Why not ‘think outside the closet’ by customising your cupboards to suit your needs or start from scratch and make them mobile in the process? We show you how.
Cupboards are usually placed on either side of the bedroom door, which essentially creates two dilemmas: the cupboard size is limited to the length of this stretch of wall and this rather ‘standard’ cupboard placement also dictates, or limits, the furniture placement in your bedroom.
We would all love to own a large walk-in closet with well-lit floor-to-ceiling mirror but a well-planned and organised clothing cupboard is a more realistic and attractive alternative for most people. The mobile cupboard units shown here were specially constructed for the owner out of 22mm laminated pine boards and finished in durable white enamel. The size and depth of the cupboards were configured for this apartment and would therefore vary from location to location. The construction is relatively simple in that the boards were simply glued and screwed together. The following images and text are
intended to inspire new ideas and possible configurations for your own cupboard. Your personal wardrobe is, after all, an extremely individual thing.
1 Add accessories
A stainless-steel rail can be added to the inside of a door. Add as many as you may need. These can be used to hang items such as scarves, ties and costume jewellery. Measure and space the rails so that they are an equal distance from the sides of the door and are spaced to allow for the lengths of the items that they will hold. Screw these in place – make sure that they are level before doing so. You can also add individual hooks to the inside of a door that can be used for items, such as handbags, that can be hung.
2 Customise the layout
Measure the wall area against which you plan to place your cupboard(s) and divide the space according to your needs for hanging and packing space. The layout of the cupboard shown here comprises three separate units (placed on castors) that, together, allow for four hanging rails – three for shorter garments and one for longer items such as dresses. There is also adequate allowance for packing shelves, drawers and storage space for bags and boxes. Shoes and boots that are worn more often (according to the season) are relegated to special pull-out shelves, while pairs worn less often can be packed below the hanging spaces or stored in boxes in the spaces above.
3 Turn shelves into drawers
Convert shelf spaces into drawers: construct drawers to fit shelf spaces and then add drawer runners. Use a jigsaw to cut out handholds in the drawer fronts as there will be little space between the drawer fronts and the cupboard doors for conventional handles.
4 Move or add extra hanging rails
Aluminium hanging rails are inexpensive and can easily be added to create extra hanging space. Existing rails can be moved up so that extra rails can be added below. This will create two separate hanging spaces that can be used for hanging shorter garments.
5 Add some wheels
If you are constructing new cupboards, consider building these as separate units (such as the ones showcased in this article) so that you can add castors to the bottom of each for mobility. In this way you will not be limited in your placement of furniture and can move your cupboards just as you would move other pieces of furniture in the room. Should you wish to add castors to the bottom of your cupboards, consider constructing them (or at least the bases) from pine, as it is stronger and will support the cupboards’ weight better than chipboard would.
6 Add pull-out shoe shelves
A Measure the opening into which your shoe shelves will be placed. Space the shelves according to the heights of your shoes or boots.
B Screw the ‘outside’ part(s) of the drawer runner(s) onto these positions.
Tip: Add a 22mm spacer between the runner and the side of the cupboard so that the shelf will slide past the door hinges if the movement of these shelves will impact on the doors or hinges.
C Fix the ‘inside’ drawer runner(s) to the bottom of the shelf(ves).
Tip: The width of the shelves can be calculated by subtracting 26mm (13mm for each drawer-runner set) from the width of the opening. Remember to subtract an additional 44mm (22mm each side) if you are adding spacers.
D Slide the shelves into position.
Tip: Add a strip along the front edge of these shelves that will act as a handle but also keep the shoes in place.
7 Add mirrors to the doors
Mirrors can easily be added to cupboard doors, either on the inside or the outside. The cupboard shown here has a mirror fixed to the outside of each door. Measure the surface area of the door(s), which you wish to
clad with mirror, before ordering.
Note: When ordering/purchasing your mirror(s), remember to request that the edges are polished and that holes are drilled in the corners to allow for the mirrors to be fixed to the doors with screws. Drill pilot holes into the door that correspond with the holes drilled in the corners of each mirror. Place the rubber washer (supplied with the mirror screws) in place before fastening
Important: Do not over-tighten the screw as this could cause the mirror to crack.
8 Update the doorknobs
This is the simplest way to give old cupboards a face-lift. Add the final finishing touches by screwing the new doorknobs in place. You can use the existing holes or, if you are fixing the knobs to new doors, make sure to measure and drill all new holes along the same height.
Note: Should you decide to clad your cupboard doors with mirrors you will have to specify that an additional hole be drilled through the mirror for the new doorknob.