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How to Choose the Best Corner Closet Shelves

Master closet with walk-in closet lighting

Corners can be one of the most difficult areas of the closet to get right. But they’re also one of the most important. Maximize them and you gain a lot of extra storage. Ignore them, and they become a black hole filled with odds and ends you may never find or see again — at least, not until you move someday and clear everything out. Obviously, it’s better to choose the right corner closet shelves for your needs up front. That way, you can enjoy the benefits of an organized lifestyle while you’re living in your home. And that organized closet with the good corners may even help you sell your place when it’s eventually time to go.

Types of Corner Shelf Closet Organizers

There are many different choices in closet corner organization. Shelves are one of the most popular solutions because of their versatility. They also make a nice transition point between sections. For example, you might put your long hang dresses and gowns on one side and your double hang shirts on the other. They can also accommodate odd-shaped spaces, angles, slanted ceilings, and narrow walls. But you need to pick the right style of shelf to make it all work.

Did you know there are different types of shelves for inside corners as opposed to outside corners? Rotating shelves and corner closet organizers that combine shelving with hanging are another option. Some shelf choices will depend on the type of closet you have, i.e., selections for walk-in closet corner shelves will be different than those for a wardrobe closet. Other choices will depend on what you want to store. Bulky folded items may need a deeper depth shelf than a pair of shoes. Make the best shelving decision for your needs by learning the different styles of corner shelf closet organizers here.

Straight inside corner shelves with shelf connectors.

Straight, inside corner shelves are the most economical type of corner shelf. These closet corner shelves are built from two perpendicular shelves that come together with a butt joint. Use standard closet shelves in conjunction with a plastic shelf connector to create the joint. A shelf connector is a kind of plastic sleeve that slips over the edge of both sections of shelving at the joint. It connects the shelves from two adjoining walls, plus it provides extra support at the joint. Shelf connectors are designed to combine standard 14-inch-deep closet shelves with a right angle and come in multiple colors to match the shelf.

Use this type of shelf in the corners either a walk-in closet or a reach-in closet with a deep return (short wall on either side of the reach-in closet door. It works in the pantry, linen closet, or bedroom and can make many types of items more accessible including folded towels, clothing, shoes, food stuffs, and more.

Close-up of corner closet shelves for a pantry with shelf joiners
Close-up of corner closet shelves with shelf joiners for a small walk-in pantry.

Curved inside corner closet shelves.

Curved corner shelves are like straight corner shelves in several ways. They are both designed to organize the inside corners of closets by connecting two perpendicular walls with storage. The shelves work equally well for corners in walk-in and reach-in closets with deep returns. However, the curved shelf is made from a single piece of shelving material, eliminating the butt joint and the need for a shelf connector. This adds cost, but the sleek appearance is often well-worth any additional expense. Use these curved shelves in corners that are visible such as closets without doors, open shelving areas, or inside dressing room closets for maximum effect.

Curved corner shelves for pantry closet corner
Curved corner shelves are an attractive way to maximize storage in this open pantry closet without a door.

Outside corner closet shelves for display.

Outside corner closet shelves are most used on wardrobe closets and other types of built-in wall units. These attractive shelves are triangular and will finish off the end of a storage wall with a smoothly tapered corner. Place them on the exterior of the closet rather than the interior. This makes them easily accessible and ultra-convenient. These shelves go beyond practical storage. Take advantage of their high visibility and use them to display favorite items.

Wardrobe closet and storage unit with triangular corner shelves on the end
This wardrobe closet and storage unit features triangular corner shelves on the end. Installed on the outside of this built-in, they're perfect for display.

Rotating corner shelf closet organizers.

Use rotating closet organizers in walk-in closets where you need to maximize the storage of small items like shoes and pantry goods. The Lazy-Susan design allows for more “front of shelf” real estate. As such, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for and things don’t get lost in the back of the shelf. They’re a great way to keep everything at your fingertips. Available with or without a cabinet, expect to allow a minimum of a 40-inch x 40-inch section of floor space to accommodate this type of corner shelving for your shoes and 32-3/4-inches x 32-3/4-inches for your pantry.

dressing room closet with rotating closet shelves
Dressing room closet with rotating closet shelves.

Combine hanging and shelves for corner organization.

Closet corners can be designed to combine both hanging and shelving. In fact, placing a shelving unit along the perpendicular wall where clothes rods run to the corner maintains the visibility the hung clothing. Place the shelves 24-inches out from the corner and make them no more than 14-inches deep for best accessibility. Use this type of corner shelf closet organizer in a walk-in closet.

closet corner with hanging rod and shelving
This closet corner includes a hanging rod that extends all the way into the corner. Shelving begins 24-inches out from the corner.

Use shelf organizers.

Further organize your corner shelf installation with shelf dividers. These slim, clear, acrylic panels slide onto a standard 3/4-inch-thick closet shelf like a bookend and subdivide the space. Use them for purses to hold the handbags upright or keep stacks of folded clothing straight and tidy. Shelf organizers are best used along straight shelves about 14-inches deep rather than curved or triangular corner shelves.

Shelves with stacks of shirts and acrylic shelf dividers
This shelf has an acrylic shelf divider that helps organize stacks of clothing.

When & Where to Use Corner Closet Shelves

Shelving is the backbone of all storage systems. As such, you can never have too much. Consider these pointers concerning when and where to use corner shelving:

  • Use corner shelves to maximize your usable closet space when you need to get more into less space.
  • Choose triangular shelves for the outside corners of wardrobe closets and wall units. Use them for convenience and display of favorite items.
  • Use straight shelves with shelf joiners for the inside corners of walk-in closets and reach-in closets with deep returns where two walls of 14-inch -deep shelving come together.
  • Use the more expensive curved corner shelves when the interior closet corners are visible.
  • Rotating shelves will maximize corner storage for shoes when a minimum of 40-inches x 40-inches of corner floor space is available.
  • Rotating corner pantry shelves only need 32-3/4-inches square of floor space.
  • Adjustable shelf organizers can further subdivide the shelf space for improved organization of handbags and folded clothing. But they work best on 14-inch-deep straight shelves or similarly sized corner shelves with shelf joiners.

Keep everything neat and organized by providing each item with its own home on the closet shelf. That way you can eliminate any black holes in the recesses of your closet for good. Your closet will look better, hold more, and you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of an organized lifestyle!