What Is An Armoire? (And What Is An Armoire Used For?)

Do you have a large bedroom that could use extra storage? If you’re looking for a piece of furniture that can provide some extra space, look no further than an armoire. This beautiful piece of furniture is essentially a large cupboard that is most often used for storing clothes and other personal items…

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At a glance:

  • An armoire is a large, often ornate piece of furniture that is typically used to store clothes.
  • Originally designed to hold weapons and armor, the earliest versions of this type of cupboard were created in France during the 16th century.
  • Today, this word most often refers to a large closet that has numerous drawers and shelves, though it can also be used to describe any piece of furniture that is meant for storing clothing.
  • Armoirs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are ideal for providing extra storage space in bedrooms or more public areas such as living rooms.

Whether you’re thinking about adding this type of elegant furniture to your bedroom or living room, here’s what you need to know first…

What Is An Armoire?

Everyone who simply adores French design, and plans on decorating their home in this classic, timeless style, has probably heard of an Armoire and at one time or another has considered buying one. For the rest of you, wondering what an Armoire is, let us explain to you…

An armoire is a large two-door, tall, freestanding cabinet (cupboard) that is usually movable and contains shelves, hanging space, and sometimes drawers.

The armoire was originally designed by André-Charles Boulle, the cabinetmaker to Louis XIV in the late 17th century.

Like most of the other pieces of storage units, this one was also created because there was a need for storage, more precisely, the need for storage units for weapons and armor.

Knowing this, the belief that the name might have come up from the Latin word armorium– chest for storing armors, actually makes a lot of sense.

As this storage unit became more popular, its usage changed. Besides using armoires for storing armors and weapons, people also started using them for storing different pieces of large items like linens, rugs, tapestries, and later on, clothes.

What Is An Armoire Used For?

The armoire has been around for centuries and is still a popular piece of furniture today. Originally used to introduce storage to bedrooms with limited closet space, many homeowners now enjoy the armoire’s decorative value.

Although many people use their armoire to store clothing, its versatility makes it perfect for keeping other items organized as well.

Most armoires have at least one shelf or cabinet above and below the hanging space, which can be useful for storing linens or throws. Because of its large surface area, you might choose to use your armoire as a full-length mirror too!

How armoires have been used throughout the years…

Although these existed in a medieval time when they were known as presses and were massively tall, wide, with no feet and usually used for storing larger items, their popularity raised during the Renaissance when they became less massive, narrower, and taller, and contained implemented parts for hanging clothes.

The form of an armoire during the Renaissance is more similar to the one that we see today.

In France, where the armoires originated from, they were designed in quite a unique way: they were made of wood, and were highly decorative, with paintings and embossing.

Due to their beautiful surface and practicality, they quickly became a showpiece in the castles and homes.

Their design kept changing as the heavy ornamental carving got replaced the painted surface, but still, they were used as showpieces in every room, expressing wealth and prosperity.

Those who were wealthier had more decorative armoires, while those who were less well-known or rich had less ornamental armoires with plain hinges.

In the French countryside, these were usually simpler in design, with only a few details. Nevertheless, the armoire was still the most valued piece in the house.

Throughout the years, the design of the armoires changed a lot: the dimensions changed, feet shelves, hangings for clothes, drawers were added, and their overall style and general shape kept pace with the fashions of the day.

As a result, today you can find many different types of armoires in different styles (retro, vintage, French, etc.) for many different purposes.

Nowadays, you can practically use armoires for storing all types of different items, in almost any room; here we are presenting to you some different types of armoires according to their usage:

So let’s take a look at the different types of Armoires available today…


Wardrobe Armoires


Probably the most common type of armoires these days is the wardrobe armoires. These armoires are free-standing, specially designed to store clothing, shoes, purses even accessories, or bedding.

Usually, these come in quite a hand when you have to store out-of-season clothes and formal clothes to make more space in the wardrobe you have.

They are also quite handy for storing bedding, out-of-season blankets, cushions, and other sheets. You can find wardrobe armoires in many different styles like vintage, French, retro, modern, minimal, Scandinavian, etc.

Traditionally, they are made out of woods, and rarely can you find them made out of different materials.

Quite often they are with decorative knobs, have some embroidery on them, or are painted in different colors; some of them may even have mirrors on their doors.


Wardrobe Armoire Closet


SONGMICS 67 Inch Wardrobe Armoire Closet, Clothes Storage Rack, with 4 Side Pockets, Gray URYG44GY

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What to look for when buying a wardrobe armoire?

When choosing your wardrobe armoire the first thing you should look for is how big you need it to be.

Do you need one that is taller and has more space for hanging clothes and drawers for lingerie, or one shorter, with shelves for cushions & blankets?

Choose one that will fit your needs; modern armoires may have many cool features you can choose from, such as interior lights that come on when you open the doors, satin lining to protects fragile items in drawers, and compartments for jewelry, accessories, and bags.

