There are a number of commonly accepted planning dimensions that will be helpful as you design clothing storage. Keep in mind, however, that you may need to adapt these recommendations to allow for users of different sizes, ages, or abilities.
Hanging Clothes Storage
Depth. A typical closet is 24 inches (610 mm) deep, with the rod placed 12 inches (305 mm) from the wall. However, suit coats or jackets are bulkier and need 26 inches (660 mm) to 28 inches (711 mm) to hang perpendicular to the rod. Outerwear, such as winter coats, may need 30 inches (762 mm) of depth. If closet rod depth is inadequate, clothes will hang at an angle, and additional rod storage will be needed. If a closet is too shallow, clothes may get jammed and wrinkled in storage (see Figure 9.1).
Length. Recommendations for the length of rod storage vary, from as little as 36 inches (914 mm) to as much as 72 inches (1823 mm) per person. A more accurate way to determine rod length, for custom design, is to calculate the amount based on the number of items to be stored on hangers. Allow about 2 inches (51 mm) per item for women’s clothing, and about 2 1/2 inches (64 mm) per item for men’s clothing (see Figure 9.2). Some items, such as heavy coats or formal gowns, may take up more space [4 to 5 inches (102 to 127 mm), or more].
Use Form 11: Clothes Storage Inventory for Hanging Clothes to determine the number of items to be stored in the closet. Multiply the number of items by the appropriate size recommendation to get a minimum rod length recommendation. Increase this amount to allow extra rod space for ease of access to hangers, and to increase ventilation around clothing and minimize wrinkling. Extra rod space is also needed to allow for new items.
Height. Rod height is dependent on the length of the item to be stored and the reach of the user. Grouping similar length clothing and providing rods at more than one height can maximize the efficiency of closet storage (see Figure 9.3). Form 11: Clothes Storage Inventory for Hanging Clothes has already grouped clothing of similar lengths to make this process easier.
The rod needs to be reachable by the user. If the household for which you are designing includes a person who uses a wheelchair or mobility aid, a person with limited reach, or a shorter person, lower rods will be appropriate.
Children cannot reach a full-height closet rod. However, every parent wants to teach their children to hang up their own clothes! Lower rods that can be raised as children grow and their clothes get bigger, provide an option. After the age of 16, most children can reach rods as high as most adults.
Rod Span. The closet rod span, the distance between supports or brackets, typically depends on the diameter and material of the rod. Follow the spans for wood and metal rods that manufacturers of closet rod systems recommend to support the weight of hanging clothing. Depending on the style and design of the closet rod, support brackets may take up rod space. This will need to be considered in the calculation of rod length.
Access and Clearances. Adequate space to access hanging clothes is important to a well- planned closet area. Floor clearance of 36 to 38 inches (914 to 965 mm) is recommended in front of hangers (see Figure 9.4). This clearance gives room for activities such as turning, holding up clothes, or removing clothes from a hanger. If a shelf is placed above the rod, a clearance of 2 to 3 inches (51 to 76 mm) is needed to allow space to remove the hangers from the rod.