ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson
A few simple alterations can transform your wardrobe from old school and cluttered to open and organised. Simply changing the old wardrobe doors to new cavity sliders can make a dramatic difference, and adding some extra floor space and smart wall shelving will help you create your very own walk-in style wardrobe. For a basic makeover that includes new doors, wall lining, paint and basic shelving, you should plan on spending roughly up to $10,000.
What’s the minimum size for walk-in wardrobe?
It’s hard to imagine that a few decades ago peoples’ clothes fitted into the small wardrobes typical of the 1930s or 40s. That’s certainly not the case anymore today. But even if yours is an older home with its original small wardrobes, it doesn’t take much to bring them up to speed. For a basic walk-in wardrobe, the experts recommend a floor space of about 2.5 metres by 1.5 metres with doors that open wide and allow access to the middle. This allows you to walk into your wardrobe and access your clothes on shelves to the left and right, as well as on top above hanging space. Where space is really tight, consider opting for more hanging space in your walk-in wardrobe and adding a chest of drawers to the bedroom if needed.
Which materials are best for shelving?
When renovating on a tight budget it always pays to choose standard materials and finishes, and if you fancy, add some luxury highlights later as and when you can. For wardrobes this typically means sticking to white wire wardrobe organisers or the standard white melamine finish for built-in shelving. Coloured laminate melamine boards are available at an additional cost.
As a real money-saver and a way to give your wardrobe a raw look that could be inspired by Scandinavian design culture, consider using raw particle or MDF boards. With its open texture showing pieces of compressed wood chips, particle board can work particularly well. In comparison, MDF (medium-density fibreboard) has a very dense, uniform structure. It’s made from wooden bi-products and usually slightly more expensive than particle board. White wire shelves are the most cost-effective alternative. They have the advantage of being ventilated by design, and are sometimes mixed with other shelf styles.
As a rule of thumb, drawers are more expensive than shelves, so folding and stacking your clothes on shelves will help you keep the cost low. Where possible, plan in some space for long hanging items, as well as for short hanging items. In most scenarios you should be able to fit two rows of short hanging items one above the other.
What’s the best door type for a walk-in wardrobe?
In many cases, and especially where space is tight, cavity sliders are the ideal door choice for walk-in wardrobes. They simply glide out of the way and don’t take up any extra room. A set of regular hinged doors allows good access where space is not an issue and also where you are converting an existing wardrobe and will need to step into your wardrobe in the middle to access shelves on either side.
Simple painted or partly mirrored doors work well and don’t break the bank. Other, more expensive options include wood and wood veneer, fully mirrored doors and glass doors. Clear glass obviously gives you a view of the wardrobe, which could be an interesting feature of your bedroom and will help make the space look bigger, whereas frosted glass will keep your garments hidden from view to keep everything looking neat and tidy.
In terms of door handles, simple knobs or metal rails are a classic yet stylish ‘no fuss’ choice. Or you could indulge and add extravagant handles in a range of different materials, shapes and colours.
Which hooks and hangers work best?
When building a walk-in wardrobe, the clothes hangers are usually an afterthought, and while they’re often considered a minor detail, they do add more than the sum of their parts to the look and feel of your wardrobe. Keeping all hangers the same will convey a sense of harmony and order, while choosing a mix of eclectic styles will give your wardrobe a hip and funky atmosphere.
Plain plastic hangers do the job just fine, but do check them for any rough edges that could damage clothing. Padded or wooden hangers may be more gently on clothing and also give your wardrobe a sense of solidity and luxury. Many different designs and colours are available, along with specialty hangers that cater for ties, scarves, skirts and other items of clothing. Spacers for hangers, which ensure hangers are spaced evenly and don’t move around, are a good way to help air circulate and keep your clothes looking their best. If you have a lot of hanging space, scarf and belt hangers are handy. If space is tight, consider hangers with three or four tiers to accommodate all of your garments.
Are storage units worth their money?
Yes! Be a storage king and give your walk-in wardrobe the final touches with a selection of clever storage helpers. This is especially useful where you have opted to go for hanging space and simple shelves inside your wardrobe, without the use of more complex storage units. Containers will help keep less frequently used items clean and safe, which is particularly handy if they are fragile. Stackable products allow you to maximise space, for example on the top shelves and on an extra ledge or shelf above the door if this is suitable.
From clear and coloured plastic through to weaved and woven rattan, all sorts of storage containers are available on the market. They will help you organise your space and while being on display, they’ll also set the tone in terms of styling and designing the wardrobe. Prices can vary greatly so it pays to shop around and get a recommendation for your local renovation builder.
Depending on your budget, you might be interested in building a walk-in wardrobe with a mid-range or high end budget.
If you would like to discuss walk-in wardrobe options and ideas for your home renovation, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.