Need More Closet Space? 6 Chic Interior Design Solutions
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Need More Closet Space? 6 Chic Interior Design Solutions

If your bedroom has too little (or no) storage for clothes, you can end up living in a stressful mess. Here, pros offer clever, great-looking ways around the problem.

Sun, Oct 8, 2023 7:00amGrey Clock 4 min

In the series How to Live With a Room You Hate, we ask design pros to solve everyday interior problems.

A ROOM with little or no closet space can leave you feeling bulldozed by your own belongings. “It’s unsettling when nothing has a home. Creating a system that maximizes your space can change your whole mood,” said Jamie Garson of Better Than B4, a custom organizing service in Manhattan. Here, six stuff-stowing techniques that offer relief when a bedroom is bereft of storage.

1. Increase Your Screen Time

When Gavin Smith, an architect with Perkins + Will, turned an attic space in his 1910 Craftsman home in Seattle into a bedroom for himself and his wife, he wanted to leave the space open and airy. So rather than building a traditional closet, he constructed cabinetry and clothing racks under the cathedral ceiling and shielded them behind a peek-a-boo screen of cedar slats supported by chic, blackened steel. “A solid drywall would be perceived very differently,” he said. “Because the screen is see-through, it creates a sense of depth.” Smith gave the partition—which also serves as a place to hang a flat-screen TV—a walnut stain to match a nearby dresser. If you want to skip construction, suggests Garson, tuck belongings behind a standing room divider.

2. Play Dress-Up

Interior designer Emilie Jacob gave a closet-less child’s bedroom in Dubai a clever theatrical fix by installing rods to hang clothing, many at a low level, and suspending drapes that, with a pull, can hide them on a whim. The drapes delineate a dressing area that lets the little girl don her duds in privacy. The curtains begin where a modular IKEA bed with underbed storage and attached wardrobe leaves off. “The linen curtains are really light, and there are no cords,” said Jacob, who founded local design firm Stella + the Stars and collaborated with Studio Tsubi, also in Dubai, on the room. “Any child can pull them open or closed.”

3. Broker a Separate Piece

When bad luck or circumstance has robbed you of a closet, a free-standing wardrobe makes for a classic solution. One with many benefits, contends Russell Pinch, the owner of Pinch, a furniture and lighting design firm in London. “It’s an investment…but one you can take with you.”

Freestanding wardrobes can solve the storage dilemma – and you can take them with you when you leave. Credit: Getty Images

And importing a wardrobe rather than constructing storage can be kinder to architecturally valuable spaces, like the bedroom in Pinch’s vacation home in Charente-Maritime, France, in an 18th-century structure that was originally a cow barn. “We wanted to preserve the….beautiful parquet floors and timbered ceilings,” he said. “A built-in would have dominated the architecture and reduced the size of the room.” The white wardrobe, which he designed, “is an elegant solution. It looks like plaster-relief work,” said Pinch. Next to the wardrobe a full-length mirror with drawers at the bottom offers additional storage and helps complete a dressing area.

4. Get a Side Hustle

In a London townhouse, local interior designer Andrea Benedettini fit a full-size bed into a relatively narrow room, and rather than flank it with nightstands used the tight space on either side to build matching full-height closets. Unwilling to forgo the benefits of traditional bedside tables, he hung sconces on the sides of the closets facing the bed and carved out niches (complete with concealed lighting) to create a ledge for a book, phone or water glass. “Simple design details like the niche elevate the design,” Benedettini said. “Applying a fabric to the closet door and bespoke bronze hardware helped create a calming and luxurious space.” A ceiling-height upholstered headboard bridges the closets, connecting them visually into a whole, so the bed appears to be tucked into its own soft alcove.

5. Let It Rock

According to organiser Garson, much of our wardrobes can live outside a closet quite nicely. She suggests openly displaying an amazing sneaker collection in a media unit, placing funky handbags on floating shelves or arranging hooks on a wall for an artful pattern of hats or scarves.

6. Let It Roll

For a bedroom with no closet, Hilary Matt lets it all hang out with a rolling rack for clothes. The trick to exhibiting your wardrobe (warning: this is not for slobs)? “Keep the [rest of the] décor clean and monochromatic so the room doesn’t feel cluttered,” said the Manhattan interior designer.

Open clothes racks can work well as long as they are kept tidy. Credit: Getty Images

The pop of colour from the apparel, which needs to be well-organized, adds to the room’s scheme “like a piece of art,” she said. Organiser Garson favours racks that match the style of the room, whether made of a fun acrylic or the more-masculine matte black metal.


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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 


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