Wardrobe: Seeking Commons While Reserving Difference

As a crucial element that reflects human emotion within the living space, the wardrobe industry has been injected with more impetus for development and expansion. There is no limit to innovation, especially in an era where everything is encouraged to be tailor designed and made. By Yoyo Xie


With the concept of customisation becoming more prevalent in recent years, how to design and produce quality wardrobes that can keep up with time and provide more ‘human’ elements have become questions that manufacturers have to ponder about.

Advantages Of Customisation

First of all, custom wardrobes have an edge in terms of functionality. Limited by installation processes, traditional site manufactured wardrobes mainly comprise of partition boards and feature simple zooming and far less functions. They can only fulfil two basic roles: hanging of clothes and placement of stacked items.

In contrast, the partitions and cabinets of custom wardrobe are not fixed with nails, so it allows for flexible addition or reduction of partition boards. Modern custom wardrobes are also equipped with many functional hardware and accessories such as drawers, pants racks, metal basket, stretching full-length mirror and shoe racks, highlighting the diversity of cabinet storage function.

The cabinets of the custom wardrobe are designed based on the actual room space by integrating the wardrobe into a wall system. Therefore, it not only maximise the space utilisation but is also conducive to the overall design harmony of the room. In terms of internal space utilisation, custom wardrobe is also different from the stereotyped design of the finished wardrobes by flexibly dividing the internal function zones according to the dressing habits of the owners.

Secondly, the production technology of custom wardrobe is constantly advancing. For one, traditional site fabricated wardrobes employ the method of field measurement, where the core boards come in large size are cut and processed on site. Later, the pieces of core planks are connected and assembled with nails after which the surface and edge of these planks might undergo a manual process using specific technique upon customer's request.

On the other hand, as custom wardrobes require small scaleproduction and processing system, their unit costs are then significantly reduced. In addition, most substrates for making custom wardrobes are density boards or particle boards characterised by excellent resistance to deformation, strong nail holding ability, small rate of expansion and high loading capacity, or other new eco-friendly boards which have been certified to international or national environmental standards.

The boards are manufactured by standardised production lines and the automatic edgebanding machines are used to execute the edgebanding process. Therefore, the size of the wardrobe can be precisely controlled and the qualities of fitness and fineness can be guaranteed. Meanwhile, the edge of the boards is relatively uniform and smooth with no signs of coarseness.

In addition, the advanced manufacturing technology of custom wardrobe can effectively prevent the release of hazardous substance from the boards, for example the good banding technique can reduce the emission of formaldehyde and other chemical and pollutants.

Prevalent Trends


The core of custom wardrobe lies in the green credential of the materials used. A few years ago, most companies use high-density fibreboard (HDF) and melamine boards as the raw materials. Nowadays, many manufacturers start to choose the wood particle board which boasts improved environmental quality.

As a new eco-friendly substrate introduced to the market in recent years, wood particle board is an engineered wood product manufactured from wood chips and wood scrap and glued together with suitable binders under given heat and pressure. The use of high-grade adhesives would ensure the environmental performance of the board to reach the European standard‘E0’class.

In addition to wood panels, a new variety of eco-boards that is made of 100 percent recycled natural wheat straw and using formaldehyde-free adhesive (P-MDI) together with the more environmental-friendly lamination technology is being widely used in the production of wardrobe.

Today, as consumers worldwide are increasingly aware of the negative impacts generated by deforestation and toxic substances, wardrobe manufacturers have already begun to searching for more eco-friendly manufacturing techniques as an ideal solution to reduce the damage to the environment. Therefore, wardrobe manufacturing enterprises are resorting to more recycled and non-hazardous substances and materials while increase the efficiency in resource utilisation. 

Solid & Whole Concept

Various wood-based panels such as wood particle board or MDF are generally chosen as the substrates for wardrobe, although the realistic wood grain film can duplicate the visual and tactile texture of wood to some extent, it still unable to fully exhibit its original texture.

In comparison, solid wood furniture is characterised by fine texture and durable and environmental-friendly property. In recent years, the product has gained strong momentum, it is expected that more custom wardrobes made with solid wood will be launched to the market.

With the wardrobe industry has accelerated its step towards the direction of overall home furnishing, customisation is then no longer limited to wardrobe products. Needless to say, the growth momentum of the whole-house furniture customisation will be further intensified as it is one of the most effective methods to avoid the inappropriate collocation of style and size of various furnishing elements.

Being Minimalist 

Minimalist wardrobe can always match thousands of bedrooms which come in varied decoration styles, leaves the room with a well-fitting impression. However, simplicity is by no means synonymous with simple, instead, it is an innovative extension of design ideas after careful consideration and meticulous planning through elimination of complicated and unnecessary stuff while keep those essential elements.

At present, large furniture is no longer popular, and wardrobe products in rigid and fixed design are not favoured by consumers as well. Rather, people nowadays demand wardrobe to exhibit more flexibility and diversity so as to accommodate more complex spatial layout. In this regard, streamlined design guarantees that all basic functions can be infused into a wardrobe, this means the wardrobe featuring elegant and smooth design is also provided with more practical storage function.

