Ask a woman what her dream room in her perfect home would be and chances are it won’t be a kitchen.
It’s more likely to be a large walk-in wardrobe (with a designer clothing budget to match).
Large walk-in dressing areas are a facet of interiors which I am being asked to create more and more frequently. My clients are very specific about what they are looking for.
With a walk-in closet (as our State-side friends call a walk-in wardrobe) you can arrange your clothes in order of season, colour and event. They’ll be stored in the best conditions and you can see what you have at a glance. (Or several glances if you have a particularly large collection of clothes).
It’s all about planning an outfit and being able browse through the clothes you have (and decide on what is missing).
I like to include a comfortable squashy seating area in a dressing room. Somewhere for the girlfriends to sit (or the husband, boyfriend or partner) while outfits and shoes are paraded.
In fact, let’s start with shoes. In my dressing areas I use racks to hold a growing shoe collection. Forget boxes to hold shoes. No, what women really want is to have their shoes right out there in front. Almost as though they are works of art (which in fact Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks are). That’s exactly how I treat shoe storage, as you can see here.
Next up are open hanging wardrobes which can showcase frocks, blouses, skirts, trousers. So the wearer can see at a glance what’s there and dress accordingly. What works with what. Play around with colours, textures and seasonality.
Vertical storage space is also a must for sweaters, tops and underwear
Some storage experts say that you should rank different types of clothes separately – skirts, dresses, shirts. Others say you should storage separates by outfit.
Personally I like having my skirts in serried ranks, then trousers, blouses, frocks …
Clients will need shelves and cabinets for accessories – hats for Ascot and weddings, silk scarves, the handbag collection … scarves …
On the subject of accessories, there’s nothing like trying on jewellery with an outfit – so perhaps a safe near the dressing area?
Mirrors and lighting are crucial
Another crucial element in the perfect dressing room is a floor length mirror – in fact a three way mirror so you can look at an outfit from different angles.
When I’m designing an interior, I always discuss the client’s lifestyle with them if I’m creating a dressing room. If I know how they spend their leisure time it gives me great insight into the space they’re going to need for their wardrobe.
Finally, I spend a lot of time thinking about lighting. Lights inside cabinets that illuminate the contents within when the door is opened. Other more decorative lights to turn a shoe collection into something resembling an art installation.
Whilst I think a dressing room should be practical and offer the most effective and roomy storage it also needs to be beautiful and a private space in which to relax, reflect and prepare for the day ahead and those special social events that are so fun to attend.