An Armoire, What Is It?


It can be called a wardrobe or a cupboard. An armoire can be described as a tall, freestanding cabinet with doors that hide shelves and drawers. There may also be space for hanging clothes.

The armoire came to be because there was a need for it just like any other type of furniture. In this case, the need was for storage. Chests were used for these purposes for years. There is never emoug room to store everything as anyone knows. Storage was needed not just for clothes, but linens, rugs and tapestries as well as weapons and armor. This piece of furniture in its present form was devised by the French in the 17th century and the name might have come from the Latin word “armorium” which was a chest for storing armor.

When it was known as a press, it is found the earliest form of this furniture in Medieval times. Usually constructed from oak, the press had shelves for storing linens or clothes. Over time the look chenged as new features such as drawers and doors were added.

The earliest armoires were stood very tall and wide and massive. They did not have feet and were placed directly in the floor. These armoires were sometimes scuipted and also painted inside and out and had elaborate hings. The highly decorative armoire with its paintings and embossings, became a showpiece in castle in French. Also with architectural elements such as columns, they were decorated. Heavy ornamental carving replaced the painted surface with the passage of time.

The armoire had become less massive, narrower and taller by the Renaissance. Over time space was created for hanging clothes and this is the form it maintains today. Through centuries dimensions were changed, feet added, and the surface treatment and the general shape kept pace with the fashions of the day’s furniture. Whether it was painted or carved, and the nature of finish all depended on the current vogue, which is true for today as well.


Originally armoires were used to store personal belongings and treasures, as there were no built in cupboards or closets, even in the homes of the wealthy. Armoires were freed up other uses with the introduction of built in closets. Armoires became popular for storing televisions and peripherals during the last decades of the 20th century. They also became part of the evolving home office. Their generous proportions and ample storage space helped hide away computers, monitors and files when not in use, just as they could house televisions and entertainment systems.

Through time, armoires have also served another important purpose. They have been to provide decorative accents or focal points in room. It can give any room a special character depending on its color and its very size makes an armoire hard to miss. Many people buy them for that reason alone, and all that extra storage space is an added bonus.

 An armoire is one of the most versatile furniture pieces you can buy. It is because you can use it in any room in the house. Historically, an armoire was used as a clothes closet to store apparel in homes that did not have a built-in closet. Today, it can be fitted with shelves, drawers, hanging poles, or left open. In any room in the house it can be fitted with shelves, drawers, hanging poles, or left open and this versatile piece of furniture can be used exclusively for decoration or for the main storage unit. Let’s see how it can work in rooms you might not have considered if you are skeptical on it.

In the family living room armoires are the ultimate workhorse. You can use them to hide away items that you do not want to see everyday, like crafts, home office supplies, and even the TV. An armoire is the perfect place to hide a television by installing shelves and having a hole cut out in the back of the cabinet. A cut out at the back will channel all the wires. Watch movies or television shows, and then close the doors to conceal everything.

An armoire can be the perfect way to store your supplies and tech, like computers and printers if you living area is also a home office. An armoire is also a perfect place to put away craft and hobby projects when not in use. Scrap booking supplies, souvenirs, photo albums, and collections can be stored together in an armoire. With the items in the family room, everyone will be able to get to whatever they want. To get to work, all you need to do is openthe doors. Add shelves for papers, books, and files. Just close the doors and your things will remain private when you are done.

An armoire can act as a closet for guests in a guest bedroom. Provide hanging space and extra shelves to store a robe, towels, extra pillows, and slippers for your guests. An armoire is a perfect place to store folded sweaters, shirts, lingerie, bedding, and miscellaneous items. Purses, shoes, scarves, and jewelry can find a home in an armoire as well.

An armoire is great piece to add to a child’s because of all the shelving space and drawers. Clothing can hang on a pole or folded neatly on shelves. There is no better way to get that pile of toys out of sight than in an armoire. The room will look spotless by closing the door. For older children, supplies, books, notebooks, papers, pens and pencils can all be stored together in boxes on the shelves.


Let’s go to the budget uses for an armoire more details;

  • Living room: We have to mention the entertainment armoire to house the tv and other media of course. It is popular because it is a great idea!
  • Dining room: You can store china and glasses in shelves and even put tableware in a drawer with a drop down table to serve on. Try an armoire instead if you need a buffet. Nifty idea!
  • Family room: An armoire is a great idea for the use of a game center. Add a fold-down game table for playing cards or board games and store them in the armoire shelves and drawers. Keep the room organized, but family-friendly. A variation on the home-office idea is to turn the cabinet into a family communications center, a place for taking and posting messages, displaying the family calendar and perhaps organizing school papers or other documents. It is suggested covering the inside back panel of the armoire with corkboard so notes could be pinned there. Or you moght replace the doors with one big bulletin board, which could be hinged at the top to give access to storage space behind it and closed to hide clutter. A power strip could be used for charging phones, cameras and other gadgets. Add a slide-out or fold-out surface, and your cabinet could become a mini studio or sewing center. Consider adding lighting as well.
  • Bedroom: Make one out of an armoire if you do not have a linen closet. Blankets, pillowcases, sheets can be stored in one place that is easily accessible.
  • Bathroom: Add an armoire to house your toiletries and towels if you lack storage in your bathroom.
  • Laundry room: Use the armoire to house the ironing board, iron, and laundry supplies. Paint an armoire in fresh, crisp colors and use it in the laundry room. It is great way to keep the laundry room organized.
  • Kitchen room: Why not make an armoire into a baking center if you like to bake? Store mixers, bowls, canisters of flour and sugar in shelves. You will have space to work as well if you add a fold-down kneading board.
  • Kids room: An armoire in your child’s bedroom can house those excess dolls, toys, or stuffed animals. A drop-down table can make a study space.
  • Office: You can still use an armoire to house a printer, paper, files, and shredder if you prefer your computer space be open on a desktop. An armoire just might be the perfect place to hide a computer or your bill-paying supplies when they are not needed. Often the cabinets have built-in power strips, making it easy to plug in your electronics. You might add a slide-out desktop or laptop tray, and overhead shelves or even pigeonholes, penta suggested. The spaces originally intended for media storage or extra electronic components might lend themselves to being converted into file drawers. Remember to allow yourself leg room, and make sure the desktop in the proper height for working comfortably. Most desks are about 29 inches high, and keyboard trays are usually a bit lower. Adjust the height to fit your needs.
  • Entryway: Use an armoire if you have no mudroom. You can house muddy shoes, umbrellas, coats, hats and scarves.

Consider the many ways you can use an armoire in your home if you find a good buy on an armoire. It might be an even better buy than you thought.

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