As we start the transition back to work in the office and more in-person meetings, getting dressed will require more than planning an outfit from the waist up. Planning an outfit means having a clothes storage system that lets you find what you need when you need it. Choosing a bespoke solution over an off-the-shelf storage system means you will be able to maximise your space no matter how big or small. I chatted with Ed Rhatigan of Rhatigan & Hick to find out how to create a wardrobe that will enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your bedroom and make getting dressed a breeze.
Planning the location
When planning the location for your wardrobe, you need to figure out the best location for all of the furniture, so that the room layout works. This might mean moving things around to create a layout that gives you the most storage with the least impact on the room.
If you are planning wardrobes as part of a larger refurbishment project, the earlier you start looking at the layouts, the better. By planning early, you’ll have the ability to play around with wall positions before anything is built. This will allow you to figure out where to create nooks and crannies to add storage.
With wardrobes, your priority should always be to maximise the space you have – but make sure not to overpower the bedroom. Bedrooms are relaxing spaces, so the wardrobes should complement the room rather than dominate it.
Your choice of materials, colour and style will help to lessen the impact of the wardrobes in your bedroom. Introducing materials like glass or mirrors to wardrobe doors is a great way to soften their appearance. Go for a handleless flat door and paint it out to match the walls for a discreet look.
It can be nice to do something completely different in some spaces and “move away from the norm and be creative”, encourages Rhatigan. Decorative doors can enhance a room, and the good news is, a more ornate design doesn’t have to be more expensive. “An inexpensive shaker door with wallpaper in the central panel can look very high-end,” suggests Rhatigan.
Good lighting in a wardrobe is essential. Otherwise, you’ll find it hard to find things. “If you can get natural light into your wardrobe, great,” says Rhatigan. Bear in mind that a window in a walk-in-wardrobe or dressing room will take up wall space, so a roof light is a better idea.
Suppose you don’t have the option of having a source of natural light? In that case, Rhatigan strongly recommends including some form of lighting inside wardrobes. It will add to the cost, but it is a worthwhile investment. Led strips at the front edge of the cupboards will give excellent light into the cabinet.
Solutions where space is tight
If you don’t have space for hinged doors in your bedroom, you could opt for a sliding track system. A sliding door is a good solution if you don’t have much space between your wardrobe and the end of the bed, for example. Think beyond the dated-looking versions of 10 years ago. “There is much greater flexibility with track systems now,” explains Rhatigan. “You can choose pretty much any style of door you like,” he explains.
However, one of the disadvantages of sliding wardrobes is that you can only see one section of the closet at any one time. To combat this, divide up the inside of the cupboard so you can see a complete section of clothes when you slide the door one way. One side could be for everyday clothes for example and the other side could be for coats and jackets.
Unless you have a good amount of space to devote to a walk-in wardrobe, I would advise against it. Small walk-in closets offer no advantage over traditional wardrobes. For a functional walk-in wardrobe, you’ll need a total width of 1600mm minimum (the depth of the wardrobe, 600mm plus a minimum of 1000mm circulation space). You should allow between 2500 – 3000mm in length.
Doors are going to take up space when open. So omitting doors will save space and maximise a compact area like a box room, for example. Doors also add to the cost, so having an open system will be more cost-effective. “In a walk-in-wardrobe, you’re better off without the doors, “ says Rhatigan as “You’ll get more use out of the space.”
If you’ve got an awkward space that is shallow or narrow, consider shelving it out to store items like shoes or handbags. Shallow storage works well for these kinds of things which tend to get hidden in deeper shelving and forgotten about.
Many bedrooms in older houses will have a chimney breast on one of the walls. Rather than let this interrupt your run of wardrobes by only building in each alcove, run the wardrobes right across the entire width of the wall. Put deep storage in each alcove for hanging space and put shallow shelves or drawers in front of the chimney breast.
If your rooms have good floor to ceiling height, make use of the extra height by installing high shelves. These are great for bulky items like suitcases or clothes you want to put away for the season or other items you don’t need to access frequently.
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