Wardrobes Buying Guide By Alastair Johnson

Are you dreaming of a bedroom refresh? This is the room you wake up in, and the last place you see at night. So make it a haven, an expression of your personality and your aspirations. Your dream bedroom should put a smile on your face in the morning, and your mind at rest when you go to sleep. Apart from the bed, your wardrobe is probably the biggest feature in the room so it’s worth choosing with care. Here is a handy wardrobes buying guide from Alastair Johnson, chief designer and director at Freebird Fitted Furniture to compile a handy buying guide to making the best wardrobe choice for your bedroom style.

1: Establish the overall style of the room

What style lifts your spirits when you see it? Cosy? Scandi? Industrial? Traditional? Modern? Eclectic? Gather pictures of room layouts you love, as well as wardrobes in your chosen style. Some wardrobes are part of a collection of matching bedroom furniture. For example, traditional, industrial, contemporary, opulent

2: Be realistic about how you live

Imagine this common scenario: you position a chair artfully in the corner of your new bedroom as a relaxing place to sit, with an on-trend cushion to set it off perfectly. A few months later you realise the chair never gets used except as a clothes horse! So embrace the way you really live and create instead a dedicated place to lay out your clothes ready for tomorrow, and/or a super-easy-to-access clothes bin so dirty clothes go straight into it! Then you may find the chair gets sat on more, or you may enjoy simply looking at the uncluttered chair, or you may decide your bedroom really doesn’t need a chair after all! Any outcome is fine, it’s about what works for you.

To save space, either of the above clothes storage suggestions may be best integrated into your wardrobe – a dedicated shelf, drawer or rail that is clearly separated from the rest. Even a simple hook or hook rack could do the job, fixed to the side of the wardrobe or behind a door. If you are buying a wardrobe for 2 people, a design like this one gives you a central door between 2 equal spaces that is ideal for allocating shared space such as laundry. (On a related note, it’s often wise to plan perfectly symmetrical storage to avoid any perception of unfairness between couples!)

If you take the time at the planning stage to create “a place for everything – and everything in its place” then keeping tidy from now on can be a breeze. And who wouldn’t want that?

3 : Reduce your possessions to only the ones you really love:

Really this could be the first step but it’s good to get excited about the space you’re planning for first. Still, before you make your final choice of wardrobe: consider decluttering now. It’s very tempting to believe a new piece of furniture will make you more organised. But without intentional decluttering, you may just move those spare items of clothing you never really wear to your new storage area, then gather more.

I highly recommend the ’Kon Mari’ method described in the book ‘The life changing magic of tidying’ by Marie Kondo. Living tidily can have a dramatic effect on your whole well being and sense of freedom in life. The secret is this: do not focus on getting rid of stuff but on keeping only that which ‘sparks joy’. With that benchmark in mind, weigh each item in your hand one by one to determine whether or not you really want to keep it. And let go of the rest without guilt. This process takes a while but believe me it is worth it!

4: Add a personal touch to make the wardrobe your own:

So, you’ve considered the wider scheme and chosen your ideal wardrobe. If you want to go a step further you could really personalise it by swapping out the knobs or handles with a choice of your own. It’s like getting bespoke furniture, but at a fraction of the price! It’s also a way to smarten up a budget wardrobe, since touching a solidly made handle changes your perception of the whole piece of furniture.

It’s very easy to unscrew and refix a knob. Longer handles need more thought since they come in different lengths, but it becomes easier when you realise they come at standard hole centres in multiples of 32mm. You can even make your own handles. I personalised the wardrobe in our bedroom by making handles from Manzanita wood from California, a place very special to my wife and I. Now every morning we see and touch beautiful things that reminds us of a place we love. Get creative and add your own personal touch!

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