DRESSING AREAS

A closet is a place to store clothes, but where will the owners of those clothes get dressed? This is an important question to ask. Designers often refer to the dressing circle, which is the amount of space needed for someone to raise their arms, turn, or bend to put on an item of clothing. The dressing circle is 42 inches (1067 mm) to 48 inches (1219 mm). You may need to plan one in, or near, the clothes storage area.

The dressing circle can overlap with other space clearances, such as drawer access. However, be sure to allow a full circle of clearance. A closet designed for more than one user needs multiple dressing circle areas.

A bench or chair is a welcome addition to a closet or dressing area, particularly as user’s age or balance is compromised. Socks, shoes, and pants are among the items that might be put on while seated. Allow a minimum of about 16 to 18 inches (406 to 457 mm) in width and depth for seat­ing. Since most people using a seat for dressing will be bending toward the floor, keep the seat low, 18 to 20 inches (457 to 508 mm) or less.

A mirror, especially a full-length mirror, is a welcome addition to a dressing area. Another is coun­ter space for temporary deposit of items used during the day, but not at night, such as wallets, coins, watches, cell phones, or hearing aids. A charging area for cell phones and other electronic devices may be desired. A counter is also a good location for jewelry boxes, small storage contain­ers, and other personal items.