How Much do Custom Closets Cost?

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As many of you know, I moved into my condo last year. The condo lifestyle suited where my wife and I were in life so it made the purchasing decision a little easier. I was warned that becoming a homeowner was expensive, and this became clear once I moved in.

I spent arguably a small fortune on things such as furniture, paint, blinds, and much more, but I was pretty sure I was done with any major expenses. That is until my wife and I started to discuss custom closets.

You see, we don’t have a locker so storage was limited. Despite the fact that we have two bedrooms and don’t own a lot of stuff, we knew that storage would become an issue. Here’s a look at my closet before the install:

Determining if you need custom closets

As you can see from the image above, I probably didn’t NEED new closets. It’s empty in the picture since I already cleared them out, but trust me, that thing gets filled up fast. You’ll also notice that my old closet had just wire-hanging frames and mirrored doors; both are very cheap for builders to put in.

As a condo owner, I get a lot of convenient amenities, but I have a fixed living space. There’s only so much I can do with a 900 sq ft. unit so we wanted to maximize our space. Fortunately, we have high ceilings so we knew we could probably put in some decent custom closets.

We suspect that we’ll be living here for some time so we felt that putting in custom closets was the right thing to do since we would be able to enjoy them. We weren’t thinking about resale value; we just wanted them so we got them.

How much you should expect to pay for custom closets

The main reason we were hesitant to install custom closets was the cost. Admittedly, I had no idea how much the average price was so I just assumed they were expensive. Fortunately, I had a friend who recently installed California Closets.

After he showed me pictures of what he did, I was practically sold, but I still wanted to know “how much do custom closets cost?” It all depends on what kind of design and finishes you get, but those details can be calculated on the spot with a design consultant.

The cost of having four closets in my condo completely redone as well as getting three new sliding doors cost me $6,500 + tax. This amount does not include what I had to pay a contractor (%500 + tax) to remove the wire frames and to patch up the walls.

In the end, it cost me just under $8,000 to put in four custom reach-in closets (and new custom doors) in my condo.

Make no mistake. Installing custom closets is not cheap. For the same price, I could have taken an epic vacation or paid down my mortgage. Some might think that I overspent since there are cheaper options, but I paid for quality. California Closets wasn’t the cheapest solution, but they also weren’t the most expensive. Take a look at my finished closet below (this is the one in our second bedroom):

The process of installing custom closets

The best part of having custom closets done is the fact that it’s so easy to do. I booked a design consultation with Kristen from California Closets and she came to our condo when it was convenient for us.

We discussed our needs and she took measurements and came up with a design on the spot. It took her about an hour to complete everything and she was able to show us a 3D model of what she had designed. Everything she showed us was exactly what we wanted so we didn’t have to make any changes, but we could have on the spot. Prices were updated once we decided on our finishes.

Since our closets were pretty straight forward we were able to get an install date pretty quickly. But before they could install them, we had to have a contractor come in and remove all the old stuff so the installers could do their jobs.

On our install date, the installers came in and put blankets on the wall to ensure no damage would be made to our home. The entire install took just a few hours which was much quicker than anticipated. They cleaned up everything before they left and I started putting things away!

What are your other options

There are likely multiple custom closet companies in the city you live in, but you still want to consider a name brand. The reality is that when you do sell your home, people will always recognize the name California Closets, which could potentially increase the value of your home.

Now if price is your number one priority, you can still get some decent closets done. In my quote, $2,000 was for the new doors which increased my budget by 40%. Plus, I did ALL the closets in my condo. Had I just done just one, prices would have dropped quite a bit.

As mentioned, there are other companies that offer lower prices so I encourage you to shop around. I personally chose not to price compare because of the reasons mentioned above. It also helped that I got a referral so I naturally leaned towards California Closets.

There’s also the DIY option. Home Depot has multiple brands of custom closets and choosing your closets is similar but it’s all done online (or in store). You’ll still need to pay someone to take out your old closets and install the new ones, but this method tends to be the cheapest.

Ikea also offers closet solutions but most of their options are custom wardrobes. I needed custom closets for my reach-ins hence why I went with the full customizable option.

Final word

It’s impossible to say exactly how much do custom closets cost, but at least you can get a free design consultation and quote from just about every company. For us, the closets ended up being cheaper than we expected, but they still cost us a fair amount of money. We’re enjoying them and happy that we decided to get them.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

9 Comments

  1. Vanessa on April 1, 2017 at 12:55 PM

    Oh wow! When I saw your tweets about replacing your closets, I really didn’t understand how bad they were before. MUCH better use of space now.

    • Barry Choi on April 1, 2017 at 2:03 PM

      Vanessa,

      It’s also a storage issue. I live in a condo so I can’t exactly hide thins in my basement or garage. I have a limited amount of space so I decide to maximize them with these closets.

  2. Jaymee @ Smart Woman on April 19, 2017 at 10:32 PM

    Omg huge difference and they really made use of those high ceilings!

    I think living in a condo, that’s a great use of your money. I personally feel more stressed when I’m living in a home that’s full of clutter with no organization. So this would be a good financial and personal investment in a living space haha!

    • Barry Choi on April 19, 2017 at 10:43 PM

      Jaymee,

      Heh, yeah getting these closets were pretty sweet.

  3. Graham Tomlin on May 3, 2017 at 11:31 AM

    How much is piece of mind worth? When you factor that in to daily living, the answer is priceless.

  4. Jem on June 14, 2017 at 3:20 PM

    Your closets are amazing. How are the designs working for you? Last year, I also got custom closets through the Costco vendor where it was $2,000 (+$200 cash to remove/paint old shelves) for my items. My closets were definitely smaller than yours (double-door). I’m really happy with the design, I just wish there was an option to display my outfit for the next day facing “forward” like Burberry’s racks. I still feel very uncomfortable having shoes (esp used/dirty) ones in my closet but it may just be an Asian ocd-habit my parents enforced.

    • Barry Choi on June 14, 2017 at 3:44 PM

      Hi Jem,

      Since a designer came to our place, we got exactly what we wanted. She gave us a lot of different suggestions and then designed based on what we wanted. I personally don’t mind having my dirty shoes in there since the alternative is to have them all outside in the hallway which annoys me even more.

  5. Lola on February 29, 2020 at 10:28 AM

    Compared to IKEA, it is insanely expensive as you only got 4 drawers?. It cost me $1040 to organize 6 reach in closets , not including doors. Even if I pay for the 11 doors $200/ pcs I would not get close to half of what you paid for one closet.

  6. Chad on May 17, 2020 at 11:17 AM

    All things considered I think the ability to have an area designed specifically for your area instead of you having to go and piece something together yourself was probably worth the cost of the closets. What I don’t agree with is the cost your contractor charged for removing the old wire shelves. It probably took all of 3 hours to do that work and he charged you $1500. It just seems outrageuous

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