Hello and welcome to our ultimate guide on cupboards and wardrobes.
We know how much our customers love our cheap cupboards and wardrobes and they are continually asking questions about our furniture.
So we decided to draw up this guide on wardrobes and cupboards to help you with some of your queries.
We will be trying to answer everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cupboards and wardrobes including, history, types, materials, cost and more.
We will also cover all the variations of cupboards form free-standing wardrobes, mirrored wardrobes and corner wardrobes.
We will also dive into narrow wardrobes, small wardrobes and ample 4 door cupboards, walk-in wardrobes and more.
What will I learn?
- A history guide to cupboards and wardrobes– where and when did they first appear?
- Cupboards or wardrobes? Two names for one item?
- Variations of wardrobes and cupboards
- How to use wardrobes and cupboards to organise your room?
- Best wardrobes and cupboards for your money
- F.A.Q. about wardrobes and cupboards
- Where to buy cheap wardrobes and cupboards
A quick history guide on cupboards and wardrobes types
When were cupboards and wardrobes first invented?
Well, wardrobes and cupboards have been around for centuries. In times gone past these pieces of furniture were seen as two separate items of furniture.
One for the bedroom and one for the kitchen or living room.
In medieval European times, the cupboard was used for storing dining, living and kitchen utensils. This was the place where usually the wealthy would display their ornaments, porcelain, fancy cutlery and other more expensive items.
Those who were not really wealthy but could still afford a cupboard would store their kitchen utensils, plates, spoons, forks and other dining items in it.
So not only was the cupboard a functional furniture item, but also a sign of social status.
As time moved on and furniture innovation improved, the cupboard was joined by other pieces of furniture which would fit perfectly in the kitchen, living and dining rooms.
New furniture innovations
So with the advent of newer furniture innovations like sideboards, display units, console tables and living room buffets started slowly encroaching on the practicality of the cupboard.
And soon the dining cupboard was soon to become redundant.
One of the first pieces of dining furniture was the sideboard. The sideboard came with its own little cupboards, cabinets and shelves for storing all your dining and kitchen utensils.
There was also the display cabinets which was perfect for displaying ornaments, sentimental artefacts and more prestige glass and chinaware. Many display cabinets would also have lower built-in cabinets too.
Console tables were perfect in the living room and especially in the hallway where there was not a great need for a large amount of storage. They had built-in drawers which were ideal for keeping essential and those close to hand items like keys, hats etc.
Living room buffets and sideboards were used by the more affluent for all the handy everyday items which were not needed in the kitchen and dining areas.
Kitchens were now also being fitted with their own units and cabinets which would house all cooking and dining items conveniently.
Slowly these items would push the cupboard out of all these rooms and send it straight to the bedroom.
In the late 17 and early 18th century, the hanging press, which was an old type of furniture, was used to store clothes whilst the linen cupboard, was used for storing linens.
From 18 century, these two items of furniture merged into one more prominent piece of furniture which we now have as the wardrobe / cupboard.
Initially it was only used to hang heavier clothes like gowns and robes as well as those which would crease easily.
It was also sometimes kept in the upstairs hallway away from the bedroom.
Cupboards or wardrobes? Two names for one item?
As we have covered above, cupboards were primarily dining and living room items. They had built-in cabinets which were used for storing utensils, plates and other types of crockery.
While wardrobes were mainly for keeping heavier and longer items of clothing like gowns and robes.
As the cupboard was slowly made redundant in the kitchen with newer innovative pieces of furniture like sideboards and display units taking its place.
It moved around the house through the living room, attic and eventually found a home in the bedroom.
Bedrooms already had wardrobes, and as they both did the same thing the designs slowly merged together until they more or less become the same item but with interchangeable names,
Some called it a cupboard while others called it a wardrobe.
So nowadays the main difference between the two is just the name.
Two names for a very similar item.
Yes, there may be one or two minor differences, which most people don’t really know nor go by. While the word “cupboard” might also be a bit more popular in the UK, however, they have now become more or less interchangeable.
Cupboards and wardrobe revolution – Modern-day differences types and variations
As with all things, needs and lifestyles change, and furniture is no different.
Soon the cupboard evolved to cabinets with doors as well as drawers. With time this would become its standard style, and it remained like this for many generations.
It’s versatility changed too, from just storing longer and heavier garments.
It was now being used to store all types of clothes and apparel including long robes, heavy dresses, robes, shorter and lighter clothes and much more.
As it was becoming more functional, slowly carpenters started to innovate with its design. Just as the original cupboards had two to three doors, these newer design ranged from single to 4 door cupboards with hanging rails, inner shelves and built-in drawers.
