather where you live dictates what you stockpile, like sweaters. Either way, your custom closet needs to be able to house your collection.

How many pairs of shoes need to be accommodated? Since shoes often end up in an unorganized jumble, think about what storage system you would actually use. Are you more likely to hang them on a rack, kick them onto low shelves as you remove them or pick them up and put them on higher shelving?

How many pairs of those shoes are tall? Not all shoes can go on a rack or regular height shelf. Be sure to count your dress boots, winter boots, hiking boots and so on separately, as they will need taller storage.

Would you also enjoy having clothing accessories in the closet? If you’d like to have belts close by the trousers, make a note. Likewise, jewelry, scarves and other accessories can be worked into the design. You can even add baskets or drawers for undergarments and swimwear if you let your closet expert know.



What is frustrating about your current closet? Now that you are armed with a list of all the things you want your new closet to accommodate, it’s a good time to make sure the contractor’s plan is going to eliminate frustrations you currently have.

Is there anything not currently in your closet you wish was there? Frequently, homeowners turn to closets in other rooms or storage tubs for storing off-season or extra garments. Now is the time to make sure those items are included in your dream closet.

A custom closet is something you will enjoy using immediately, and if you want to sell your home later, you can be sure buyers will appreciate a thoughtful, efficient closet as well.

Lea Schneider loves finding order in the midst of chaos. Lea is a nationally recognized organizational expert and journalist who writes on home organization for The Home Depot. Info on Home Depot’s closet and storage installation services can be found on the company’s website.

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5 Easy-to-Tackle Remodels to Update a Tired Kitchen

By Shelley Little 

Renovating the kitchen can return huge dividends in your enjoyment of a home, and much of the project can pay for itself when you decide to sell (Remodeling Magazine estimates a 66% return on major kitchen remodels).

But a smaller investment in your kitchen could return even more. If the average home in your neighborhood sells for $250K, it may not make sense to drop $50K on a kitchen overhaul, but there’s a better chance of recouping a $10K facelift.

Here a few minor kitchen remodeling projects that focus on upgrading what is already there, providing a new look and (hopefully) a return on investment. Best of all, you don’t have to eat take-out for months while these remodels are underway:

Cabinet refacing

Do you like the current layout of your kitchen? Is the overall shape and internal quality of your cabinets appealing, but they look tired and outdated? If you answered yes, then cabinet refacing is a great option for you.

With cabinet refacing, the cabinet doors and drawer fronts are replaced, while the existing cabinet boxes may be veneered. In mere days, cabinet refacing gives your kitchen a whole new look without gutting it or buying pricey new cabinets. The cost of cabinet refacing, depending on surface material (laminate, wood veneer, etc.) ranges from $1,000 to $9,000 for a 120 square foot kitchen, as opposed to $4,000 up to $20,000 for entirely new cabinets in the same space.

1 Cabinet Refacing

New Lighting

A brightly lit kitchen makes for a more welcoming and functional space. Consider replacing recessed lights with impactful pendant lighting. There are conversion kits that allow you to quickly and easily convert recessed lights to pendants or chandeliers in mere minutes. These offer stylish solutions for the space over kitchen islands or sink areas. If you already have pendant lighting installed, mimic some design professionals by upgrading to a large drum shade.

2 Lighting

Paint cabinets

Painted cabinets are very on-trend at the moment, with most homeowners opting for a different color island, or lower cabinets painted in a different color than the upper ones. If your budget is very tight, painting is a great temporary kitchen remodel idea until you decide to reface or replace your cabinets.

3 Paint Cabinets

Upgrade appliances

According to CBS Money Watch, 65% of remodelers are currently incorporating stainless steel appliances into their projects. But here’s the thing with appliance upgrades—you often can’t take them with you when you move, because the new buyers want them. You have to regard these upgrades as a perk you can enjoy while living in the residence, but not one you get to keep. You do get to keep the return on investment, however, and those shiny appliances will certainly appeal to buyers.

4 Appliances

New Countertops

Granite and quartz are all the rage in modern kitchens, but even a stylish new laminate design can transform a room. There is also a more recent trend to mix and match kitchen counter materials, with the island featuring more unique materials such as reclaimed wood or steel. Choose a style that you love, but always consider how long a trend will last. You don’t want to get caught in a case of stylistic depreciation and eventually detract potential homebuyers.

