How to Tap Your Hall Closet’s Storage Potential

The Hardworking Home: Check out these design ideas for every space and budget

By Laura Gaskill / Courtesy of

It’s the first spot you reach for when you get home, and the place for last-second grabs on your way out the door — there’s no doubt the hall closet is a workhorse. But how well is yours working for you? Whether you could use more room or better organization, these ideas should help.

Hardworking space: The hall closet.
The challenge: The hall closet is a useful feature, but not all homes have one  and even if yours does, it might not be as spacious as you would like. Make your existing closet work harder by adding smart storage features, or look into adding a new freestanding or built-in closet.
Good to know: If you are adding a new closet (and possibly if you’re just adding a barn door), you may need to get a building permit.

Design idea: Closet as mini-mudroom.

Why: Even if you have a large hall closet, it can still be a challenge to keep things neat and orderly. Outfitting a closet with mudroom details — a storage bench, hooks, shoe storage and shelving — maxes out the storage potential while keeping things tidy.

How: Purchase ready-made closet components or work with a professional closet designer to get a custom storage solution. 

Details: Lining the back wall of a closet with beadboard gives it a more finished look — ideal if you want to leave the doors off, as shown here. Store less frequently used items in labeled bins on higher shelves, and store a slim stepladder inside the closet for easier access.

Cost: Between $500 and $1,000 to outfit a medium-size hall closet with a basic storage bench and shelving; more for a setup with additional bells and whistles.

Design idea: Coat cupboard in the kitchen.

Why: If you enter your home through the kitchen, and there’s no room for storage near the door, commandeering a tall cupboard for coats can be a big help.

How: If you are planning a kitchen remodel, work with your kitchen designer to fit in a coat cupboard. You can also purchase a freestanding tall cupboard  a good option for renters or as a quick fix when you don’t want to remodel.

Cost: A new freestanding, ready-made cupboard costs around $300 to $700. Estimating the cost of one component of a larger remodel can be complicated, but expect to pay a kitchen designer in the neighborhood of $500 to $1,500 for a new coat cupboard.

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Design idea: Slim closet behind door.

Why: If you have room to add even a small closet in your home’s main entryway, it’s worth it to keep those coats, boots and scarves contained and out of sight.

How: Work with a contractor to design a new closet in an entryway that does not have one. Or purchase ready-made tall cabinets and install them yourself, or have a pro do the installation.

Layout tips: Check to make sure you will be able to easily open and navigate around the front door. If only a very shallow closet will fit your space, use short valet rods inside instead of a traditional hanging rod.

Cost: Expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 to build a new closet. You can purchase ready-made wardrobe cupboards for $200 to $1,500 (and up), depending on size and materials.

Design idea: Niche closet with sliding barn door.

Why: A barn-style door solves the problem of door swing in small spaces. A barn door also has the advantage of looking great whether open or shut — so you can leave it open for easy access most of the time, and shut it when you need to hide a mess quickly.

How: Check with your city first to see if you need a permit for adding a barn door. The project itself can be done by homeowners with some building experience, or you can hire a handyperson to install it for you. 

Planning tip: Measure your total wall space before committing, to make sure you have enough room to install the track system.

Cost: Between $300 and $700, plus the cost of a track system, hardware, and installation.

Family tip: Use kid-height storage. Installing a low hanging rod of a few hooks within reach of the smallest family members is easy, and can make a big difference when it comes to keeping wee coats off the floor. Wall hooks are easiest for very little children to use; older kids can handle putting their coats on hangers.

Design idea: Hidden door with coat tree.

Why: A coat tree on the door provides easy-access storage in what would normally be unused space.

How: To get a look similar to the one shown here, hire a cabinetmaker to design a door with an integrated coat tree. Or try your own take by outfitting your existing hall closet door with coat hooks and an umbrella holder.

Cost: Expect to spend $1,000 (and way up) for a custom door. Update your existing door with hardware for $100 to $500.

Small-space tip: Pack the door with storage. Just like the outside of the closet door was put to good use in the last example, consider ways you can make the inside of a closet door work harder for you. Houzz user Kelly Gropp shared this photo of her neat and organized hall closet, with hooks and translucent file holders providing spots for stashing hats, scarves and a backpack. Adhesive (and removable) hooks are a good solution for renters.

Design idea: Multipurpose storage wall.

Why: If your home is short on storage of all kinds, transforming a blank wall into a bank of cabinets can solve multiple storage dilemmas in one design move. Dedicate a larger cabinet to coats, and others to linens, extra TP or shoes.

How: Work with a cabinetmaker to design your ultimate storage wall. Think through all of the things you want to be able to store before beginning for the best results. For a budget-friendlier option, use off-the-shelf components — install them yourself or hire a handyperson to put them in for you.

Cost: From $3,000 to $5,000 and up plus installation for semicustom cabinets; more for a fully custom design. A stock storage system (such as from Ikea) costs around $600 to $1,500 without installation.