Share This Article, Choose Your Platform!

reach-in wardrobe systems


The design of reach-in wardrobe systems has changed over the years with the emphasis of increased storage capacity and improved storage organisation. The team at Style Plus | Renovations Auckland take a look at 4 key design aspects of “reach-in-wardrobes“:

  1. Maximising Your Storage Space.
  2. Typical Residential Door Sizes.
  3. Maximise The Door Frame Size.
  4. What Is The Best Door System To Use?



When renovating the common design challenge is “How can we maximise the usability of our storage areas?”

The storage capacity of a hall cupboard or a bedroom wardrobe for storing clothes is directly related to your ability to access what is stored inside it. If the doors are smaller than the inside of the wardrobe then the storage capacity is automatically reduced simply because you can not access the total area of the wardrobe with ease.

A “Reach-in” wardrobe, as opposed to a “Walk-inwardrobe, is the typical wardrobe. This is where you have to open doors and reach in to get your clothes and other stored items. However, there are better ways to improve the design of these wardrobe spaces in order to increase storage capacity and improve storage organisation.

maximise storage areas
wardrobe size


Residential internal standard doors in New Zealand are on average 1980mm high and the ceiling height is typically 2400mm high.

This works well when walking from one room to the next through a door opening of 1980mm. However, if you are trying to fit as many shelves as possible into a cupboard with standard doors you will find that you would only be able to fix the highest shelve about 1800mm high above the floor. The down side to this is that part of the storage potential of that cupboard is reduced because you cannot store items higher up inside the cupboard. This is a common conundrum.

The standard-height, hinged doors that are supplied into most homes are also standard in width, which again has the effect of reducing access. For example if the storage cupboard is 2400mm long and has two 710mm wide hinged doors fitted to the front of it, the access is only 1420mm. Which leaves one meter of storage space covered by wall – 500mm of wall each side of the door opening if the doors are centrally placed on the front of the wardrobe. Therefore, reduced access to each side of the wardrobe equates to reduced storage.

innovative interiors


The first step in improving storage in reach-in wardrobe systems or storage cupboard design is to maximise the access to that space.

For example, this can be achieved by making the door frame go up to, or as near as possible to, the ceiling height and as wide as the total length of the wardrobe. Then designing an effective organiser system to increase storage capacity becomes much easier.

There is one more design aspect to consider. With a wider and higher door opening to your wardrobe, you will need to decide what type of doors you are going to install.

Drawings by: Innovative Interiors.


Without doubt, a lightweight, sliding door system with high quality track and roller guide system is the most functional. With the many design styles available they can be fitted to all interior decors from the traditional through to the latest design trends.

A sliding door system operates within the door frame unlike hinged door systems that use valuable floor space in your bedroom or living areas when swung open. This means that less wasted floor area is required in the design of a bedroom or area where a storage cupboard is located. And in areas of the home where there are two or more doorways opening on to each other, sliding doors remove the problem of doors hitting against each other.

Sliding door systems can be easily made to measure to suit your particular wardrobe regardless of the size of the door frame.

They should be fully bypassing (able to slide completely to both ends of the wardrobe), and should have an anti-jump system to ensure that they do not leave the tracks. They should be fully adjustable to avoid problems with out-of-level floors and jambs that are not perfectly plumb. Most importantly they should be easy to slide.

  • reach in wardrobe doors 04
  • reach in wardrobe doors 03
  • reach in wardrobe doors 02
  • reach in wardrobe doors 01

If you have a sliding door system it is important to “partition” the design of the organiser into sections that match the different doors. For example, with two sliding doors you will be able to get into either the left side of the wardrobe or the right side but not both sides at the same time. So the design would have different items stored on the different sides:

• Longer hanging items such as full length dresses, overcoats together with shelving and drawers on one side, with two levels of shorter hanging items (shirts, jackets, skirts) on the other.

So when you approach the wardrobe to retrieve an item of clothing you will know which side of the wardrobe to go to.

You can also give consideration to using bi-folding doors. However, there are limitations to the size they can be made to, unlike sliding door systems, but they can be fully opened to allow good access to the storage space. They do use floor space outside of the wardrobe when opened but as they fold they do not use as much as standard hinged doors.

The cost of sliding doors varies and are dependent on a number of factors such as materials used, type of running gear and the labour to install the doors:

•  The costs for double sliding doors range from $500 to $750+
•  And for triple sliding doors they range from $750 to $1,120+

Book your consultation today and kick start your renovation project!

Contact Us

Whilst all information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and Style Plus is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.