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Your ultimate guide to the different types of wardrobes in Malaysia


Should you go for a built in wardrobe or a walk-in closet? Here we answer some of the burning questions you have on wardrobes, including the pros and cons, materials used and how to maintain them. 

The wardrobe is perhaps the second-most important item to have in a bedroom, next to the bed. It mainly functions as a piece of furniture to store, organise and provide a shelter for your clothing essentials, accessories, bags, and if you have a big enough space, shoes. Without a wardrobe, your house will probably look like a landfill site, where piles and piles of clothing stack up next to each other. Definitely not a sight that we want to see in our home. 

There are many different types of wardrobes and closets in the market today, whether you’re looking for something simple like the Ikea wardrobe or something permanent like a built in wardrobe cabinet. In fact, go on Pinterest and search for “wardrobe ideas” and your feed will be flooded with all the aesthetically pleasing and Instagram-worthy shots of someone else’s wardrobe that you wish you had. 

If you’re unsure of what type of modern wardrobe to go with, read on to find out all the different options available in the market and which suits you best. 

? Small closet space? Here’s how to maximise your wardrobe space.
? Looking to decorate your master bedroom? We’ve got some tips for you.

What is a wardrobe? 

A wardrobe is a cupboard for clothes. It’s usually designed as a tall clothes cabinet or closet with hanging space and multiple chests of drawers. In some countries, a wardrobe is also a room where people keep their apparel. 

What are the types of wardrobe materials

The type of materials used in a wardrobe cabinet is as important as the style. The key is to balance the durability and functionality with the aesthetic. Let’s take a look at the different types of wardrobe materials that are popular in Malaysia. 

1. Solid wood wardrobe

© Dit Sangthongsuk | 123rf

Wardrobes that are made of solid wood can stand the test of time because of how durable it is. Just a coat of polish will make it look good as new. In fact, it’s considered one of the best wardrobe materials out there because it can hold a lot of weight without warping or bending. 

However, solid wood is also known to be expensive and if you’re not taking good care of it, it will not age well. Design is also limited for this type of material. 

2. Plywood wardrobe

© timltv | 123rf

Don’t have the money to invest in a solid wood wardrobe? Try plywood. It’s said to be the most durable option, next to solid wood. They’re also very light and versatile. 

Made of a thin layer of wood veneers, the pieces are pressed and glued together to create a strong material. They can be used as a base for other finishes like laminates, which means you can pretty much go wild with the wardrobe design and colours. 

3. MDF wardrobe

If the term MDF sounds familiar to you, it’s because the Swedish furniture giant, Ikea, uses a lot of it in their furniture. The Medium Particle Fibreboard (MDF) consists of wood residue that’s been pressed and hammered down into sheets. Compared to plywood, it’s much cheaper and environmentally friendly—as it uses waste wood to manufacture. Since MDF is made of fine wood particles, its surface is a lot smoother, making it the perfect candidate for design customisation and personalisation. 

The downside is, if MDF touches water or any other type of liquid, it will soak up like a sponge and swell. So keep liquid far away from it. Another drawback is that since they’re made of fine particles, they can’t hold screws very well. 

4. Glass wardrobe

© dahin | 123rf

Today, we see more and more people opting for non-wood options like glass for their wardrobes and for good reasons. A glass wardrobe can make a room look and feel brighter and airier. Unlike wood materials, they’re invulnerable to scratches and nicks. Aside from transparent glasses, you can also go for opaque or coloured glass for privacy. 

As with all the other wardrobe materials, it has its disadvantages too. Glass is fragile and if you don’t handle them well, they will break. So no slamming the glass-fronted door or you’ll find pieces of shard on the ground. 

5. Mirrored wardrobe

© Katarzyna Białasiewicz | 123rf

Mirrored wardrobes are starting to get traction because of their versatility. Instead of having two separate pieces of furniture, why not combine them into one where you can save space and elevate the design of the wardrobe? A mirrored wardrobe is great for small bedrooms because mirrors can be used to enlarge a space, so if your wardrobe doors are mirrored-based, you can be sure that your room will look visually larger than it is. 

The only problem with mirrored wardrobe is fingerprints. But that can be easily rectified by wiping it off with baby wipes. 

The wardrobe is only a part of what makes a bedroom great, if you’re looking for master room designs, check this article out: 6 simple steps to creating the perfect master bedroom

How do I choose the right wardrobe cabinet

Choosing the right wardrobe can be tricky. You want something functional where you can organise your items of clothing without compromise on style. To help you pick the right decision, here’s our guide on how to choose the right wardrobe: 

Step 1: Find out what type of wardrobe you want

Are you looking for a walk-in closet like what Carrie Bradshaw had in Sex and the City or something vintage like the armoires? Choosing a type of wardrobe that you like is crucial as the wardrobe is likely going to stay with you for a very long time and you don’t usually change your wardrobe unless you move to a new place. As we’ve laid out all the different types of wardrobes above, pick one that fits your home. 

Step 2: Measure how much space you need

© Yuliia Pylypchuk | 123rf

Next comes the wardrobe measurement. Whether you’re buying a bed, a sofa or any big piece of furniture for your home, you should always measure how much space you have before you buy. Locate the spot where you want your wardrobe cabinet or wardrobe closet to be, take a measuring tape and start checking the height, length and width of the area. 

If you’re opting for a built in cabinet, then it’s even more important to get the right wardrobe measurement. Here are some figures you should keep in mind: 

  • Your wardrobe’s depth is 24 inches deep. 
  • Allocate 12 inches in length and 18 inches in depth for folded clothes. For deeper drawers, allocate 24 inches in depth. 
  • Shirts take up 1 inch of space, pants and skirts occupy 1 ¼ inches, and dresses and jackets take about 2 to 3 inches. 
  • A single rod or a long-hanging rod needs approximately 66 to 68 inches in height. A medium-hanging rod takes up about 50 to 52 inches. 
  • When designing a double-hanging wardrobe, allocate the top rod 80 inches up from the floor and the bottom rod 40 inches up from the floor. 
  • Children’s closets need only a height of 45 inches. 
  • For shoes and other smaller items of clothing, prepare about 12 inches of shelf depth

Step 3: Determine how much storage you need

Do you only store your clothes in the wardrobe? Or are you the type who likes to flash your branded bags and display your sneaker collection out in the open? If your wardrobe’s only function is to store your clothes, opt for one that comes with both drawers and hanging space. 

Get a bedroom wardrobe with multiple wire drawers or drawers if you have lots of accessories or smaller items of clothing. And if your wardrobe consists only of dresses and formal wear, it’s best if you stick to one with lots of hanging space in the wardrobe.  

Step 4: Finally, pick a style

Now we’ve come to the most interesting part of the selection, which is the style of the closet. There are many places you can go to get inspiration of how you want it to be—Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or even browsing the Ikea catalogue. 

When choosing a style, you should always match it with the theme of your bedroom. If your bedroom theme is minimalistic and you opted for a funky closet, it might look jarring and out of place. So make sure the finishes, colour and detailing of the wardrobe are in line with the rest of the space. 

Types of wardrobes in Malaysia

Now that we have the basics, let’s take a look at the different types of wardrobes you can have in your bedroom (or outside of it). From sliding wardrobe to walk-in closet, here are your options.

1. Hinged wardrobe

© Graham Oliver | 123rf

The hinged wardrobe cabinet has been around for a really long time and has been widely used in most households until recent years when the sliding wardrobe was introduced. This type of wardrobe usually comes with a hinged door, hence the name, drawers and hanging space. Design-wise, it’s usually quite basic. Some hinged wardrobe replaces their doors with mirrors, some are designed to be handleless to give it the sleek and clean look. 

Can use the back of the door as a mirror or for extra storage.Need a bigger room for the doors to operate.
Provide full visibility of the content. The doors might not be able to support the weight of a heavy mirror. 
Easy to maintain—hinges are cheaper to replace.

Maintenance guide: Hinged doors are one of the easiest and cheapest to maintain. If you have a damaged hinge, just buy a new one from your nearest hardware store and replace it. Wipe the surfaces with warm water and mild detergent once a week. 

2. Sliding door wardrobe

© Andriy Bezuglov | 123rf

One of the most popular wardrobe styles out there, this wardrobe with a sliding door is perfect for a modern home. Not only does it look sleek, but this modern wardrobe design also occupies less space when compared with the hinged wardrobe—perfect for a small bedroom. Depending on how big you want your wardrobe to be, you can fit two to four doors in a sliding wardrobe

Don’t need a lot of space in front.Cannot have a full view of the content. 
Can replace the door panel with a mirror. Need to be handled with care—rough use may damage the alignment. 

Maintenance guide:  One of the common issues for sliding doors is jamming. Dust and grime can build up on the track and over time these build ups can jam the track. To avoid this, you need to clean the track frequently with a vacuum cleaner. With consistent light cleaning, your sliding wheels can last up to 30 years. If the run is not smooth even after cleaning, then you’ll need to change the wheels. Wipe down the doors and other surfaces once a week with water and mild detergent. 

3. Walk-in closet

© Igor Zakharevich | 123rf

Ahh, the walk-in closet. Often depicted as every woman’s dream closet where they can have their clothes, accessories, bags and shoes on full display. You’ve got to admit, the idea of having a dedicated space for your clothes is very tempting. A walk-in wardrobe closet typically occupies a portion of the bedroom or an entire room and in it, you’ll find different wardrobe compartments that consist of clothes cabinets, drawers, hanging rods, shelves, wire baskets and other types of storage to keep your items. Not to mention, it’s also very versatile in its design. If you have a big enough space, you can even fit a small island in the middle, consisting of a chest of drawers and a grand divan sofa. 

Wardrobe size and design can be customised. Can be very expensive to build. 
Easy to organise.Hassle to clean.
Ample of space to store clothes. Items can be misplaced. 

Maintenance guide: The maintenance for a walk-in closet will be a bit more extensive. Not only do you need to clean and dust the entire area, if you have carpet in place, you’ll need to vacuum it too. Depending on the type of bedroom wardrobe you used—hinged or sliding, you’ll need to maintain it accordingly. On top of that, a walk-in closet needs to be organised or your different wardrobe compartments will look like a hotchpotch of fabric. Don’t forget to clean the surface with water and mild detergent every week or so. 

4. Armoire

© tlorna | 123rf

The free-standing wardrobes used to dominate every household, but these days, they function more like a decorative piece, rather than a wardrobe. This classic piece is smaller in size and unlike the other wardrobe cabinet types, they don’t go all the way up to the ceiling. On the inside, they typically come with drawers and a hanging wardrobe space. 

Can be used as a statement piece. Smaller than conventional wardrobes. 
Can be moved around easily. Need constant maintenance 

Maintenance guide: The armoire is very much like a hinged wardrobe, so maintenance wise, it’s quite simple. Change the hinge when it’s damaged and if the surface starts turning dull, apply a coat of polish to make it shine again. 

5. Built in wardrobe/DIY wardrobe/Custom made wardrobe

Shopping for the perfect wardrobe can be unnerving. It’s never easy – either you find a wardrobe design that you like but the wardrobe size doesn’t fit or the wardrobe dimension fits perfectly into your bedroom but you have to compromise on the style. Here’s where the built in wardrobe (or some may call it the DIY wardrobe or custom made wardrobe) comes in. A favourite amongst Malaysians, you can customise the wardrobe however you like. So anything from colours to design and dimension can be tailored to your needs. 

Able to fit interior design themes or colour schemes.Lack of mobility and you can’t rearrange it once it’s done. 
Wardrobe dimension and size can be tweaked to fit in the space. Expensive to build. 
Able to maximise space in a small room. Takes longer time to build. 

Maintenance guide: This also depends on the type of wardrobe you have picked. If it’s a hinged wardrobe, replace the damaged hinge with a new one, and if you chose the sliding option, clean the track regularly. As with the others, wipe down the surfaces with warm water and mild detergent.

6. Open wardrobe

© Khongkit Wiriyachan | 123rf

Open wardrobes (or some call it the open wardrobe closet) have become increasingly popular amongst the millennial households, thanks to their minimalistic appeal. The idea of an open wardrobe is to discard the doors (and sometimes the walls around) so that you can have a full view of your wardrobe content. Those opting for an open wardrobe also need a highly-organised system or the space will look cluttered and in disarray. 

Can function as a statement wall. Need constant dusting.  
Allow easy access to all your clothes. Can look disorganised if it’s not done well.  
Less chances of getting mildew.Lack of privacy. 

Maintenance guide: Since there is no door involved, every single surface will get dusty easily. So the key is to dust and wipe the surface regularly. You can also try bagging clothes that you don’t wear often (like the winter jacket that you bought but only wore once) to make cleaning up easier. 

What is the ideal bedroom wardrobe size

It really depends on the type of bedroom cabinet design you want to invest in because they come in different shapes and sizes (more towards sizes in this case). Take a look at our guide below to find out the standard size of a wardrobe:

Types of bedroom wardrobeStandard wardrobe dimension
Hinged wardrobe
  • Wardrobe depth: 24 inches
  • Wardrobe height: 84 inches
  • Door width: Not more than 24 inches
Sliding wardrobe
  • Wardrobe depth: 26 inches (24 inches for storage and 2 inches for the sliding panel)
  • Sliding door length: At least 84 inches
  • Sliding door width: Each panel should not exceed 45 inches 
Walk-in closet
  • Walkway width: 55 – 60 inches

*If the space is narrow, opt for a wardrobe with sliding doors or an open-concept

Wardrobe drawers
  • Clothing drawer depth: 8 inches
  • Height: 10 – 16 inches
  • Accessories drawer depth: 4 – 6 inches
Show drawers
  • Height: 6 – 8 inches 

*For long boots, go for at least 20 inches

  • Depth: 15 inches

What is the difference between an armoire and a wardrobe? 

So we’ve established above that a bedroom wardrobe is a piece of furniture that stores your items of clothing, but what about the armoire? To put it simply, an armoire is essentially a type of wardrobe and while they’re typically used to store clothes, they can be used to keep other items. 

They’re usually made of wood, have two hinged doors and a hanging bar. They’re also more vintage and ostentatious as compared to the humble wardrobe, where it has a cleaner and basic wardrobe design. If you’re looking to inject a certain je ne sais quoi into a room, we suggest going for the ornate armoire to spice up the interior. 

What is a chiffarobe? 

Another type of bedroom wardrobe, a chiffarobe (also known as chifforobe or chifferobe) is actually a combination of two different words for furniture—wardrobe and chiffonier (a tall chest of drawers). Like its name, this piece of furniture is also a combination of two types of wardrobes, a long-hanging space and a chest of drawers on the side. The hanging wardrobe side usually comes with a mirror, either on the interior or exterior.

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Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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