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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
Prepac
$159.12 $206.88
at Walmart

The ELITE Storage Collection is a versatile storage program that is attractive enough to be used in any home storage area includin...g: Laundry Bedroom Utility Kitchen Mudroom and Garage- With eight cleverly designed models ELITE provides enough flexibility to accommodate most storage applications Contemporary white finish Soft Edged door(s) Solid brushed stainless steel designer door handle(s) Optional toppers to maximize vertical storage capacity 6-way adjustable heavy-duty European style hinges Use alone or add WEW-3224 for 89'' high storage 1 hanging rail and 1 fixed shelf 20'' deep for hanging clothes Made of environmentally-conscious durable high-density fiberboard Easy to clean durable melamine surfaces Assembly required DIMENSIONS: Overall: 32''w x 20''d x 65''h It may take an additional 1-2 weeks for this item to arrive- SKU: PRPC050 read more

Prepac WEW-3264 32 Wardrobe Cabinet White
South Shore
$188.95 $277.00
at Cymax

Features: TV Armoire made of engineered wood Constructed of CARB compliant materials Ebony finish Two doors Two adjustable shelves... Two drawers have "sintec" lifetime warranted drawer guides with positive stops Accommodates flat panel TVs only Country style Readytoassemble 5year manufacturer warranty on parts and materials Specifications: Overall Dimensions: 52 3/8" H x 34 3/16" W x 15 3/4" D Weight: 104 lbs. read more

Mountain Lodge Armoire in Ebony
South Shore
$205.95 $296.99
at Cymax

Thanks to its neutral finish and timeless look, the sleek lines of this armoire blend perfectly into today's trendiest décors. Fea...turing 2 adjustable shelves behind each door, and a large drawer for storage, it is a very convenient storage addition to any Features: Elegant metal handles in a Brushed Nickel finish Simple lines and stylish kick plate, for a contemporary style that coordinates with virtually any décor 3 storage compartments behind the doors separated by 2 adjustable shelves (15lb weight limit each) Features 1 spacious drawer Includes 2 hooks for hanging scarves, ties or other items Drawer slides made of polymer, which feature a safety latch and dampers The back surface is not laminated Complete assembly required by two adults (tools not provided) ISTA 3A certified packaging Manufactured from ecofriendly, EPPcompliant laminated particle board Made of nontoxic materials and components Specifications: Overall Product Dimensions: 54.4"H x 35.4"W x 18"D 5 Years Warranty Made in Canada read more

Step One Armoire in Pure White
Lea Industries
$1,260.00 $1,599.99
at Madison Seating

The Jessica McClintock Home collection features soft, elegant shaped fronts, delicate carvings inspired by Jessica's antiques, gra...cefully radiused corners. 2 Wraparound doors 1 Adjustable shelf 1 Fixed shelf 1 Drawer TV opening: 35.5"W x 16.5"D x 32"H Dresser drawers are dovetail style with an English back All drawers have dust proofing, garment guards and are full depth read more

Jessica McClintock Chest Armoire, Antique White by Lea Industries
American Drew
$2,940.00 $4,258.99
at Madison Seating

Overview Cherry Grove 45th Armoire 2 wraparound doors 1 fixed shelf 1 adjustable shelf 2 tray drawers Clothes rod Sliding back pan...el TV opening: 43"W x 17"D x 43"H 4 drawers Veneer drawer fronts Wooden drawer guides FinishAntique CherryUsageAssembly RequiredDistressed FinishYesType of ArmoireTV Armoire, Wardrobe Armoire read more

American Drew Cherry Grove 45th Kids Armoire
Riverside Furniture
$1,293.75 $1,849.00
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: Constructed of hardwood solid and Oak veneer Slate tile border along top edge Framed door with bevelededge, archedtop mirror insert Door encloses two adjustable shelves, and one center fixed shelf Drawer has dovetail construction, ballbearing extension guides, cedarlined bottom, and dust panel Tip restraining hardware Base levelers Americana Oak finish read more

Craftsman Home Wardrobe
Neiman Marcus
$1,699.00 $2,150.00
at Neiman Marcus

Nicolette Cream Bedroom Furniture Exclusively ours. Ornate shapes, intricate curves, and detailed flourishes are the hallmarks of ...this impressive bedroom furniture. Save with discounted delivery and processing charges when you order a set.Queen set includes queen bed and two nightstands.King set includes king bed and two nightstands.Made of hardwood solids and birch veneers with resin embellishments.Hand-painted finish.Queen bed, 68.25"W x 84.25"D x 77"T. Boxed weight, approximately 245 lbs.King bed, 84.5"W x 84.25"D x 80"T. Boxed weight, approximately 300 lbs.Beds require use of box spring (not included).Three-drawer nightstand, 30"W x 18"D x 30"T. Boxed weight, approximately 90 lbs.Nine-drawer dresser, 68"W x 20"D x 38.5"T. Boxed weight, approximately 275 lbs.Armoire has one door, one drawer, and two adjustable shelves; 38"W x 19"D x 84"T. Boxed weight, approximately 300 lbs.Imported. read more

Nicolette Cream Armoire
Camelgroup
$647.50 $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
American Drew
$1,890.00 $2,721.99
at Madison Seating

Overview Tribecca Armoire Base 42" W x 24" D x 25" H 2 drawers Deck 42" W x 24" D x 47" H 2 wraparound doors 2 adjustable shelves ...Clothes rod Sliding back panel 1 fixed shelf 2 open compartments: 20" W x 19" D x 6" H TV outlet box TV opening: 40" W x 19" D x 35" H Finish Root Beer Materials Solid Rubberwood/Cherry Veneers Usage Assembly Required Distressed Finish No Type of Armoire TV Armoire, Wardrobe Armoire read more

American Drew Tribecca Armoire
South Shore
$369.99 $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
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