Lighting Tips for the Ultimate Walk-In Closet

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Closets are so much more than spaces to store clothes. Thanks to inspiration from the likes of Carrie Bradshaw and the Kardashians, more and more people are approaching closet renovations and buildouts the way they would kitchens and master bathrooms. In fact, having a beautiful walk-in closet might even help you sell your home faster, as this article in Forbes reports.

As with any renovation or new construction, you should always consider lighting design, and this most certainly holds true for closets. Here are some things to keep in mind.

First, how do you use your closet? Think of your daily routines (and the routines of anyone else using the closet, such as a spouse). For example, if a bright light source will be too overpowering at 6 AM when you’re getting dressed, you could install dimmers or softer accent lighting. Or maybe you do prefer something brighter and cheerier in the morning and something softer at the end of the day. Again, consider how you’ll be using the space and plan your lighting design accordingly.

Think in terms of layered lighting. Find the right combination of ambient, accent, and task lighting for your particular closet based on its size, layout, and how you plan to use it.


Remember, ambient lighting is another term for general lighting, which is the lighting that does the heavy lifting.

  • Choose an enclosed flush mount for ultimate utility. It will provide enough overall light, and it will help you see in darker corners.
  • Use your decorative sensibilities closet lighting should be equal parts functional and fun.
  • Always choose enclosed sources. The Massachusetts electrical code requires fully enclosed light sources in closets, and for good reason to avoid fires (clothing materials and open light sources don’t play well together).


Accent lighting focuses on a particular item or area. Accent lighting guides the eye where you want it to go. It can also add some “drama” to your closet.

  • Lit shelves can create the perfect space to show off your handbag or shoe collection.
  • Toe-kick lighting can make your shelves appear as if they “hover” above the floor.
  • You could even illuminate your jewelry nook or drawer.


Task lighting, as its name suggests, helps you accomplish certain things or tasks such as makeup application or assembling the perfect outfit for date night.

  • Consider high-CRI sources for this type of lighting, where the higher the CRI, the better the source is at rendering color.
  • Keep in mind that certain task lighting fixtures can double as accent lighting. For example, closet rod lighting can show off your gorgeous collection of designer suits, but it can also help you distinguish between different colors before you even have to pull it off the rack.

Make sure you consider lighting controls. We already mentioned dimmers, which can save energy, help create the right atmosphere, and allow multiple types of lighting to interact. A keypad with programmed “scenes” can increase your closet’s versatility (think “night” mode or “morning” mode, for example). An occupancy sensor means you can say goodbye to fumbling with switches in the early AM or when you have a basket of laundry in your arms. Not to mention, you won’t have to worry if you remembered to turn off the lights.

Color tuning is another fun feature of fabulous closets. Color tuning lighting can emulate different times of day, which can help you see your clothes/outfits in similar circumstances as when you’ll be wearing them. Color tuning can also positively affect your circadian rhythms. Wake up with a cooler color temperature in the morning while you get ready for work, or unwind with relaxing warm lighting while considering cocktail attire after a long day.

Need more closet lighting inspiration? Visit our closet lighting lab in Waltham to get some ideas. And, of course, our lighting experts are always happy to help!


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