5 Countertops

If you’re considering a minor kitchen remodel, be sure to do your homework first. You want to avoid spending far more money than you can recoup. Cabinet refacing is a particularly great investment because it results in what looks like a complete aesthetic makeover, without the hassle of gutting your kitchen. Along with refacing, consider other small upgrades such as replacing knobs and handles, and painting walls a welcoming, light color.


Shelley Little writes on home design and décor for Home Depot. When Shelley isn’t busy writing, you can find her designing and decorating her own home in Iowa. To see Home Depot’s selection of cabinet refinishing in-home options, visit the company’s website.

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Bathroom Basics: Placing and Proportion Via a Common Line of Sight

By Kerrie Kelly, ASID

A bathroom renovation is a relatively easy activity to tackle. If the plumbing is already in place and you’re using standard-size pieces, there aren’t a whole lot of options for rearranging that floor plan. However, when bringing your dream design into reality, you should consider the third dimension and figure out what height is right for everything you bring into your room, from window treatments to mirrors.

Consider this your guide to hanging, installing and aligning the many small features of your bathroom.

Standardize the Sight Line

Maintaining a common line of sight creates a sense of calm. A line of sight that extends above eye level makes the room feel more spacious.

Put those two ideas together, and you can see that what you want to do is take the sight line to at least seven feet. Everything that can extend upward should, so take that tile, the mirrors—even the shower curtain—all the way up.

Photo 1

Tile it High

Finish the shower tile at the top height of your window casing or the top of your window covering. Better yet, run wall and shower tile to the ceiling instead of picking another random sight line. This is the kind of detail that guests may not initially notice, but they would if you didn’t take time for that thoughtful detail. With such horizontal symmetry, eyes won’t bounce all over the room looking for a place to focus and land upon.

When planning the vanity area and wainscoting details, see if you can find common ground at 36-42 inches. A vanity top typically sits at 30-36 inches. Add on a six-inch backsplash and you just may be able to tie the backsplash detail into the same height as any tile or wood wainscoting details you’re planning.

Photo 2

Window Treatments

In the bathroom, you want to keep window treatments simple—let go of the swoops and swags in this area. Curtains and drapery just gather mold and take up space. Instead, consider inside mounting Roman or roller shades that tuck into an existing window frame. Alternatively, hang Romans and rollers above the window casing over a smaller window to make it appear larger. You can also simply hang a valance a little higher on the wall to match the height of other elements in space while creating visual height. To keep things really sleek and simple, vinyl shutters also provide a great solution for a wet area, with the ability to inside or outside mount to maintain the sight line you’re looking to highlight.

Photo 3


Go big to reflect light and keep the bathroom bright and airy. We all know that mirrors make a room appear larger, and that’s a great perk in a bathroom. Again, make sure to run the mirror to the same height as cabinets or window casings. You can get there by framing a mirror, if necessary, or simply installing a beveled version that runs from the top of the countertop to the ceiling or crown moulding detail.

Photo 4

Shower Curtains

Hang the rod high for more visual height—match it to the top of the window casing. Even if it requires a custom curtain or a simple band of fabric added at the top or bottom of a ready-made version, you’ll be rewarded with a more specialized and dramatic look. This works particularly well when using an arched shower curtain rod. Not only do you achieve height requirements, but gain extra wiggle room in the actual shower.

Glass Shower Enclosures

A frameless glass shower enclosure—we recommend ¾ inch— shows off tile designs and gives an open, airy feel with a wide-open sight line. Though you don’t necessarily need to match to window casings or cabinets, since the glass has no frame, you still want to take it as high as possible. And if you do use a framed enclosure, you definitely want to go high because that metal frame at the top of the door will highlight the actual height. With lower ceilings, it will be best to match the sight line at the bottom of the crown moulding or top of the door and window casing.

Have you figured out your sightline details in your bathroom space? What could be improved?

Interior designer Kerrie Kelly is an expert on home renovations who writes about her design ideas for The Home Depot. Kerrie is also the author of the book, Home Decor: A Sunset Design Guide. For a selection of bathroom windows treatments available at Home Depot, including styles mentioned by Kerrie, you can visit homedepot.com.


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