If you're looking for dressing room ideas to turn a box room, a large cupboard or even a corner of your bedroom into the walk-in wardrobe of your dreams, you're in the right place. We get it, dressing rooms and walk in wardrobes are top of our lists in terms of things we would love to add to our houses (insert Carrie Bradshaw reference). But they have more to them than just being a place to store your Milano Blahniks (ha, dream on), they can actually add value to your home.
As well as making a luxurious addition to your bedroom, dressing rooms offer a number of practical advantages: it will help de-clutter your bedroom by providing extra bedroom storage; your clothes will look better and last longer; and storing your clothes away from where you sleep will contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment. Follow our complete guide to creating a dressing room and enjoy a serene and stylish bedroom...
Designing a bedroom completely from scratch? Go and have a read of out guide to designing a bedroom too.
1. Where to put your dressing room or walk-in wardrobe?
If you're lucky enough to have a box room next to or near to your master bedroom, this is the perfect place to site your dressing room – and it can stay separate from your bedroom, saving you the cost of knocking through.
If you're planning a major renovation anyway, blocking up the door between the box room and the hallway and opening up the wall between the box room and your bedroom will give your space more of a master suite feel.
In both cases, lining the walls of this set-up with clothes storage and perhaps room for a dressing table, with a bench for seating or extra storage in the centre of the room is the best use of space. See our pick of the best dressing tables if you want to upgrade from just using the top of your chest of drawers to do you makeup.
No room for a separate dressing room? You can recreate the feel of a dressing room or walk-in wardrobe on a long run of wall or large alcove in your bedroom. Use wardrobes or a stud partition wall behind the bed to make a dressing area that feels like a separate space – just ensure the lighting is adequate. You can also use a curtain to create the illusion of a separate space.
2. Assess your dressing room storage needs
Carefully assess your clothes storage needs and preferences. Do you prefer to hang or fold the majority of your garments? How much rail vs drawer vs shelf space will you need? Factor in shoe storage, handbags, swimwear and accessories, as these smaller items are often the most challenging to store neatly. Don't forget makeup storage and jewellery storage, too.
Shelves instead of drawers for your jumpers and jeans are a good dressing room idea, using dividers and designated compartments to keep your clothes in a neat pile. Hanging space is a must, but make sure you have enough room for full-length garments as well as shorter ones, and double your clothes storage by incorporating shorter hanging if you only need to hang trousers or skirts. Hangers or slide-out fixings? A combination of both is good.
3. Choose between fitted or freestanding dressing room furniture
Fitted or freestanding dressing room furniture? Fitted options are more expensive than off-the-shelf wardrobes, but have the advantage of being fully customisable to your space, increasing your storage by, on average, 30 per cent, and therefore freeing up more floor space.
Remember, too, that a fitted walk-in wardrobe is a selling point that, if done well, adds value to your home.
When it comes to choosing your dressing room storage furniture, have a combination of types, but be mindful that drawers cost more than shelves or hanging space. If you are on a budget, use shelves and storage boxes in place of drawers. Also, choose an affordable, good quality carcass for your wardrobe and dress it up with investment doors, handles and soft-close hinges.
4. Renovating an awkward room? Opt for fitted furniture
As we've said, custom-made piece of furniture can be tailored to your needs and work harder – ultimately allowing you to make the best use of every inch of available space. For example, built-in drawers and cupboards in a dressing room between the rafters is a fantastic use of an attic area, as it does not eat into the floor space, so will make a room feel bigger. Corner spaces also yield readily to bespoke solutions – think plenty of shelving and drawers.
On a budget? You can recreate a fitted feel with careful measuring and buying from storage specialists, such as Ikea.
5. Small dressing room? Choose multi-functional furniture
After dressing room ideas but you are working with a small space? Opt for multi functional furniture. An ottoman that can be used as a seat, a mirror that has drawers underneath, a dressing table with shelves you get the idea. Using multi-functional furniture means that can you can squeeze a dressing room into even the smallest of spaces. That unused alcove? That odd space under a sloping ceiling? These kinds of neglected space could be transformed with the help of some compact, multi-functional pieces of furniture.
One of our fave pieces is the Brimnes dressing table from Ikea. It has two really deep drawers for storage and a hinged lid that opens up into a mirror so you get, dressing table, storage and mirror all in one. Plus it's diddy so you won't need too much room.
