We’ve been in love with walk-in wardrobes since Carrie Bradshaw opened hers to the world in Sex and The City. Now, making space for one in your own home could be easier than you think.
Once the domain of Hollywood divas, walk-in wardrobes, dressing rooms or walk-in closets, now rank high on the UK’s lust list of dream spaces. And you can see why. Whether you’re a label lover looking for statement storage to show off your collections, want to free up space in your bedroom by getting rid of bulky drawers and cupboards, or are simply looking to clear the clutter, these custom closets tick all the boxes.
You might not have racks of designer clothes or a stash of expensive handbags, but it’s still worth creating stylish storage and a tidy space for your belongings. Whatever space you have, bespoke fixtures and fittings will immediately up the luxe factor.
When designing your room, think about your clothing and storage needs and plan your walk-in wardrobe around them. Opt for dual-level hanging areas (tall for trousers and dresses; short for shirts and tops), racks or boxes for shoes, deep shelves for jumpers, and drawers to keep undies and pyjamas out of sight. And don’t forget about jewellery – a thin pullout drawer is ideal.
If you have space, a stylish accent chair in a sumptuous fabric will add wow factor (and give you somewhere to sit to fasten your shoes), along with a dressing table or vanity area for make-up. Don’t forget a full-length mirror or two so you can view your outfit from all angles.
1. SPARE BEDROOM
'With a spare bedroom or kids having flown the nest, this could be the ideal time to create your very own walk-in wardrobe and, if you have the funds, bespoke is the way to go. The best idea is to use part of an adjacent room – perhaps a larger bedroom next door. If you can afford to fully sacrifice a spare room, lay it out as a luxury dressing room, with the benefit of a window, seating and even a dressing table. It can always be converted back to a bedroom when you decide to sell,' explains House Beautiful expert and architect, Greg Toon.
This sublime walk-in closet from John Lewis of Hungerford (below) could be fitted in a spare room, or even at the end of a long corridor. Pull-out racks make selecting shoes a breeze, tall and short hanging racks provide for dresses and blouses, and a range of drawers and shelves will tuck away everything else.
2. TIGHT CORNERS
Awkward corners, alcoves and sloping ceilings can be a challenge, but bespoke units, such as this wardrobe from Sharps, will make the most of every inch.
3. STORAGE TO SPARK JOY
One for the Marie Kondos out there – keep wardrobe clutter to a minimum with clear-fronted drawers and sliding racks. Insert into an existing built-in wardrobe, or even under the stairs.
There are lots of companies that will work with you to build your dream closet to an individual spec, with a space for everything from bras to boots! If you’re doing it yourself, look at retailers such as Ikea, String and Elfa – they have racking systems you can customise to your needs. With the Elfa system, available from Store, you can start small and add to it piece by piece as required.
4. PROTECT AND PRESERVE
They might have a swanky new home, but your clothes still need looking after, especially if you’ve opted for open shelving. Store jumpers in clear plastic bags (to keep moths at bay), wrap gloves and hats in acid-free tissue and store in labelled boxes. Shoes can go in clear, plastic, stackable boxes and handbags will thank you for being kept in a fabric bag.
5. FROM BEDROOM TO BOUDOIR
Your walk-in wardrobe should be as individual as you are. Add your stamp with fab finishing touches, boutique-chic furnishings and swoon-worthy accessories, for a dressing room that (almost) keeps up with the Kardashians!
6. KEEP IT NEAT
It may seem obvious, but making sure clothes are tidy (and ironed) is paramount, especially if they're on display. Keeping the floor space clear will make the area look bigger too.
7. ORDER, ORDER
If you waste time every morning trying to decide what to wear, you might find it easier to arrange your clothes in outfit order – tops and bottoms, plus shoes and accessories – so you just can grab and go.
Great lighting often plays a major part of any dressing room setup. 'For those lucky enough to have a walk-in wardrobe or those in the position to convert a room into one, it’s important to maximise the space you’ve got, and lighting can help to achieve this,' says Darren Staniforth, Senior Group Technical Presenter at leading electrical regulatory body, NICEIC. 'When effective lighting is installed in a dressing room setting, the contents of your wardrobe will be brought to life as the various textures and colours will be illuminated.'
Downlights or overhead lights are a less effective option in a dressing room setting. When stood underneath this kind of harsh light, the direction can cast unflattering shadows over the face and body.
Pendant lighting can be installed purely for aesthetic purposes. A low-hanging pendant will add a striking level of glamour to the dressing room and is ideal hanging over a central storage island. However, bear in mind, pendant lighting won’t light up the details in your space.
LEDs that can be installed inside of cabinets and under shelving are an effective way to illuminate items and show off your prized possessions.
Strip lights work particularly well when positioned down the edges of a mirror. It will cast an even amount of light over your body or face, depending on whether you are using the mirror for choosing an outfit or applying make-up.
Also consider where plug sockets are located in the dressing room, especially if you are planning to use the space for drying or straightening your hair. And remember, all light installations should be completed by a registered contractor with an approved body, such as NICEIC.
9. SMALL WALK-IN WARDROBE
If you don’t have a whole room to spare to create a full-on walk-in wardrobe, get creative with what you do have. Steal some space from the footprint of your main bedroom – if it’s big enough – and create a galley-style 'walk-along' wardrobe behind a false wall (although this can end up looking clunky if it’s not designed well). Or simply upgrade an existing wardrobe and put every inch to good use by installing a combination of shelves, drawers and inserts, so everything is easy to see and accessible.
Greg Toon explains: 'It’s great if the main bedroom is a good size, but if it’s not, you could consider pinching some space from an adjacent bedroom, as long as what remains still fits a double bed. Traditional walk-in wardrobes can be a bit lacking in character so, where possible, I prefer to try for a layout that allows a degree of separation from the main space, but isn’t a separate room, making it more of a dressing area than a walk-in wardrobe.'
10. OFF-THE-PEG SOLUTIONS
In love with the idea of a walk-in but, in reality, have no space? Even the smallest of bedrooms have somewhere to pop a hanging rail and, at the very least, there’ll be some wall space where you can mount a couple of hooks (a great idea for spare bedrooms too).
For the ultimate compact convenience, plump for a rail with wheels so you can move it easily – try to find one with built-in shelving where you can store jumpers, T-shirts and shoes.
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From: House Beautiful magazine. Subscribe here.
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