Over the years, closets and wardrobes have vied for the attention of home designers and homeowners. While both are originally intended to serve as storage spaces for clothing and other items, in appearance and punctuality, they are quite different.
If you do not need the wardrobe for placing clothing items, you might want to consider using it for storage of your extensive book collection. While a closet is usually built into the room, a wardrobe is movable, although not easily. A closet is usually larger and features various types of fixtures.
If you want a less cluttered look than you will achieve with bookshelves, a wardrobe is a good solution. You can hide a lot of clutter when the wardrobe doors are closed. The wardrobe is considered a piece of furniture and its appearance is usually smooth and sleek. All of the clutter is hidden behind the closed wardrobe doors and the furniture is the focal point of the room. A wardrobe allows you to be as disorganized as you like behind closed doors, while a book out of place on an open shelving system is often what draws the eyes.
Positive Features of Bookcases
An open bookcase with neatly organized and arranged books and decorative items on it is an attractive addition to the decor of a room. You can organize your books by size, by orientation, and by color elements in the book or the dust jacket. In each of these instances, the bookshelves are part of the decorating scheme in the room.
Because solid built in bookcases are sturdy, they can easily hold many books in various orientations. If the shelves of the bookcases are a solid neutral color, the brilliant pattern of colors offered by the book can be as unique or striking as your imagination allows. Sort your books by color and then place the various color blocks in alignment to draw the eye in one direction or another.
Since the bookcases may already be built in, it doesn’t feel like the bookcase is stealing living space from the rest of the room. It is just part of the overall decor.
Unless your bookcases are those which reach to the ceiling, access to the books is relatively easy. You can walk up to the shelf, assuming your inventory is up to date, and place your hands on the exact book that you are looking for. Assuming that your organization system is up to date and accurate, you probably won’t have to consult a data file to determine where a particular book is located.
Negative Aspects of Bookcases.
Although the appearance of an open wall of books can be attractive, the open concept can create a problem of dust, debris and sunlight falling on the books. The deterioration of books happens relatively quickly. It takes constant vigilance to keep the books and shelves free of dust, grime and debris.
Large expanses of book shelves must be filled, or they look awkward. For the book lover empty shelves are just crying to be filled, but the quality of the books may deteriorate from a knowledge, author and writing style standpoint.
When your books are all on display, even a small discrepancy can stand out. If a book is removed to check out a reference, or to be read, it is apparent that it is missing. You can’t shift all of the other books on the shelf over to cover up the missing volume.
Damage to the dust jacket or to the book itself is possible, because there is nothing to prevent dirt, cobwebs, smoke or food odors and other normal debris from reaching the books and being absorbed into the covers or pages.
Regular cleaning of the books and shelves is recommended, but if you have a large expanse of bookshelves, you will probably spend a lot of time just keeping the books and the shelves tidy.
Although you may think you have enough bookshelves, you may find over time that you have filled up all the existing shelf space with books or collectibles and yet you have more books that you want to place on the shelves. It is very difficult to add another bank of built-in shelves in an existing room. You may find yourself looking for additional storage space in areas that are not as well placed from an environmental standpoint.
If you have young children or pets, especially climbing ones, an open bookshelf is an invitation to have books pulled down off the shelves, with resulting damage to the books. Not only is book damage possible, but a toddler climbing a shelf is at risk of falling and hurting him or herself.
Positive Features of Wardrobes
The popularity of wardrobes, even in modern homes, is growing. Homeowners are recognizing the benefits of the stylish wardrobe for a number of reasons. It has become a recognized piece of functional furniture without the need to bring in a contractor to install it.
Wardrobes are attractive pieces of furniture
Regardless of your preferred decor style, a wardrobe is a piece of furniture which is highly attractive. The focus of the piece is on the furniture itself, rather than what is in it. If you light sleek modern lines you can find a wardrobe with that look. If you prefer a more ornate design, you can find one that harmonizes with the rest of the furniture in the room.
The wardrobe hides a multitude of problems
When you place your books in a closed wardrobe they don’t have to be color matched or organized by size or condition, they can be placed in any configuration from an aesthetics standpoint. When you have finished looking in the wardrobe, you can close the doors and shut away any clutter from the rest of the room. Because what shows is the wardrobe itself, it always looks perfectly organized when the doors are closed.
The wardrobe can be positioned anywhere
Within the size constraints, a wardrobe is not attached to the walls so it is somewhat portable. If you don’t like the furniture in your bedroom, it can be repositioned into a den or dining room. It won’t look out of place in any of these locations.
What To Do When Your Collection Outgrows the Wardrobe
Although you are limited somewhat by the space of your residence, if one wardrobe is inadequate, you can add another one. It is better to find one that is similar in design to avoid creating a room which looks like a hodge-podge of designs and styles. You won’t have to hire a carpenter, architect, and designer to place more book storage space in the existing rooms.
Using a wardrobe allows the book storage space to be closed off in order to limit access to the books that need to be protected. Because the wardrobe doors can be closed securely, the contents are protected from certain types of damage. This may be helpful when you don’t want to have fragile volumes accidentally damaged.
Negative Features of Wardrobes
Wardrobes are not all positive features. Because they are fairly substantial in size they may take up more room in your house or apartment than you can spare.
The contents of a wardrobe may be a little difficult to see, unlike being able to walk up and view a row of books on a shelf. Access to the wardrobe is limited by the width of the open doors.
Wardrobes are usually quite substantial pieces of furniture. You probably won’t want to move them frequently, but you can if the need arises. You can adjust the location or add a new unit if you need more book storage space. It may be convenient to find a similar unit if your book collection outgrows the original wardrobe.
Organizing your collection
When you have a sizable collection, organizing it may be a little more challenging because of the confined spaces within the wardrobe. It is important to keep track of your books because of insurance reasons, particularly if the books are valuable, fragile, or important for sentimental reasons.
Which is best for your home?
The choice between built-in bookshelves and wardrobes is one that depends upon the preferences of the book lover. There are advantages and disadvantages of each type of book storage solution. You might also be limited by the type of ownership you have, and the location or your living space.