Things to Consider When Updating an Old Fitted Wardrobe
Sometimes older fitted wardrobes need a little revamp in order to look modern and decent. If you’re looking for a way to update your old fitted wardrobe and make it fit with the rest of your style, the first thing you should do is decide what makes it look old and outdated. Is it the paint or stain you don’t like? Could it use new doors? Is it really old, cracked, and/or chipped? These are things you should consider when you are deciding what to change when you are updating it. James Kilner Fitted Wardrobes & Bedrooms, which builds and updates fitted wardrobes, has shared some of the most important things to consider.
Painting vs. Staining
When deciding whether to paint or stain your fitted wardrobe, you should consider all of the pros and cons of each.
According to Houzz, paint often costs more and is harder to work with and touch up, and it can hide the natural character of the wood. However it is easier to get colorful and can make wood look modern and clean.
The decision to paint or stain should be made based on your style and how you want the wardrobe to look in the end. If you’re into the rougher, refinished wood look then you should stain. However if you simply want a nice clean, modernized look, then paint is the way to go.
Choosing New Wood
The first thing to do when deciding on a wood for a wardrobe that is so torn up that it needs new wood is whether to use hard wood or soft wood. Soft wood tends to be more lightweight and less stiff and hard, whereas hard wood tends to be sturdy and heavy.
There are several varieties of both hard wood and soft wood that all have their own qualities and pros and cons. According to Better Homes & Gardens, some different types of hard wood are red oak, white ash, walnut, yellow poplar, and cherry.
Cherry is a very hard and strong wood. It’s very sturdy and ready to become furniture. Another one of the hard woods that is known for being really strong and sturdy is white ash. Red oak is one of the more workable hard woods. It’s one of the more common woods for things like furniture and it’s a good combination of sturdy, stable, and workable.
If you choose to paint, you may want to consider walnut, because it’s good for furniture, but it’s also very plain and works well with paint. Walnut is great if you want to use a bright, vibrant paint or even if you just want to paint it a neutral color.
Another very strong but plain hardwood is yellow poplar. This wood is nice for staining and it’s really great if you want to mimic cherry or walnut because it can be very easily stained to mimic those two other hardwoods.
Some of the soft woods that are listed on Better Homes & Gardens are western red cedar, white pine, redwood, northern white cedar, Douglas fir, and spruce.
Typically, soft woods are going to be more for weather resistance than indoor furniture. Some of the soft woods known for this quality are western red cedar, northern white cedar, and redwood. If your wardrobe were outside this would be the way to go, but I would not use these woods for a fitted wardrobe.
Soft woods are easier to work with due to being lighter; however, that also makes them somewhat less sturdy than the hard woods discussed above. Soft woods such as spruce are often easier to paint and look really nice when you paint them. Spruce is also less expensive than a lot of hard woods, but hard woods tend to be on the more expensive side anyway.
I would not recommend attempt to stain any type of pine wood. According to Popular Woodworking, trying to stain pine wood is very hard. Newer pine wood often ends up with abnormal-looking blotches and something called grain reversal, which is when the grain has an unnatural and abnormal appearance due to the attempt at staining.
Sliding or Hinged Doors?
Sliding doors can be cool and modern in the right circumstances, so should you put hinges on your updated fitted wardrobe or should you have sliding doors? These decisions can be based on several factors.
Space is a huge factor when it comes to deciding on the type of doors to put on your updated fitted wardrobe. You need a lot of space on the sides of the fitted wardrobe for your sliding doors to fully open, but if you put the doors on hinges then the same issue arises in front of it.
You also have to consider the door width. If you put the doors on hinges they tend to strain and not be held up well on the hinges beyond 600mm wide.
If the wardrobe is angled in the corners of the room, then sliding doors will not be possible, because sliding doors limit your ability to angle, as opposed to hinges, which can be placed at almost any angle.
If your modernization includes a mirror or glass fixture on the door, you typically would do this with a sliding door, because on a hinged door the hinges may not be able to hold the glass if it’s too heavy.