If your wardrobe is falling apart, completely disorganised and filled to the brim, it could be time for a wardrobe makeover. So what are the options and what’s right for you?
First up, consider your constraints. Room size and budget are the big ones here. If your room is at the smaller end of the scale, you might be better off with a stand-alone unit than a built-in wardrobe. Built-ins typically take up more space and are less flexible than stand-alone units, which come in almost any shape or size.
Similarly, if price is a concern, stand-alone wardrobes are your best bet – although prices vary considerably. Prices for a serviceable wardrobe start from as low as $80, but expect to pay around $500 for a sturdy unit with more space. If you’re after something that complements your room decor or takes pride of place in your bedroom, you could find yourself forking out over $1000.
That said, most modern bedrooms are large enough for built-in wardrobes. The ideal depth of a built-in wardrobe is 650mm. This avoids wider clothes being caught in the doors as they open and close.
Often, built-in wardrobes are built alongside the entire length of a wall and while they do shrink the size of the room, they also provide invaluable storage space that helps you keep your room looking neat and tidy.
Unless youre an experienced handyman or builder, a built-in is something best left to the experts. For one, theyll be able to provide the best advice on the configuration of the internal shelves, hooks and hanging space to maximise functionality. Secondly, theyll know how to best make your built-in fit your room and can even turn it into a polished feature wall!
An important consideration is the size and look of your bedroom. If your room is small but has a big window with a nice view, then mirror doors are the ideal choice. They will give the impression of a larger room and will simultaneously reflect the view and brighten the room.
Mirrored doors are also great for getting dressed and choosing outfits – not only do they provide a full body reflection, you cant beat the location right next to your clothes.
But there is one situation where mirrors are not the smartest choice – childrens rooms. When its greasy fingers galore, dont use a mirrored door. The best option for kids rooms are flat melamine surfaces – which are hardwearing and easy to clean.
For the adults, melamine coated MDF (medium density fibre) is a great option for doors. MDF panels can be decorated with grooves for a more interesting look, with the melamine coating providing a glossy finishing touch.
Wooden doors provide a warm and cosy feel, but darker timbers can give the perception of a smaller room – especially if your wardrobe takes up an entire wall. Timber does help camouflage streaks and fingerprints, however, which is a great plus for something that naturally gets a lot of use.
Open and shut case
Youll need to choose between doors on hinges or sliding doors. Sliding doors are usually more popular and are great for maximising space because you dont need to worry about them bumping into other furnishing. On the downside, you cant access your wardrobe all at once and youll have to slide doors this way and that to get to all your clothes.
Doors on hinges, on the other hand, are great for access, but are often quite large and you have to keep a sizable area of your room clear of any obstructions – from floor to ceiling.
Hinged doors are, therefore, best for large rooms with plenty of space, while sliding doors are more suitable for medium-sized and small rooms.
What distinguishes a wardrobe from a chest of drawers or dressing table is that it has hanging room for coats, shirts, dresses and so on. But a lot of wardrobes are very inefficient in the way they use this hanging space.
While very few wardrobes incorporate double bars to allow two rows of hanging clothes, this is an increasingly popular option as it maximises storage space. Short skirts, shirts and other half-body items of clothing can be stacked in two rows, one on top of the other to literally double available hanging space. As most people will also need space for longer items, with this option a portion of the wardrobe is also set aside for a single upper bar.
Shoes, shoes, shoes…
A recent small scale survey of Australian women found 32 per cent owned between 26 and 50 pairs of shoes, with 31 per cent professing to own 11 to 25 pairs! Although the scientific rigor behind this survey is questionable, anecdotal evidence suggests the results are not too far from reality – making shoe storage a quintessential element of a womans wardrobe.
Pigeon-hole hanging shoe storage, which drops from the hanging bar or from the back of your wardrobe door, is a cheap and space effective option for shoes. Make sure you get one with hard lining for the floor of the shelves to make accessing your shoes easier. Hanging pigeon-hole shoe storage is ideal for those with weak backs who want to avoid bending down when browsing through their shoe options.
Plastic, wooden or wire shoe racks on the floor of your wardrobe are another cost- effective option and make good use of unused space – especially below hanging items of clothing.
The fastest growing trend in shoe storage is stackable plastic see-through boxes. Each pair of shoes is stored in its own box to keep your prized possessions in top condition between use. Some clever box designs even allow you to fit individual boxes together to create ad hoc sliding shelves – so you dont need to restack the boxes each time you access a pair of shoes from the middle or bottom of the pile. And when you buy a new pair of shoes you can simply add another box to the pile!
If you use a separate chest of drawers or tallboy to store non-hanging items of clothing, you may not actually need shelves in your wardrobe. That will give you maximum hanging space – of which there never seems to be enough.
But if you do need that extra shelf space, wardrobes provide plenty of options. Shelves in wardrobes can range from free-standing wire frames, to sliding drawers, or plain shelves of any depth and height. Wardrobe shelves are a great place to store larger items, like bed sheets and towels and items of clothing not in season. Deep shelves separated by plenty of height allow large quantities of items to be neatly stacked away – although are not necessarily suitable for items youll be accessing day-to-day.
A combination of fixed and adjustable shelves will give you the most flexible and practical storage space. Depending on your wardrobe, you may want to design custom- made compartments for things like hats, ties, scarfs, and other fashion accessories.
Shopping for a wardrobe can actually be a little fun once you start looking at all the personalised storage options available, plus the fun little accessories you can add to your wardrobe.
So work out your budget and size constraints and then let your imagination run wild!
For wardrobe and storage ideas from Northern Beaches businesses;
- Local Cabinets – Custom made cabinets
- Seabreeze Kitchens – Wardrobes, custom cabinets and storage solutions