There are different approaches to creating a fitted wardrobe but here we identify four main types.

They differ in cost, installation difficulty and performance. If your aim is for a DIY fitted wardrobe then you will want to be clear as to which type you are aiming for to ensure you get the result you want. For example if you set out to make the one we describe as “Doors attached to the walls” and you don’t have carpentry skills then you may be wasting your time and your money!

Broadly the options are presented in order of increasing cost. The simplest option is a wardrobe rail between two walls. This might be the kind of thing you do when you’ve just moved house and you need an immediate clothes hanging solution.

The next step up from this is to close the space off with some doors. This is where things start to get tricky. To attach a door you need a frame which might be battens of 38mm or 50mm square timber. The doors could be ready made internal doors or 18mm thick MDF and typically butt hinges are used. However the skills to put this together are, well, carpentry skills. If you are not a carpenter then you have a challenge. Wardrobe doors are typically 2metres tall so if the alignment is not good you will see gaps or the doors will not swing right – this is the stuff that carpenters go to college to learn!

You have come here probably because you are not a carpenter. What are the options for a non-carpenter (or for the carpenter who wants a quick sure-fire solution)? The next step is a ready-made kit comprising doors within a frame. This could be sliding doors from a sliding doors vendor or if you would like hinged doors then this is something we can supply at https://www.diywardrobes.co.uk. Given the dimensions we create custom sized doors together with a frame (usually 100mm deep) and both the doors and frame are pre-drilled for hinges. You offer up the frame to the space, using packers and scribes as necessary, and secure to the wall.

This is a job that doesn’t require carpentry skills and the novice who is prepared to work methodically can achieve good results. Indeed in Germany this is the normal way that they have been fitting internal doors for years using door and frame sets that are pre-drilled for hinges, handles and locks.

If we supply this kit then we include Blum style hinges rather than butt hinges. The advantage of the Blum hinges is that they are adjustable so you can achieve perfect alignment even if the installation space is challenging.

For self-builders this can be a good option as if you are careful with the design then this can be classified as building materials rather than furniture and therefore can be zero rated for VAT as detailed in VAT Notice 708.

Being careful with the design means things like not having an end-panel and not being a corner unit – the wardrobe must be wall to wall and you must see a back wall when you open the doors. A big caveat: you may be able to save on VAT but in some ways you are compromising because internal shelves or drawers are a no-no to achieve the zero VAT status.

Finally the full carcass cabinetry option is the one we have built our company around. Here a wardrobe comprises one or more cabinets. A space up to 1metre wide can be satisfied with one cabinet but wider than that multiple cabinets can be used. You can enter your sizes into our fast quote tool to get a suggested starting configuration together with price.

The key advantages to the full carcass approach are:

  • each cabinet can be built and slid into position. The cabinet will be perfectly square and rigid leading to perfect door alignment. It’s an assembly task rather than a carpentry task.
  • shelves and drawers can be incorporated with ease. You don’t need to battle with out of plumb brick walls.
  • the wardrobe interior can look just as good as the outside

An aside on VAT. If you plan to pay 0% VAT as part of a construction scheme under VAT Notice 708, we will still charge 20% and you will need to reclaim the VAT. There are cases where we have been happy to supply goods at 0% VAT: supplying cabinetry for medical or research or to locations such as Jersey and Guernsey.

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