How to Create a Dressing Room to Die For

Tips from Halstock, John Cullen Lighting & Pip Howeson

  • To make sure you can see the Armani from the Alaïa, allow a minimum of 3cm (just over an inch) of hanging space per dress, skirt or blouse. Keep ball gowns and any other large items in a separate cupboard. 


  • Creating spaces for your favorite handbags, hats and shoes, coupled with good lighting, is a great way to liven up a dressing room and prevent it from being dominated by too many cupboards and mirrors.


  • Group clothes that fit into your regular look or routine (along with favorite style signifiers) within easy reach of one another. 


  • Create a totally separate space for the kit you wear for riding, shooting weekends and other pursuits. Bunch entire outfits together so you don’t end up having to borrow gloves or ear protectors. During the off-season treat garments with a natural wool protector and get any little tears caused by brambles, barbed wire or fishing flies invisibly mended.


  • Ask your cabinet maker to come up with creative ways to store or display your collection of sunglasses, watches or jewelry.  Remember that watch-winder walls and safes need to be planned early on.


  • Never share a wardrobe with your husband or anyone else – it will result in chaos, encroachment or both! If they are jealous of your dressing room, tell them to get their own!


  • Store underwear neatly in drawers – accessing matching sets quickly makes it easier to choose the rest of your outfit.


  • Make sure you can reach any high cupboards or rails. (It is amazing how many people commission a dressing room with cupboards they can’t reach!)


  • Manage the churn. Every time you buy something new you need to bit the bullet and get rid of an equivalent item. Focus on the pieces that you really need for your life and work today – and don’t be sentimental!


  • Wardrobes and drawers should be lit inside so you can see what is navy and what is black. The light sources should be hidden and directed at your clothes, not out into the dressing room.


  • To ward off moths, ask for your cupboards and drawers to be lined with cedar wood. It smells great but moths hate it.


  • Too many mirrors can result in unwanted reflections and glare. For a flattering and accurate view, full-length mirrors should be lit evenly from either side and positioned to give you a 360 degree view. You can also incorporate a camera and TV screen so you can see yourself from every angle and, if you are really happy, tweet your friends with a picture.


  • Install a 20cm (8 inch) pull-out rail near the main mirror, so you can line up several dresses in a session.


  • Dressing rooms should make you feel glamorous and be a fun place to spend time. Leave room for a sofa or chair, so a friend can sit, chat and advise.


  • All lights should have excellent color rendition (with a CRI of at least 90), so that you can judge colors clearly. If you are going to a restaurant or nightclub it is useful to see what an outfit looks like when the lighting is low, so fit a dimmer.


  • Dressing rooms should be a personal haven and they provide the perfect opportunity to express your inner self. Wardrobes can be made from anything from antique olive wood to carbon fibre and doors can be covered in velum or mother of pearl. If you want a ‘Hollywood’ dressing table surrounded by lights, an ingenious way to showcase a collection of vintage dresses, cupboards to match an old jukebox or a special area for a pet, just ask!

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