Today I decided to talk about a topic that's rarely discussed in interior design blogs: money. If you read my last post (my own bedroom interior design project, in renders) you'll have seen that I designed a bespoke fitted wardrobe for the space. What you don't know is that out of my head I could have never guessed the actual cost of fitted wardrobes!
I mean, if I had to guess a chair or table price (knowing the brand) I could give it a try. We can all browse furniture websites and see their prices but bespoke pieces are a different thing. A carpenter cannot give a price list, since every piece is different from the others.
So, let's talk about it: how much is the cost of fitted wardrobes?
I guess the million-dollar question is: are they worth it? If it was for me, I would always recommend designing bespoke pieces. They resolve spatial issues and can make a room functional so that you can use it at its full potential. Because they are only designed for that room, they are in fact the best solution. Also, they are unique for that space and as a consequence, they make it more special and remarkable.
For example, in my own bedroom, I designed a fitted wardrobe that makes use of all space from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. And it also has an integrated desk with corkboard.
For this particular design, I decided to partner with a couple of carpenters and to ask for real quotations.
The Nitty-gritty of money
The first guy I spoke to is Martin Wells from MW Creative Carpentry. I like him because we share a similar story: he started as an engineering manager to then switch to a more creative job, the carpenter (while I graduated as an engineer and then changed to interior design!). Now he helps his clients change the way they use their space at home and work, for the better.
His quotation for the big wardrobe in moister resistant lacquered timber with an integrated desk was around £4,500 with no VAT to pay.
My second partner for this research is Antonio Amoroso whose father has been a carpenter for over 50 years and runs a family business Falegnameria Amoroso in Adrano, which is a little city in Sicily (close to where I am from).
His quotation came out cheaper, about €2,500 + VAT. But we need to consider that it was based on the local market.
Can I find a decent ready-made alternative?
Of course, there are cheaper alternatives. For example, in this article Cate St Hill describes how to get organised with IKEA PAX wardrobes. She had exactly this issue: she couldn't afford a bespoke solution and found a compromise that in her particular situation works very well.
Obviously the all-white Ikea Pax would never look as good in the bedroom I designed. You wouldn't be able to fill the entire space and to replicate the same colours of the walls. This colour-blocking trick helps the room look bigger because the wardrobe almost disappears. Cate didn't have this issue in her bedroom because her walls are already all white.
What's my verdict? From a renter's point of view, obviously I wouldn't spend that amount of money to go bespoke. But if I was the landlord I would definitely consider it. I'm sure it's an investment that will pay for itself and that will set a high standard for the room.
I'm not saying you should spend that extra money even if you don't have it (I've had to count my pennies a million times too!). But if you can afford it, I truly recommend you to go that way. Improving everyday life through good interior design is an art that needs to be preserved in my opinion.
So, should you go bespoke? That's your call now!