Creative tips to get the most out of a small walk-in wardrobe and avoid the clutter
In a dream world, most women I know (including myself), would love a walk-in wardrobe the size of a master bedroom. A room purely dedicated to housing an extravagant shoe collection, luxurious gowns and, of course, the freestanding dressing table, full-length mirror and token chandelier. I remember years ago watching the premier of Sex & The City and there were audible gasps, squeals and ‘oh my goshes’ in the scene when Carrie opens the ‘double doors’ in her new would-be apartment. Some women even clapped. Many of us clearly love a fantasy walk-in wardrobe.
But here’s the thing. In reality, most of us don’t own such extravagant gowns, let alone have enough space in our homes to dedicate an entire room to this sort of luxury. And I think we secretly know it, too.
The good news is, however, that we can incorporate elements of fun and frivolity into what we do have. In fact, there are some little tricks and treatments I’ve learned over the years you can adopt, especially if your space errs on the smaller side. I recently transformed a small sunroom off my bedroom into a walk-in wardrobe (or as I now call it: my ‘dressing room’) and I incorporated quite a few of these ideas to make my storage stretch further.
Be savvy with shelving heights
Custom-built shelving is great, but if it’s out of the budget, opt for shelves that can easily change height. This way you can have different heights according to what you’re storing in there. Take your cue from this image, where the owner maximises their space by grouping items of similar height and storing them on shelves just large enough to fit them.
Get hooked on… hooks
The inside of cupboard doors can be used to store accessories such as bags, ties, belts and scarves. All you need are a few hooks. Alternatively, you can pick up small metal rods (including tea towel racks), which you can attach to the inside of the door and hang items that way. I’ve done the latter in my new walk-in-wardrobe.
Divide your drawers
I am a huge fan of this one. By dividing your drawers into segments, you are able to get so much more in them. It makes you feel very organised, because you know exactly where your stockings, socks, ties etc are.
Install anything retractable
One sure-fire way to get more into your small walk-in wardrobe (and boost storage space) is to be introduced to retractable wardrobe accessories. These allow you to easily pull things out (and push them away out of sight when you’re not using them), thus ensuring more space to move around.
Push the right buttons
This follows on from the last tip. These go from invisible to a very practical way to hang your coats. The thing with small walk-in wardrobes is that they have to look neat. Otherwise, small space plus clutter equals instant mess. Always keep in mind you need to adopt techniques to help you combat this.
Take advantage of blank walls
What a great way to hang all your accessories in an organised (but slightly creative) way. It doesn’t take up much space, either, and is a much better option than throwing them all in a drawer because, a) they won’t get tangled, and b) you get to use that drawer for something else.
Another novel way of utilising a blank wall is by way of pegboard (yes, as in the backing used for hanging tools in the garage). Simply buy some matching pegs or hooks and you have instant storage space for accessories.
Install a shoe carousel
OK, this is where you get to indulge your inner Carrie Bradshaw. I love this idea because corners are tricky and you want to maximise the space as much as possible. This is such a savvy (and fun-to-use) solution.
Have moveable hanging spaces
This is a similar tip to having changeable shelving heights. If you have limited cupboard space but quite high walls, these adjustable rods are a great idea. Simply move and slot in depending on what you’re hanging (and its height). This ensures you are using the entire space of the wall/cupboard.
Use all the same hangers
Remember what I said about small spaces looking messy? Opting for uniform hangers will make your small walk-in wardrobe instantly look neater and less cluttered.
Become best friends with a trouser rack
These work on the same premise as the retractable hangers for your accessories. They are particularly good for two reasons.
1 Fewer hangers equals less mess.
2 They ensure anything low hanging is easily accessible, because it slides out seamlessly.
Go all the way to the top
Use the whole height for your walk-in wardrobe. All the way from the floor, right up to the ceiling. Elongated storage spaces look really lovely. The way to keep this practical is to have a small footstool at the ready. For example, I keep a small round vintage one tucked away at the back of my hanging items so I can whip it out at a moment’s notice.
Install a mirror or small recess (or both)
This may sound a little controversial. Usually, the thinking would go that if you only have a small space for a walk-in, you’d need to utilise the whole area, right? I disagree. By dedicating just a small amount to open space, the area feels less like a closed-in box. And it’s not like it’s impractical, either. You’re left with a lovely little shelf and a mirror for checking your outfit.