A well-designed closet is more than just the place where clothing and shoes are stored. It is also a means of organizing the morning rituals and everyday tasks of homeowners. A jumbled closet, where items are hard to locate and clean clothes are indistinguishable from dirty, can be a major disruption in the lives of homeowners trying to prepare for their busy days.

The heart of the closet matter is that most basic rack-and-pole closet systems don't accommodate the needs of most homeowners. In return for a closet that allows them to store and organize their clothing and also find it quickly and easily in the morning, many homeowners are only too glad to sacrifice a few square feet of living space. If they don't already have a walk-in closet, homeowners frequently want one.

Bill Haas, a global product merchant with The Expo Design Center based in Atlanta, notes that homeowners are more conscious of wasted space. They also want their closets to be as nice as their wardrobes, often outfitting the space with drawers, dressers, and islands. As they accumulate more and more, savvy storage becomes paramount. "We see many conversions of second bedrooms to closets," Haas says.

According to Kathryn LaBarbera, senior vice president of the Closet Factory, a maker of space organizers, remodelers can create custom closets that increase profits but won't break the construction bank.

With so many closet components and materials out there, it's hard to know where to begin. But remodelers can collaborate with the closet design firms to create custom spaces or send their clients to designers during the remodeling process.

"Builders can use good closets as a selling feature or upgrade. Why not max it out and use it to your benefit?" asks Mark Remmers, marketing manager for ClosetMaid. Remodelers who can offer good closets can reap the benefits as well.

Installed closets can cost from $350 to more than $120,000, depending on the size, materials, and accessories chosen. "You can take any closet and rack it up," says Steven Blumenfeld, president of the Los Angeles franchise of California Closets, a closet design firm.

Materials range from wire and PVC resin racking and shelving, such as ClosetMaid's systems, at the entry point to laminates in the mid to high range, such as some of Creative Closets' offerings, to wood veneers like Studiobecker's line at the very high end. The possible components and configurations are endless.

Courtesy of ProClosets

There are many products that can be installed and many designs possible to create your clients' dream closets. Expert closet designers offer the following tips:

* Islands and benches in walk-in closets create a dressing room feeling and provide extra surface space for packing luggage.

* Placing drawers and dressers in closets frees up bedroom space.

* Mudroom-type lockers in adults' and kids' closets keep gloves and boots organized and close at hand.

* Shoe cabinets with clear acrylic doors keep footwear off the floor and make shoes easily accessible.

* Built-in jewelry drawers with lined trays in an island or in the wall are an elegant touch.

* Tie and belt racks keep these accessories from getting lost.

* Walk-ins with built-in shelving provide ample storage space for luggage.

* Unusual drawer pulls are an inexpensive way to create a high-end look.

--Stephanie Herzfeld, Assistant Editor,` BUILDING PRODUCTS. This article originally appeared in BUILDING PRODUCTS, a sister publication of REMODELING.

For more product information, visit ebuild, Hanley-Wood's interactive product catalog.