Do New Construction Homes Have Closet Shelving?

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When looking for new construction homes, realtors and builders usually consider the ‘bones and meat’ of a house. By the bones, they mean its foundation and ‘skeletal structure’, but when it comes to meat, the extras come into mind. One of the first considerations here includes kitchen appliances, vanities, and closet shelving system.

Moving into a new construction home, you are likely to find cupboards and closets built around a basic frame. These frames need to be planned in advanced, else it could leave room for errors. But what about closet shelving? Do all new construction homes have closet shelving installed in them?

No, not every new construction home can stand tall and boast its custom closet shelving. Not only that, even if you find closet shelving in your new home, most often these are the standard single-row wire shelving in closets, which are rarely enough to organize your things properly. In this article, we will look over the intricacies of closet shelving and what you can expect from the pre-installed ones.

Closet Shelving in New Construction Homes

A custom closet shelving system

Storage is important and therefore many contracts often mention how many closets they are going to include within new construction homes. However, what they fail to mention most of the times is what the closet will contain, i.e., whether the closets will have sliding doors, will it include a mirror within, and more importantly, whether it includes shelving.

You may have to ask your builder specifically for these features. Whether you need to install closet shelving or a complete closet organization system, lighting, ventilation, and more, you may have to be specific about it before your new construction home is complete.

There is no law or builders’ code that suggests that they must include closet shelving. The one that they do often include is on their own accord and they can even choose to omit that.

Closet space is a very important element of any house – be it a walk-in master closet or one embedded into a wall. Inside, you will most likely find one shelf a foot (or two) above the ground – nothing else. This can be rather disappointing at first but for the DIY-ers among you, this is a great opportunity.

Think of this as an empty canvas on which you can, quite literally, go crazy. Converting this into your dream master closet is then just a few steps away.

Installing Closet Shelving in New Construction Homes


Before we get into the specifics, let us consider the financial aspect of installing closet shelves in your new construction home. If you ask the builders, you can expect to spend around $300 to over $1,000, depending on how fancy you want your shelves to be. 

If you’re looking to install a complete organization system, the price tag will be even higher. Let’s say that you chose a build that your contractor asked $500 for. If you do it yourself, you can shave off $200 to $250 off that price tag – all you’ll have to do is use some elbow grease.


An organized closet with rails and shelves
An organized closet with rails and shelves

As we mentioned above, installing closet shelves in our new construction home requires extensive planning. Otherwise, you might just end up spending a lot of time making something you either won’t like or something that simply won’t fit. You’ll already be working in a confined space and will therefore have to be extremely precise.

You can find a lot of designs on the internet. If this is your first project, we recommend you go with a simple design instead of those fancy ones.

White melamine shelving is a very good option for starters. Not only does it look good but the white color can really make your shelves seem a lot roomier.

On the other hand, you also have the option of going with IKEA (yes, we know, not the most practical solution). The thing about IKEA furniture is that it is very easy to mould and modify and can therefore shave some time and effort on your part. It won’t be as cost-effective, though.

Remember, regardless of whether you’re building a good or poorly designed closet; it will most likely cost the same if you’re doing it yourself! So take your time and lay your design on a sheet of paper first.


Once the design is finalized and you have selected the wood type and color you’re going to use, it’s time to start building. We would recommend that you start with the long-hang section.

  • Measure the length of your closet from top to bottom. You will need at least one long-hand section (more, if you have more clothes). For women, long-hand sections need to be longer
  • Measure the width to see how much room you have
  • Pull out your longest suit/dress and measure it.  Your long-hang section must be at least 2 inches longer than that. Our recommendation would be to keep it 4-inches longer. Usually, these sections are 36 inches wide (horizontal) and 62-66 inches in length (vertical)
  • If you use long items more frequently, you should consider widening the section and vice versa
  • Cut one piece of wood long enough to mark the partition, i.e., where the long hang section ends. If there is room below it, you can install drawers or open shelves. We recommend you go with drawers here since closets below knee height are usually neglected
  • Move on to the double-hang section. This is where one rod is hung above the other, effectively doubling your space. These sections should be at most 42 inches wide. Any wider and you risk ruining the symmetry of your closet. Both the sections should be half the length of your long-hang section. Try to keep the base of the long hang and double hang section equal.  Here, you can hang
    • Shirts
    • Blouses
    • Folded slacks
    • Skirts
    • Jackets
    • Tops
    • Vests, and more
  • Again, try to include drawers underneath. In the spirit of symmetry, try to have the long hang section on one end and the double hang on another. However, this is just a suggestion. Design to your heart’s content!
  • And finally, you reach the shelving sections. We recommend that each shelf be 30 inches wide but depending on how many shelves you want and the space you’re left with, you can choose to make them wider or smaller as well. Standard shelf width is 12”, 18”, 24”, 30”, or 32”.The length (height) of the shelves also depends on how much room you have.  In our experience, 8-12 inches are enough for most shelves – 15” at most.
  • If possible, leave room for the double section where you include another double-hang section with shelves on top (or below).

Installing drawers is much more expensive than installing drawers and baskets, so when designing, keep your budget in mind as well. To give your shelves a cleaner look, you can install doors on them as well. However, we have only found shelf doors coming in the way, especially if your closet is in a relatively confined place.

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About Charlie D Paige

Charlie is a massive DIY fan, with dozens of DIY projects under his belt - ranging from tiling to electrics, and concrete pads to walls. Charlie loves tinkering, seeing how things works, the outdoors and playing with power tools... so is it any wonder that he's completed so many DIY jobs over the years?

Charlie loves spreading his hard-won DIY experience with the world via this blog.