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Buying A Wardrobe

Wardobes come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, materials and finishes.

Some come fully assembled, some are flat-pack and others are known as “Knock-Down”, a sort of half-way house between the two.

In addition, wardrobes can be built-in, these wardrobes will need proper planning and building by a competent person.

Fully Assembled Wardrobes

If you are absolutely certain that the wardrobe will fit through all the doors, stairways and corridors in your home, a fully assembled wardrobe can be the easiest choice as far as assembly is concerned.  However, fully assembled wardrobes can be very large and are often extremely heavy.  They are unlikely to fit up the stairs of an average small to medium sized house.  Also they are difficult to manoeuvre in tight hallways. It is often best to find a wardrobe that will come flat pack or what is called ‘knock-down’ in the furniture trade.

Knock Down Wardrobes

This means that the wardrobe is assembled in the factory and then taken apart in sections for shipping. This will mean the wardrobe can be brought into the room in sections and assembled once it is there.

Knock-down wardrobes are often easier to assemble than flat-pack furniture. With knock-down furniture, the doors are often pre-hung on their hinges and drawers, if your wardrobe has any, are already made and are often already in pre-assembled carcasses.  Therefore, the vast majority of assembly is already complete and it is a simple matter of bolting together large sections and panels.  Ask your online retailer if the wardrobe you are buying is “knock-down”.  If they can’t answer your question or don’t know what knock-down means, be wary of them as the online retailer in question is unlikely to be a furniture professional.

Flat Pack Wardrobes

Flat pack wardrobes are usually the cheapest option as far as the initial purchase price goes.   The factory does not have to assemble the wardrobe and the resulting cost saving is passed to the customer.

The down-side of flat pack furniture is that the customer still has to pay for assembly one way or another –  either with their own time or through employing someone else to assemble the wardrobe for them.  They effectively have to make the wardrobe from scratch.  Every door hinge, every screw, door and drawer panel comes separately and these have to be laboriously assembled.

So, flat packs may appear to be a cheaper option on the surface but are probably the most hassle for the customer. And there could be hidden costs as a result.

If you are not DIY minded or you don’t have a friend or relation willing to assemble your wardrobe, then you may need to employ an odd-job man or carpenter to do it for you.  This may not be cheap, so bear this in mind when pricing up at time of purchase.  Alternatively, choose a knock-down wardrobe instead.  They are not much more expensive than flat-pack but tend to be a notch above in terms of quality, are normally much easier to assemble and could save you hours of DIY hell.

Will your wardrobe fit in your room?

You’ve measured the gap where the wardrobe is going to go.  You know the width of the wardrobe. The wardrobe is smaller than the gap.  Only just;  a couple of centimetres,  but it is smaller, so it will be fine, right?

Well, maybe not.

How did you measure the gap? Did you account for the skirting board on the wall?  Did you measure at more than one height on the wall?  This is important as many walls are not perfectly vertical or straight.  A gap in an alcove or between two walls could be few cm’s different at the bottom  of the wall versus the same measurement taken six feet higher up.

Are you sure that the measurement of the wardrobe on the website is accurate?  Check with your retailer.  The width measurements on furniture websites are often the absolute maximums.  Look for the widest part in the picture of the wardrobe. This is often the plinth at the base of the wardobe or the trim at the top.  The main body of the wardrobe is likely to be narrower than this. Again, ask your retailer, they should be able to answer your questions. If they cannot, then look elsewhere.

If all the above checks out ok, what about the depth of the wardrobe?  This is the measurement from front to back.  Not only will you need to ensure this measurement is adequate, you will also need to make sure that there is adequate clearance for the opening of doors.  For example, if your bed is too close to your wardrobe, you may not be able to open the door properly.  If this is the case, consider buying a wardrobe with sliding doors.  These are a great space saver, and often have a choice of mirrored doors or solid doors.

The height of the wardrobe should also be considered, especially if you have sloping or particularly low ceilings.  Also take into account any ceiling lights which may be affected by the positioning of your wardrobe and when opening the doors etc.

We hope that is of some use to you and please do check out our other articles on furniture buying.

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