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How to buy fitted bedroom furniture

Fitted wardrobes

By Liz Ransome-Croker

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Fitted wardrobes

Read our fitted wardrobes buying advice to ensure you choose the best for you at the right price.

Fitted wardrobes are a great way to make the most of the space in your bedroom, particularly if it's got awkward nooks and crannies, such as an attic room with sloping ceilings. 

They allow you to maximise your storage in ways that suit what you've got. If you wear lots of suits, you can opt for extra hanging space; if you've got an enviable shoe collection you can build in tidy shoe storage. 

It's a sizable investment though, and 22% of the 1,172 fitted bedroom furniture owners we spoke to regretted some element of their choice.

Here, we talk you though what you you need to consider before you buy so that you aren't left disappointed by niggles when the work is complete.

Find out which fitted wardrobe company was rated highest by its customers in our fitted bedroom furniture reviews

What fitted wardrobes do I need? 

Start by thinking about your how you use your bedroom and what you want from the furniture in it. You'll need to consider:

  • the size and shape of your room;
  • what you want to store and how often you'll want to access it;
  • how you use the room. For example, a spare bedroom that doubles up as an office may benefit from a fitted desk and filing cabinets as well as wardrobes.

Next, consider what type of wardrobes you'd like. This mainly comes down to style, but can also affect usability. 

Sliding wardrobes

As the name implies, these have sliding doors as opposed to hinged ones that open out. 

There are lots of different options for sliding wardrobes, including the number and width of doors.

They come in a number of different styles and finishes, from mirrored glass to more traditional wood.

The benefit of sliding wardrobe doors is that the doors take up less space. They're a good option if there's going to be a snug fit between the wardrobes and the bed.

Mirrored wardrobes

Both hinged and sliding wardrobes come with mirrored options. Doors can be totally or partially mirrored, and you can have all of the doors done in the same way, or just a few.

The full-length mirrors can be great for bringing light into the room, but bear in mind that they can be tricky to keep clean – dust and fingerprints will show up more than on a normal door.

One option is to have mirrors incorporated inside your wardrobe doors. They could be hung on the back of the doors, integrated as pull-out panels or tucked at the back of a section. If you'll be using them to check your outfit in the morning, make sure they've got plenty of light.

Walk-in wardrobes

If you have the space, a walk-in wardrobe can make it easier to keep your bedroom tidy and clutter free.

These can include the same storage solutions as any other fitted wardrobes and can have internal doors or open shelving.

There are ways to make a walk-in-style wardrobe work if you have a smaller space. A smaller scale version can make a nice feature of a recess or nook. 

Take a look at our ideas gallery on our fitted bedroom furniture page for more inspiration.

Children's wardrobes

Lots of companies will create fitted wardrobes specifically for children, alongside other fitted bedroom furniture to maximise the storage space in their bedrooms.

This could include a desk, a bunk bed – which could have a den below it – or overhead storage for the things you don't need to access that often. 

Sharps has a Flexispace system for children, which allows you to adjust the height of the storage and rails as your child grows taller. Hammonds also has a lot of solutions for integrated bedroom designs for children.

Fitted wardrobes for small bedrooms and sloping ceilings

If your bedroom is an awkward shape, a fitted wardrobe is a good way to get the best out of its dimensions. 

Having a wardrobe that's truly bespoke means it can be cut around sloping ceilings and wonky walls and built into alcoves and crevices. The gallery below shows some examples of what can be achieved.

Not all of the companies we have reviewed offer a fully bespoke service. Ikea's wardrobes won't be designed to fit exactly into your space.

But it does offer a wide range of flexible storage options at a much cheaper price than bespoke designs.

You may choose to use an independent joiner or builder, as 24% of the people we surveyed did. The two most popular brands amongst our respondents are Hammonds (used by 16%) and Sharps (15%).

Visit our individual review pages for Ikea, John LewisHammonds, Sharps and Sliderobes to see exactly what each offers, and our fitted bedroom furniture page for more on using independent companies.

Corner wardrobes

Just like with any other tricky space in a bedroom, a fitted wardrobe can utilise a corner so that it isn't wasted.

They tend to come with options such as curved, particularly long or pull-out rails, that will make the corner easier to reach. Our section below on internal storage shows more of the choices available.

Front frame vs premium wardrobe 

A number of fitted wardrobe companies use what's called a 'front frame' for the their wardrobes.

These don't have backs, sides or tops, so can run floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall. They are usually made of wood. Sharps only uses this type of frame as it says it makes the most of the available room without using up space on extra walls.

However, this does mean that your clothes might get more dusty than if they were completely closed in. 

John Lewis and Hammonds offer an alternative 'premium' frame, which is fully enclosed. 

They say that this not only protects your belongings from dust, but also makes the wardrobe more stable. They both have frames in wood or aluminium. You can see all three varieties in the gallery below. These examples are from Hammonds:

Fitted wardrobes internal storage

There are a huge range of options when it comes to how the inside of your fitted wardrobe is configured. As well as the obvious standard drawers, cupboards and shelves, you can also have:

  • pull-out shoe racks
  • double-hanging clothes rails
  • pull-down rails
  • tie drawers
  • cosmetic units
  • jewellery drawers
  • pigeon holes
  • trouser rails
  • hanging boot racks
  • curved rails
  • laundry baskets.

You can see some examples of these in the gallery below. Different companies offer different versions of these, so look through brochures and websites to see what's available where.

The seemingly endless array of designs means you can truly tailor your fitted wardrobe to make your life easier. You can also add lights to your wardrobe to help make your possessions easier to see.

Cheap wardrobes

As you'd expect, a bespoke fitted wardrobe generally comes with a pretty hefty price tag. Depending on the size and what your specifications are, costs can rise well into the thousands. 

The top regret of bedroom furniture owners we spoke to was spending too much money overall. Of course, there are things you can do to minimise costs, such as:

  • go for a front-frame construction
  • choose standard storage options
  • use less expensive finishes and materials.

However, it's worth keeping in mind that the third biggest regret was not choosing better quality materials, so it's all about balance. A designer should be able to work with you to create a wardrobe that fits your needs and budget. All the companies we reviewed offer this service.

Ikea, which has fitted furniture with a much lower price tag, does offers a design service but it's in store rather than a home visit, like with the other companies. 

It's not surprising that Ikea got five stars for value for money when we asked its customers. But how did it do on the other measures – build quality, durability and customer service – in comparison to specialist companies? Visit our fitted bedroom furniture reviews to find out.

On this page, you'll also see how long, on average, people waited for their fitted furniture to be delivered and installed, and the problems people experienced with each company.

(Images: sliding and mirrored wardrobes from Sharps, walk-in wardrobe from Hammonds, children's bedroom furniture from Ikea and corner wardrobe from John Lewis.)