Best option for built-in wardrobe?

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Topic: Best option for built-in wardrobe?

Carpenters and Woodworkers February 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Best option for built-in wardrobe?

I’m purchasing/renovating a small coop with little closet space, and would like to create a wardrobe/built-in closet area in the bedroom (standard closet depth, 5-5.5′ wide; ceiling height is 9′). We’re torn between asking our GC to build something from scratch, purchasing unfinished wardrobes to install/paint, or calling in a closet company. For others who have added such a thing — what did you find to be the most economical, and also the best use of limited space? Photo is similar to what I’d like installed.

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Custom will definitely give you the most efficient use of space but I personally wouldn’t spend the money if those big ikea wardrobes fit the space well. They are pretty customizable and mostly inoffensive to look at. I think they are 8 feet tall so you can always use the extra foot on top to store some other things.

Mousta is there one in particular you recommend? I have a Hemnes right now and it’s a piece of crap, don’t even think it’ll last the move. Plus there’s less space inside than you’d think.

Pax or Elga. If you fasten them to the wall they will hold up well.

I just posted on a closet question here:…/closet-designer
I second the IKEA PAX wardrobes suggestion; make sure you don’t have a curve on the ceiling like the one in the photo because it may not fit PAX’s tall and wider wardrobe option.  If you can fit them, their TALL wardrobes have many style options.  Go online first and check them out and compare the measurements with yours to save yourself a trip.  

I had a Pax in a former small apartment, and we found it to be a great (and affordable) option for more storage. We also spent about 2 hours thinking over the perfect configuration of interior elements…and ended up with nearly the display options. That said, we didn’t even try to take it with us when we moved. The nice man who did the floorplans drew it in as an extra closet, and we hope the new residents are happy.

Hemnes wardrobes are pieces of crap – you can tell that about them in the store.  Pax is way better – I’ve had them, sturdy and nice.  What you do depends on what look you want, how much you want to spend.  You likely can’t get a good built-in closet custom made cheaper than Ikea Pax, even plywood that you paint, but with Pax you will have the generic, modern Ikea look.  Fine, if that is what you like, but a way different look than the sort of 100-year old, blends well with mission and shaker, look of the built-ins in the picture you have posted above – not to mention also blending well with the old room shown with picture rails. I love the doors on those, and they would look much better with my furniture (mission) than modern Ikea Pax units would.  
Also, those tall Ikea units aren’t always the most useful arrangement of space – I had some in my last place (I owned it, but didn’t want to spring for the Scott Jordan cherry shaker-style built-to-fit closets that I wanted), which were not as tall as the even taller ones Ikea has now, I think mine were their shorter 72 or 79 inch tall ones they had years ago (and still may have, they just don’t show a lot of them in their stores now that they have the wider, tall ones with sliding doors.)  Even with that shorter height, I couldn’t reach the top shelf at all without a ladder, nor could I reach the rear portion of the next to the top shelf.  I had 3 20″ wide ones next to each other, with doors that opened (not sliding), and using a ladder to reach the top shelves of them was awkward with the doors. 
Do be aware of the different looks of Pax, depending on whether you use the sliding (more modern look) doors, or ones that open on hinges.  If using hinged doors, consider putting a shorter door on a taller cabinet, and using large baskets of some sort on the upper shelves – easier to get to them with a ladder than if you have the hinged door opening in the way.  Using the top areas of the ones with sliding doors with a ladder might be easier, but I would still prefer built-ins to Pax, and I’d make separate doors for the top section I had to reach with a ladder, if they went all the way to the ceiling, not single real tall doors.  Something in keeping with the old style of the doors you have pictured.
So, it really depends on your preferred furniture style, and whether you want to spring for built-ins.  Organizers inside are essential, whether you use Pax and use their interior fittings, or whether you build your own closets.  With 9 ft ceilings, I’d likely do something like what you’ve pictured – you can use the top for stuff stored in those nice-looking colored boxes with handles they sell at places like container store, or for decorative objects. 
Another option, in between those two likely in price, is to purchase a free standing wood wardrobe on legs, one that blends with your furniture style.  More expensive than Ikea likely, but likely cheaper than paying for the labor of built-ins.  There are more style options out there – I’ve seen some at CB2 and Room and Board, but any store that has bedroom furniture will have some.  You can also take it with you when you move. 
You can also have them built-to-fit, so they look built-in, but aren’t, by folks like Gothic who do that – you can get some nice options in finishes when you design stuff with them and places that do unfinished furniture like they do.  May not be cheaper than built-ins, but may be, and you can take them with you if you want.
If you are thinking about resale eventually, and the place has few closets, built-ins are a good investment, and can (I believe) be added to your basis (saves you on capital gains tax) when you sell (if you are fortunate to have enough capital gains to have to pay taxes on.)  Aside from that, they can help the place to sell more quickly.  Built-to-fit ones will have the same effect, but can be removed more easily if the buyers don’t want/like them.

I don’t love the feel of the movement of the sliding Ikea doors in the stores…check them out.
Also, if there isn’t a lot of room for the doors like the ones in the picture to open out into, you can get decent qualtiy bi-fold doors on built-ins that don’t take up as much space in the room when opened (and have the advantage of letting you see the contents of the closets with all doors open at once, which you can’t do with sliding doors.)  Also, you can put solid wood sliding doors, in a variety of styles, on a built-in.

The cost difference will be pretty big  (ikea vs custom built in).   In either case, don’t plan on taking it with you.  ikea furniture goes together well enough, and if you fasten them to eachother, and to the wall, should remain fairly sturdy.   As someone else mentioned though.. it’ll never last through a move.   once taken apart, they don’t go back together as sturdily, and will instantly become rickety.  A built in, you couldn’t take with you either..  so it shouldn’t matter much.
At the end of the day – you have to live with it…  i’ve had pax closets in the past, and for me, they work fine for pantry type storage, but i wasn’t a fan of them in the bedroom.
How handy are you?  from the picture – that would be a pretty easy build to DIY, if you have the skill and tools.   pre-fab doors and hardware, finish quality wood for the cabinet, and crown molding.  For something more involved, i would contract it, but for an all-aquare corners build, it really comes down to whether you have the tools and the know-how.  If not, then back to ikea (2 tall pax with the nicest doors they have, and good interior options should sit you between 800-1000).   Built in of a similar size should at least double that cost, but fit and finish should be nicer.  Somewhere in between would be a freestanding real-wood wardrobe, which would be less space, but look nicer, and can be taken with you when you leave.

I have two PAX closets that are 12 years old and survived a move 11 years ago.
They still look great and no problems whatsover with stability. They’re not screwed to each other or the wall, but they are next to each other.
Getting custom cabinets will def. cost more than finding pre-built closets.

People are always charging a fortune for custom built ins, but this shouldn’t take longer than a week to build, so seems like you ought to be able to do it for $2,000 or so plus materials, if you can find a finish carpenter.

There are many locations a single may move to find a closet using a built in wardrobes sydney. As well as a neighborhood pieces of furniture keep.

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