Design Study: How To Design A Dressing Room
Dressing rooms are now one of my favorite rooms to design — they're such a treat and I want an at home "closet" to feel like a luxurious boutique (I mentioned them on a previous post). The number of things that can be done to accomplish a thoughtfully curated space, which is centered on storage needs more than anything is extremely exciting. Lately, I've been discovering some really cool ways to make the best of a large walking-in closet. I don't like calling it that, though, because a closet used to be this place to merely store one's clothes, now, a dressing room is so much more. People are getting ready in there in the mornings and making that inevitable ritual less than quotidian.
Design Study: Designing A Dressing Room
As with everything, let's start off with a good space plan so that we can maximize storage space. Our tip is to keep inventory of all of your clothes, shoes and accessories, evaluating how much of every style you have. You may have lots of blouses or long shirts and lots of high heels needing some chic storage solutions. The compartments should be designed to fit these items. The idea is to add built-in storage all around the perimeter of the room, leaving the center open for an island or seating. If the space is not completely square or rectangle, try adding a cool built-in seat somewhere in a nook, if possible. Please note that for the best look, opt bringing the built-ins all the way to the ceiling. We don't want any gaps between the actual "closet" and the ceiling.
Open Vs. Closed Storage
CLOSED — My personal preference is to have the majority of the storage solutions closed so that clothes are nicely concealed behind closed doors. There are mornings where you cannot skip the inevitable mess, specially when rushing around to get ready, so the best thing is to have doors on the individual compartments shutting off the disaster. This option is also suitable for smaller spaces as to not get overwhlemed by clothes all over and for people who know they won't have the chance to constantly organize the closet by color or style. Best thing, it looks neat and the dressing room suddenly becomes an extra room to mingle in without staring at clothes at all. Combining both closed and open storage is how I'd approach the design.
OPEN — We suggest open storage solutions for specific items only, that will always look good. Enter, The Suit. Envision Tom Ford's luxury boutique and realize that suits are those garments that look and feel crisp and tailored so it is nice to display them, orderly and neatly. The same thing goes for purses, dress shoes, heels, cute sandals and flats. As for heavy boots, those can be stored away, we reckon.
STORAGE SOLUTIONS — Within the closet compartments, make sure to have the option to customize the height of each bar used for hangers so that you can easily distribute short, long and medium sleeved items. Remember drawers, please for everything else that doesn't need to be hung; drawers are so useful.
This is where the fun begins. After the space plan has been stablished, knowing how and where each individual garment will be placed, we can go ahead and select the finishes to the dressing room. This phase is so extensive, involving the selection of finishes for pretty much every single detail. Let me break it down for you:
Built-ins — The actual built-ins should be made of durable materials like oak wood. The finish on the exterior could be so many things: a painted finish, wood finish like white oak, eucalyptus (our new favorite), or birch. A style we enjoy on the doors is the very classic shaker style. Within the shaker, we like proposing recessed wallpaper panels, preferring selections with tiny patterns as to add some interest to the doors, but not distract the overall dressing room design. In case you're wondering about how to protect the wallpaper inserts, vinyl wallpaper is the best option, but if you find a wallpaper that is not vinyl, consider laminating it or placing a sheet of glass over each inset. Now, if you do choose this option, the best way to blend a shiny glass with the wood or painted finish on the cabinets is to choose a high polish or lacquered finish on them. In order to delineate each compartment, consider inlaying brass, bronze or polished nickel into the shaker. Options are endless, so play around with what you like :)
Built-ins Interiors — You may opt to leave the interiors of your buit-ins plain, but we love the idea of covering them in special finishes like leather, vinyl covering, grasscloth or even a different colored wood than the one used on the exterior.
Hardware — Aren't they fun? Oh yes! There are so many options out there, our preferred ones include long pulls, medium sized knobs or simply recessed pulls for a sleeker look.
Walls — Whenever we get the chance, we like covering all walls with wallpaper, in every single room. For chic dressing rooms, as with built-ins doors, we prefer small patterned wallpapers if we don't choose a plain silk, faux silk, vinyl or grasscloth. For painted walls, choose a satin or eggshell finish.
Lighting — Like in any other space, it is imperative that you illuminate dressing rooms very well. Specially if the space is not very big, include LED lighting within the shelves, overhead lighting and perhaps a table lamp on a desk or surface.
Fabrics + Window Treatments – Fabrics are such a personal choice, and depending on the overall look you're aiming for in your dressing room is how the colors and textures chosen will play out. At Synonymous, we prefer a tonal (tone-on tone) look so we almost always establish a color palette of three subdued colors , choosing a dominant color like dusty blue-gray and then distributing this color subtly throughout the space. The foundation is always the same — neutrals like soft ivory, cream, gray, light taupe and brass. In all of our spaces, we like coordinating the drapery fabric color to that of the wall color so that it camouflages well. In this case, we do opt for textural or subtly patterned fabrics for interest. Refer to our Muted Color Combinations post to view a few examples.
Carpet + Rugs — I think dressing rooms may be the only spaces I am keen on specifying carpet for, though only if they are relatively small. I still prefer hardwood even in closets, softening the surface with rugs. We always recommend patterned rugs for a punch of color and much needed interest. I personally LOVE vintage rugs and dressing rooms are one of the perfect spaces to utilize them in. If you prefer carpet, choose a soft, neutral option with a small pattern.
Seating — What elevates any "closet" or dressing room is the ability to make it function as something else. This is where seating plays a huge part in getting to that point. Anything from a round ottoman, square or rectangular bench or an upholstered chair will work. We prefer upholstered pieces as they're comfortable solutions. If you have the space, we more than encourage a built-in seat somewhere in there. Could be a window seat or something as luxurious as an upholstered / tufted nook like seen in a beautiful design by Laura Hammett.