Published on February 17, 2021

pink closet with cloud designPin It
Photography by Elizabeth Larson; Design by Danielle McKim

Kids’ clothes might be tinier than the average wardrobe, but the things children will inevitably grow out of (itty-bitty sweaters, onesie pj’s, adorable sneakers) actually require a decent amount of storage space. The issue is, we don’t tend to give little ones the biggest bedrooms in the house, so their closets are usually a tight squeeze, too. 

Fortunately, with plenty of hanging rods, savvy drawers, door hooks, and more, you can turn any subpar niche into a rainbow-infused workhorse. Psst: You don’t even have to put their clothes in there at all. If you’ve solved the clothing dilemma with a dresser or wardrobe elsewhere, consider turning this alcove into a mini library, Zoom room, or another creative hideout. Read on for 10 functional (and fun!) ideas for kids’ closets. 

If You’re Looking to Foster Independence

clothes hangign below bookshelfPin It
Photography by Chaunte Vaughn; Design by Meta Coleman

Gather all their favorite things—colorful jumpers, books, toys—in one convenient spot. By meeting them at their level with an extra-low hanging rod (bonus points for painting it fire-engine red), they’ll learn how to get ready all on their own.

If This Is the Only Logical Spot for the Dresser, Too

drawers in a closetPin It
Photography by Jenna Peffley; Design by Carly Waters

Everything has a place in this closet, including folded items, thanks to the four-drawer system at the center. Having everything perfectly divided (peep the baskets at the top and the three separate hanging areas) makes your job tidying up this spot a lot more seamless. 

If Your Room Is Their Room

tiny nursery with floral accent wallpaperPin It
Photography by Karla Graves

Karla Graves’s closet is still her closet, but it’s also now a nursery. At the end of the 50-square-foot space she was able to squeeze in a crib and hang delicate baby items like rompers and sweaters from a DIY driftwood rack suspended from floating shelves.  

If You Want to Fuel Their Imagination

bed with ladder inside a closetPin It
Courtesy of Danielle McKim

All kids love a secret hideout, so Danielle McKim overhauled her 4-year-old son’s room by turning the closet into just that. To make sure it was safe to play in, she secured a platform using E-shaped framing and tested its structural soundness herself multiple times. The DIY pro even transformed the closet in her daughter’s nursery into a happy, cloud-filled nook.   

If Their Reading Habits Take Priority

bright yellow book nichePin It
Photography by Amanda Walker of Dwell Aware

For the future bookworm, consider turning a tiny closet in their room—or elsewhere in your house—into a library, stocked with all their favorite reads. Amanda Walker pulled off this example with IKEA’s Mosslanda picture ledges ($18 each) and a can of bright yellow paint—that’s it. 

If You’ve Got a Bold Motif Going Already

striped green closetPin It
Photography by Kevin Miyazaki

Seemingly inspired by their striped rocker, Graham Kostic and Fran Taglia channeled the pattern inside their son’s nursery closet, except they really brought the pattern to life by going with thicker lines. 

If Their Closet Is Way Too Big to Be Just That

arch doorway leading to reading nookPin It
Photography and Design by Joni Lay

Sometimes walk-ins make for better reading nooks and rec rooms. Every detail in this former closet–turned–hangout is straight out of a Wes Anderson film, from the buttercup-hued telephone to the wavy trim to the vintage horse ribbons. 

If They Have to Share

After removing the near-30-year-old mirror closet doors (you know, the sliding kind that only let you see half of what’s inside at one time), Anita Yokota sewed curtains from scratch and mounted a ceiling track to the top of the doorframe. Now her daughters can both get to their things at the same time (essential when you’re a tween).

If You Find Doors a Total Nuisance

mid century nurseryPin It
PHOTOGRAPHY BY YOSHIHIRO MAKINO

Using a closet shell as her starting point for her client’s 1970s-inspired nursery, designer Frances Merrill removed the framing so the area could be one with the room. This opened up the possibility for easily accessible built-ins and a countertop. All that was left was to add fluffy clouds and a purple rug. 

If School Is Closed

blue boys closet with work spacePin It
Photography by Erin Hiemstra

Erin Hiemstra installed two modular shelving systems from California Closets’s Martha Stewart collection in order to make her 5-year-old son’s closet part classroom. He’s got everything he needs, from a comfy fidget stool to a magnetic board, and his coziest T-shirts are only an arm’s length away. The best part? He has his own little world to retreat to. 

Want to read about more kid-approved design tricks, creative organization ideas, and family-friendly living solutions? Sign up for our weekly newsletter! 

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