Closet depth is determined by several factors like what you intend to store in the closet. It is generally dependent on which type of closet you are building, whether it is a bedroom closet, hall closet or pantry closet. Standard depths exist for closets as most clothing requires a certain amount of space to hang without brushing against the walls or doors.
Bedroom closet depths are 24 inches to provide room to hang a shirt or light jacket on a hanger inside the closet, which accommodates most garments. However, larger individuals or those hanging wider garments like sport coats, winter coats and jackets opt for 28 inches of depth, which also allows for shoe storage under the hanging clothes and storage for shoe boxes, sports gear and other boxed items, like flashlights and books above the clothing on a shelf over the closet rod.
The hallway closet, also known as the coat closet, is typically 28 inches deep, which allows for the hanging of large jackets and increases the storage space over and under the closet rod. This depth makes storing tool boxes, large winter boots and shoe trees on the floor of the closet easier. Most coat closets are no deeper than this measurement. Any space gained making the closet deeper is lost because hanging coats take up most of the storage space.
The walk-in closet really has no depth as it is measured in length and width. However, when determining how large to make the walk-in closet, factor in the hanging depth of clothing on the closet rods, which are typically situated up against the wall. This depth is still 24 inches, or 2 feet. The shelves in the walk-in closet conversely are 13.5 to 15 inches deep. This space is accounted for when designing the walk-in closet. Allow 3 to 4 feet of floor space in front of these shelves and enough width to store all of your items, including clothes.
The pantry closet is another story. This closet is anywhere from 12 to 36 inches deep. Normally, the pantry closet is 18 inches deep, which is enough space for storing cans and dry goods and makes accessing them very easy. Reaching over cans to grab items stored deep in your pantry shelves is difficult as is seeing where everything is located. However, deeper pantries allow more storage space.