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Armoires & Wardrobes Buying Guide

Centuries ago, European furniture makers created armoires for rooms that lacked closets. Initially designed to house weapons, the freestanding cabinets evolved to hold clothing and came to be known also as wardrobes. Today, armoires perform a variety of functions, turning the bedroom into a home office or media room, for example. When the armoire doors are closed, however, it is possible to forget those tasks and let the bedroom be a restful retreat.

Types of Armoires & Wardrobes

Types of Armoires & Wardrobes

Armoires have the distinction of being a focal-point piece of furniture. This designation is given to elements in a room that you are compelled to look at, either for their stature, appearance, or functional importance. Aside from the bed in a bedroom, the armoire is usually the largest piece of furniture, and thanks to elegant styling -- from rich wood finishes to carved embellishments to jewelrylike hardware -- it commands attention. This scene-stealer is also a hard worker, housing not just garments but televisions, gaming systems, or computers, too. Here's information to help you decide what kind of armoire would be most at home in your bedroom.

Armoires for Garments

If you need more closet storage, an effective solution is an armoire (which you might call a wardrobe or chifferobe, depending on where you live). Some have one compartment behind top-to-bottom doors, which is designed for hanging long clothes such as coats and gowns. Others combine one compartment for hanging storage with drawers underneath or on the side. Still others are outfitted with drawers and inner cubbies that fill the space from the top of the cabinet to the bottom. A nice feature for a clothing armoire is built-in mirrors, which may be on the inside or outside of the doors.

Armoires for a Television

More structured and organized, an entertainment armoire has a large cabinet on the top to house the television. Inside the cabinet will be a TV stand, which may swivel or pull out, and there may be shelves for cable boxes or gaming systems. Below this upper cabinet, entertainment armoires offer a number of storage options -- from drawers to open shelves to doors concealing shelves. Because you'll need to get them out of the way to watch television from various points in the room, the upper cabinet doors are hinged in the middle to fold back or are mounted on tracks that let them slide back into the cabinet.

Armoires for a Computer

These armoires are encapsulated home offices. Pull up a chair to the table-height surface, which may slide out to meet you, and you can get to work. There may be file drawers, a printer compartment, or storage for supplies in the lower cabinet. In the upper cabinet, there will be room for the computer and additional equipment, including the tower and keyboard. There is usually a power outlet or strip easily accessible in one or both cabinets. On the inside of the upper doors, there might be other helpful features, such as cubbies for papers or a bulletin board.

Armoires for Kids

The children's furniture marketplace has expanded in recent years to include armoires that match children's bedroom furniture styles, or that are simply bright, functional additions to any kids' room. They come in many varieties and can hold clothes, toys, or both.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Size matters when it comes to purchasing an armoire. Will the piece fit in your bedroom door? Can you open the doors and pull out the drawers freely without bumping other furniture? Will it accommodate the clothing, TV, or computer you have? Careful measuring -- and taking stock of the following considerations -- will help you pick the perfect piece for your home.

Armoires for Garments

Since there are a variety of different orientations for armoires that store clothes, you can choose one with a hanging rod or drawers that suits your specific needs. Other options that are nice to consider include: interior lights that come on when you open the doors, satin lining for drawers to protect fragile items, compartments designed to hold jewelry and accessories, and a drawer or cabinet that is lined with cedar, a wood that naturally repels moths and other pests.

Armoires for a Television

In purchasing an entertainment armoire for the bedroom, know that the size of the armoire must fit the size of the television. Usually armoires are sold with recommendations about the size of TV you can put inside. Don't be tempted to get a larger TV than advised. The stand might not be strong enough to hold a bigger TV, and there might not be enough airflow around the television, which could cause it to overheat. Take stock of your system: Do you need room for speakers, a gaming system, a DVD player, or a modem? The armoire should have enough protected outlets for you to confidently plug in all of your equipment, and a few extra outlets are nice to have, too. Finally, are there any obstructions in the room that hinder viewing, or do you have to avoid glare from windows? Armoires with TV stands that pull out and swivel will help with these issues.

