Built-in wardrobes for your home

September 27, 2019

So, you’re thinking about built-in wardrobes.

Did you know this is the most popular time of year to think about built-in wardrobes? It’s not surprising – it’s just that time of year, isn’t it? The air is cooling, and the leaves are turning… and we all finally leave the garden and turn our attention indoors. Now’s the time we start to think about finally installing that wood burner, and actually making our bedroom a perfect retreat (semi-hibernation is definitely a thing, right? Okay, sadly we don’t sleep for four months, but we all stay indoors more and look to increase the comfort through the cold months).

But this is Britain – our houses aren’t huge, and they’re often quirkily shaped. Storage space is always at a premium, and if you’re looking at a bedroom makeover, one of the most significant issues is often whether to have bespoke fitted wardrobes. A freestanding wardrobe is a simple, straightforward buy; but it’s never the ideal solution, is it? There’s always bags of space around it, which inevitably ends up wasted – boxes piled high on top, and the sides jammed with random objects that need a tucked-away home.

But make the most of that extra space, and your storage opportunities will double. Plus, a built-in wardrobe will not only create a mass of new storage options, but it will declutter your bedroom space and add value to your home.

Here’s the seven most frequently asked questions about built-in wardrobes – pretty much everything you needed to know but were afraid to ask:

  1. How much are built-in wardrobes in the UK?
  2. Do you get more space with a built-in wardrobe?
  3. Can I build a built-in wardrobe in the alcove?
  4. Which fitted wardrobes do I choose?
  5. Are built-in wardrobes a good investment?
  6. How should you plan the inside of a built-in wardrobe?
  7. What type of door are best for built-in wardrobes?

1. How much are built-in wardrobes in the UK?

As always when you’re talking about bespoke solutions, there’s actually no way of answering this one. It would frankly be a silly question to try and answer through your screen.

It’s commonly known, though, that the most expensive route to bespoke fitted wardrobes is to choose a large fitted bedroom retailer chain. By far the best route is to find a recommended local joiner – use a trusted tradesperson site like Checkatrade, which vets members. Have them come and see the space, talk through what you’re hoping to achieve and design something suitable for you. Make sure you get at least three quotes and compare them carefully, to see what is covered.

white fitted wardrobes

2. Do you get more space with a built-in wardrobe?

Yes.
Next?

(no seriously – yes, of course, you do. A limited inflexible rectangular box versus a floor-to-ceiling built-in wardrobe which fits your room perfectly and has an interior designed around your own needs? No contest.)

3. Can I build a built-in wardrobe in the alcove?

If your home is older, it’s likely to have a chimney breast and alcoves; the perfect place for built-in wardrobes, of course. And yet – they’re rarely perfectly straight, and never a standard width!

You can buy a freestanding unit to sit within an alcove – and fill the space around with your odd items. Or have something made-to-measure that’ll fit that wonky wall, slightly sloping floor and reach to the ceiling.

Find your local fitted wardrobe expert

Declutter your bedroom space


4. Which fitted wardrobes do I choose?

Again, this one’s for you and your tradesperson to decide. Your space will largely dictate what your choice limitations are – my bedroom is small, and frankly cannot accommodate a double bed plus a double wardrobe with doors that open outwards. So, we’re restricted to a sliding door arrangement, and that works perfectly.

built-in wardrobes

Unless you happen to be a total whiz at interior design, it’s a great idea to ask the people you have coming to quote. They’ll have a lot more experience and knowledge at their fingertips and may suggest solutions and layouts you hadn’t even thought of. Once you have some suggestions to go from, you can work out which built-in wardrobes work best for you.

5. Are built-in wardrobes a good investment?

Yes, you’re right – bespoke fitted wardrobes aren’t the cheapest solution. And yet, they’ll not only serve you with their tip-top practical storage for years, but they’ll also repay you in the future. Buyers place such a premium on good storage (welcome to Britain and our itty-bitty homes again) that you’ll always increase the value of your home by more than you’ve spent.

6. How should you plan the inside of a built-in wardrobe?

When you’re busy planning your made-to-measure wardrobes, go mad with Pinterest and a pen and paper. Look at loads of images online and find the ones that look perfect for you – no one else knows exactly what you want to put inside, so make sure the configuration is personal to you. Think about the number of hanging rails, the necessity of a trouser rack, what you can use the fancy pull out shelving for, the length of your shoe rack, whether you need a jewellery drawer, and if you can get away with twice the wardrobe space of your partner.

wardrobes internal organisation

7. What type of door are best for built-in wardrobes?

But for majority of the day you’ll be looking at the outside of the wardrobe – try and put just as much thought into the doors.

Narrow spaces will work better with sliding or bi-fold doors. Mirrored doors can make a small room feel much bigger and brighter (as well as doubling as a dressing mirror, saving further wall space elsewhere). Horizontal lines can make a room feel wider, and dark colours can sharpen a wide empty wall.

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