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Built in wardrobes ... types available

The first thing you need to ask yourself is ... which type of built in wardrobe is right for me?

There are three basic types of built in wardrobes, as listed below:

  1. Full carcase built in wardrobes
  2. Frame construction built in wardrobes
  3. Sliding door built in wardrobes

Scroll down for an explanation of each - and our conclusion as to which is best!

Full carcase built in wardrobes

Carcase example - built in wardrobes -

Full carcase built in wardrobes are defined as having a base, top, two sides, and a back panel. (i.e. when you open the doors you see a "fully lined" wardrobe interior).

The construction of carcase furniture is such that wardrobe's generally have "leveling features" - normally legs - under the floor of the carcase, and the doors are hinged from the side panels.

Most wardrobes are built to a height of between 2250mm and 2300mm and are designed to be filled in to the ceiling with a top scribe - filler panel - to achieve a completely fitted appearance. (Side scribing panels will also be required at the end of each run)

Frame construction built in wardrobes

built in wardrobe - frame

Frame furniture generally has a base (or floor) but no sides or backing panel, and can be constructed from floor to ceiling at any distance from the back wall (when you open the doors you see the back and side walls - however these wall can be "lined" if required).

Depending on the manufacturer the doors are hinged either to the side of the frame, or to the front of the frame (the door then hides the hinge).

The doors are generally made to two or three standard widths and heights and then fitted to form openings to the frame.

The "frame" of the built in wardrobe is generally constructed "on-site" and is scribed to adjacent walls and the ceiling ... therefore alleviating the need for top and side scribing panels.

Sliding Door built in wardrobes

sliding mirror wardrobe

Fitted "sliders" are generally produced as a basic frame with no backing panel - the interiors are then made as carcase furniture and placed in situ behind the sliding doors .. note! there is normally a 50mm gap between the doors and the interior sections to prevent clothes "dragging" when the doors are opened.

If the doors are "custom made" the frame will be fitted floor to ceiling and wall to wall, alleviating the need for scribing panels - if not then you will have to accept standard door widths which are likely to overlap themselves by more than the standard, and fit using side & top scribing panels.

Each door will be designed to overlap the others by about 30mm - any more than this makes access to the space behind the door overlap more difficult.

Most people think of "sliders" are mirror doors only - but they are manufactured in a number of panel finishes as well - and can be used in conjunction with "hinged" door built in wardrobes

Our conclusion ... which built in wardrobe system is best?

Anyone who attempts to convince you one built in wardrobe system is best, is at best ... missing the point!

Any built in wardrobes that fulfil your storage requirements are ultimately providing what you need, and are therefore as good as any other built in wardrobes.

However you have to make a choice at some stage ... and these points may help you decide which built in wardrobe system suits you!

Carcase Construction built in wardrobes:
advantages ...
a) Generally easier for the "novice" designer to plan layouts - with set sizes
b) Generally simpler to install than other built in wardrobe systems
c) Can be dismantled and reinstalled should you move house
d) Provides sealed cabinet interior
e) Installation normally within one day

disadvantages ...
a) Not best suited to fitting under sloping ceilings
b) Difficult to build around obstructions - Chimney Breast's etc.
c) No access to space above top and side filler panels
d) Wardrobes have set depth - which is difficult to adjust

Frame Construction built in wardrobes:
advantages ...
a) Total access to all available storage
b) Particularly suited to fitting under sloping ceilings
c) No restrictions to built in wardrobe depth - can be as shallow or deep as required
d) Installing in front of obstructions is no problem

disadvantages ...
a) No backing panel means that internal walls may need preparing first
b) Not as easy to plan "over the bed" layouts due to minimum wardrobe widths
c) Not recommended for self installation
d) Installation normally takes two days

Sliding Door built in wardrobes:
advantages ...
a) Simple to design bedroom layout - normally just wall to wall wardrobe
b) Useful in situations where space is restricted for opening doors
c) A wall of mirrors can make your room look bigger
d) Generally a "slightly cheaper" option than normal hinged doors
e) Can be set at any depth

disadvantages ...
a) Difficult to fit properly - doors need to be fitted perfectly plumb
b) Can become "dusty" inside because of gap between doors and interior
c) Mirror doors show finger marks, and need regular cleaning
d) If not custom made the "door overlap" can restrict access to the interior


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