A walk in wardrobe is one of those luxuries in life most always dream about, but few actually ever have the fortune of experiencing them in our own homes. If you are one of the lucky ones to have the opportunity to have a walk in wardrobe it may be difficult to know how to best design your wardrobe and make the best use of the space.
Hollywood Mirrors spoke to some of the best interior designers in the UK to get their top tips and advice for walk in wardrobe styles that will look great and provide you with the most effective use of space whatever the size of your walk in wardrobe.
To discover walk in wardrobe ideas that are sure to inspire you make sure you reach the end of this article…
Yasmin Chopin, Interior Designer
Consider mirror positions which allow you to see your back without creating infinite reflections of yourself which can be distracting and disconcerting. The best way to do this is to have more than one mirror but not parallel facing each other, where the second mirror is at an angle to the first. This can be achieved using a combination of wall mounted static and hinged mirrors, or hinged mirrored doors on wardrobes which can be angled as required.
Consider the choice between open clothes storage and wardrobes with doors, as there are pros and cons to each. Having your clothes and accessories displayed on open rails and shelves in a separate dressing room can create the effect of a high end clothing boutique, especially if beautifully lit and colour coordinated. This makes items easier to find than having everything behind closed doors, and can be more space efficient as you don't have to worry about space for door swings.
However, if you are not good at keeping your clothes tidy this can look cluttered. Dust settling on clothes and shelves can be an issue in open storage dressing rooms, although putting shelves just above clothing rails means only needing to hoover underneath and dust on top of the shelf. Past clients of mine have opted for a combination of open and enclosed storage and some glass doors allowing prized items to be displayed.
Good lighting is crucial in dressing rooms, especially if it is where you dress as well as store your clothes. Black and navy can get confused in poor lighting, and selecting clothes and accessories with complementary colours is far easier when storage is well lit. Where you try outfits on or apply makeup consider eliminating shadow through up-lighting from below, down-lighting from above and even side lights too.
Concealed lights washing across surfaces are easier on the eye than visible bulbs, especially where lots of mirrors can create glare. LED tape lights are relatively inexpensive and are easily fitted inside storage, allowing clothes to be lit on opening the doors. Hanging rails with LED lights on the underside can light the hanging clothes underneath more effectively than those mounted in front or behind the rail.
Consider keeping wall and storage colours neutral, allowing the various colours of clothes and accessories to be displayed against a neutral backdrop. Lighter wall colours will help the room feel larger if you are tight on space.
If you would like to introduce stronger colours I usually suggest using chair upholstery, rugs or curtains to do this. For example, adding a bold coloured upholstered ottoman for laying clothes out on can add an injection of style and glamour to a neutral space without the colour being overbearing in a small space.
We, at Slightly Quirky, have recently designed a walk-in wardrobe for our clients in Spittalfields, central London, so understand what is important when it comes to storing your suits to your stilettos.
One of the key aspects is good lighting. As well as layers of light, to ensure all areas are well lit, the colour temperature is crucial; this is the difference between a warm or a blue light. Here a clean, white light is best, this ensures you can see the true colours of your items... and won't run the risk of leaving the house with one blue sock and one black one!
It sounds obvious, but know what you want to store. Do you have a lot of long dresses or coats? How many pairs of shoes do you have? The internal configuration will depend on how much long hanging space is required, how much shelving or drawer space you need. A top tip for shoe storage is to keep them in their boxes with photos of the shoes on the outside or clear shoe boxes so you can easily find that pair of pumps in a hurry.
It's also good to consider accessories, handbags, belts, hats, scarves all need their own space too. It's good to allow room for these items so you can find the pieces you want and they don't get lost at the bottom of a drawer.
Consider future-proofing your walk-in wardrobe: don't just consider what you have now but what you may have more of in the future- you can never have too many shoes!
Caroline Nicholls & Deborah Moor, Slightly Quirky - Interior Design
When one thinks of walk in wardrobes, one thinks luxury. Often a bedroom or a box room is sacrificed to create one so it’s really important that the design works and that you don’t just end up with a clothes rail in a glorified corridor.
My first tip would be to maximize the space you have. Try and cut down the amount of full length wardrobe space you have as this is only really needed for long dresses and coats, and instead divide your wardrobe space horizontally to allow for two rails (and possibly even a third on a pull down rod if you have the ceiling height).
My second tip is to make the space somewhere that you want to spend time in. A dressing table with a mirror and good overhead lighting is a must if you lack an abundance of natural light, plus it will add a feeling of luxury.
My third tip would be to try and fit in a piece of furniture such as a chaise or armchair where you can layout your outfits and through ideas together.
My fourth and final tip is to create an island of drawers in the middle for items that can be folded and to lay out your accessories in a glass topped drawer so that you can view them all easily. Not only will this look gorgeous, it will maximize your space and give you that luxurious feeling that all walk in wardrobes should have.
Hannah Woodley, Interior Designer
As with any room scheme, I would always think about the practicalities of a walk-in wardrobe design first. Start by asking yourself how you dress and then make a plan for how the clothes you wear most often are best stored.
Most women need a combination of long and short hanging space, some drawers for lingerie and sports kit, plus a good amount of storage for shoes and bags! Planning properly at this stage will pay dividends every time you walk in to your wardrobe space and most people are surprised at how much space needs to be allocated to shoes and bags (for most women)!
Once the space is properly planned, I recommend that good lighting is next on your list. The most important place for this is around your dressing mirror. Nothing can substitute natural light, but if your dressing area is short on this, then choose a light source that will offer a flat, daylight tone. Spotlights are to be avoided if possible.
Finally, this is an area where all your clothes will be on display, so there can be no hiding your style and personality. And why should you? I would recommend making a walk-in wardrobe one of the most personalised places in your home. Be whimsical and find something you love. In this scheme, we chose a wallpaper for around the wardrobes. There’s only a touch of it, but it makes all the difference here.
Bess Sturman, Sturman & Co
Credit: Bess Sturman of Sturman & Co. Interior Design. Photo credit: @photokathryn.
Walk in wardrobes to be one of life’s necessary luxuries. If you have the space then a walk in wardrobe that is properly designed, with you in mind, will enhance your everyday life. No longer will you will scrabbling around for that one particular blouse, instead it will be in its place and easy to find. Managing a walk in when you have not had one before does require some self discipline.
Putting things away in the specifically designed place is essential. As with any storage solution the ability to retrieve the item stored easily is the ultimate goal. One key design feature that can be overlooked when designing a walk in is lighting. The art of retrieval only works if you can see everything. Multi-directional spot lights and accent lights within drawers will all help. Allow space for a full length mirror and ensure that it is lit well.
Julie Stevens, Interior Designer
Wendy Newman, Interior Designer
Walk-in wardrobes add a fabulous feature to a bedroom, which should look equally as good on the inside, as they do on the outside. The character of walk-in’s very much depend on personal choice, so - if you’re uber organised you may want plenty of display shelving, with the addition of glass tops and draws, for things like lingerie, ties and socks.
For the less so, concealed compartments that are mirror-fronted add a rather more spacious look. Lighting is also key, as you want to be able to see everything perfectly. Include back lighting for shelves, spot-lights in the ceiling or, a statement pendent light centrally positioned can do wonders. Over-sized mirrors and a chaise long can add even more glamour and practical purpose.
Laura Basham and Alex Moxham Jones, Interior Designers at Stella Mannering and Company
Some incredible tips there from the expert interior designers! If you are now ready to start furnishing your walk in wardrobe then make sure you check out our dressing table mirrors and dressing tables.