Reboot and Recover Your Closet with a Remodel

guest post by Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs

With recent storms devastating the Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands of people’s homes have been affected. Many of you may have experienced flood damage and may be facing repair and remodeling work. I don’t know if this fact still holds true, but I have heard that water damage in homes occurs more frequently from plumbing and HVAC issues than storms, so really, any of us could be affected, even if you were lucky enough to escape the floodwaters.

If you do have to tackle remediation and remodeling after a flood or heavy rain, or are ready to remodel any part of your home, these tips should be helpful. Since Closet Reboot focuses mainly on closets and fashion, I will concentrate on things that might pop up during a closet remodel.


You will likely soon be asked for “selections” for your repair and remodeling work. In the design and construction world, that means “What material do you want and what color should it be?” It’s kind of like ordering a bridal gown, right? Just like a wedding, this is super stressful if you don’t have a plan. So, let’s review a few things you might want to start working on, so you will be ready when the workers finally get to your house.

WALLS: I usually start with the walls. You probably have sheetrock in your closet. Painters will ask you about texture and paint color. In the closet, neither are terribly important but you will want to finish the walls out properly.

First, choose a texture. In very small closets, they may not texture at all. Or, in closets that will be built in from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, don’t waste your money on texturing that won’t even show. So, most people opt for very little or an inexpensive texture in their closets. Note: the smoother the wall, the higher the cost!

$$$ SAVING HINT: If you are planning commissioning a custom closet, ask how the company wants the space finished out. Often, they need minimal prep work, which will save in construction costs. On the other hand, if they have to tear out a bunch of shelving and trim, that will cost more.

Next comes paint color. While a Tiffany blue or powder-puff pink closet sounds enticing, you want to be able to see your clothes and match colors in your closet. We generally either use a very light neutral paint that blends with the rest of the house or we use white (especially for small closets).

Trim is normally the same color as the rest of the house. For most of you, this will be a white or off-white semi-gloss or satin paint. You may have to modify this if you select built-ins that are manufactured. This may sound like it’s getting complicated (which it is), but when you have custom closets built by closet companies, you generally select a finish in their showroom. Your goal is for that finish to look nice in your home so you will want to keep in mind what your walls, trim, and ceiling look like. A good closet designer should be able to help you with these selections. Or, of course, your interior designer!

SW Paint Fan Deck


Photos courtesy of, Sherwin-Williams. Top right (Alabaster), bottom right (Agreeable Gray).

Ceilings are generally white. You want a bright ceiling to help bounce light around the room, so a flat, white ceiling paint is perfect. Which conveniently brings us to our next topic, and it’s a biggie.

LIGHTING: Many areas have codes as to the type of lighting you can install in a closet. Be sure your contractor or electrician lets you know the rules for your area.

Your overall goal is bright, quality lighting. I can tell you most closets aren’t born with that. Also, I know a lot of you want drama and bling in the closet, like pendants and chandeliers and lots of dangly, shiny objects. While they are adorable, they will not all pass code and many of them do not give off sufficient light.

Ideally, you will want several recessed cans and if they can be a soft-white LED, you will be very happy. Once you have that down, you might have options for some room candy, but start with good overall lighting so you can see what you are putting on every morning.

HINT: Lighting has become very technical and confusing. Buying a bulb at Home Depot might take you 30 minutes these days. Consider going to a light bulb store or asking your electrician to provide the bulbs. Light temperature is important. Soft-white lighting is comfortable and universally appealing. It is approximately ,2700 Kelvin. That’s a good number to remember. Just so you can compare, think about a horrible experience trying on bathing suits in a fitting room. That was probably closer to the 3,000+ range, which is cold and unflattering—NOT what you want in your closet!

  • 2,700K – Homes, Restaurants, Hotel lobbies, Boutiques – See, high end ; )
  • 3,000K – Libraries, Office Areas, Retail Stores
  • 4,100K – Showrooms, Bookstores, Office Areas
  • 5,000K – Museums, Jewelry Stores, Hospitals
  • 5,600K – Used to Simulate Outdoor Conditions
Information courtesy of

$$$ and Time-Saving Hint: When ordering online, see if the supplier provides bulb suggestions. For exotic bulbs, we always ask the light store to ship them with our fixtures.



Lastly, we’ll hit the FLOOR: There is often confusion about what flooring to use in closets. Usually, the easiest and most economical option is to continue the flooring from the adjacent room. However, sometimes that is tile from a bathroom and men seem to hate cold feet. Yes, you can always put down a small rug. Often people put wood in their master closet because it seems slightly warmer and definitely more luxurious.

Secondary closets usually have whatever is in the room next to them. If the bedroom is carpeted, a piece of carpet is installed in the closet. If the closet is off a bathroom, the bathroom tile can be continued if that is preferred or a piece of carpet can be used.

Keep in mind carpet will almost always be the least expensive flooring. Tile and wood can be similar in cost and they can go from budget options to extremely expensive flooring.

Occasionally, when doing luxury homes, we install fabulous carpeting in the master closet. Think leopard print, scrolls, ribbons, etc. This creates a super-glam closet, but that carpeting can be very expensive.


Other than luxury, appearance, and cold feet, I also think about cleaning the closet floor. Sweeping and mopping are fine for hard surface floors. If you put down small rugs, those will need to be taken up and vacuumed or shaken, which is added work and promotes allergens.

If you carpet the closet and don’t have carpet anywhere else in that room or maybe even that floor of your home, you (or your poor housekeeper) have to lug the vacuum cleaner around the house and you may find that carpeted closets don’t get cleaned very often.

TWO $$$ SAVING HINTS: Often a remnant from the wall-to-wall carpet for a bedroom or other area can be used to carpet closets. You may not have to order much more. Keep good-sized scraps of leftover carpet. They can be used to re-carpet a closet floor that is worn. Lastly, in low-use rooms, the carpet in the closet can be quite pristine. Sometimes we use it to patch other areas when we can’t replace a whole room of carpet.

Pamela O’Brian is the Founder and Lead Designer of Pamela Hope Designs.  You can learn more about Pamela from her website Pamela Hope Designs Interiors.  For more information on remodeling after a flood, check out my video with Pamela on the Closet Reboot YouTube channel.


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