Specify Storage Areas – Room by Room

Room Layout and Storage Space Requirements

Step-in closets 

  • Minimum of 3’ x 3’ shelf on side wall or back wall
  • Use other walls for optimal hanging storage
  • Common for pantry, linen or entry way

Reach-in closets

  • Should be a minimum of 24” deep 
  • Side returns (door casing to side walls) should be 12” or less for easy access (e.g. a 96" wide closet should have a centered 72" wide door opening)
  • Storage on walls above 96" is very difficult to access. Any storage above 84” inches should be used for storage that is not accessed frequently. 

Walk-in closets 

Walk-ins should be a minimum of 4’ x 4’ and have a 24" minimum clear passage aisle. 

4’ back wall
Specify two walls in an L-shape. 

5’ back wall
Specify shelves on two opposite walls.

      6’ back wall
      Specify shelving on all three walls.

     10’ back wall
      Specify shelving on all three walls and an island or seating in the closet. 


Width (side to side)



Depths (front to rear)


hanging on 2 walls

hanging on 3 walls


4' x 4' and shelving on at least two walls

short hang

> 60"





long hang

> 60"





double hang

> 60"





Triple hang

> 60"






> 60"





Wak-in Closets With an Island




Closet dimensions (inches) minimum

124” x 127”

Closet dimensions (feet) minimum

10’ x 10’

Around island

2’ clearance all the way around

Bedroom Walk-In Closet

  • Give them both what they want in the master bedroom by building a his and a her walk-in. Two smaller walk-ins provide more wall space for storage than one large closet. 
  • Place walk-ins near the bathroom for easy access. 
  • Allow space for a chair, a small couch or an island unit in the dressing area. 
  • Design
  • Top shelf should be at least 16” inches in depth so large items can be stored overhead.
  • Make accessories such as drawers and shelving the first thing you see when you open the closet door to give the closet an open feel. 
  • Standard: specify 25% single hang, 75% double hang.
  • First upgrade: specify 15% single hang, 60% double hang and 25% shelving.
  • Second upgrade: specify 15% single hang, 50% double hang and 35% drawers, shoe cubbies and other accessories. 

Bedroom Reach-In Closet

  • Top shelf should be 16” deep if the soffit allows. 
  • Top shelves should be butted to allow maximum storage. 
  • Standard: specify 15% as long hang and 85% as double hang.
  • First upgrade: specify 15% as long hang, 60% as double hang and 25% shelving.
  • Second upgrade: specify 10% as long hang, 60% double hang and 30% for shelving, shoe shelves and other accessories.

Child’s Reach-In Closet

  • Standard: Double hang entire closet (84” for top shelf and 42” for bottom shelf). 
  • First upgrade: specify all shelving and hanging to be adjustable. Provide three shelves to accommodate triple hang.
  • Second upgrade: specify 25% as wire baskets or wood drawers, 75% shelves with hanging. Provide triple hang with adjustable shelving so it can be changed as the child grows. 

Linen Closet

  • Standard: specify five shelves.
  • Specify tight mesh shelves for ventilation. 
  • First upgrade: specify 16” deep shelves (20” deep shelves if space allows).
  • Second upgrade: specify adjustable shelves.


  • Be sure a reach-in pantry is no less than 18” deep.
  • A pantry should be no more than 22” deep (unless it is a walk-in).
  • If the pantry is a walk-in, specify that all shelves are butted at corners.
  • Standard: specify six tight mesh 16” deep shelves.
  • First upgrade: specify 16” deep adjustable shelves.
  • Second upgrade: specify accessories such as drawers and wire baskets. 

Laundry Storage 

  • Standard: specify one shelf at 84” high and one hanging shelf at 70” (both extending beyond washer/dryer if space allows).
  • First upgrade: specify adjustable shelving and one 30” x 20” x 14” cabinet with doors. 
  • Second upgrade: specify all 30” x 20” x 14” cabinets with hanging shelf below.

Garage Storage

Typical Size

Size with storage on one wall

Size with storage on two walls

Two car garage

21’ x 21’

21’ x 23’

23’ x 23’

Three car garage

21’ x 32’

21’ x 34’

23’ x 34’

  • Walkway space needed around vehicles: 24”
  • Height to allow walkway space under a shelf: 78”

Garage walls can be divided into major or minor storage walls. Major and minor storage walls are defined by the amount of space available to use for storage.

Major wall: A major storage wall accommodates storage from ceiling to floor and across the span of the wall, even when cars are parked in the garage. This is typically the wall in front of the vehicles. Since most of the wall is available for storage, items that are used regularly should be stored on a major wall.

Minor wall: A minor storage wall is a wall where storage space is limited, typically because you need to allow room for car doors opening and walkway space. The bottom half of a minor wall is not available for storage. Since items stored along minor walls are stored higher, a minor wall is a good place for seasonal items because they’re not used as frequently.

There’s a lot of variety in what’s stored in the garage. Using this booklet as a guide will give the garage designer room to design the space appropriately for all home buyers.

More garage storage tips

  • Design in compartments rather than spans. Shorter shelves are easier to adjust and can be modified into many different configurations. For example, use a 30” shelf, a 30” shelf unit, and another 30” shelf rather than spanning a single 60” shelf.
  • Mix it up. A complete garage storage solution includes shelving, cabinetry, and accessories. You may prefer to keep all accessories on one minor wall and combine shelving and cabinetry on your remaining walls. A garage that features 30% cabinetry, 50% shelving and 20% accessories will hold anything and everything you need to store in the garage – including those bulkier, odd-shaped items.
  • Designate the major wall for things used regularly. Garbage cans, recycling bins, coolers and lawn care supplies fit nicely in a mixture of shelving and cabinetry along the major wall. Typically, this is the best place for cabinetry so when the cabinet doors open, they don’t bump into the vehicles.

Other considerations

    • Communicate all hidden obstructions to the closet dealer before they install. This will save possible damage and trips back to the shop for the installer to retrieve proper hardware.
    • Windows in storage areas should be tinted so that clothes aren’t damaged by the sun.
    • Keep obstructions to a minimum, such as attic access, windows, switches, electrical boxes, vents, control panels, medicine cabinets, etc.
    • Keep as much plumbing away from the walls where shelves will be mounted as possible.
    • Be sure all plumbing is to specification – shelf installation might interfere with pipes that are not spaced properly.
    • Have the closet dealer pre-draw all the base product offerings to establish your standard specifications and costs. This will allow you to compare future bids.
    • Have the closet dealer pre-draw all upgrade offerings to establish your upgrade specifications and costs. It also will allow home buyers to add the cost of the closets into their mortgage.
    • When dealing with multi-family and high rise properties, use adjustable storage.  In a high rise, consider products that are easy to transport and stage. 
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