Create your dream wardrobe with these simple tips
Most people have an ideal walk-in wardrobe or dressing room in mind when building, but few of these dreams ever become reality. Let’s face it, wardrobes can be as simple as a hanging rack, as garish as a Real Housewives of Atlanta ensemble, or as extravagant as a Carrie Bradshaw fantasy from Sex in the City. When all is said and done, your wardrobe should reflect your personality, so don’t be afraid to put your stamp on the space. But regardless of the colour, style or the amount you spend, the key to wardrobes looking their best comes down to organisation.
Space-saving solutions can overcome limitations of size, but efficient use of the existing zone is perhaps the number one priority. Think practicality from the outset. If your robe has a grand double-door entry, ensure the doors open outward rather than impede the space inside with inward-opening doors. If that’s not feasible, use the space behind the door for a full-length mirror, or place hooks for hanging belts, scarves or ties. Alternatively, integrate a sliding door. It can be equally effective in minimising wasted space. Hanging space, large and wide drawers and open shelving are the basic ingredients of a successful space, but there is no shortage of options to enhance its wow factor.
Much more than expense, thoughtful design can create something special out of nothing. Try to incorporate clever solutions to create a practical storage area that is worthy of your investment, rather than a walk-in robe that is large but inefficient or dysfunctional. There is no doubt that accessories such as drawer dividers, baskets and colourful storage boxes can bring warmth and texture to your wardrobe. More importantly, they reduce clutter and improve the presentation. Specialists are often available for decor advice when you choose colours and styles at display centres, so ensure you ask plenty of questions and make the most of their expertise before making your final selections.
If you have an impressive wardrobe that you feel is worth highlighting, consider incorporating open shelving into your space. If you wish, these items can be the centre of attention with judicious lighting and arrangement. Like a butler’s pantry, integrate a bench space that doubles as a dressing table. Open shelving should be above the benchtop, while drawers can occupy the spaces below. Those walk-in robes with floor-to-ceiling shelving attempt to maximise every centimetre of available space, but it’s best not to cram everything in – think of a bookshelf with an occasional space and you’ll get the idea. Glass-fronted drawers and cabinets can increase visibility and also avoid the need for rummaging through drawers to find that elusive item to complete your look.
Minimalists swear by the belief that you should discard, trade or give away any items you haven’t worn for 12 months or longer, and the idea has some merit. But there is a little wriggle room if you possess items you cannot bear to part with. Top shelves should be used for items you covet but rarely need. Alternatively, fit some of these compartments with pull-down clothes racks for easier access. This latter option is traditionally more expensive but worthwhile. If you intend on staying for the longer term, view it as a minor investment for a little luxury you experience every day. The inside of cupboard doors is an under-utilised space. Hooks can provide handy hidden storage for small items, including belts, scarves and ties. Also be sure to use the available space at the bottom of hanging sections for items kept in flat boxes.
Of course, the best-configured space will be rendered unusable if the lighting is poor or badly designed. Natural lighting through a skylight or window is an energysaving option, although you may wish to install screens or drapes for privacy. You may also like to have an insect screen on the window to discourage pests, such as moths or silverfish, from wreaking havoc in your wardrobe. Natural deterrents, such as lavender or cedar balls, can also provide extra protection. In addition, keep your room free of dirty clothes, regularly vacuum the carpet and nearby rugs, and store seasonal items in airtight bags. Ventilation is equally important, which is where windows are even more handy. If you truly value your wardrobe, install a dehumidifier to minimise any chance of mould infiltrating your clothes. Depending on your budget and sense of drama, sensor lighting can be triggered when you walk into the space.
Generally speaking, downlights are best used to illuminate the area, with task or mood lighting used to cast compartments in their best light. Think a chandelier in your dressing room or a small spotlight to highlight the wallpapered feature wall. Recessed lighting within shelving can also draw attention to its contents and make them easier to see. Avoid fluorescent lights above your mirror as they can cast shadows across your face and body. Try ambient lighting overhead or deploy long vertical lights along the sides of the mirror.
Believe it or not, using uniform hangers will make your small walk-in wardrobe instantly look less cluttered. This small investment is more than aesthetic. The contoured design of quality wooden hangers creates spacing between outfits to reduce the chance of clothing being creased or crushed. And they work equally well with light and heavier garments. Likewise, nonslip resin hangers with gentle curved shoulders or sturdy chrome hangers with wide shoulders offer a similar level of protection. If using retractable trouser racks, make sure the racks have grip strips along the top to stop trousers from slipping off.