Guide to buying a wardrobe

Whether you're upgrading your outdated decor, moving into a new home, or have just indulged in an epic shopping spree, a new wardrobe is an essential bedroom accessory.

Buy a wardrobe

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As one of the largest pieces of furniture in the room, it needs to be both functional and good looking. Here is our quick guide to making a purchase you won't regret in a month's time.

Size is everything
We're not all blessed with walk-in wardrobes and dressing rooms, so the available space will undoubtedly impact your buying choices. A large space might be able to handle fitted wardrobes that will give a sleek look to the bedroom, but if not, freestanding is the way to go. Before you get excited about what you think is the perfect fit, measure... twice. Be mindful of the fact that you'll need space to open doors and draws too, or search for models with sliding doors.

If you have an alcove in the bedroom, look for a freestanding unit that will fit within the area thereby maximising your use of space. Lastly, don't forget about how you will get your wardrobe into the allotted space. It's no good splashing out on a gorgeous hand-crafted piece and then finding there's a corner that you just can't get past.

What do you need?
Wardrobes not only come in a wide variety of sizes, but have differing levels of storage also. So you'll need to consider exactly what you plan to use it for. Do you need drawer units within the wardrobe, or shelving for storing bed linen and extra pillows? If you need drawers within, is there enough hanging length for your evening gowns or designer suits? Once again, knowing this before you go shopping will mean you can measure the available space if necessary.

After the bed itself, the wardrobe is the most important, and biggest, piece of furniture in the room, so it needs to fit in with your decor.

If you are the modern, minimalist type, sleek and chic fitted wardrobes might be the answer, and for those with a big budget, these can be designed and fitted to your specifications. However, there are many modern white or black, high gloss finish or stained oak veneer wardrobes that can work as a freestanding option. Mirrored doors have the advantage of reflecting light and thereby making the room appear bigger, which is particularly useful if you've got a tight space.

Solid wood or wood veneer work well in most other styles of room, and are also often easier to match should you add other pieces to the space. And if you're the type to change the decor on a regular basis, they have the added advantage of being open to sanding and either revarnishing or painting for an update that won't mean a new wardrobe.

For those with a more eclectic style, check out auctions, antiques fairs or reclamation yards for hand-crafted or old wardrobes that could be upcycled or restored with some tender loving care. Just be prepared to take them away on the day!

Finally, if your stairs mean getting a wardrobe in is problematic, or if money is tight, do consider the flatpack option. These often allow you a degree of flexibility when it comes to the configuration of rails and shelves or drawers, as well as being the cheaper option.

Check before you buy
Whatever you are shopping for, be it flatpack or handmade, it is always worth checking the quality before you spend your hard-earned cash. Make sure the hinges are sturdy and well-attached, and that any drawers slide smoothly - if they don't now, you're going to have problems a few years down the line.

These can be tricky with flatpack furniture, but if possible see if you can find a made-up example in your local DIY store or IKEA in order to make the necessary checks. And if you are in any doubt about building it yourself, employ a professional. Websites such as Flatpack Construction or Furniture Assembly can help you find an expert in your local area - it might cost you money in the short-term, but it could save a whole lot of stress and a badly-built wardrobe!