Closet Envy - 5 Tips From a Closet Design Expert

By Utilizing Others Expert Talents, You Will Shine and Your Clients will be happy

I have worked with Joanna Forbes on many projects.  Since I usually do whole house remodels or builds, she is able to come in and create storage spaces that suit my clients needs and tastes.  Whether its a garment wardrobe/closet design, laundry room, office, Murphy bed system, showroom style garage with work areas and storage....the options are endles and she delivers accurate and desirable results.

I have mentioned the importance of working with professionals and allowing them the space to do what they do well.  With Joanna, I set an appointment with my client, Joanna and myself to walk through the details.

I work with her on the design details, planning and logistics so the overall design scheme is cohesive to the property and also with the scheduling.  Collaboration is key

What I do not do, is get in the middle and resell the closets.  Years ago a wise and successful attorney advised me to stay out of anything that gets installed.  That is because I am not a contractor.  Be careful to not contract on your client's behalf.  You will make enough money doing what you are best at.  

Joanna Forbes is one of Closet Factory's best designers and you can read her bio and look at a few of her projects here:  More About Joanna Forbes and Closet Factory

I asked her to provide tips for someone learning how to become an interior designer and the most important advice she could give an interior designer owning their own business.

Here is what Joanna shared:

1.    Plan for the complete project! Make an upgraded closet part of any master bed/bath remodel. Once the bedroom and/or bath are upgraded, the original closet will seem outdated and out of place.   


2.    Let the closet designer have a look at the space plans, early!  So many “Okay” closets could have been “Great!” closets if they only had 6” added somewhere!  Not only will a professional closet designer advise on the closet space, they should follow through to the end of the installation. With custom projects, “things” happen, and having a point person to follow through can be as important as a great design. 


3.    Make sure your client is being honest with their needs and desires.  Skimping here will have them saying, “If I had only…”! Professional closet designers will design and talk through storage options based on their personal storage needs.  They design future flexibility where needed and are able to explain the benefits of each design.


4.    Budget for a good closet. The design and the materials set the closet price.  Drawers, doors and deep shelves add to the costs.  Wood tones, even in Melamine materials, add to the costs.  Professional closet designers will be able to give the options that help meet your budget, design aesthetic, and still address storage needs.


5.    Professionally designed and installed closets should use quality materials and offer a variety of finishes. Melamine is a basic building material used in closets, yet, all melamine is not created equally.  Wood grain melamine is not the same as stained wood. And even though melamine is great for closets, it is not right for every closet. Some homes need real stained wood closets or painted closets. Professional closet designers will not only have access to samples of the actual materials being used in the closets; they will be able to explain how each is different.


6.    Consider the long-term.  Lifetime, transferable warranties show that the closet company stands behind the design, materials, and installation of the product.  This investment will add value to your client’s life now, and their home in the long run.

A few last notes from Elizabeth...

Remember, you are the designer of the project and you need to consult on the overall details but the client ultimately must sign off on all of the details.  You can consult or provide opinions - actually, I recommend it for a cohesive project - but stay out of the contractual part of it.

If this was helpful and you are a designer working and building your business, follow the Friday 5 and continue to get tips, strategies, and inspirations on the business of interior design.

Friday 5

Elizabeth Ribons, ASID, CID, NCIDQ