A built in wardrobe, also sometime known as a fitted wardrobe, is a space for storing clothes and other personal items. These wardrobes, like a freestanding wardrobe, come with shelves and pull-out doors. However, a built-in wardrobe doesn’t take up as much space as a freestanding wardrobe. And it’s not just the efficient use of space, there are many other benefits to a built-in wardrobe.
The Key Benefits are:
They are Clean and hassle-free: A fitted wardrobe is 100% hassle-free and convenient. It fits into any space easily as it can blend with a wall seamlessly when not in use. A standalone wardrobe is not bad per se, but it 100% isn’t as good as a custom built in wardrobe. For example, not all standalone wardrobes can fit in all rooms. Some may look awkward or out of place – and will also collect dust at their rear since there is always a tiny gap between the cupboard and the wall right behind the wardrobe.
• 100% Fully Customizable: A fitted wardrobe design could be made as per one’s desires and requirements. The customization is possible in terms of the space you allot for the wardrobe, the materials used to build the doors and handles, etc. A built-in wardrobe can be designed as per the number of items, such as clothes, jewelry, shoes, etc., needed to be stuffed in.
The customization doesn’t end with functionality alone. There are also different ways to enhance the aesthetic appeal of built in wardrobes.
For example, LED lights for doors and small lights within the wardrobe that light up whenever the wardrobe is opened could give the cupboard a unique feel and look.
• Designer feel: A fitted wardrobe basically gives a designer look to your bedroom for a fraction of the cost. Fitted wardrobes also come with multiple design choices so that you can make them your own. The design could include mirrors, makeup table, etc. in addition to the usual drawers and shelves.
• Choice & Ability to use the Right materials: Generally, a freestanding wardrobe doesn’t offer much in terms of material and design choices. With a built-in wardrobe, you have the option of choosing materials for the door, handles, interiors, etc. so that the cupboard blends well or complements the room or other furnishings in the room.
• Adds Massive Value: Not many know that a fitted wardrobe is an investment and increases a house’s value. You realize the worth only when you sell your house. And unlike several other investments, a built-in wardrobe is something you can use and benefit from on a regular basis.
Overview of Built In Wardrobes and Internals:
Unlike a freestanding wardrobe, a built-in wardrobe is always custom-built. These wardrobes are not readily available as different houses have different physical specifications. Fitted wardrobes have quite a few different door-opening mechanisms. For instance, the more conventional style is a door that opens outwardly. Modern fitted wardrobes come with sliding doors, which are slightly expensive but bode well in a space that’s already almost cramped.
Contrary to common perception, a built in wardrobe isn’t just restricted to bedrooms. They can fit into other rooms of the house as well — such as hallways, reception rooms, lofts and hallways. In fact, it’s not unusual to have a fitted wardrobe outside bedrooms. On the inside, the built-in wardrobe could surprise you with its sheer versatility and complex design. Let’s take a look at some of the features of a fitted wardrobe.
• Clothing Rails
A clothing rail is fundamental to any wardrobe meant for conventional purposes. A single rail shall be enough if coats or long dresses need to be hanged. If you have too many items for one rail to handle, you could install a secondary rail (not at the same height) to accommodate additional clothing or items.
Drawers help store smaller clothing items tidily. The items could be underwear, t-shirts, and also jewelry and makeup items. If your jewelry and cosmetics find a space in your wardrobe, you can save significant space in your bedroom where the bulky dresser is usually positioned.
Shelves provide storage options in wardrobes that extend up to the ceiling. These shelves are usually located at the top portion of the wardrobe, to stash away items you won’t require access to often. You may also have additional shelves at the bottom to store things you’ll need to grab on to frequently.
• Racks & Mirrors
A built-in wardrobe can have different kinds of racks. These racks primarily help hold specific clothing items and maintain their condition. There are racks for ties, bags, shoes, etc. Mirrors inside a built-in wardrobe can be convenient when getting dressed.
Generally, cabinet makers pick commercially available fitted cupboard components, similar to how they choose components for a custom kitchen. All wardrobes need not be the same. Your cabinet maker would therefore take you through a catalogue of components and hardware. Even the little details such as pant hangers, drawers, wire baskets and shoe storage solutions could make a major difference in how your wardrobe looks. As all components may not be the right match for each other, spend good amount of time choosing the different components.
Types of Fitted Wardrobes Based on their Construction
As far as the construction style goes, a fitted wardrobe can be put in to three categories:
• Full Carcase
A full carcase fitted wardrobe has a base, two sides, a top, and a rear panel. This means upon opening the door, you would see the completely lined wardrobe interior. The carcase furniture is built in such a way that the wardrobe ends up having leveling features. For example, there would be legs beneath the carcase’s floor, and the doors having a hinge at their sides.
The majority of these wardrobes have a height between 2250-2300mm. The design is such that the top of the wardrobe is filled with a filler panel so that the cupboard looks complete. At the each run’s end, side scribing panels would also be needed.
• Frame Construction
A frame construction fitted cupboard usually has a floor or base but there aren’t any sides or back panel. When opening the wardrobe door, you get to see the side walls and back. However, if required, the wall can be lined. Based on the manufacturer at work, the wardrobe doors could be hinged to the frame’s side or front. If the hinge is at the front, the door would hide the hinge.
Generally, the doors are designed to have 2-3 standard heights and widths and later attached to form the frame’s openings. The wardrobe’s frame is usually made on site, scribed to the ceiling and adjacent walls. This helps eliminate the requirement for side and top scribing panels.
