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What Are The Leading Materials Used for Building Custom Closets?

Custom closets come in various materials, and many homeowners have a hard time deciding between all of the available options. The material you choose will often determine what types of items you can store and how you organize your storage space. In addition, you’ll benefit from choosing a more sturdy material that is easier to maintain. 

The materials used to craft custom closets are as follows:

  • Wood
  • Melamine
  • Wire

By far, wood & melamine are the two most heavy-duty materials used to build custom closets.

In this article, you'll learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each material choice as well as some quick and easy tips on how to easily organize your closets.

Wood Closets

Wood is generally seen as the gold standard when it comes to closet construction. First, it is very sturdy. When you see a wood closet, you know that it is going to stand up to the test of time. The pieces fit together well and the entire structure will be sturdy and solid.

Wood closets are also easy to customize and can accommodate a lot of different accessories. Whether you need cubby space, racks for shoes, drawers, a pull-out hamper, or other types of storage options, wood closet systems can be built to integrate those items. For tips on how to best arrange the items in your closets with the use of accessories, check out this blog post.

In addition, built-in closets are considered a luxury item when the time comes to put your house on the market. Prospective buyers will appreciate seeing all of the extra storage space. Upgrading these areas of your home also indicates to house-hunters that you’ve likely kept up with regular maintenance in the rest of the house, too.

One caveat when it comes to wood is that it does need to be sealed or finished. Also, depending on the finish you choose, you may need to be careful about moisture and staining.

Custom Closet System

Melamine Coatings

Some people are leery about having wood closets in their homes because wood does require some maintenance. Unfinished wood can be damaged by moisture, is easily stained, and can even become a food source for termites, carpenter ants, and other insects. The way to solve those issues is to choose wood products that are coated in melamine.

Melamine is a plastic-like substance that is easy to clean, resists fading, doesn’t attract insects, and won’t be damaged by moisture. It comes in many different finishes and can resemble just about any wood finish, paint, or pattern. When used in closets, it usually has a solid color or a wood-like finish.

When the time comes to clean melamine-coated wood closet organizers, Hunker.com says that you can just wipe them down with a damp cloth. That’s enough to remove dust and everyday grime. If you spill something sticky or difficult to remove, you can add a small amount of mild detergent like the liquid soap you’d use to hand-wash dishes. Be sure to rinse well, then dry it off with a soft cloth.

Custom Closet System

Wire Closets

Many homes sport wire closet organizers. These have the advantage of being very economical, but for the most part, they are not a sturdy or long-lasting option. Wire shelving can tend to pull out from the wall, causing drywall damage in some cases. They are also not able to be customized, as they come in standard sizes and can’t usually be cut to fit. In addition, the accessories that go with wire closet systems are very limited. Finally, a wire closet will not add value to your home.

In general, wire is not recommended as the main building material for a custom closet. That doesn’t mean that the concept has no place in a closet, however. Drawers or bins made of open thin metal spokes do add circulation and can help you see what’s being stored. Accessories are generally not under the same strain as the main structure of the closet, so the materials don’t have to be as strong to ensure a long life.


You have a few options when it comes to choosing the best material for your custom closet. The top recommendations would be going with wood coated in melamine for the ultimate in durability and easy care. Open shelving and wire baskets, bins, or drawers can be used to increase air circulation and visibility within your closets, but the main structure should be made of wood. This affords you the most versatility as well as the greatest value from your investment.



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