Expert Advice: The 10 Best Closet Systems, According to Architects

We know—closets are hard. We’re often quizzed about the best, and though most of us are making do with the tiny closets that came with our apartments (plus whatever other creative corners we could find), if you have the chance to start anew, you’ll want to do it right. So we turned to the members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory (now almost 300 firms strong) for their advice on the best closet systems out there. Here are their 10 picks (plus an explanation for one brand that’s noticeably absent).

Worth noting: Many of the architects and designers listed here prefer to design custom closets for clients—it allows them to use every inch of space, says SF designer Nicole Hollis—but sometimes an off-the-shelf, customizable solution from one of the following brands is in order.


Henrybuilt wood walk-in closet
Above: NYC architect Jack Wettling named Seattle-based Henrybuilt as his closet pick. The brand is primarily known for its first-rate American-made kitchens, but it also offers customizable closet systems with features such as built-in electrical outlets, leather-lined drawers, and hidden laundry bins. “We have been very impressed with the company’s customer service and high-quality look,” says Wettling. Photograph courtesy of Henrybuilt.


Boffi modern Italian closet with screens
Above: Premium Italian kitchen brand Boffi is known for its clever storage solutions—and its wardrobes are no exception. San Francisco interior designer Nicole Hollis likes their “large door systems with innovative hardware that flushes out to the wall; it allows the closet doors to blend with the architecture,” she says. This one has mesh-screened doors to keep clothes hidden in plain sight. (For more from the brand, see 15 Storage Ideas to Steal from High-End Kitchen Systems.) Photograph courtesy of Boffi.

Plain English

Plain English traditional wood wardrobes
Above: Brit kitchen maker Plain English began offering custom interior closets a few years back—and we’re smitten with their traditional look. For more, see In Plain English: 8 Storage Ideas to Steal from the UK-Based Kitchen Design Firm. Photograph courtesy of Plain English.


Lema modern wardrobe with metal doors
Above: Italian brand Lema makes closets and wardrobes in the sleek, minimalist style we’re after. This one, called Liscia, has a melamine body with lacquered metal doors. See more from the company in The New Transparency: 7 Glass-Fronted Closets and Wardrobes. Photograph courtesy of Lema.


Poliform Italian closet system
Above: SF designer Kriste Michelini likes luxury Italian furniture brand Poliform for clients’ closets. They also come highly recommended from LA designer Meg Joannides, who says they’re “on the high side, price-wise, but worth it.” For more from the company, see Remodeling 101: Closet Lighting. Photograph courtesy of Poliform.


Porro Italian closet system
Above: SF designer Hollis also loves Italian design house Porro for their stylish systems. Says Hollis, “They have cutting-edge hardware and the most beautiful finishes and colors.” For more, see The New Transparency: 7 Glass-Fronted Closets and Wardrobes. Photograph courtesy of Porro.


Rakks aluminum shelving system for closets
Above: For an affordable, modern closet, Nashville architect Marcus DiPietro likes the no-nonsense system of aluminum poles and rods from Rakks. (For more, see 10 Easy Pieces: Wall-Mounted Shelving Systems.) Photograph courtesy of Rakks.


Elfa closet from the Container Store
Above: When cost is a big factor, Sonoma, California, architect Amy Alper likes Elfa from the Container Store—she’s used it in client projects as well as in her own home. She cites its merits as being sturdy, simple, and above all, flexible. “It can be easily dressed up with trim pieces,” she says, “and I’ve seen it in high-end homes, too.” Photograph courtesy of the Container Store.


Hafele hardware for closets
Above: German company Häfele makes hardware, not closet systems per se, but it offers a host of solutions designed specifically for clothes. When designing custom closets, says architect Jack Wettling, “we use a variety of inserts from Häfele tailored to the clients’ needs.” The most popular options, he notes, include slide-out hampers, foldout ironing boards, jewelry trays, and pull-down clothing rods.

Ikea Pax

Ikea white Pax closet
Above: Like Elfa, Ikea’s Pax system has stood the test of time as a reliable, budget-friendly pick. German design firm Studio Oink used Pax in a Washington, DC, row house remodel (see A Luminous, Euro-Style Row House in Washington, DC, Courtesy of Studio Oink, for more). LA fashion house Frank & Eileen even used the system in its Showroom. Photograph courtesy of Ikea.

Noticeably absent from our list? California Closets, which hasn’t received endorsement from the members of our directory. Says SF architect Bonnie Bridges, “We have tried to like California Closets—they have so many showrooms and clients are comfortable with the idea of using them—but the quality leaves a lot to be desired.” And architect Alper likes Elfa, shown above, for being flexible “in the way that California Closets are not.”

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