Sliding door wardrobes are certainly fast becoming an elegant and contemporary addition to many modern homes in the UK, - the Europeans have used them for many years, but they fell out of favour here because of they were mostly promoted in the early years by MFI, and the DIY sheds, and hence, unstable mechanisms and flimsy, bendy doors were produced to a very low cost which promoted their reputation for 'cheap and nasty'.
So what are the benefits and downfalls of modern sliding wardrobes, and what are the storage alternatives for the average bedroom?
There are basically three alternatives for clothes hanging storage, fitted wardrobes with hinged or sliding doors, and freestanding wardrobes. If comparing sliding doors against hinged doors, access to the rails within can often be better with sliding doors, as the doors are generally wider, and depending on the number of doors, more than one can be open at any time. For smaller rooms, the space required to open traditional doors can be too obtrusive, whereas sliding doors obviously need no such space.
Design possibilities are endless with sliding wardrobes these days, most of us remember the only choice synonymous with the old styles as boring plain mirror doors where you can see all of yourself 24/7, from all angles, which is not something which everyone can tolerate. Coloured lacquer glass, frosted and printed mirrors have become mainstream and affordable, and wood effects are becoming very realistic, a design statement on their own which can be matched up with other furniture around the room. For storing items other than clothes and in areas other than the bedroom, a 'half inside out' design where some of the interior, usually the centre, is designed to be seen can be a really successful solution. Doors slide smoothly back to reveal a television or other media equipment, a concealed desk, or just a collection of your favourite items. This can be achieved whilst still hiding less attractive storage each side - perfect for multi use rooms.
Cost as always is a consideration. A simple sliding wardrobe will usually be more affordable than fully fitted hinged door wardrobes, although the more complicated and diverse the finish, generally as with all things, the more expensive it will be. You can usually get an idea of a basic cost over the telephone, if you have your measurements yourself.