The innovation didn’t just stop there, they developed to the modern-day styles with sliding doors, free-standing cupboards and corner wardrobes.
Available also were the mirrored door cupboards and personal bespoke built-in cupboards.
Now cupboards were not only officially a bedroom furniture item but still found in other private areas of the house too.
In the 20th Century, manufacturers started introducing a range of cupboards from small single cupboards, functional corner cupboards to epic 4 door large cupboards with mirrored doors.
Below is a quick breakdown of the most popular ones available:
The most popular style of home cupboard you can buy is the freestanding cupboard and wardrobe.
From small to large, with 2 doors to 4 door, mirrored or sliding door. These wardrobes are available in all styles and designs.
- Standalone cupboard which can fit along any wall
- Available in a variety of styles that can complement any home decor of bedroom themes
- From small single door cupboards to large 4 door wardrobes.
- Many designs come with and without mirrored doors
- Some freestanding wardrobes come with sliding doors too
- With internal hanging rails for long coats, dresses, gowns and more
- Built inside or/and top shelves for extra storage
- Drawers for storing smaller items like underwear etc
- Very spacious and roomy storage internal area, for all types of garments.
- Ultimate organiser form all your clothes, apparels bits and bobs!
- Space constraints – Usually need a long wall which has enough space for it
- If you are tight on space, you might have to buy a narrower version or a corner wardrobe
- Large item – so in some cases needs you might need other furniture pieces from the same range or style to make sure everything looks uniform
From long coats and dresses to ironed shirts and trousers, wardrobes are vital to keeping your clothes tidy and organised.
Discover roomy freestanding wardrobes that house an array of garments, slim tallboys for narrow nooks and modern designs with spacious drawers.
Once you’ve chosen your style, pick from cream, grey or responsibly sourced solid wood finishes to complement your decor.
- Usually mirrored wardrobes are large 2 or 3 door wardrobes. With plenty of space inside
- Very functional, your mirror will always be in the same place without taking up any additional space.
- Save money on purchasing an expensive large size mirror
- Out of the way and attached to the cupboard, less chance of accidentally breaking the mirror and virtually no chance of misplacing it!
- If you break the mirror, you might have to buy a bespoke one to replace it, which could work out slightly expensive
- You can’t choose the size of the mirror, it usually is the full length of the door or around ¾ of the size.
- Only usually available in larger sized cupboards
Sliding door cupboards
Available from 2 to 4 sliding door variations, the sliding door cupboard is an excellent, fashionable piece of furniture.
- Large cupboards, usually 2 or 3 doors
- Ample amount of space for storing all your clothes and extras
- With internal shelves and drawers
- Some sliding doors come with mirrors too
- Can fit into areas with tight space, doors don’t swing out, so you need less space around it.
- Make sure you don’t buy a cheap sliding cupboard. If you break the rails than your door will be hanging off or might not function properly
- Slightly less space to store items compared to a wardrobe with standard doors
- Sometimes only one door slides, making the other end a bit difficult to get to
Corner wardrobes are amongst the best space saving furniture you can buy!
An essential storage solution, they easily slot into the corner of your room. Helping you make use of dead space and provide extra storage for all your clothes.
They are available in single doors and double doors, with internal shelves, either on each side or/and as a top shelf.
If you are struggling with space in your bedroom then a corner cupboard might just be ideal.
- Excellent space savers – Use up dead space with these amazing storage solutions
- Perfect wardrobe for children’s bedrooms too
- Help you organise your room easier, as the corner wardrobe fits perfectly into a corner making it easier to know how to organise the rest of the room
- With internal shelves as well as hanging rails, it does 2 jobs in one so help to save you money by needing less furniture for your storage needs.
- Even though it is really a benefit, the corner wardrobe fits into the corner which even though is an advantage, it also means it can’t really be put anywhere else without looking odd or taking up too much space.
- Usually only in one or two door variations, so if you need something a bit more substantial you would need to buy a larger free standing wardrobe
Help organise your kid’s bedrooms with our children’s cupboards. From small to medium-sized children’s wardrobes, engage your children learn how to organise all their clothes and stuff with children’s cupboards.
- Help kids keep their bedrooms tidy
- Smaller in space, so take up less space
- Organise their clothes, p.e. kit, school uniform and more
- Teach kids how to organise their own stuff
- You might need to buy multiple children’s cupboards if you have many children, as they are usually smaller and with less space inside
- If you buy a smaller children’s cupboard, sooner or later your child will out grow it
Narrow and slim cupboards
For all bedrooms with lack of space, narrow cupboards and wardrobes are perfect for storing your essentials.
