Master Closet Design Ideas on a Budget

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Master Closet Design Ideas on a Budget

A well-designed walk-in closet can change your life. It can give you line of sight to every piece in your arsenal, increase your clarity about your fashion aesthetic, and provide functional organization that reduces everyday stress.

However, you’re not alone if your closet isn’t exactly Pinterest-worthy and you don’t have a blank check to get it in order.

Fear not - we chatted with Ashley Nicole of Ashley Nicole Interiors about budget-friendly closet design hacks that she used to design her incredible master closet.

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Design: Every great closet needs a plan

Before you make your first move, it’s important to create a design plan for your walk-in. Think about the wardrobe frame, shelves and rails that you need most and decide how they’ll fit into the space. For Ashley, she built her base wardrobes first and then focused on common sense functionality.

“I organized my clothes and shoes based off of what was going to work on an everyday basis,” she said. This meant adding shelving and drawers before worrying about minor aesthetic details, like her favorite gold handles from Amazon.

Ashley also collaborated with her dad to ensure her closet had symmetrical balance. For those frames she couldn’t buy, like corner pieces that worked for the unique angles of her space, she designed them herself. If the DIY route sounds scary, Ashley recommends visiting your nearest IKEA. “I have never seen a better organizing system for the price IKEA can offer,” she said, also praising the wide range of height and depth in their storage solutions. And if you’d prefer for someone else to take the reins completely, she recommends IKEA’s closet design services.

Whichever route you choose, what’s most important is understanding the big picture before you make a single purchase. “Once I had the big picture pieced together, the smaller details were able to fall in line,” Ashley added.

Character: Add unique decorative touches

Once you’ve got the basics in place, you can move beyond functionality and add some décor that gives your walk-in personality. For Ashley, this meant leaving non-functional space for special additions.

“Leaving some shelving space available for mirrors, vases filled with flowers, picture frames, favorite purses, or jewelry display stands are ways to make your closet reflect your personality while showcasing some of your favorite pieces, and the things that bring you joy!” she said. The color of your walk-in also matters. Neutral colors are most common, as they’re the easiest to work from and tend to match the rest of your home’s colors. But vibrant hues can add a touch of excitement and turn your closet into a space where your tastes really shine through. If you’re feeling adventurous, try rich jewel tones.

Lighting: Make your room shine

Ashley partnered with us and selected two lighting options, the Mercer and Hampton chandelier. She posted on Instagram and let her fans choose the final option. With almost a tie the Mercer won! “The Mercer sparkles from all angles, especially when viewed from the bottom and the unique design forms a stunning metal floral design, Ashley said.

In addition to your overhead lighting, you’ll likely need some track lighting to illuminate dark corners or shelving. You might also need supplemental lighting for under-counter areas or racks where light is blocked by shelving.

Be sure to add lighting to spots where clothing won’t knock fixtures out of place, and hang fixtures high enough to avoid hitting your head when walking in and out of the closet.

Concerning types of bulbs, full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs can give off a more natural light while LED lights are great for track and shelf lighting.

Storage: Avoid clutter in your walk-in

In addition to building the walk-in of your dreams, it’s important to think about everyday use and how you’ll keep your closet organized and clutter-free over time. One important way to keep things neat is by taming your accessories.

“I actually use an inner drawer liner from IKEA for my belts,” Ashley said. She coordinates her belts by color and rolls them into individual square drawer boxes. Additionally, she stores her scarves in mini cubes from Target and keeps them out of sight by hiding them behind the greenery on her shelves.

Ashley stresses that everyday habits can also make a difference with clutter. She hangs up laundry right away, and even hangs up clothing that she’s tried on but decided against wearing.

Completing smaller tasks in the moment helps her avoid a mess later. For shoes, Target’s shoe towers are her top choice because they hold a large capacity without squishing a single pair. Over-the-door shoe organizers are key for less formal shoes like flats and flip-flops.

She points to Target and Wal-Mart’s cubicle organizers as temporary options for renters who may not be able to permanently alter their space. And even thin velvet hangers from T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods (typically $15 for a pack of 30) are an easy, non-permanent way to create more hanging space.

As Ashley demonstrates, designing your dream walk-in closet doesn’t take a boatload of money– just a few creative hacks and a little bit of organization. Visit for more interior design hacks.