Built in wardrobes from Sharps: Part one, the planning

I’ve lived in Taunton on and off now for nearly twenty years and in that time there have been certain shops that have probably always been there, but which have passed under my radar.

And then you buy a house and suddenly you start noticing things and thinking about things that you’ve never thought about before, like boiler insurance and bespoke shelving and built in wardrobes.

We have a Sharps showroom in our town centre, but all this time I honestly thought it was just one bed and a wardrobe, just casually in a shop window. Oh and sometimes balloons advertising special offers.

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

When we knew we were buying this house, and that we were going to go from having big built in bedrooms cupboards to NOTHING, I decided to pop in to the Sharps showroom with Belle and my MIND WAS BLOWN. Turns out it isn’t just a bed and a wardrobe. That place goes back for MILES. Okay, maybe not literally miles, but a long way. I smelt a nice juicy blog project…

Let’s back it up a bit first though.

Let me set the scene in our bedroom so you can see what we have to play with.

It’s not a massive room – roughly 4m x 3m – but part of that is a fairly deep alcove, approximately 2 metres wide. I was VERY proud of myself remembering to take a photo of the empty space before we moved in:

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

We’ve been here for a about six weeks now, (although it feels like forever), and the alcove is currently filled by two chests of drawers. Don’t even ASK where these are going to go when we have the built in wardrobes or I MAY have a small breakdown.

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

Now, you might think they fit quite nicely in the space, and so they do. We’d all be perfectly happy if it wasn’t for the fact that we have this monstrosity taking up the whole wall at the end of the bed:

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

It makes me feel sad inside.

I feel like at 39 I shouldn’t ever have to have my clothes on a rail.

(Belle put lights on it, bless her, to try and make it less soul destroying for me, but to be honest they just make it worse because the hangers get tangled in them.)

To get to my side of the bed I have to shuffle myself between the rail of doom and the bed in a most undignified way.

So, to Sharps we went.

The Sharps showroom is really designed just to whet your appetite for all of the different fancy bits and pieces that you can get as part of your built in wardrobes and to give you the chance to see all of the different styles of door in person. They don’t do the designing for you, but the chap in the Taunton store was certainly very helpful and had quite a few suggestions that I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of, so it was really helpful.

There is a lot of information on the Sharps website too, and you can request a catalogue, but if you do have a Sharps showroom near you then it’s worth popping in for a nosey.

The next step, once you’ve had a browse in the showroom or on the website, is to request your free Sharps design visit. This is the fun bit, where a designer gets creative in your bedroom (ooer) and comes up with lots of the different ideas for how you could best maximise your space.* They bring with them samples of all the different finishes too, and you end up with a sketch of your proposed wardrobe design like this:

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

(I wonder if I have missed my calling as a Sharps wardrobe designer?? I used to spend HOURS when I was little drawing scale plans of my bedroom and rearranging cut out furniture…)

In our old house we had cupboards that were pretty much exactly the same width, but they were literally just a rail that went straight across, with a shelf above, so we had an awful lot of wasted space underneath. Picture if you will piles of old shoes, Christmas presents I bought last year and forgot about, washing I’ve ruffed in because the laundry basket is full, that sort of thing.

With this wardrobe design, the idea is that every little bit of space is utilised, so for the same space as in our old house, we get to store a lot more stuff. The shorter hanging rail is for tops and skirts and the longer one is for dresses. I also got one of those funky trouser rails, as I am a fan of a colourful trouser, and we have some additional drawers and shelves too. It’s VERY exciting.

Once the Sharps wardrobe designer has mocked up your proposed wardrobes, you’ll then get a visit from a surveyor just to finalise the details, draw up accurate plans and just make sure that everything is doable from a technical point of view. The surveyor who came to see us was very thorough and talked us through exactly what we would need to do in advance and what to expect. The surveyor also creates accurate drawings and plans, so you can see what your wardrobes will look like in the space:

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

The key things to keep in mind are that you will need to entirely clear the room for the duration of the fitting, AND you’ll need to roll back the carpet. (This bit is freaking me out a little bit as the carpets are new throughout the house, but I’m trying to remain calm.) The wardrobes have to be fitted on a hard floor so that they are as sturdy as possible – fitting them over carpet leaves them prone to movement. You will need to organise to have the carpet refitted around your wardrobes afterwards as this isn’t part of the Sharps service. Sharps are very upfront about this.