Intelligent Technologies  

The combination of fashion and technology represents the future trend of wardrobe. Therefore, the development of smart wardrobe is the inevitable demand of the times. In recent years, intelligentisation remains a focal point for custom wardrobe. 

Many companies have introduced various smart wardrobe products with improved functions to the market. For example, one company launched a wardrobe that is equipped with intelligent environment optimisation system, intelligent control system, intelligent storage system, intelligent security system, intelligent lighting system and integrated digital control system.

Smart wardrobe not just means the installation of electronic components inside, but rather for providing convenient life experience based on user-friendly design. It reflects the harmonious interaction between people and furniture elements, as well as highlights the perfect combination of those well-designed intelligent systems with furniture systems. 

Meanwhile, the inner space layout of smart wardrobe can be meticulously designed, with the storage space being divided into different functional zones ranging from hanging area, drawer area, shirts area, to clothing area (tie, brooches, scarves, necklaces, etc.), area for clothing that need to be washed and quilts area.

Go Standardised 

Standardised production of custom wardrobe provides assurance for the quality control. Though following the principle of “tailored-made” to meet the individualised needs, this kind of customised products is likely to incur problems. Single batch of production requires a lot of manual work and is impossible to maximise the utilisation of resource.

In addition, as the production cycle of custom wardrobe is long, the substitution of automated production lines for manual labour and the design and production of the products with standard size might change the current status of the wardrobe industry.

Compared to the conventional manufacturing methods characterised by excessive production processes, high error rate and long production cycle, standardised production exhibits some obvious advantages such as just-in-time delivery, high production efficiency, shortened production cycle, energy saving, high degree of mechanisation and low cost. 

Design Considerations

The following are some issues that consumers might be concerned with when they custom-made or design their wardrobes. 

Choosing hinged door or sliding door for the wardrobe?

This is mainly based on personal preference and the actual space of the bedroom. Wardrobe with hinged door is more convenient for use and provides larger scope of view. However, when opening the door, it occupies relatively large space.

On the other hand, wardrobe equipped with sliding door is becoming fashion trend. One benefit lies in its practicality and space-saving property, another advantage is that this variety has more aesthetic value and provides rich styles for your selection. However, the internal layout of the functional element should be given careful consideration and its scope of view is rather smaller.

Should the wardrobe with sliding door be fitted with outer top cabinet or inner top cabinet?

The outer top cabinet is easy to use with independently divided space, but its overall aesthetics is inferior to the inner top cabinet. The inner top cabinet might ensure the overall aesthetics, but it will cause inconvenience as the entire upper cabinet will be opened together with the motion of the inner top cabinet. In addition, the deformation coefficient of this type is relatively higher. 

How to make the internal storage space meet the use demand of two persons? 

Generally speaking, both man’s and woman’s clothing and other articles of daily use (eg: tie, trousers, pajamas and dresses) should be separately arranged and placed based on the principle of functional zoning. In addition, functional section for shared use should also be established.

How to resolve the problem of moisture-related incident

Remember to keep a certain distance when hanging the clothes in order to maintain good ventilation, while the desiccant and dehumidification barrel, or other intelligent dehumidifiers should be placed inside the wardrobe.

It is safe to make the extension for the top cabinets? 

Yes, since the safety level of current technology can ensure this feasibility. The top cabinet must be cross joined with the upper cabinet with the sideboards being fastened on the wall by expansion screw, while the dimension of the backboard should be changed to 18cm or is applied with the back brace to be fixed on the wall

What is the importance of edgebanding?

The edge banding quality of the wardrobe should be given enough consideration. A good and seamless edge won’t be easily broken off, and it provides a very comfortable feeling for push-pull actions while maintains the overall aesthetics.  

Intensifying The Concept Of Tailor-Made

How to create a good custom wardrobe? In general, the product should be customised according to the diversified needs of different age group.

For young couples, the key word might be diversification as the assortment of clothes of these young people is more diversified. The internal storage space is usually divided into two sections specifically for men and women. The hangers inside the cabinet are classified into two rows according to their length, one for placing overcoat and another for upper garment. The shirts can also be placed in separate small drawers or shelves.

In addition, items such as underwear, ties and socks are often put in dedicated small box which is helpful for the maintenance of clothing, and the trousers should be stored using dedicated racks. 

Convenience is crucial for wardrobe that is designed for elderly people. Though unnecessary to be very large, special attention must be given to the easy access to the inside items when designing this kind of wardrobe. It is normally recommended to make more shelves and these shelves and drawers should not be made too low, for fear that the elderly might be inconvenient to crouching down in order to fetch the articles. 

The design focus for children’s wardrobe however, emphasises the appropriate collocation and suitable control of percentage between the stacking zone and hanging zone. Normally, items like toys, books and clothing or other kid’s articles are all placed in the cabinet, achieving the multi-purpose function of the wardrobe. 

Inevitably, more evolving trends will emerge in the wardrobe industry. Whatever, these trends should always advance with the times, on the one side, they should feature strong personalized characteristics, while at the same time retain some vital similarities.


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