Take inspiration from these super stylish built-in wardrobe ideas – because wardrobes aren't just for keeping the clutter at bay, they can be beautiful focal points in your bedroom. We've pulled our favorite looks, featuring paneled doors, upholstered doors, wallpapered doors, plastered doors... are you sensing a theme here. But we also cover what's inside the wardrobes, the configurations of hangers to shelves, drawers to cubby holes, to help you design a built-wardrobe that not only looks stylish in your bedroom but suits you and your lifestyle too.
'From a practical and aesthetical perspective, fitted wardrobes offer the most effective and efficient way to make use of the space within your bedroom. Before exploring wardrobe options it's worth being clear about your requirements, budget, and desired style.' explains Rachal Hutcheson of Sharps.
'There are many solutions to choose from yet, despite appearances, not all the offers are equal and different designs will utilize your space with varying degrees of efficiency. It is important to understand how each design makes use of the area and the types of construction used before committing.'
'Choosing a reputable company that employs expert designers and consultants will make all the difference in the planning and purchasing process. Their experience in working in houses that present similar challenges can help you to arrive at a design which meets your preference in terms of style as well as making the layout work for your unique needs.'
1. First up, assess your needs
Before we get into all the lovely built-in wardrobe ideas, you first need to assess what you actually need. Think about what type of clothes you have most of – do you need more hangers than drawers, do you want to shelve for your ever-expanding shoe collection, and do you want plenty of space for more bulky items like coats and jumpers?
'A sensible place to start is by assessing your storage needs. We all organize differently so think about; the volume of clothes and shoes that you have, whether you might need areas for bedding and towels and how much space you might need in the future.' explains Rachal.
'Once you have considered the capacity start to think broadly about the design elements of the interior fit-out and what you might like to include. There are many options for personalizing a fitted wardrobe, to ensure it works perfectly for your lifestyle, for example combining hanging rails with pigeonhole shelving, internal drawers and shoe storage will help keep you organized whilst allowing easy access to the clothes you need, when you need them.'
2. Mix open and closed storage
While a wall of doors might suit your style if you are trying to blend your built-in wardrobe into the room, mixing both open and closed storage gives you the opportunity to turn your storage into decor too.
Mariana Poletto, Senior Designer at Neatsmith says that her 'clients are choosing to have a combination of doors and open wardrobe interiors creating both practical storage and emulating luxury boutiques for an at home fashion experience. Partly this is driven by high street shopping not being available over the last 18 months and the resulting increase in online shopping, and partly through a new recognition that storage doesn’t just have to be practical but can be a space in the home to be enjoyed.'
3. Add character to plain doors with panelling
Paneled doors are a really popular option with built-in wardrobes as they add interest, texture and create the illusion of original features in a bedroom. These bespoke, floor-to-ceiling wardrobes were designed to match some existing original paneling found throughout the rest of the home. And if you're wondering how one would reach the very top, there's a ladder that doubles up as rustic decor too.
4. Paint kids' wardrobe doors in chalkboard paint
Fashion stylist Siouxsie Dickens has updated the sliding board doors in her kid's bedroom with chalkboard/blackboard paint, turning plain cupboard doors into an ever-changing canvas. And of course, this look needn't be just reserved for children's rooms either, you could create a very adult-approved mural by either commissioning something beautiful or having a go at it yourself (if it goes horribly wrong no harm done, just wipe it away).
5. Create a rustic look with shutter doors
Proof that fitted wardrobes don't have lack personality. Interior decorator, Sera Hersham-Loftus of Sera of London has used antique louvered shutters for her glamorous built-in wardrobes, mirroring her very eclectic style whilst still keep the space practical.
6. Bounce light around small or dark rooms with mirrored doors
This narrow space has been used to create a dressing room with built-in wardrobes on either side. Pretty wallpaper in panels on one side adds a glamorous touch, while mirrored panels on the other make the space feel bigger and provide a practical solution when the owner is getting ready.
7. Add warmth to a grey scheme with natural materials
Floor-to-ceiling wardrobes here utilize the entire wall space while designing them with the same timber tones as the floor creates a calm and cohesive scheme. Plus, the warm wood tones add warmth to the grey bedroom scheme and soften those cooler shades.
8. Upholster built-in wardrobe doors for a luxe look
A little fabric goes a long way in this tailored master bedroom created by Wolf Lewitt Interiors, where upholstery lends a soft touch to plain wardrobe doors, instantly elevating them from ordinary to extraordinary.
9. Add a playful touch with a curtain
Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead of 2LG Studio agreed that they wanted to keep shoes behind a curtain in their dressing room. That way, they had the option to hide them or have them on view – a clever way to hide away a mountain of clothes/shoes when you need to. Plus, a curtain adds a nice softness to a built-in wardrobe and breaks up the solid wall of storage.