The one thing I struggled with was my choice of wardrobe door. It’s a bit like going to a restaurant with a huge menu, where you feel overwhelmed by choice and wish they’d just offer you scampi or a burger and that was that.

I decided to go with something from the Sharps sliding door range as we have quite a small room, plus it means we can have things in front of the wardrobes if we need to and still be able to open the doors. There are a LOT of options though when it comes to finishes.

Basically you can choose to split your doors into sections, and then mix and match materials in each section:

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

I was quite tempted by this combination, with the bronze mirror running through the middle, and there was a lot of love for it when I posted a picture on Facebook:

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

While I do really love the pinky tones, I was a bit worried though that it would be quite prescriptive when it came to decorating, and that the five different panels might be a bit too busy for a small room. When I looked at the samples in real life too, they did feel a bit darker than in the picture, which is why you need the designer to show you all the samples, so you can see exactly how they work with the light and furnishings in your room.

In the end, after a LOT of indecision, (I had my period on the surveyor visit where we made our final choice…), we opted for something more like this:

Sharps fitted wardrobes review

We will only have two doors as it’s a smaller space, but I liked the idea of keeping it neutral so we could be more adventurous in the rest of the room. We did toy with mirror, but in the end settled for two different types of white glass, so we still got some reflective properties in terms of keeping the room light, but we didn’t have to look at a strip of our tummies all the time.

And that’s it! That’s the Sharps wardrobe design process in a (fairly substantial) nutshell. All we have to do now is wait for the pieces of our wardrobe to be prepared in the factory and then hopefully within the next few weeks we’ll have them fitted.

I honestly cannot wait. I will lie in bed every night and look at the space where the rail used to be and be forever grateful.

Watch this space to see how they turn out!

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*Because we are doing this as a project directly with Sharps, and are receiving the service and product free of charge for the purposes of this review, we actually skipped this step, but as a regular customer you’d definitely do this bit.

9 Comments

  1. Sandra
    15 August, 2017 / 2:48 pm

    Wow, you get quite a lot of detail don’t you? This was a really helpful read – now I jsut need to get hubby to read it and the wardrobes will be mine :-)

  2. Karen
    30 September, 2017 / 11:08 pm

    So pleased it worked out for you – my Sharps designer was literally at my home for 20 mins! No inspiration, no products seen, no plans left! I was left totally disappointed because I’d wanted a Sharps bedroom for what must be 30+ years!

    • Jo Middleton
      2 October, 2017 / 9:16 am

      Oh no! That sounds disappointing! Did you say anything? Honestly, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the whole process, so I’m sorry you had this experience!

      • Karen
        2 October, 2017 / 2:23 pm

        I called customer services to enquire what the initial consultation should entail – they couldn’t understand what happened. The representative called me the following day – Sunday at 10:45 am to say he’ll be passing my house in about 15 mins & asked if I would be in!
        I even visited a Sharps showroom to try & regain my love for a Sharps bedroom. The assistant asked if I wanted any help & I briefly explain what had happened – she said there’s nothing she can do, except may be try for another appt.
        I’m left feeling I was trying to force my business on to them, not they were going to provide me with the bedroom I’d dreamed of! Back to the drawing board!

        • Jo Middleton
          3 October, 2017 / 9:40 am

          That sounds really frustrating for you! You’d thing they would WANT your business! How annoying :-(

  3. Don Westman
    1 October, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    This was such an interesting read! We’ve been looking at getting new wardrobes and were considering Sharps, but were never really sure what was involved – this has been really helpful!

  4. L Foxon
    27 October, 2017 / 5:25 pm

    I have had the designer visit and they have provided the basic pencil drawings with no mention of dimensions for me to work out amount of storage space i will achieve so i feel i cannot make the decision to spend the equivalent of a brand new small car (which i would be able to touch/test drive!) based on a pencil drawing and small square of material sample, they did not have any clear pictures of the range we decided on in any brochures!!!). I understand that an surveyor who provides detailed 3D drawings, will not visit until i have paid for the product upfront. Surely this is not reasonable of Sharps to ask this of their customers. I think they should rethink the process from the customer point of view and provide computer generated detailed 3D drawings before expecting payment and i expect their sales would increase and i would personally be better inclined to purchase their products.

    • Jo Middleton
      29 October, 2017 / 9:39 am

      I can totally see what you mean Liz – it does feel like it would be useful for you (and more profitable for them!) to provide you with a bit more information. Is there a showroom locally maybe that you could go into to get a better idea of the finish and space?

  5. 4 November, 2017 / 9:17 am

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