6. Think you have no room for a dressing room? Use an alcove
Get creative in where you could put a 'dressing room' in your bedroom. Even if you don't have an a-joining room to turn into a wardrobe if you've got an alcove or a long run of wall, fixing clothes rails and shelving, then hiding them behind curtains that match your scheme is an affordable way to create a walk-in wardrobe effect. Ideal if you're renting! Find more clever ways to use an alcove in our design gallery.
7. Use a room divider to create a dressing area
Even if you don't have a walk-in wardrobe, you could pinch this dressing room idea and create the look by using a wardrobe (or a floor-to-ceiling storage system) as a room divider. This will work if you want to use part of your bedroom as a home office, too.
8. Include some open storage in your dressing room
An open display cabinet is perfect for showcasing treasured belongings, and will also allow easy access. Mix and match open and closed storage options to combine ease of access with tidiness. Foldable items and shoes do best on display, while smaller items, such as belts, scarves and underwear, can be put away in container storage (oh loook, we have a buying guide for that! See of pick of the best storage containers).
9. Position seating and dressing table strategically
You’ll need a place to sit: somewhere to try on shoes, sort out socks or simply relax. An ottoman with concealed storage under a window or placed in the centre of a dressing room is a great dressing room idea as it adds grandeur to a space. Check out our pick of the best ottomans for your dressing room.
10. And make sure you pick the perfect dressing table
Choosing the right dressing table is very important for creating a beautiful dressing area. Make sure that the dressing table matches the rest of your bedroom furniture and then go to town with accessories that fit your vibe.
If you can, place your dressing table somewhere that gets plenty of natural light to avoid the whole clown blusher situation that seems to often happen when you get read in dim lighting.
11. Use mirrored doors to make a dressing room feel bigger
If you are cramming a small space with storage, you need to prevent it from feeling enclosed. Wardrobes that reach all the way to the ceiling will maximise your storage, but will make the room feel smaller. You can combat that with mirrored doors on wardrobes, or furniture in light-enhancing colours and high gloss finishes.
12. Use mirrored doors to create a hidden dressing room
Get inspired by this dressing room idea and section off part of the bedroom or build a walk-in wardrobe in an adjoining room, using sliding doors for division and to keep dust away. A mirrored door not only has the obvious practical use, but will also create the optical illusion of even more space.
13. Create a practical lighting dressing room lighting scheme
Lighting is key in your dressing room – thinking your lighting scheme through carefully will enable you to make the most of the space. Where possible, try to locate your dressing table in front of a natural light source. If this isn’t possible, make sure you add some spot lighting, even if the room is small. Aim for the magic number of at least five light sources, not only for practicality and visibility, but to create atmosphere and spotlight accents.
Don’t forget the sockets – the last thing you need is to create your perfect dressing area and then have to stand on the other side of the room to dry your hair. Look at how to plan bedroom lighting to get started – many of the principles are the same.
14. Take Marie Kondo's approach to storing clothes well in your dressing room
There's no denying that the craze for tidying, started by Marie Kondo, reaches its peak in the bedroom, with her KonMari method for folding clothes, a genius way to make each item of clothing accessible and neat. The basic premise is to fold items so that they stand up rather than stack one on top of the other in drawers and in clothes storage boxes, making them visible from above. Use our step-by-step guide to find out how.
15. Use clothes as a feature in your dressing room
If your clothes are just too pretty to fold away, consider this dressing room idea and use them as a focal point. Choose a colour scheme and pick out a few different pieces to hang on a clothes rack. When we say clothes rack we obviously mean a nice, aesthetically pleasing clothes rack (which apparently do exist now). We love this simple birch branch from Etsy but if you are a budget the Turbo rack from Ikea is simple and chic.
16. Choose sliding doors to save space
If space is tight, sliding doors are the way to go. Why? They save on the floorspace you need to leave clear to swing the doors open. Paint them a soft colour to merge with the walls to make the space feel larger – or go with mirrored doors to make the space feel larger.
17. Add smart lighting to your walk in wardrobe
Installing lighting into a wardrobe, whether walk-in or not, allows you to not only see what is where – and whether colours match well – they also make a feature of the wardrobe. You could take the route above, with Molteni & C's glass doors and interior lighting used to show off the wardrobe's interior. Or – more likely – you could install easy smart lighting (Ikea's is operated by a hub and can be easily fixed in place) or even a stick-on, battery-operated, motion detector light that comes on automatically when you open the door. This one from Amazon is a good find.