Easily fit between other cupboards, chests of drawers and other items, narrow wardrobes are the perfect extra storage add-ons.
Usually with no internal shelves of drawers, so ample amount of space for hanging essential items of clothes like suits, shirts, dresses etc.
- Narrow slim wardrobes, available for much cheaper than standard larger cupboards
- If you already have a cupboard and need some extra storage space, small narrow wardrobes could be perfect for the job
- Can fit into tight spaces, helping you make use of unused space
- Narrow and slim cupboards don’t have a lot of storage space inside.
- If you buy just one random wardrobe than it might not fit in with the theme of the rest of your furniture
- Usually better to put them next to another piece of furniture or a wall, so you can’t move them around as much
Over-bed wardrobes units are usually custom made but can be bought off the shelf too.
If you’re doing a total refurb, then these cupboards can be ideal.
The cupboards are designed to be on either side of your bed with smaller cabinets hanging over it.
This way, you get to make the most of your space, leaving nothing as redundant or useless.
- All in one storage solution
- Can come with mirrored doors too
- Save money, no need for much other furniture if you have one of these
- Come with cupboards, shelves and separate drawers also.
- You have to stand on your bed to gain access to over bed cabinets
- Some people dint like the idea of being surrounded by these cupboards makes the feel a bit claustrophobic!
- Usually more expensive than standard wardrobes designs.
Large cupboards which are 3 doors wide, with and without mirrors, sliding doors or normal ones, are the ultimate bedroom storage item.
Having just one large cupboard could be enough for all your clothes and bedroom storage. With plenty of hanging space for suits, shirts, dresses, gown, robes and more.
They are designed with internal shelves to fit all types of towels, jumpers and more.
With two, three or four drawers too, any items you want to throw in, you can we the peace of mind knowing that they are safe and at hand when needed.
You can keep all types of things in here with many, including shoe storage areas too.
Having at least one of these cupboards is a must for every home.
- Fit all your items in one place, easy at hand and ease of access
- Budget saving – one large cupboard is all you might need for bedroom storage-saving money on other items
- Available in many different styles and designs (link)
- Can come as part of a furniture range too, to keep your bedroom and home looking uniform
- In large 2, 3 or even 4 doors!
- With hanging rails, shelves and drawers too!
Can take up a lot of space, so not ideal for smaller bedrooms
- As they are relatively large, they can cost more than other smaller items
- Can be difficult to transport around the house or bedroom
- You need enough space in your bedroom to accommodate these more extensive cupboards
Pine, MDF or hardwood cupboards – which material is the best?
Another thing to consider when buying a wardrobe or cupboard is the material it is made from.
Nowadays wardrobes and cupboards are built form numerous different types of materials including hardwood oak, walnut, mahogany, pine, MDF, chipboard, reclaimed wood, metal etc.
With technology advancing so much in all spheres of life, items like furniture have seen so much innovation and revolution
Hardwood and Wooden pine wardrobes
In days gone by, wherever in Europe, Asia or the eastern civilisations, most home furniture was made out of wood.
It was the cheapest and most popular material around.
It also was easy to work with. It was soft yet durable, light yet strong, and most importantly, it was readily available.
Wooden furniture has always had a certain romanticism about it. And wooden wardrobes and cupboards are no different.
Robust, sturdy and yet still cheap wooden cupboards are always most people’s go-to option.
There are many different types of woods to choose from. From pine to hardwood mango, mahogany, walnut and also reclaimed wood.
So when it comes to wood, there’s something for everyone!
Each with its own features and benefits!
Wooden wardrobes benefits:
- Pine wooden cupboards can be cheap yet still last a long time
- Easy to carve and mould – wooden wardrobes are available in many different types
- Can be painted, lacquered or varnished – choose the finish you desire
- Environmentally friendly- many manufacturers sources their materials from sustainable resources
- Hardwood options including mahogany, walnut, mango wood and more – An array of different styles each with its own unique characteristics.
- Reclaimed wood – do your bit for the environment.
- Usually easy to maintain too
- Classic and traditional themes designed naturally
- Available flat packed or ready assembled
- Hardwood furniture is generally more substantial than other woods, so can be a bit more challenging to move around
- Most hardwood cupboards have a traditional look, so might not fit into a more contemporary theme
- Some hardwood cupboards can be expensive
- Without the correct lacquer and varnish, pine furniture can erode and weather with time