Fitted Wardrobes v Built In Wardrobes: What’s The Difference?
A commonly-asked and commonly searched question on the internet is whether or not there’s a difference between built-in and fitted wardrobes. Tens of thousands of people across the UK get fitted bedroom furniture installed in their homes every single year – it’s a continually growing household décor trend.
In addition to adding more storage to your bedroom, improving the look of your bedroom and potentially even increasing the value of your home, there’s lots of benefits to having fitted wardrobes. But let’s get to the point, shall we?
The short answer to this question is no, there’s no difference between fitted wardrobes and built-in wardrobes. The phrases are used to describe the same thing. Let’s go into a little more detail to understand what people might mean by these phrases though, as this could affect your planning and ideas for your own fitted bedroom furniture.
What is a built-in wardrobe?
Well, the clue here really is in the name! When someone says, or searches for, ‘built in wardrobes’ they are generally thinking about a wardrobe that feels like it’s part of the room… as if it were built into it when the house was built. They’re integrated into the space and are made-to-measure so that they fit perfectly into the bedroom.
A wardrobe could be built into a wall cavity, between two walls perfectly. Similarly, a wardrobe could be fitted into the alcoves either side of a chimney breast.
Lots of people like to renovate the space above their house and turn it into a bedroom, den or gaming room, so loft conversion wardrobes are also extremely popular, with sloping backs so it looks like it’s a part of the room from the start. There are even wardrobes with TV space built in for the ultimate bedroom media area!
So they really are the same?
Yes! The phrase ‘fitted wardrobe’ is very popular here in the UK (they’d say ‘fitted closet’ in the USA). The wardrobe just has to be fitted by somebody. It’s a popular misconception that a fitted wardrobe must be fitted into the space by a professional fitter or the company that you buy the wardrobes from.
This is absolutely not the case, and often can cost you a LOT more in the long-run as you’re paying for labour, tools and many other things.
Who fits a fitted wardrobe?
British people love DIY. A fitted wardrobe can be fitted by you, the customer, with just a little bit of DIY knowhow. For example, our wardrobes are made to measure to suit your space, then cut, edged and delivered flat-packed to your home for you to fit yourself with some basic DIY knowledge and some tools (like a screwdriver and a circular saw).
Many customers will fit their wardrobes themselves with no issues, or perhaps call in a tradesperson to finish off the job (like their plinths or side scribe panels) which saves hundreds – or often even thousands – of pounds compared to using the full service companies that do everything but charge a small fortune for the privilege.
Do I get more storage this way?
Absolutely! Because fitted wardrobes are made to measure, you get to make the most of every millimetre of space in your home. Plus because they're bespoke, you can have whatever combination of hanging rail, drawer and shelf you want to get the best solution for your requirements.
Are fitted wardrobes expensive?
Not necessarily, and it depends on how you look at it. There's really three choices if you're looking for some made to measure wardrobes. One is to completely fabricate everything yourself, which you can only do if you're very handy with the tools and have some carpentry skills.
The second is to choose a full service fitted furniture company who'll measure for you, sell to you in your home, then after a few months they'll send some third party fitters to build the furniture for you, leaving you to clean up afterwards.
Some of these companies get really bad feedback. In a 2020 Which? survey, just TWO of the 10 major brands achieved five stars for the quality of the furniture. A long warranty suggest high quality (ours is 15 years, just saying!)
The final option which we think is best (although we're biased, of course) is to measure yourself, let us build the wardrobes, deliver them to you in 3-4 weeks and then you build them yourself. Doing this means that fitted wardrobes cost around £2000 on average, although some rooms cost less.
Unlike some rivals, we have no minimum order value so there's nothing to lose by getting a free quote.