Armoires for a Computer

Like entertainment center armoires, power accessibility is key for a home office armoire. There should be surge-protected outlets and plenty of them. Is it easy to string cables through openings from one piece of equipment to another? Are the compartments roomy enough that you can easy reach back to add a plug-in to the computer tower or to load cartridges into the printer? Also, keep in mind ergonomics as you sit at the armoire to work: Is the computer screen at a comfortable viewing distance? Is the keyboard at a healthy height?

Armoires for Kids

As with any piece of furniture for a child's room, safety is your first consideration. The finish must be free of lead paint or any kind of coating that can flake or peel off. If the armoire has drawers, they should have drawer stops to prevent them from being pulled out too far. Hinges on the doors should have safety catches so the doors cannot be slammed shut on little fingers. All hardware should be securely attached so it cannot become a choking hazard. And finally, the entire armoire should be attached to the wall with safety straps to prevent it from being tipped over by a climbing child. If the armoire doesn't come with its own anchor kit, buy one at the hardware store.

Bedroom on sale
South Shore
$354.99 $589.99
at Madison Seating

Imagine Armoire by South Shore Furniture The armoire from the Imagine Collection is a great storage solution for smaller bedrooms ...because it is narrower than a dresser, yet it fulfills the same functions. Equipped with 3 adjustable shelves, 2 behind the door and 1 beside the door, the Imagine offers convenient storage for storybooks and decorative baskets. This multi-functional armoire offers a great mix of drawers for smaller articles like socks and underwear plus shelves for bigger sweaters and t-shirts. Matches the Imagine Loft Bed or the Captain's Bed perfectly! Check out the rest of the Imagine Collection! read more

Imagine Armoire by South Shore Furniture
Furniture of America
$539.99 $874.99
at Madison Seating

Otis Youth Locker Armoire by Furniture of America The otis youth locker armoire would look greta in your kids bedroom!

Otis Youth Locker Armoire by Furniture of America
BrylaneHome
$59.99 $119.99
at Brylane Home

Our 6-Drawer Wardrobe has a minimalistic design to maximize your storage. Its open frame easily compliments your bedroom furniture... while offering deep drawers and a wooden top for extra storage at a great value. read more

6-Drawer Storage Wardrobe
DMI Office Furniture
$1,909.95 $3,369.00
at Cymax

The Keswick Collection offers unmatched luxury in a traditional office environment, with it's impeccable English Cherry finish and... refine styling. Features: Constructed from wood and wood veneers English cherry finish Polyurethane topcoat that protects against discoloration from sunlight Cases feature mortise and tenon construction Hanger rod 10 adjustable shelves Adjustable levelers to compensate for uneven floors Specifications: Overall dimensions: 78" H x 44" W x 24" D Weight: 372 lb read more

DMi Keswick Double Door Wardrobe
DMI Office Furniture
$1,156.95 $1,869.00
at Cymax

The Keswick Collection offers unmatched luxury in a traditional office environment, with it's impeccable English Cherry finish and... refine styling. Features: Constructed from wood and wood veneers English cherry finish Polyurethane topcoat that protects against discoloration from sunlight Cases feature mortise and tenon construction Removable hanger rod 5 adjustable shelves Hinged on the right side Adjustable levelers to compensate for uneven floors Specifications: Overall dimensions: 78" H x 24" W x 24" D Weight: 150 lb read more

DMi Keswick Single Door Wardrobe
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$478.00 $657.13
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The clean lines of this collection bring a fresh look without compromising functionality and durability. Combining thick work surf...aces, silver metal legs and two tiers of work surfaces, ProLinea has all the elements to create a modern and refined work en Features: Five shelves, four of which are adjustable. Meets or exceed ANSI/BIFMA standards. Metal legs with levellers for precision adjustment. read more

