Dressing Rooms

Dressing roomsDressing rooms or walk-in wardrobes are the stuff of Hollywood films and stays in posh hotels. So it’s no surprise that we are seeing more and more requests from clients for these handy extra spaces.
Dressing rooms aren’t new though, in larger Victorian houses it was common to have a dressing room for the gentleman and a boudoir for the lady which were both accessible from the bedroom. Indeed the Dressing room was the genesis of the bathroom as women used their dressing rooms at more intimate and private moments, when one presumed they would be alone. The washing of one’s face, feet and hands was a daily ritual, while bathing one’s entire body was not. Such ablutions were done privately. People would wash in basins and a portable hip bath would be placed in the dressing room if they decided to bathe completely.

Six reasons you simply MUST have one

If you are struggling to justify the expense then here are some practical reasons for insisting on a dressing room: –

  1. Having an allotted area for your clothes means that they can be cared for properly. The temperature, dryness and access keeps them in the best possible condition – you’re not dragging jumpers out from under shoes or hanging jackets on the same hanger as a shirt for example
  2. If you are sharing with another person then they are space-efficient, having one area for two people or means you don’t have to have wardrobes in each bedroom.
  3. Bedrooms are warm and moist from the hours of breathing (sometimes heavy?) that we do in them – this humidity isn’t good for our clothes which can get bacteria growing on them
  4. Our shirts, trousers and other garments all collect dirt when we wear them and then shed this as dust and fibres during storage. If we are sleeping in the same room then it can’t be good.
  5. A well-made Dressing room adds value to your house. As we have mentioned these rooms are desirable so others will pay a premium for one.
  6. Although a Drawing Room is more expensive than shop-bought wardrobes, we can design and build it to be totally bespoke to your requirements. On average this can increase the storage you can get in the same space by 30%. It can also be built into a space that might be unsuitable for anything else.

When planning your Dressing room consider these: –

Dressing roomsWhat clothes do you want to store?

You need to provide proportionate storage for your clothes. It’s no good having rails and rails of hanging space if you’re a tracksuit wearer that has little formal wear. Similarly you may avoid skirts and favour full length dresses or prefer to fold clothes rather than hang them up. You should take an inventory of your wardrobe and let us know what quantity of space you require for the main classes of storage: –

  1. Hanging space – full length dresses, coats consider padded hangers?
  2. Hanging space – jackets, shirts, blouses, trousers
  3. Drawers – shallow for underwear/lingerie, socks, stockings, swimwear
  4. Drawers – deep for woollens, thick scarves
  5. Shelves – handbags, labelled boxes, wicker baskets or jeans, jumpers
  6. Shoe racks – shoes, don’t forget boots
  7. A rail – ties, scarves, belts. These can be bulkier than you think leave depth
  8. Hooks and baskets – accessories, soft bags, shoe horns, bow ties, lingerie in cotton bags
  9. Jewellery box – valuables, watches
  10. Hat stand – or a large cupboard for hats

Somewhere to sit and a dressing table

Dressing roomsThis is vital to help you get dressed, try on shoes and tie up laces. An ottoman is worth considering. With a built in dresser you can do your makeup and hair at leisure and relax while you ponder which ‘you’ you are going to be that day or evening! It need not take away from storage space as the seat itself can hold handbags or whatever and the dresser will have drawers and light.


Your dressing room is unlikely to be the largest room in the house so, to avoid a feeling of claustrophobia use plenty of mirrors – practical as well as essential. Large expanses of floor-to-ceiling mirror can have a real impact as can large antique mirrors leant against the wall. We can also use light colours, avoid floor-to ceiling built-in cupboards and introduce recessed nooks to give the impression of space.


If you are lucky enough to have natural light from a roof light or window that is a great advantage, especially over a dressing table, as you can see your outfit as others will see it out of doors. Otherwise normal lighting rules apply; have a combination of spot lights, desk or wall lights and low-level lighting so that you can see clearly every detail of what you’re wearing. Don’t forget vanity mirror for make-up as well. You can also highlight areas of the room with particular clothes or pictures that you want to accentuate. Don’t forget plenty of plug sockets as well – you need dryers, straighteners and a trouser press and don’t forget your mobile phone, Fit bit and other electronics.

Choose your colours

As you choose your colour bear in mind natural light and the shape of the room. Also bear in mind who will use the Dressing room – if it’s mainly for a man then consider darker tones that give it a moody, serious feel. Lighter colours like soft pastels may suit a women’s dressing room better making it feel pretty, warm and elegant.
Line your drawers

Take some space from the bedroom

Dressing roomsIf you have a large bedroom we can build a Dressing room in a corner or behind the bed that will very quickly become a separate space in its own right.
Make it a joyful haven – you spend a lot on clothing yourself fashionably and so why hide it. If you get pleasure from your appearance and own expensive, attractive items then this is the place to admire them for yourself as well as get dressed in them for the events ahead. Glass-fronted cupboards can show off your best pieces and why hide jumpers and blouses in drawers when a shelf can display their colours and designs. And how about a chandelier?

Other ideas

A hidden space – Why not – it’s your dressing room and it will contain other valuables.
Folding screen – If the dressing room is for more than one person then consider a folding screen, available in many attractive designs it’s a stylish way to give a little discretion without taking up a lot of room.
Line your drawers – acid-free tissue paper, perfumed or not?

What’s the next step?

Come and speak to us. We design, manufacture and install Dressing Rooms and have a wealth of experience to share. A meeting is free and we can hear your plans, talk about the best way to achieve your dream and reassure you about how to get the most out of your budget.
When it comes to choosing your storage we can design and build anything you want but, be mindful that drawers cost more than shelves or hanging space. If you are on a budget, we may advise you use shelves and storage boxes in place of drawers. We can also advise on choice of wood or painted wood, doors, handles and soft-close hinges and the plethora of other considerations outlined in this article.