• Sliding Door
A sliding door fitted wardrobe or fitted sliders are usually made as a simple frame with no back panel. The internals of the cupboard are later produced as carcase furniture to be positioned behind the sliding doors. Usually, there is a gap of 50mm between the internal sections and doors to ensure the clothes do not drag when the door is opened. In case the doors are tailor-made, the frame fitting would be wall to wall and floor to ceiling, thereby negating the requirement for scribing panels. Otherwise, standard door widths cannot be avoided. These widths would likely overlap themselves, exceeding the standard and fit utilizing top and side scribing panels. Each door would be designed to overlap others by close to 30mm.
For most people, fitted sliders are just mirror doors. Not many realize these doors can come in multiple panel finishes too, and could be used in tandem with “hinged door” fitted cupboards.
Installation & Customization Choices
With all the components at play, it may seem difficult to install a fitted cupboard. However, the truth is the process is fairly straightforward and less time-consuming. In fact, if you know the basics, you may self-install the cupboard. If you hire professional help, the installation would happen in almost no time.
As aforementioned, there are several customization options with built-in wardrobes. The wardrobe’s interior can be done in multiple ways — wallpaper and paint being the two common options. For instance, the wardrobe’s inside can be painted just like your walls, or a feature wall can be created inside the wardrobe using a wallpaper or two. There are flooring choices as well. In case of doors, there are different materials you could choose from, which includes polyurethane, timber, glass, mirrored, laminate, etc. Also, the doors could be open-out or sliding.
As far as storage is considered, you have multiple choices there as well. Your shelves could be affixed or adjustable, so that you have necessary flexibility with regard to the things you store. Pull-out shelving is also possible to enable easy access and maximize storage space. Hats, bags, ties, etc. can have their dedicated spaces. If you are putting your shoes in the cupboard as well, make sure they are well-protected. You may install shoe racks into the wardrobe for necessary protection.
Drawers are versatile and can hold a variety of items. They come in different materials and sizes. If two people or a couple are using the wardrobe, then the space can be categorized into two dedicated spaces.
Things to Consider When Designing/Building a Built In Wardrobe
The wardrobe design requires attention whether you are fitting it into a new or yet-to-be-built house or an existing home. There are basically two kinds of fitted wardrobes: standard and walk-in. Also, some wardrobes can be more traditional and others bringing a more sophisticated look and feel to the table, in the form of sliding doors. The kind of wardrobe you would require is based on your personal preferences and also the space you have. For instance, a walk-in wardrobe will not be ideal if the room is not a lot spacious. Such modestly sized rooms may also find sliding doors more practical.
Ultimately, the built in wardrobe you choose should meet your requirements. Therefore, make sure you look into the following aspects:
• Know What You Want to Store
Every person in the family has different requirements. For example, a lady who owns a lot of clothing would need more space to hang her clothes compared to someone who has a modest clothing collection. Similarly, a corporate professional would need hanging space whereas someone who is into trade would be happy with sufficient drawers or shelving space. In short, your requirements and the type of clothes you own would determine what kind of storage you’d need and how the final wardrobe design looks like.
• Wardrobe Usage
How many members in the house would be using the same wardrobe? Will the fitted wardrobe be your personal space? Generally, in a master bedroom, two people share a wardrobe. In other bedrooms, only one individual may use the space. This means the total space needed isn’t much when compared to a master bedroom wardrobe space. Basically, the space you allot for the wardrobe should be in direct correlation with the number of people expected to use the robe.
• Storage for Other Items
A wardrobe is not just for shoes and clothing — it can help hide anything else that’s cluttering up the bedroom or any given space. The other items could be hats, ties, scarves, ski gear, and also jewelry. Any item in the bedroom you believe needs to be hidden can be stored in a wardrobe, provided there’s additional room in the wardrobe. Know what your special storage requirements are. If you are a shoe collector, then you would like a special place for your shoes or shoeboxes in the wardrobe.
• Compartment Accessibility
It just doesn’t make sense to have multiple compartments or a hanging rod that cannot be easily accessed. This is not just a matter of convenience, but also the fact that you may damage your clothes when taking them off the hanger or hanging them back up. In case you are considering a fitted wardrobe that goes up to the ceiling, use the topmost spot for shelving rarely used items.
Budget may feature last on this list, but it’s definitely the first thing you should be sure of before moving on to other things. Generally, a walk-in style wardrobe is more expensive than a standard fitted wardrobe, thanks to the size and also the convenience. And the choice of materials can also influence costs. In certain scenarios, simpler materials can help reduce the wardrobe cost. In case both the budget and space available are tight, consider wall-hung wire units. Besides being affordable, they are also quite customizable. However, if you have the budget and space, get a custom design walk-in wardrobe.
The wardrobe would usually last a lifetime. Therefore, make sure the design you choose aren’t based on temporary or current requirements that may not exist after a few years. If you’re not sure how to arrive at a timeless design, get talking to professionals such as SmartfitWardrobes (smartfitwardrobes.com) for some ideas.
Compared to a freestanding wardrobe, a built-in wardrobe is expensive. However, if the wardrobe is a part of your house construction or renovation plans, you won’t feel the pinch much. In case you aren’t doing major overhauls or erecting a house afresh, get multiple quotes from different cabinet makers so that you get a rough idea about of how much the wardrobe would cost.
When doing such price comparisons, you may realize custom fitted wardrobes would be a much better investment than a standalone wardrobe.