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What Is an Armoire?

If you're looking for a decorative yet practical way to store your clothes, look no further than an armoire. This pretty piece of furniture is essentially a large cupboard that is most often used for keeping clothes organized and out of the way, much like a movable closet. The average armoire has a little bit of everything when it comes to storage options, from lots of hanging space to shelves and drawers. If you're interested in using this type of elegant furniture to improve your bedroom, here's what you need to know first.

The Evolution of the Armoire

Armoires weren’t always synonymous with clothing storage like they tend to be now. They actually started out as a clever way to store weapons and tools. That makes sense because “armarie” is an Old French word that refers to a closet for tools and arms.
Of course, over the years, the main use of armoires changed from arms storage to clothing storage. More specifically, around the 17th century, nobles started storing their most extravagant clothes in their armoires instead of squishing them all into a chest. But these days, you don't have to be royalty to see the benefits of an armoire. Whether you're storing sumptuous silk gowns or just a few nice work shirts, an ornate armoire should suit you.

If the description of an armoire brings to mind a wardrobe or chifferobe, that’s because there are lots of similarities. But there are some subtle differences, too. First, both an armoire and a chifferobe technically fall into the wardrobe category, since a wardrobe is a piece of furniture where you can hang your clothes.

What’s the difference between an armoire and a chifferobe then? An armoire always has space to hang clothes, but some also have shelves or drawers in addition to that space. At that point, the armoire becomes a chifferobe. In general, armoires are more adaptable for the bedroom than chifferobes, since they can be considered a blank canvas that you can leave as is—with just a bar or two for hanging clothes. You can create better organization by adding shelves and drawers to your armoire, at which point you’ve turned it into a chifferobe!

amoire chifferobe wardrobe difference

Armoire Sizes

Many armoires come in big enough sizes to complement the look of bedrooms with larger beds – such as Cal King beds and Eastern King beds – though smaller versions are also becoming more popular due to the demand of small space living. Before you decide on an armoire size, always measure the space where you plan to place it!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.