Little has been written about closet painting, which is strange, since nearly every room has a nook or cranny for storage. This space often presents a color conundrum: Whether or not to paint the closet in a hue that matches, or at least complements, the walls around it.
There are no hard and fast rules concerning choice of color when painting a closet. But it is possible to offer some general guidelines that help resolve many closet color quandaries.
The very first thing to take into account: whether the closet is “open” or not.
If the area is simply a recessed space, then visually, it’s part of the room. In this case, the best option is to paint the closet in the same – or a similar – color as the surrounding walls. Following through with the precise color used in the adjoining room better integrates the closet design-wise; if you yearn for a little variety, then simply choose a lighter version of the same hue.
Of course, most closets are enclosed, having a hinged door or slider that clearly defines the area as a discrete space. Here, you have much more flexibility when choosing paint color for the walls and woodwork within.
Where to begin? Consider what is housed in the closet. Is it your wardrobe, your linens, your cleaning supplies? Is the closet in a guest room, where it remains empty until pressed into service? Or is the space a catchall for rarely seen holiday decorations or older items that are past their prime? The function of the enclosure is key to your color selection.
Take the closet where your wardrobe is kept (not your vintage items that are mere memorabilia, but the clothes you wear most often). Unless you don’t care a whit what you look like, you’ll want good light in this space, so that you can clearly discern the color, pattern, and texture of your threads. That calls for a very light-colored paint, preferably white, aided by a little sheen to help you see even better.
White or very lightly tinted paint is a good choice for other closets, too, but for different reasons. The better visibility offered by white paint is helpful when searching for things in a laundry closet or pantry; favoring a glossier sheen (at least a semi-gloss) also makes it easy to wipe up these areas where spills and stains are commonplace. As for the closet where you house clean linens, what could possibly be more appropriate than a bright white environment?
But white isn’t right for every enclosure. Some closets call for a darker shade of paint, perhaps a deeper expression of the nearby wall color.
Any closet with paraphernalia that is no longer pertinent, but passé, is ripe for this type of treatment. The less these things are seen, the better, so why not obscure them a bit with darker surroundings?
Then there is the guest room closet, something of a no-man’s land when it comes to color guidelines. For this space, you can make an argument for either light or dark colored paint. Both have an appeal.
A light paint color makes a guest room closet look fresh and clean, although a little stark, while a more colorful treatment can be more chic and stylish. The tiebreaker may well be the fact that darker color makes dust less noticeable – no small consideration in a space that is used only every so often.
So, when it’s time to paint your closets, don’t be careless about color selection. Using the right paint color can enhance not just the appearance, but also the functionality of these spaces.