10. Fake tongue and groove with MDF
Built-in wardrobes in this master bedroom is made with pre-grooved MDF boards and painted in the same shade as the walls. A really easy way to cheat a more expensive look. The top of the built-in wardrobes offers space for displaying personal collections.
11. Paint your wardrobe to match your walls
Similarly, in this bedroom scheme by Suzy Hoodless, the wardrobe doors are clad in a pre-grooved wood which gives the room texture and charm. Walls and wardrobe doors are painted the same shade of porcelain pink. The sheepskin chair lends a luxurious, sculptural element to the room.
12. Take built in wardrobes right into the corners
An awkward loft conversion space has been utilized for storage, while sleek, handleless wardrobe doors keep things simple and clean. Built-in wardrobes line the entire wall, and continue right into the corner under the sloped roof, maximizing every square inch of space.
13. Turn built in wardrobes into a design feature with a contrast colour
Designer Tom Barlett designed this smart storage as part of a renovation project in a west London townhouse. Sleek and simple, but bold in color they are the main feature of the bedroom and the starting point for the primary color scheme. You almost can't tell this is a built-in wardrobe, appearing more like a feature wall.
14. Decorate wardrobe doors with wallpaper
Because wallpaper isn't just for walls. The built-in wardrobes in this beautiful bedroom are covered in Gucci’s Heron wallpaper, turning them from bland, barely noticeable built-in wardrobes into a show-stopping piece of furniture that perfectly suits the glamourous vibe.
15. Or opt for a delicate mural
Similarly, a deGournay wallpaper covers the wardrobe doors below, encompassing the doors into the rest of the bedroom scheme and turning them into a feature wall rather than just storage.
16. Update old built in wadrobes with paint
If you've inherited built-in wadrobes that are just a big blah, rather than starting from scratch just update with a lick of paint and some stylish new hardware. These plain wardrobes look gorgeous thanks to their new coat of sage green paint, complementing the bedroom's wallpaper.
17. Go for whitewashed wooden doors for an airy, relaxed look
The dressing area leads through to the ensuite bathroom – there’s even a dressing table in the cupboard. The whitewashed oak surfaces give this master bedroom an airy, relaxed look.
18. Inject luxe texture with suede upholstery
There’s a certain sumptuousness to this bedroom, with its rich textures and colors. An impressive amount of storage space helps keep it clear of clutter, while the upholstered wardrobe doors inject instant luxe texture.
19. Disguise built-in wardrobes with decorative plasterwork
Paneled walls open to reveal hidden storage and screen doors glide seamlessly into wall recesses to separate this South Kensington apartment. The entire wall behind the bed is actually a run of concealed cupboards with white moldings.
20. Transform recessed handles into a 3D art display
These built-in wardrobes were made bespoke for this industrial, late-Victorian home in north London. The design (which conceals inset handles) is based on dandelion seeds being blown in the wind. Inside, the wardrobes are meticulously arranged with a space for everything.
21. Use wardrobe doors to conceal a built-in vanity area
This clever design ensures the built-in wardrobes also incorporate a dressing table area, keeping this vanity space out of sight the rest of the time, and keeping a calming neutral bedroom design.
22. Use raw, weathered wood doors for a rustic effect
Nature feels like it’s just an arm’s reach away with these huge windows overlooking the garden and the rustic built-in wardrobe reflects that connection with the outside space. Made bespoke from reclaimed wood, it adds lots of lovely texture to this boho style bedroom.
23. Go for gloss for a bold look
These wall-to-wall wardrobes provide ample storage space and are painted in a bold teal gloss shade for a statement look. Going for a gloss finish may seem brave, but lacquered walls are bang on trend right now, plus this is a look that can work really well in a small bedroom as it helps bounce plenty of light around the space.
24. Or go for gloss wood doors for a retro look
This bedroom has been transformed into something really rather gorgeous with the gold-leaf ceiling, one raw concrete wall and lacquered green elsewhere. We love the mix-up of modern and traditional – with retro style wood wardrobe doors.
25. Split it up into top and bottom cupboards
Built in wardrobes are split into floating top and bottom bedroom storage, creating a shelf area in the middle to display treasured items or have things easy to hand.
Does a built-in wardrobe add value?
Practical storage is always going to add value to a home and is very appealing to potential buyers too. Lack of storage space is in fact one of the most off-putting aspects of a home when you come to sell, so turning those awkward spaces like alcoves or under the eaves into easy to use storage, or adding a wall of built-in cupboards to a bedroom is going to make your home more attractive when you come to sell.
Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.
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