Designing that Killer Wardrobe- by Sally Caroline

Make no mistake, this small space brings great joy to men and women alike. I look to retail stores and upscale boutiques for inspo in the design of these – creating gorgeous displays that celebrate the wondrous achievements we’ve had on a shopping stint.

To me, a luxurious wardrobe is one that contains beautiful plush detailing, but also one that provides ample storage for you to neatly arrange all of your items for easy access. While all the pretty, decorative trimmings are fun, the planning and storage components create the kind of luxury that makes your morning easier.

The good news is, even with varying budgets, one could make changes today to create a space both efficient for your use, and sexy like your style. No matter the space you have to work with, we can tweak minor details, or make major changes to refresh your wardrobe or dressing room.

So here are my top tips for maximising your wardrobe functionally and beautifully. Please note: not all of the tips may apply to you as it really depends on the space you have. I can assure you though, that there’s something here for everyone!


If you’re building new, always plan first. Essentially, planning is about mapping out the space before you build. Think about how much space you need for hanging, folding, drawers etc. If you’re planning a shared master robe, take ownership of each zone and fit the right combinations of single hanging, double hanging, drawers and shelves as needed.

Shoe storage

For most people I know, their shoes are their ‘babies’. Let’s put them somewhere fitting, shall we?

I recommend allocating a particular area to shoes with stacked shelves purely for them.  Consider angling these shelves or placing onto drawer runners for easy access. Allow for various heights to accommodate flats, heels and boots.  If you cannot allocate a specific area, take the bottom of each hanging area and fit this with a plinth or low shelf for shoe storage.

Accessory Storage

Create storage capacity for all your different accessories – this includes ties, scarves, belts, cufflinks and jewellery, maybe even sunnies. Ties and belts can be mounted on the back of cupboard doors (with a fitting from Hafele) or in their own pull-out section.


I always have a row of shallow drawers for easy-to-find items like underwear, socks, stockings etc. Shallow and wide drawers allow for you to be able to see everything at once – no stacking or mess.  This also applies to a dresser – so you can have cufflinks and jewellery placed on a fabric-lined drawer, carefully divided to place each item.   I’d check out your fav jewellery store or boutique and see how they display their treasures.


Full height mirrors are a must. If you have the space, place a beautifully framed mirror on show. This could be oversized and leaning against a wall, for example.  If you’re short of space, have a mirror mounted to the inside of one of the cupboard doors. And, if you can, have it inset so the mirror is flush with the cupboard door.


Perfect for outfit planning, packing and unpacking.  I always allow for a couple of hooks so clients can hang tomorrow’s outfit or gather those pieces they don’t want to forget on their next trip away.  Personally, I travel a lot and it feels like I am always packing and unpacking. Having a place to prop dresses and jackets that are coming with me makes this process that little bit easier.


Somewhere sweet for makeup (if not in your ensuite), perfume and jewellery.  I have a collection of special dishes that I’ve gathered from antique markets, gifts and grandma’s which I use to display my favourite jewellery.  This is my little ME space in our house and something I really treasure. I highly recommend making space for this, it can be as small as a little bench top and as big as a floating joinery unit inspired by Chanel stores. (!!!)

Glamming it UP

So how would you glam up your wardrobe with finishes and furniture?


  • Velvet lined drawers…cause why not?

  • Plush rugs in a bamboo silk will feel amazing underfoot while you’re changing.  Consider sumptuous colours or patterns to liven up the space.

  • Timber veneer joinery, if you’re building. This will give texture and warmth.

  • Mixed metal rails such as stainless steel, brass, bronze or a powder-coated colour

  • Wallpaper in either subtle or textural variations.


  • A pouf, ottomon or bench will give you a place to sit whilst you throw on your shoes, or to rest your bag.  Again, for packing, it’s great to have a surface off the ground

  • For larger rooms, a  d i v i n e  daybed will give you ‘layout space’ for your outfits and accessories, also a place to prop your friends/husband if you’re trying on looks. A beautiful armchair works well here too.

  • A rug or runner that’s lush underfoot while you’re changing

  • A coat stand. This is a great freestanding option for the same practical use as hooks – good for outfit planning or to hang tomorrow’s killer look!

Planning a new design project of your own? Head to to guide you through.

Written by Sally Caroline- Interior Designer and Creator of Open Design Studio.

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