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Established Member
17 Mar 2017
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I'm planning my next project and was wondering if there are any kind of standard dimensions for wardrobes?

Does the hanging rail typically sit in the middle (eg in a 600mm cabinet the rail would have its centre at 300mm) or are they offset?

It seems that, except for a few long dresses (no, not mine), long coats etc that most space would be wasted at the bottom, so I could make some drawers for lower down or even 'shoe cupboards' .

Most of the wardrobes will be hidden (backs and sides) so I'm swinging between the "plywood box" and "frame and panels" styles. Any thoughts on both.

One of the things I did like the idea of, taken from tool cabinets, is storage on the inside of the doors too - eg a tie rack on the door perhas a place for purfume bottles etc.

It's a farily urgent task, at the moment the bed in the spare room is serving as a storage area for clothes. Not ideal as you can imagine but I needed to cut my teeth on some projects before starting this one.


Sheffield Tony

Ghost of the disenchanted
2 Aug 2012
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I built our wardrobes in a hurry too. I had no idea of any standard dimensions so proceeded in ignorance to do what seemed to hold our clothes.

For my own bloke's wardrobe, I don't have any long coats (or dresses !), so I found I had room for an upper, jacket and shirt rail, and a lower trouser rail. I went for the middle fore-aft position for the rails as I coudn't think of a good reason to make it anything else. Seems to serve.


The end is nigh.
6 Jan 2016
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Shop bought wardrobes tend to stick to similar measurements to allow hanging space for standard size clothing. If you are building your own though no-one says you need to follow any plans, just go with what suits your needs.

I just recently built a custom "unit" (I actually re-purposed units we bought to keep costs to a minimum) for a family member. One side was all adjustable shelves and one side has hanging rails. The height of the hanging rails was determined by grabbing a selection of their clothes and taking some measurements. We opted to allow some of the particularly long pieces to touch the bottom and in doing so gained an extra narrow shelf above the rail.
It was central in the depth simply because this worked fine for that size cabinet, if the cabinet was deeper then we might have changed that arrangement to allow some shelves behind the rail for example, you would need a pretty deep cabinet to allow for this though.


Established Member
20 Aug 2008
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ScaredyCat":6ll3y1yt said:
was wondering if there are any kind of standard dimensions for wardrobes?
"Human Dimension and Interior Space" by Panero & Zelnick is generally regarded as the bible for furniture design.

For wardrobes and fitted closet space they say the highest shelf should be no higher than 1750mm to be accessible for 95% of adults. Place the hanging rail just above eye level of the shortest user, normally 1520-1770mm, and a side to side hanging rail should have 35-55mm clearance beyond the widest hanger both front and back. For most normal wardrobes the hanging rail would be centred, for really deep walk in closets it might be set back.

They don't say how much room is required to swing a cat, but they do say that 1730-1930mm clear dressing space is required to comfortably put on a jacket or a coat!

Making a wardrobe from sheet goods would take a fraction of the time of frame and panel construction, plus there's a lot less to cock up.


Established Member
2 Oct 2009
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West London
+1 for Human Dimensions and Interior Space - great book.

Most wardrobe carcasses I make are around 1900 high, and sit on a ~100mm plinth. If you want to make use of the space above the carcass then a top-box is a good way to go, unless the ceiling’s so tight it makes it look silly, in which case it’s generally better to make the carcass a bit taller and fit an upper shelf.

You generally need an absolute minimum of 500mm deep to comfortably hang something off a clothes rail, but I usually aim for 550mm to allow for bulky coats, hangers with multiple items etc... - and yes, it’s generally centred within the depth of the carcass. An easy way to differentiate between short and long hanging space is with an internal ‘box’ with shelves (see Ikea) or possibly, drawers; if drawers remember you’ll need to allow for clearance against the door.

Short hanging (shirts, suits, etc) typically needs about 900mm of clear space from the top of the rail, long hanging (coats, dresses etc..) can usually fit within ~1500mm, but long gowns and the like often need more. I usually fit a half-depth adjustable shelf for shoes and boots in the long hanging section, than can be adjusted/removed as required.

If you’re going to fill the back of the doors with stuff, don’t forget to allow for additional depth within the carcass, or you find the doors won’t close.

Edited to add; yes, simple box from sheet materials, 100% every time!