And Just Like That… Walk-in closets an upwardly trending home improvement project thanks to television, streaming service industries

Eighteen months after And Just Like That first dropped on HBO Max, the Sex and the City sequel series delivered its highly anticipated season two return. Avid viewers, myself included, watch the show not solely to see how the relationship woes of the now middle-aged characters unfold; the outfits worn by Carrie Bradshaw and her clan of gal pals serve as a source of inspiration, similar to how they influenced street style in the late ‘90s, early 2000s.

Fashion isn’t the only thing fans are looking to replicate these days, though. Following the comedy-drama’s second season premiere in early summer, online searches for walk-in wardrobes have surged. Premium fitted furniture brand Neville Johnson reported a 125 per cent increase in searches for its closets in June compared to May, followed by a 70 per cent spike in July, as the show continued to captivate its audience. This signifies the impact television or, in this case, streaming networks can have on consumer buying behaviour.

But what do consumers who covet their clothes and, like Bradshaw, love of shoes want from their closets?

According to Neville Johnson, a sophisticated space that creates an immersive experience and features flexibility and functionality.

From a design perspective, this translates into a boutique-look. Homeowners want to feel like they’re shopping every time they enter their closet. Think open-faced shelving and hanging space where everything is visible; dedicated display cases for shoes and other accessories that make them easily reachable and add to the room’s decor; built-in cabinet lighting that showcases the most luxurious possessions; an island for unique items and a convenient place to put together an outfit; a cozy chair or bench seating for putting on and removing shoes or stockings (or to simply take a load off); a built-in vanity with mirror and storage for all the essentials like make-up, perfume and grooming products that are necessary to finish the ‘look;’ and crown moulding atop cabinetry to create that high-end ambience.

In terms of finishes, white continues to dominate given it imparts a fresh, clean touch that is the perfect backdrop to colourful clothes. However, unlike in recent years, matte surfaces are making headway against the high-gloss that has been so popular, as seen at ClosetCon 2023. Mid-to-light grain tones also continue to be preferred over dark wood, with walnut and white oak being the most sought-after species, though engineered wood is starting to gain more market share in the high-end luxury closet industry, again as reported at this year’s closet and cabinet conference.

As for style, mid-century modern is back with its slim Shaker cabinet door and drawer profiles. Unsurprisingly, European design trends have made their way across the Atlantic, where handle-free, slow-close doors and drawers are now starting to take hold. The absence of hardware means cabinets blend with surrounding walls, adding to the sleek, minimalist look that’s currently in favour.

Flexibility is always key when it comes to walk-in wardrobes. Consumers want them to be both comfortable and offer convenience, but this goes beyond being able to easily access their attire. Large closets are considered a bonus ‘room’ that can serve multiple uses, doubling as a part-time home office, for instance, simply by including a convertible vanity that turns into a desk with charging pads, device storage and cord management. Shelving systems can be designed to accommodate out-of-sight office supplies and even a television so as not to interrupt the overall design aesthetic. Modern TVs are lightweight and thin, allowing them to be hung just about anywhere. This includes inside a cabinet door, providing something to watch when an ‘office’ break is needed or picking out an outfit.

Another upgrade that is favoured for making daily routines easier include a fully functioning laundering station with washer and dryer, steamer cabinet that serves as an at-home dry cleaning machine, retractable built-in ironing board, hideaway hamper and even laundry chute.

And with travel on the rise after the pandemic stymied vacations for a few years, storage specifically for luggage and trip-related accoutrements, as well as a pull-out packing table that stows away when not in use, is moving beyond a nice-to-have to a necessity among luxury closet market consumers.

Clare Tattersall is an interior designer and decorator in Toronto, and the editor of Canada’s floor covering magazine, Coverings.

 

 

 

 

 

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