You might love that Art Deco wardrobe that’s been passed down the generations, but sometimes a house move means it won’t fit, or maybe it just looks out of place. Perhaps you’re looking to create another bedroom and want to shake things up a bit by ignoring the traditional wardrobe in the corner. Whatever your motivation, your interior design brain will get a proper workout when you go beyond mere wardrobe ideas and look to other places to store your clothes.
We’ve put together some of our favourite alternatives to the regular standalone wardrobe, ranging from five-minute jobs to those that might need a bit of DIY or to call the professionals. The only stipulation is that they’re functional and good looking, so if you’re ready to say au revoir to your armoire, read on.
Open Clothes Racks
The simplest alternative is to have a clothes rack on which you hang everything – the execution is how you stamp your style on it. A straightforward route is a simple clothes rail frame. It can be assembled in minutes and placed exactly where you want it. With a small amount of drill and screwdriver work, you can go for a fixed model or something like sleek with low-profile rail that'll fit in a narrow walkway between the bed and wall.
A single rail is an alternative that lets you stretch your imagination. It can be a traditional metal pole of course, but a varnished or painted tree branch or even an old broom handle can be perfect and practically free, too. You can hang it with ropes or chains from the ceiling, or support it on brackets between the chimney breast and side walls.
If you do choose an open rail but want to keep it hidden, the simplest way is with curtains. Install a standard slider or pole if you want to do a thorough job, but often simply attaching the drapes to the ceiling and having a tie-back on the wall will suffice. It’s a great opportunity for putting a little glam in the room – some gold thread or an exotic floral display can create the classic boudoir look matching your dresser and bed.
Sliding wardrobe doors hide inside a false wall by the side when open, and work well against a chimney breast, the doors sliding behind the paneling. The benefit is that you can still use the panelled area for a mirror, picture or lighting so it won’t be wasted wall space. You just have to think of wardrobe door ideas that suit the room and you’re good to go.
You can keep bedroom furniture to an absolute minimum by using a lifting or divan bed. A double storage bed can have more than 1.5 cubic metres of storage underneath the mattress, which is about three times a standard wardrobe’s storage volume. Lifting ottoman beds are available, or you can get a divan bed with drawers on the side. Alternatively, just store your clothes in sliding boxes underneath a normal four-legged bed – it’s great for keeping all your seasonal clothes apart.
Although it might be associated with Beverly Hills mansions, the walk-in wardrobe isn’t as exclusive as it seems. Spare rooms, either by design or by the little fledglings flying the nest, make ideal storage spaces, freeing up valuable room in the bedroom. When they’re organised with wardrobe racks, shoe racks, mirrors and lighting on the closet walls, the clothing doesn’t need to be hidden behind doors; it’s all there ready to pick out and try on outfits.
Built-In Cupboards and Fitted Wardrobes
A more permanent solution is to install fitted built-in cupboards. They effectively reduce the size of the room a little, but what you gain is acres of tidy, usable storage. You can choose a mix of open shelves and cupboards, with all manner of styles when it comes to materials, door handles and lighting. Pro fitters are probably recommended if you have an unusually shaped room – they’ll have plenty of solutions you probably wouldn’t have thought of.
Clothes hooks aren’t just for the hallway. They make great storage solutions for those who like to pick their outfits daily and have everything on show. There’s no reason why you can’t line two or three rows of hooks along a wall, for a voluminous solution that uses zero floor space. You can hang jeans by a belt loop, and dresses, cardies and sweaters on coat hangers for a boho bedroom.
Ideal for storing your winter clothes away in the summer, an ottoman at the end of the bed doubles up as a seat for dressing or putting your face on, a perfect space-saver for the smaller bedroom. Used in combination with some of the other wardrobe alternatives we’ve presented here, we hope we’ve shown that the traditional free-standing wardrobe is just one option when it comes to looking after your clothes.