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Model Home Closets: Dressed to Impress

We had the opportunity to sit down with Lita Dirks, CEO, and principal of Lita Dirks & Co., an award-winning, nationally recognized leader in model home merchandising, to get her insights and expertise on displaying closets in model homes that capture homebuyers’ attention. Lita’s contributions to the industry include judging national and regional design competitions, conducting lectures and seminars, and authoring nationally published articles.

Tapping into her more than 25 years of experience, Lita shares with us her best practices for merchandising closets in model homes. Incorporating these into your model homes will allow your homebuyers to visualize the space well so they feel more confident with their closet shelving selections. 

Q: What are homebuyers expecting to see in the closets of a model home?
A: Homebuyers are comparing everything they see in the closets of a model home to what they currently have. They want to find better organization solutions and more storage space and want to envision how they can use the closet, from utilizing the shelves to cubby storage possibilities.

Q: As you’re merchandising the master suite, what are the finishing touches you add to a master closet?
A: It’s important to showcase the functionality of the closet, so we try to include a few items to help accentuate the height and volume of the closet. 


Q: What can be done to showcase a walk-in pantry in a luxury kitchen?
A: Use a glass front door on the pantry and light the inside. That little touch will encourage the buyer to take a look behind the door. Also, make sure to include a few accents on the shelves that relate to the homebuyer – like dinner places or fancy serving platters to showcase the functionality of the pantry.

Q: How do you see home storage and organization in new homes changing in the next 5-10 years?
A: With affordability as an issue, we’ll be thinking of more creative ways to find storage. One example is maximizing the current space for multiple uses - the laundry room can function as a pet station, hobby area, and an additional storage option.

Q: What significant changes have you seen over the years in what homebuyers want in bedroom closets? Pantries?
A: Homebuyers want more space in the master bedroom closets. Whether that is a “his and hers” closet or incorporating more organizational options for homebuyers so the storage uses are easily defined.

Looking at pantries, homebuyers want more organization in these spaces as well. In more luxury homes, the pantries might have full cabinet fronts to demonstrate the pantry isn’t just a closet with shelves. Also, you will find more organizational “goodies,” like pull-out shelves, drawers, etc., in luxury homes.

Q: What changes have you seen in what builders provide their homebuyers when it comes to closet options?
A: Builders are making the homebuyer happy by including double closets for both owners in the master bedroom. Additionally, they’re offering closet upgrade options other than simple wire shelves and rods to accommodate the homebuyer’s budget and needs.


Q: When it comes to merchandising the closets, what are things that should not be done?
A: Never include wire hangers or messy clothing – this instantly decreases the value of the closet. Also, don’t over-merchandise the closet with props, as this overcrowds the closet and doesn’t showcase its spaciousness.

Q: If you could give a builder one piece of advice in regard to closets in a model home, what would it be?
A: Add more light…it will immediately make the space feel bigger and happier.

Learn more model home merchandising tips from Lita at

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