3/10/2023  •  ,

Walk-in vs. Built-in Closet: What’s the Right Option for You?

Estimated Time Read: 5 Minutes

If you are renovating your home and closets, the option between a walk-in versus a built-in closet may be one you are mulling over.


Both have their advantages and can help your home stay organized and clutter-free. Which works best for you will depend on a variety of factors, including space constraints, budget, and how you want the closet to function.


Deslaurier has over four decades of experience helping design customized closets, bathrooms and kitchens in Ottawa and Renfrew. That experience also means we know firsthand the advantages of each kind of closet.


Below, we will discuss each kind of closet and its advantages. Each closet leans towards being best for those with specific allowances for space, budget, and desired function. Hopefully, we will help you make the best decision for your home and storage needs.


Table of Contents

Defining Walk-in Closets

Advantages of Walk-in Closets

Defining Built-in Closets

Advantages of Built-in Closets

What's the Right Option for You?

Design with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets



Defining Walk-in Closets


A walk-in closet can be considered by many as a luxury in a master bedroom and bathroom. That is because it is known for being spacious and allowing lots of storage. These closets can function as additional rooms, allowing for dressing room-type spaces. But what exactly makes a closet defined as “walk-in”?


A walk-in closet is a room typically attached to a bedroom or bathroom that you can walk into and design to suit your storage needs with lots of customization.


Typically, they begin at 6.5 feet in depth and can be any height. Walk-in closets can be as large as a homeowner wishes, as long as they have the available space. The door or doors for walk-in closets will tend to open outwards into the adjoining room so as to avoid taking up any space inside the closet for storage.


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Many times a walk-in closet with an island will even include vanities and electrical outlets for makeup application or hair styling. This can be a significant advantage in freeing up bathrooms for others or containing clutter in the morning.


Advantages of Walk-in Closets


There are four main advantages to having walk-in closets in your home. They are ample storage space and organization, customization, accessibility, and increased home value. Let’s go over each in a bit more detail.


#1 Ample Space & Organization


As mentioned above, walk-in closets take advantage of their ample space and allow the use of the closet as a dressing room.


Walls can be finished with floor-to-ceiling shelving, multiple closet rods, and islands can be placed in the middle and used for jewelry or shoe storage.


The space in walk-ins means you can use every square inch if you’d like or allow for a roomier, open feel.



#2 Customization


The flexibility for designing your dream closet is a huge advantage of walk-in closets. Designers and custom closet manufacturers can make anything you imagine a reality, whether you have a massive shoe collection or are an activewear addict!


The customization options are almost limitless for walk-in closets. Designers will have catalogues full of options and accessories you can add.


#3 Accessibility


When the last thing you want to do is search or fumble through a packed closet to find items, a walk-in closet will be your saving grace.


Due to its size and openness, a walk-in closet allows you to step in and see everything organized and in its proper place. There is no guessing as to where your favourite pair of jeans or shoes are.


#4 Increased Home Value


If you aren’t currently in your forever home, then the resale value of your home may be on your mind when you are doing any remodelling or renovation projects.


This is a smart way of thinking because storage is always high on the lists of potential buyers. Walk-in closets are frequently seen as a perk to potential homebuyers, especially for homes with master suites.


Potential homebuyers can see them as a reason to offer more money than for homes without them.


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Defining Built-in Closets


Built-in closets are standard in many homes, especially smaller houses that lack the space for adding a deep walk-in closet. A built-in closet can give you well-designed storage without additional depth to the closet. For the space-conscious, this means you are not wasting any square footage in your home.


Built-in closets average a depth of about two feet, and most run floor-to-ceiling and utilize high shelving for items that may be seasonal or not accessed as often.


Advantages of Built-in Closets


There are four primary advantages of built-in storage. They are space efficiency, seamless integration, cost-effectiveness, and versatility. We will discuss each below.


#1 Space Efficiency


If maximum space utilization is your goal when installing a closet, then a closet built-in is the way to go. Taking up less square footage, they allow you to have storage in almost any room that would benefit from it.


They may not allow for elaborate custom storage but can have well-thought-out storage basics for linen, coats, clothing, and shoes.


#2 Seamless Integration


With no need for expensive construction or large doors, a closet built-in with drawers can blend in seamlessly with the aesthetics of your room.


With popular barn-style doors, more traditional louvre-style doors, or even pocket doors sliding into wall space, a built-in can be a closet that isn’t a focal point of your room.


#3 Cost-Effective


Budget is almost always a consideration in any home renovation, including closet installation. A built-in bedroom closet is perfect if you are looking for the most cost-effective option.


Custom closets can range anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, which is not a small chunk of change. To learn more about custom closet costs, check out our article here.


#4 Versatility


A built-in closet has the advantage of being able to work for a multitude of functions. While walk-ins can be tailored to specific storage functions such as scarves or belts, a built-in can allow you to quickly change the storage space when needed.


A linen closet can easily be changed to a coat closet or vice versa by simply adding or subtracting totes, baskets, or hanging rods if you have installed a convertible system.


What's the Right Option for You?


When you compare walk-in and built-in closets, it can seem like both are great options. That is because they are!


The important thing isn’t one being better than the other. It is about what best suits you. If you want a dressing room-like feel, lots of storage customization, have the space in your home and are looking for increased resale value, then a luxury walk-in closet will be the best option.


If you are limited on space and want a seamless aesthetic and a cost-effective option, a built-in will be the right choice for you and your renovation plans.


Prior to deciding on the type of closet you will install, take the time to sit down with a design expert. They can help you consider your unique space, storage requirements, and lifestyle.


With years of experience in designing custom closets, they will know how to steer you in the right direction toward the closet of your dreams.


As we mentioned, custom closets can be expensive and are an investment in your home. Before spending money on a new closet, ensure it will meet your needs and function best for you in the long term.


It’s also important to mention that you may have multiple spaces in your home that you will add new or remodel your current closets. Using walk-ins in some areas and built-ins in others can be a fantastic way to get the best of both worlds.


You may choose walk-ins for your master bedroom closet or pantry. Built-ins may be your choice for coat and linen closets. Closets are not a one-size-fits-all solution, so custom closets are a tremendous investment.


Design with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets


As we mentioned in our section above about the advantages to these closets, if you love having space as a dressing room and displaying all your clothing, shoes, and accessories, a walk-in closet will be the perfect fit for your home.


On the other hand, if you’d prefer a seamless aesthetic and space-saving design, a built-in will likely be the ideal closet addition.


While there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to a built-in versus walk-in closet design, it is all about considering your storage needs, space, and the overall function you are looking for in a closet. Don’t be afraid to let an expert designer point you in the right direction. That's what they are there for!


If you’re looking for custom cabinets for your next closet project, Deslaurier Custom Cabinets has everything you need!


With over 40 years of experience in our name, we provide our clients with a fully customized design process with our talented team of designers


Book a consultation today with a Deslaurier design expert at our Jupiter Showroom or schedule a virtual meeting! 


Live outside the area? Visit our Find a Dealer page to connect with a Deslaurier dealer near you! Interested in becoming an authorized Deslaurier dealer? Visit our Become a Dealer page to learn more!

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