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Do Bedroom Closets Need Doors?

Most people expect closets to have a door - it's just standard, in most minds. But if you've recently bought a house with open closets or hate your closet doors, you might be wondering. Can you get rid of the doors altogether? Do bedroom closets need to have doors?

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There is no reason why a bedroom closet must have a door. No building code dictates that closet doors are necessary. Even home design has, increasingly, grown to include closets without doors as perfectly normal. It's, of course, a matter of preference and taste, like any other home decor - but many homes are featuring closets that have no doors.

If this seems insane to you, the next question is probably why? Why do people take perfectly good doors off closets? Well, there's a lot of reasons, and we'll cover that next. You might also wonder if closet doors are going out of fashion or how you can make your closet look nice if you don't have any doors. We'll cover all that and offer some tips on organizing a closet that you're proud to let people peek inside - so keep reading!

An interior of an empty luxury bedroom with walk-in closet, Do Bedroom Closets Need Doors?

Why Do People Take Doors Off Closets?

If you like doors on your closets, then, by all means, keep with tradition! But in a modern home, there are lots of reasons to ditch the door. Some drawbacks of closet doors include:

  • One more thing to repair - a door stuck on its track or with a broken hinge might be easier to get rid of altogether. If you don't need the door, is it worth fixing?
  • Interferes or limits furniture arrangement - the swing or movement of the door might stop you from arranging the room how you like.
  • Limits the use of the space - with the door out of the way, maybe this area isn't a closet at all. Perhaps it's a workspace with a computer desk, a small book nook, or where you store your sewing machine?
  • It can make the room seem smaller - the door takes up space and visually disrupts the room. Any space you gain with the closet doesn't feel quite as helpful with the door in the way. 
  • The door interrupts traffic flow, particularly if it's often left open anyway.
  • It hides the closet! For many people, the closet is an area of clutter, and hiding the mess seems natural. But home decor now often incorporates redesigning and beautifying storage spaces. As a result, some people are very proud of their closets and want to show off their hard work!

What If I Need To Add A Closet?

When buying a home, some people might find themselves stuck with bedrooms that don't have closets at all! It's not unheard of, depending on your location and the age of the house. Having a closet at all was essentially unheard of before the late 1800s.

Large, spacious closets didn't become common until after World War II in America. To this day, most European homes don't offer the closet space considered standard by Americans. If you don't have enough room, you might be wondering what to do.

Adding a closet into the structure of an already designed room can be problematic. It might be cumbersome to engineer, depending on the available space and setup. Or, it might be doable but expensive.

As a result, homeowners might be wondering if they can add a closet right to the bedroom itself, without a door and a separate, divided closet room. The answer is: definitely! If you're worried it will look out of place or seem strange, don't be. Challenging storage options mean that many other people have tried (and succeeded) to arrange their closet space right along an available wall in the bedroom. 

Modern wooden wardrobe with women clothes hanging on rail in walk-in closet

Are Closet Doors Outdated?

Closet doors aren't exactly outdated. They offer a perfectly sensible look that, while maybe not trendsetting, certainly isn't passe. Expected and conventional, but not passe. 

In recent years, a hot home decor trend is open floor plans. This has begun extending itself to include closet space. Open closets started as a European fashion, but it's been making its way across the ocean for a while now. 

Some home designers contend that the open floor plan will be shifting away in the coming years, so ultimately, do what makes you happy. If you like open concept design, embrace it. If you don't, stand by your doors with no fear.

Maybe at least avoid the 80's glory that is sliding mirror doors. If any closet door was outdated, many people agree it's that one.  

Wardrobe with sliding doors

How Can I Make A Closet Without Doors Look Nice?

The number one rule for a closet with no doors is organization! When your closet is immaculately arranged, with an impeccable system that leaves everything in just the right spot, there's no need for a door. Doors hide the mess and clutter, so if you manage to ditch the clutter, why not be proud to show off your skills!

There are some great tips for arranging a beautiful closet space, including:

  • Declutter. Cut everything down. You don't need 16 spring jackets, leading to an overwhelming amount of stuff in the closet. No one is organized enough to make that look good.
  • Use coordinating hangers, which immediately add a certain cohesive look to the closet.
  • Storage boxes are your friend, especially when you can neatly roll light clothes and accessories into them.
  • Maximize the space - find dead spaces like the sides of walls or the area between the floor and the bottom of your hanging clothes. Use it. Add shelves. Take advantage of all the leftover vertical space with shoe racks or accessory storage. 
  • Consider storing some of your closet stuff in another place, like under the bed. You can consolidate the "mess" into one location while still having a beautiful closet.
  • Invest in a flexible and well-designed system, like this one:

Click here to see this closet storage system on Amazon.

How Can I Cover My Closet Without A Door?

If you really can't get your closet presentable enough to make it show-worthy, take a deep breath. There are still options for covering the closet without having to depend on a door. Take a look at these creative alternatives.

Hang Curtains

Curtains are a great alternative to a door since they're easy to close and open as needed without losing any floor space. Plus, you can use a tension rod without having to mount any hardware or damage the wall. 

Curtains have a softer look, which can enhance the room. Picking curtains that coordinate with the room's decor offers a chance to be creative, with more unique design options than doors. And they're affordable - so affordable you can even switch out the curtains regularly for a fresh new look if you want.

Use Beads

It might seem a little retro, but it really can be a special look that's one of a kind. A tasteful bead or sequin curtain helps cover the closet space but leaves it just a little accessible at the same time.

Click here to see this bead curtain on Amazon.

Try A Room Divider Or Panel

A tasteful room divider helps block the view of the closet without resorting to a full door. Plus, you have the added option of changing behind it if you need privacy. And it can be folded up or moved elsewhere if you need it out of the way once in a while. This one comes with your choice of panel numbers and colors.

Click here to see this room divider on Amazon.

Macrame Hanging

If you can't quite get on board with the beads, macrame might be more your style. Again, it offers a certain definition to the closet space while still leaving the area a bit more open. Visually, it offers something to see besides clutter without fully barricading the closet shut.

Click here to see this macrame divider on Amazon.

In Closing

There's no rule anywhere, in building code or home design, that says a closet must have a door. Doors are a matter of personal preference and taste. In the open floor plan, closets without doors have grown in popularity. If you're considering removing the door from your closet, you're not alone - it's a trend that's been building for some time.

Be sure to organize your closet to be a visually appealing space or find another way to cover the clutter. For example, use a curtain, macrame wall hanging, bead curtain, or room divider to help conceal the closet space. Otherwise, maybe stick with the traditional door if your closet is always an eyesore.

For more on closets, check out the following: