Added by Alex Outhwaite

There was virtually no storage in our flat when we moved in, save for the cupboard under the stairs, so we had to put some in sharpish.

I like a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe, for the extra space as much as the look. I’m also very partial to open storage, though I know it’s an acquired taste. It helps that I’m a neat freak – an open wardrobe is not the solution if you’re of the “out of sight, out of mind” persuasion. As much as I’d love to think of myself as a bohemian free spirit, in the end I’m much too organised and type A to be casually flinging my clothes on the nearest surface, or keeping my towels and bed linen somewhere kooky and unorthodox. Damn I miss the airing cupboard I had in my previous home!

So we set about building a floor-to-ceiling built in wardrobe / airing cupboard in our bedroom, with open shelving.

We decided to use a flexible shelving system consisting of metal uprights which screw into the wall, allowing you to add as many brackets and shelves as you like, at any spacing. This involves minimal holes in the wall and means we can change the layout as and when we need to.

We made simple, airing cupboard style slatted shelves out of pine batten, and painted them white. These help to keep the air moving around our piles of linens, and they also look kind of pretty, in a practical, shaker style.

Underneath one of the shelves we attached a wardrobe rail.

We bought a bulk supply of plain white shoe boxes and stuck pictures of the shoes they contain on the front, for easy identification.

All our spare room duvets, pillows etc are vacuum packed and stored in the canvas boxes, along with bits and pieces like small evening bags, hair clippers and so on. I added a black and white hat box for a bit of colour contrast, but overall I admit it’s not a hugely stylish storage solution!

We love it though. It’s nice to have your clothes visible, as I find I forget to wear things that are hidden away all the time (also it’s easier to take them to the charity shop if they’re there, unworn, for year after year). I also feel that the open wardrobe brings a little bit of a relaxed feel into the room, which has high enough ceilings to absorb the look without it seeming messy.

If open storage is not to your taste however, you could easily adapt this look by adding side panels and doors, or even a simple curtain. The basic design is an easy DIY job – especially if you buy pre-made pine shelves. Stores like Ikea even have their own adaptable open wardrobe systems, although you’ll find making your own works out much cheaper, and you can custom-design it to the size of the space available.

Gratuitous cute dog pic!

Have you had a go at built in storage? Any design tips? Let us know in the comments.

Added By
Alex Outhwaite
Alex Outhwaite is a reformed country bumpkin, though green and pleasant Bristol is about as urban as she can tolerably go, and she misses her chickens. She works for the BBC, and prior to that kept herself busy with various forms of theatrical endeavour. Her partner Josh works for Hewlett Packard, and in his spare time is a keen photographer. They live in a two bedroom rented flat with Pusspartout (a very lazy cat) and Ko-Ko (a very silly dog). Interior decorating has taken over all their lives. All images in Alex's posts unless otherwise stated copyright Josh Whelan.