We all need somewhere to store our stuff. And let’s face it, our homes these days are full of all kinds of things we need to store in wardrobes and cupboards. The kind of wardrobe you choose, whether it’s a built-in, walk-in, traditional wardrobe or something in between can mean a life of clothes chaos or clothes order.
The wardrobe, or the word describing it, dates back to the 14th Century in English and came from the French words ‘wardereube’ or ‘garderobe’ meaning ‘warder’ ‘guard’ and ‘robe’ so guarding your robes against marauding hordes might have been a necessity back then. These days the only things we have to guard our robes against is moths and silverfish but we still need somewhere to hang our clothes or put them away after we’ve taken them from the dryer or the clothesline, folded and sorted them.
The variety of wardrobes available today can be mind boggling so if you’re in the market for a new one or you want to update the old stand-alone version you’ve had for years, try to narrow things down to either a built in, walk-in or stick with the traditional but try a larger version if you’re running out of space.
The benefits of a built-in wardrobe
Built-in wardrobes are the perfect choice for bedrooms, even though you can’t move them about if you want to change the room around, but the advantages outweigh this aspect. Bedrooms aren't the only places you can have built-ins. In older homes the ‘linen press’ was built in and it was the repository for sheets, towels, teatowels, pillowcases, unused curtains and such and they were a necessity. Today, built-in wardrobes are sought after and anyone who has one will tell you the storage space is wonderful. Such wardrobes are usually built from floor to ceiling and take up a whole wall, and they can be designed to suit your room.
Built-in wardrobes can have:
- Huge hanging spaces
- Lots of shelves
- Custom sized compartments for woollens
- Special racks or areas to put shoes
- A place for handbags
- Tall enough to hang everything from T-shirts to suits and evening wear
- A special area for hats and scarves, ties and belts
- Large spare blanket and doona compartments
- Plenty of drawers for underwear and socks
- Mirrored sliding doors
- Racks and baskets for odds and ends
- A special place for jewellery and valuables
You can have a linen press for the bed linen and towels etc in another room or hallway, or incorporate it into the bedroom built-ins. However, since other members of the family will need to be able to get towels etc, it’s best to have your linen built-in somewhere others can easily access them.
Your built-ins can have sliding doors or swing-out, hinged doors, depending on your space and your style. You can have your built-in or built-ins, depending on how many you want, made from timbers such as oak, teak, maple or a wood of your choosing. Other materials available include louvred wood or glass, laminates, aluminium or melamine or even polyurethane. The scope of materials allows for some distinctive designs that will complement the rest of the room and the house. Built in wardrobes are easily installed, whether you're building a new home or renovating.
Finally, if you are a collector f hats, handbags or whatever takes your fancy, you can opt for open shelves to display your favourite items in your built-in wardrobe.