WardrobesGone are the days of the ugly and looming wardrobe taking up half your room. There are now plenty of affordable, good looking units available.

If your room has a suitable wall, consider having built-in storage the entire length and height of it – to make maximum use of space. If the ceilings are high, install a rolling ladder to get easy access to the highest cupboards.

Freestanding wardrobes are designed to fit in an average alcove, but always check measurements first. They will give a room a far more relaxed style, as fitted wardrobes will make a room look more formal.

Architect Aileen Forbes-Munnelly says fitted wardrobes can take up too much space, especially in a smaller room, and reduce the scope to use your individual style. She also points out that it is easier to change the function of your bedroom if you don’t have fitted wardrobes – i.e. to an office. She says for a really special wardrobe, consider an antique. But scour the charity shops first for a bargain. Old wardrobes can be treated if they show signs of woodworm. If money is tight consider buying a cheap, white wardrobe and painting it yourself. And For children’s rooms that need to house plenty of kids, she would advise against using up precious space with a big wardrobe, but rather to have big pull-out drawers under the beds and a tall, chest of drawers for bigger items.

What type?
If you are on a budget there are some attractive, canvas covered wardrobes available. Argos currently has a double wardrobe with cream, canvas style cover reduced to €60.
Also, you can always add your own storage solutions to these. For example Habitat do a hanging shoe rank which can be attached to a rail and also hanging canvas shelves.

The option of modular shelving either in a wardrobe, or on its own, is a popular choice because it can be arranged to suit your space. It usually takes the form of differently sized shelves and cubes that can be fitted together in different forms.

The Ikea store has plenty of modular options. Small, two door freestanding wardrobes can be found in most good furniture shops, and Habitat does some lovely units. They also have some great white lacquer bedroom storage units of all kinds – cabinets and chests. If you have fitted wardrobes that work well, but don’t look the best, why not just buy a new wardrobe door. Try B&Q (01- 8708599) or In House at the Panelling Centre in Dublin (1850 212214) for good value replacement wardrobe doors.

Wardrobe shopping

  • If your wardrobe has a fixed rail, check out its height before you buy. If it’s fixed at half the height of the wardrobe there’s probably plenty of shelving above – which is fabulous if you live in jeans and jumpers, but remember you won’t be able to hang up your full-length dresses – very annoying when you shell out on them to be dry cleaned, only to crease when hung!
  • Most high-street stores now do a good range of wardrobes that have a fashionable distressed look – which combined with wooden floors and a colorful rug can really add charm to your bedroom.
  • If you want something really special think about buying an antique, or if you can afford it you could get one custom made.
  • Flat-pack wardrobes are the cheapest option, but they’re never going to be as durable as factory assembled or hand-made designs. When shopping for either, check out the quality of the hinges and how well they’re attached.
  • Look for height-adjustable shelves and hanging rails. Check the drawer mechanisms – to see if they are awkward and stiff.
  • If you want to steer clear of wood, a lacquer and sandblasted glass front has a fresh feel that’ll brighten up your bedroom.
  • If you want a big wardrobe that’ll also fit into your bedroom scheme, rather than stand out, white is a good choice.
  • Apart from plain wood, also available are stained woods, colored veneers and glass panels.
  • Bright pine can look a bit dated and mirrored wardrobes are a disaster, according to the Feng Shui experts.
  • Separate your wardrobe into seasons, only storing what you currently wear in your day-to-day wardrobe – so the stuff that’s on the floor now will be neatly hanging, and the summer gear tucked away.
  • To maximize your storage space use see- through pull out boxes under your bed, so you can see what you have at a glance. Also, add hooks to inner doors and walls.

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