a wardrobe or closet with different stylish clothes

Closet vs. wardrobe: Which is the better storage solution?

Comparing closet and wardrobe based on their storage capacity, space utilization, assembly process, and more.

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Key Facts

  • A closet is an enclosed space integrated into a home’s structure. It comes in two types: a reach-in closet and a walk-in closet.
  • A wardrobe is a standalone storage furniture with doors, shelves, and a hanging space. It’s portable, allowing you to move it around the room easily. 

When shopping for storage furniture, you most likely have come across wardrobes and closets and wondered if they are any different. Although both serve as clothing storage spaces, they have distinct styles and structures. 

Understanding the differences between these two storage solutions in this closet vs. wardrobe guide is vital because this can help you choose the right storage solution for your home.

What is a closet?

a white luxury walk in closet interior to show what a closet is

A closet is a permanent fixture built into the home’s structure to store clothes, sheets, and other items in the bedroom. Its doors come in many styles, including standard hinged, sliding, and folding doors. 

You can find two types of closets, namely: 

  • Reach-in closet. This type of closet is ideal for apartments and condominiums since it doesn’t take up much space. It has a standard size of 24 inches in depth and is 3 to 8 feet wide. Like other clothes storage furniture, a reach-in closet has a hanging rod and shelves for organizing clothes. 

  • Walk-in closet. It’s a small enclosed room used to store clothes. Compared to a reach-in closet, it has more built-in storage options, including drawers, shelves, cabinets, and even storage benches for bigger walk-in closets. 

What is a wardrobe?

a wardrobe filled with different stylish clothes to show what a wardrobe is

A wardrobe has doors, shelves, and a rod for hanging clothes, similar to a closet. However, it’s not a permanent fixture. Most wardrobes have a standalone design, allowing you to move them around easily. Some types of wardrobes could be built-in, like fitted wardrobes in closets, but they don’t occupy an entire room, unlike a walk-in closet.

Wardrobe vs. closet: A comparison of storage solutions

This guide walks you through the factors that differentiate a closet from a wardrobe, helping you decide which storage furniture suits your needs and preferences.

In terms of storage capacity

happy female in pajamas maximizing the storage capacity of wardrobe or closet

A walk-in closet, in particular, offers more storage space than a standard wardrobe. You’ll have to dedicate a whole room to build a walk-in closet, giving more clothes storage space. Some are large enough to add a mirror and storage bench, doubling the closet as a dressing room. 

Although wardrobes come in different types and sizes, they have limited storage capacity, as they have a freestanding design that takes up floor space. You can add a built-in wardrobe and a storage cabinet in a dressing room, but building a bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe is impossible because, as mentioned, wardrobes are designed as standalone pieces. 

Recommendation: A closet is an excellent choice for homeowners with a large bedroom space. However, if space is limited, a wardrobe is better.

In terms of space utilization

Closets are the clear winners when it comes to space utilization. With their built-in design, they seamlessly blend into a room, utilizing unused spaces such as awkward corners and areas under sloped ceilings. So, for bedrooms with a slanted ceiling and irregular walls, adding a walk-in closet can help fill in the dead spaces and provide ample storage space. 

Meanwhile, wardrobes have fixed sizes, so they might not fit well, especially if the room has an unconventional shape or has limited space.

Recommendation: A closet is an excellent choice for homeowners with a large bedroom space. However, if space is limited, a wardrobe is better.

In terms of organization

the difference between closet vs wardrobe in terms of organisation, as shown by a mother organizing her wardrobe or closet

Standard wardrobe furniture has no walk-in space, limiting the items you can store and organize. But the good thing about wardrobes is their flexibility. Since they have a standalone design, you can quickly move them around, which can be helpful when organizing and changing your room’s design or layout. 

Conversely, a walk-in closet requires you to dedicate a whole room to store clothing, providing ample space to organize everything neatly. They typically come with built-in shelves, drawers, baskets, and hanging areas, giving you more freedom in arranging your clothes, shoes, and accessories. 

However, organizing a large walk-in closet can be difficult, especially with a wide clothing and footwear collection. For this reason, consider hiring professional organizers, as they can help you create efficient and functional storage solutions for your walk-in closet.

Recommendation: Choose a closet if you want more ease in organizing the stored items. However, when it comes to room organization, a wardrobe is a better choice because you can quickly move them around. 

In terms of customisation

Both closets and wardrobes are customisable storage spaces. 

You can add custom shelving, mirrored doors, and specialized drawers for walk-in closets for better organization and more storage space. However, since they’re permanent fixtures, changing or removing built-in custom organizers can take time and cost a lot.

As for wardrobes, some have a modular design, meaning you can customize them by adding or removing sections. It’s convenient, especially if you need to expand your wardrobe to accommodate your growing clothing and footwear collection. 

Moreover, wardrobes come with various materials and finishes, including wood, metal, mirrored finishes, and more. Meaning, you can customize your wardrobe with the material of your choice to match or complement your room decor.

Recommendation: Both are customisable, but wardrobes offer more flexibility in customisation since some models are modular. 

In terms of the assembly process

assembling a closet or wardrobe, using a cordless screwdriver

Compared to a wardrobe, a closet has a more detailed design with a complex construction process because it’s an integrated storage solution. Simply put, it’s already part of your home’s construction, so you need professional help from furniture assembly experts if you plan to add a closet as a bedroom storage. 

On the other hand, wardrobes are great for self-assembly and DIY installations. With their modular design, you can easily add or remove components, offering more flexibility in the assembly process. 

However, it’s best to seek wardrobe assembly services for larger or more complex wardrobe systems to ensure proper construction and safety, especially for wardrobes with sliding doors or integrated lighting features.

Recommendation: For easy assembly, choose wardrobes

In terms of cost

Built-in closets, especially custom walk-ins, are expensive, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Although pre-built closets are more affordable, the installation and assembly costs can be high because most closets have complex designs. 

A more affordable choice would be wardrobes, with prices ranging from $100 to $4,000. Custom-built wardrobes cost more than freestanding wardrobes. But still, the design and installation process is simpler than built-in closets. Some models even allow self-assembly, helping reduce your overall cost.

Recommendation: Choose wardrobes for more affordable clothing storage furniture. 

Get expert closet or wardrobe assembly help with Airtasker

It’s easy to make a mistake when assembling storage furniture, especially if your closet or wardrobe has a complex design. Why not seek help from assembly experts at Airtasker? They can handle the job more safely, reducing the risk of damaging your furniture. 

Closet vs. wardrobe

Storage Capacity
Larger; ideal for extensive storage
Smaller; standalone design limits capacity
Space Utilization
Built-in; can  maximize room space
Fixed-size; may not fit well in all spaces
Provides ample space and built-in options for neat organization
Easier room reorganization due to its flexible and movable design
Customizable but altering is costly
Modular; easily customizable
Assembly Process
Complex; professional assembly needed
DIY-friendly; simpler assembly
More expensive; especially for custom walk-ins
Allows self-assembly so generally more affordable

FAQs on closet and wardrobe

A wardrobe almirah is a freestanding furniture piece, while a closet is a built-in fixture. Moreover, closets come in various sizes, while a wardrobe almirah is typically large and bulky.

A wardrobe is a standalone, freestanding piece, while a dressing room is an enclosed space that may have a vanity area, shelves, cabinets, and other organisation systems.

It depends on the built-ins' size, material, and design complexity. But to give you an idea, prices for custom built-in shelves for closets can range from $2,000 to $10,000.

Yes, as long as it’s a walk-in closet with ample storage space. Dressers can help maximize space and make the closet appear more organized and clutter-free.

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