Step inside the wardrobe department
With the right fixtures, the dressing room of your dreams will become an everyday luxury, writes Robyn Willis
Walk-in wardrobes used to be the domain of the wealthy who could afford, not just the room, but the joinery to fit the space out properly. These glamorous rooms, often the size of a small bedroom, offered hanging spaces at different heights for shirts, trousers and dresses, plus easy access to shoes, bags and even a well-lit area for applying make-up.
But what was once reserved for a select few has become more accessible with most display homes now offering space for a walk-in robe as part of the main bedroom suite.
Manager of Home Option Gallery, Alan Phillips, says would-be home builders are beginning to realise that, with a little planning, there’s a real opportunity to create a luxurious dressing room with all the bells and whistles.
“Buyers know they want them but they don’t realise there is an opportunity to get the wardrobe completely fitted out until we go through it with them,” he says.
“There are trouser rails that you can pull in and out and adjustable shelving — the options are extensive.”
Alan’s business works closely with builders such as Eden Brae Homes to walk buyers through the possibilities. At the moment, he says, too many people leave finishing off the walk-in robe until after the builder has given them the keys to their new home.
“We talk to them about what they want in their wardrobe early on and people often think that they will sort it out after the handover,” he says. “But it’s really more cost effective to do it beforehand.”
The right stuff
Whether you are planning a walk-in robe as part of a larger building project, or you have the luxury of converting a spare room, good walk-in robes have some common elements.
Start by taking an inventory of your clothing, shoes and accessories. Not surprisingly, women tend to need more hanging space than men. Plan for hanging rails for shirts and trousers at accessible heights, ideally one on top of the other to make the best use of the available space.
For shoes and bags, a combination of open shelving and pull-out drawers works well. Retailers from low-cost Ikea to high-end companies such as Poliform offer off-the-shelf wardrobe storage systems.
The key is being realistic about what your clothing needs are and sticking to it. Alan says it can be a good discipline for shopaholics.
“It enables you to cull your wardrobe because you only have so much room for your clothes,” he says.
A full length, well-lit mirror is a must in the space and, if there’s room, a dressing table for applying make-up.
Add some real style with the Black Pearl rug by Catherine Martin for Designer Rugs.
An ottoman provides a handy spot for putting on shoes in the Harrington 28 by Rawson Homes.
High shelves make the best use of space in the walk-in robe of The Lancaster 28 by Eden Brae Homes.