Living in Wisconsin, having a place to hang coats for 9 months out of the year is important. You will not walk into my house and find coats, purses, or backpacks hanging on kitchen chairs or thrown on the couch. That. Drives. Me. Nuts.
When we originally built our house, the area above was supposed to be a coat closet. I did not like the idea one bit. Closets are dark, become messy, and things tend to get lost in them. So at the last minute we decided to leave it an open space.
For years the space had a shelf unit with coat hooks and a matching bench underneath. Problem was, the unit only had 3 hooks and the shelf was pretty much useless. Plus the bench was small and there was lots of wasted space. I found it to be more decorative than anything and it has since moved into it's new home in my office (image above).
We need lots of hanging space for coats and purses not only for our family, but for when the kids have friends over or when we have family and friends over for birthdays and holidays. The solution I came up with was taking simple 1x4 boards, cutting them to size, and then screwing them to the studs. It's a simple solution as well as frugal.
We went with a double layer coat rack because it allowed us to get more hooks into the space. We made sure to alternate the hooks so when coats or purses get hung up, they would not overlap. Now when we have a big crowd over, everyone's coats and purses get hung up and everyone knows where to find their stuff.
Since this back hall leads right into my farmhouse style kitchen, we used cedar boards with the rough side out stained with Minwax Classic Gray to resemble the barn wood I have in the kitchen. I wanted all of the boards to be uniform in shape and size and with barn wood, that can sometimes be difficult.
I use baskets on some of the hooks for items like sunglasses and miscellaneous things.
This style coat rack could also be done inside of an existing closet and would probably create a more organized space for hanging things than the traditional style closet.
If you are in need of more hanging space, this is an easy project that doesn't take any sort of carpenter skills. Just measure the area, cut your boards to size, and screw them right into the studs on the walls. Attach the coat hooks to the board AFTER the boards are attached to the walls because this way you will have a better idea of how to space the hooks and if the hooks will be in the way of something like a light switch.