Cabinet Vs Closet: What’s The Difference?

Cabinet Vs Closet: What's The Difference?

Our houses, buildings, and offices have all kinds of storage spaces and storage furniture. Sometimes knowing what each storage type is and its use can become confusing. For instance, most modern houses will have closets and cabinets, but do you know the difference?

A cabinet generally means a piece of furniture with shelves and doors or drawers. A cabinet may be built-in or be separate. On the other hand, a closet is a small room for hanging clothes or keeping household items out of the way. It’s part of the house and can’t be moved from room to room. 

There are more differences between cabinets and closets. Some of the differences are obvious and stand out while some are subtle and not so easy to distinguish. Read on for more details on these different home storage spaces. 

Are Cupboards and Cabinets the Same Thing?

Cabinet Vs Closet: What's The Difference?

A cupboard and a cabinet are two different things though some people use both names interchangeably. Some major differences between cupboards and cabinets are:

  • A cupboard can be a freestanding piece of furniture while a cabinet is typically built into the wall. 
  • A cupboard is generally found in the kitchen or pantry while a cabinet can be in the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom.  
  • A cabinet may have mirrors on the front doors and behind the back walls. Cupboards rarely have mirrors but if they do, the mirrors will be in the back walls. 

Despite their differences in form, function, or location, cupboards and cabinets share some similarities. These include:

  • When located in the kitchen, both are used to storing kitchen utensils and food. 
  • Both can have doors enclosing the shelves. 
  • Both can have either shelves or drawers. 

What’s The Difference Between Cabinet and Closet?

A cabinet and a closet are two entirely different storage spaces. Some of the major differences are:

  • A cabinet is a piece of storage furniture, normally in-built into a wall. A closet is more of a small room that’s part of the house structure. 
  • A cabinet is used for storing items such as foodstuff, cutlery, personal possessions, medicines, and grooming products. A closet is typically used for keeping clothes, shoes, brooms, and umbrellas. 
  • Cabinets can be found in the kitchen and bathroom. Closets are found in bedrooms and hallways in the case of broom closets. You may also find a cupboard as part of the living room furniture.
  • Cabinets have small spaces in terms of shelves and drawers. Closets have bigger spaces with hooks for hanging long clothes such as coats. Closets may have drawers for keeping socks and undergarments. 

There are several types of closets. In the next section, we will discuss the different closets for storing clothing. Here are a few types of closets used for non-clothing items:

Utility Closet

This is a small space used for storing cleaning supplies and home appliances. For example, you might find a vacuum cleaner and an ironing board inside such a closet. 

Broom Closet

This is similar to a utility closet. It’s used for storing brooms, mops, buckets, and cleaning supplies. 

Spear Closet

This is an architectural leftover. A small space of awkward shape which can’t be easily turned into practical use. In the middle centuries, people would use such a space to keep their spears and other weapons. 

It is often closed off by walls making it difficult to access. Builders usually consider it as dead space though homeowners can find creative ways to make practical use of it. 

Supply Closet

This is a small room usually found in office buildings. It’s used for storing office supplies such as paper, pens, paper or plastic files, and staplers. 

Custom Closet

This is a small room typically made for the special needs of the homeowner. The closet may be used for clothes and shoes but arranged in a way to accommodate the owners’ specific needs. For instance, the custom closet may be for a person with disability or a sports professional with unique clothing needs. 

Take note that you don’t have to have unique needs to customize your closet. Anyone can individualize the look of their closet to accommodate personal tastes, décor and design needs, and storage of special or expensive items. 

What Do You Call a Cabinet for Clothes?

Cabinet Vs Closet: What's The Difference?

There are different  names for cloth storage spaces depending on where you are in the world, the type of clothes stored, and the part of the house where the storage space is located. 

In North America, a cabinet for clothes would be a closet. This is an enclosed built-in small room within a bedroom. Closets may also be built under the stairs. In the UK and most other English-speaking countries, a cabinet for clothes could be known as a wardrobe.

Nonetheless, there’s a universal understanding that a closet will mostly refer to a permanent space of architectural design. It’s part of the building and can’t be moved from room to room. A wardrobe on the other hand mostly refers to a moveable piece of furniture or home fixture that’s separate from the building. 

There are several types of closets used for storing different types of clothing. These include:


A moveable piece of furniture or a home fixture used for storing clothes. 

Wall Closet

A small room that’s part of the architecture of the house. It is usually in the bedroom and used for storing Clothes. Wall closets have hooks and rods for hanging clothes and drawers for storing folded clothes. There might be space below for shoes and boxes, with additional space at the top for boxes.  

Walk-In Closet

A wall closet that’s big enough for someone to walk inside to pick out stored clothes. A walk-in closet is mostly designed for keeping different items in clothing in sections. For example, a man’s walk-in closet may have a section for suits, shoes, watches, and neck ties. A lady’s walk-in closet may have sections for purses, dresses, and lingerie. 6

Coat Closet

This is a small space typically located in the hallway near the front door. It’s used for storing coats, hats, umbrellas, boots, shoes, rain coats, jackets, scarves, gloves, purses, skiing gear, and hoodies. It often has a door or is covered with a curtain. Inside, you’ll likely find a rod with hangers and maybe hooks on the sides. There might be shoe racks at the bottom and a large storage space at the top. 

Linen Closet

This type of closet is thin and tall. It’s often found near bathrooms and bedrooms. It’s used for storing towels, washcloths, and toiletries. Some may also contain blankets, bedsheets, pillow cases, and other extra beddings.

Gui Hadlich

Hi there! I'm Gui. I've had to move 12 times in the last 6 years, and I've learned a thing or two about moving, decorating, and buying and selling furniture. I've started Budget Friendly Furnishing with the intent of helping people furnish their homes in style without having to break the bank!

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