Pro-Linea Armoire in White
Riverside Furniture
$1,374.75 $1,969.00
at Cymax

Riverside's products are designed and constructed for use in the home and are generally not intended for rental, commercial, insti...tutional or other applications not considered to be household usage. Riverside uses furniture construction techniques and select materials to provide quality, durability, and value in our products and allows us to meet the wide range of design and budget requirements of our customers. The construction of our core product line consists of a combination of cabinetmaker hardwood solids and handselected veneers applied over medium density fiberboard (MDF) and particle board. MDF and particle board are used in quality furniture for surfaces that require stability against the varying environmental conditions in modern homes. The use of these materials allows Riverside to design heirloom quality furnishings that are not only beautiful, but will increase in value through the years. Features: Two wraparound doors with beveled edge mirror inserts enclose an adjustable shelf, a fixed shelf, three drawers, and wiring access hole Drawers have dovetail construction and ballbearing extension guides Bottom drawer has a Cedar veneer bottom, all others are feltlined Tip restraining hardware Specifications: Dimension: 40D" x 76H" x 20W" read more

Coventry Armoire in Driftwood
Riverside Furniture
$1,374.75 $1,969.00
at Cymax

Riverside's products are designed and constructed for use in the home and are generally not intended for rental, commercial, insti...tutional or other applications not considered to be household usage. Riverside uses furniture construction techniques and select materials to provide quality, durability, and value in our products and allows us to meet the wide range of design and budget requirements of our customers. The construction of our core product line consists of a combination of cabinetmaker hardwood solids and handselected veneers applied over medium density fiberboard (MDF) and particle board. MDF and particle board are used in quality furniture for surfaces that require stability against the varying environmental conditions in modern homes. The use of these materials allows Riverside to design heirloom quality furnishings that are not only beautiful, but will increase in value through the years. Features: Two wraparound doors with beveled edge mirror inserts enclose an adjustable shelf, a fixed shelf, three drawers, and wiring access hole Drawers have dovetail construction and ballbearing extension guides Bottom drawer has a Cedar veneer bottom, all others are feltlined Tip restraining hardware Base levelers Specifications: Dimension: 40D" x 76H" x 20W" read more

Coventry Two Tone Armoire in Dover White
Camelgroup
$754.00 $1,079.00
at Cymax

This exquisite collection offers timeless beauty for your home decor. Features: Finished in beautiful matte lacquer these items wi...ll provide all of your bedroom furniture needs. Made in Italy Specifications: Total Product Weight: 222lbs Overall Product Dimensions: 86H x 41W x 23D read more

camelgroup Miss Italia 2 Door Wooden Wardrobe in Matte Lacquer
Modus Furniture
$943.95 $1,999.00
at Cymax

Deceptively simple in design, the Nevis TV/Wardrobe Armoire is practical, functional and chic. Designed for contemporary living sp...aces, it has clean lines, stylish metal hardware and doors that open 270 degrees for optimal television viewing. The Nevis Armoire works great as a TV cabinet or a wardrobe. It accommodates televisions up to 36 inches and features integrated cord management, cutout back panel, removable wardrobe bar and plenty of storage for clothes, DVDs and other household clutter. Crafted from Tropical Mahogany solids and a variety of beautiful veneers, the Nevis Collection features solid wood drawer boxes with English dovetail joints on both front and back, full extension ball bearing drawer glides, and corner blocked frames to ensure rigidity, making them as functional as they are sleek. The wide variety of pieces are enhanced by an elaborate American finishing process in either a rich Spice or a deep, dark Espresso, both complimented by brushed chrome hardware. Together with a vast array of contemporary platform, low profile and sleigh bed styles, the Nevis Collection blends the sleek and exotic with the functional. Features: Dark Espresso finish Stylish contemporary design 2 double hinged doors open 270 degrees to reveal a fixed shelf and an adjustable shelf 2 solid wood drawers with English dovetail joinery Drawers with full extension ball bearing glides Brushed chrome bar pulls contrast beautifully against the dark wood case Removable hanging rod Integrated cord managementl Cutout back pane Accommodates up to 36" TVs Constructed from Tropical Mahogany solid wood and Eastern Ash veneers Some assembly required Specifications: Overall dimensions: 71" H x 37" W x 24" D TV area dimensions: 35" H x 34" W x 23" D Armoire top dimensions: 47" H x 37" W x 24" D Armoire base dimensions: 24" H x 37" W x 24" D Overall weight: 264 lbs Armoire top weight: 160 lbs Armoire base weight: 104 lbs read more

Modus Nevis TV/Wardrobe Armoire in Espresso
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