TV Armoires


TV Armoires, as their name suggests, are armoires specifically designed to provide a sensible, stylish, original storage solution for your TV as well as all the accessories that may come with it: from the stereo, speakers, DVD players, cable boxes, to different types of movies and video games.

Usually, these are the centerpiece in the living room areas, not only because they contain the TV, but also because of their unique, stylish look.

Just like wardrobe armoires, these also come in many different styles, such as vintage, French, retro, modern, minimal, Scandinavian, etc., and are mostly made of woods.

What is specific about them is that they come with a TV size recommendation. We highly recommend that you make sure your TV size matches the TV size that is recommended by your armoire as if you go larger than advised, the stand in the armoire may not be strong enough to hold your TV; and even if it holds it, it is quite probable that there will be a lack of space for proper airflow that will further cause heating issues for your TV.


Walnut Finish TV Armoire


Rustic 2 Door Reclaimed Walnut Finish Armoire Western Lodge Cabin Real Solid Wood

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What to look for when buying a television armoire?

Your armoire, besides matching your living room style and other furniture, also needs to be practical and functional.

By this we mean it should correspond to your TV’s size, and furthermore, it should have openings in the back panel for wires and cables, and sliding shelves for easy access to wiring and components.

When measuring for the TV, take into consideration your TV’s length, width, and depth as a unit, not just the size of the screen.


Computer Armoires


These armoires are one of the most practical and functional ones as they can turn any room into a home office in just a minute.

What is specific about the computer armoires is that they are specifically designed to fit small spaces like bedrooms, the corners of your dining room or living room, or the corner nooks.

If you work from home, these will prove to be the best choice, as they will keep your computer, laptop, printer, fax machine plus other office supplies close at hand yet hidden from view.

Like the rest, these too come in many different designs and are mostly made of wood.


Armoire Computer Workstation


Brown Storage Desk Armoire Computer Workstation Cabinet Home Organizer Office Shelves Closet Bedroom Study Executive Furniture

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What to look for when buying a computer armoires?

Consider the model you are buying: it should have enough drawers and storage compartments to keeps your supplies hidden but also handy; the back should also have panels with openings large enough to fit the cables and wires you need for your computer.

Additionally, you need to think about the height of the shelf where your computer will stand and whether that is a comfortable viewing distance for working, as well as whether your keyboard will be on a comfortable height that enables you to work without any issues.


Armoires for Children


In recent decades, armoires spread their popularity among everyone, so it is not a surprise that they found their way into kid’s furniture as well.

Their designs have improved a lot, so some models will closely match your child’s bedroom style.

Armoires for children can be quite a practical choice as they can be perfect for not only storing the blankets and clothes of your child but also their toys, books, hats, backpacks, and accessories.


Children Bedroom Armoire


KOUSI Kids Dresser Kids Closet Portable Closet Wardrobe Children Bedroom Armoire Clothes Storage Cube Organizer, White with Cute Animal Door, Safety & Large & Sturdy, 6 Cubes & 2 Hanging Sections

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What to look for when buying a kid’s armoire?

There are several things you need to pay attention to when buying armoires for children regarding their safety: make sure that the armoire you buy has a finish that is free of lead paint or any coating that can flake or peel.

Additionally, your armoire should have door hinges with safety catches that will prevent the doors from slamming children’s fingers, and drawers with a mechanism that doesn’t allow them to be completely pulled out.

Moreover, the hardware like the doorknobs should be securely attached, and the entire armoire needs to be attached to the wall with safety straps to avoid having it fall off, be pushed, or tipped over by a child who likes to climb.


Jewelry Armoires


Another type of armoires frequently found in the bedrooms or the walk-in closets is the jewelry armoire; although they may come in larger sizes as well, usually jewelry armoires are smaller and not so deep.

They allow you to store all of your jewelry at once place as they have different storage options that are specifically designed for different types of jewelry, like shelves for rings, bracelets, etc.

These come in the usual designs as well, but they can also further be:

  • Standing – which is the traditional, freestanding version of the armoire;
  • Chevy – which combines both mirror and jewelry storage, which is usually bellow and behind the mirror;
  • Mounted – which are wall-mounted and don’t use an inch of the floor space, and typically your jewelry is cleverly hidden behind a mirror;
  • Over the door – which is the same as the wall-mounted with that it goes on your door instead of your walls.


Jewelry Armoire Organizer with Full Screen Mirror


Nicetree 8 LED Mirror Jewelry Cabinet, Jewelry Armoire Organizer with Full Screen Mirror, Wall/Door Mounted, 8 LED Lights, Full Length Mirror, White

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What to look for when buying an armoire for jewelry?

Make sure that you first do an inventory of your jewelry and you know precisely what you have and what type of storage you need.

Do you need drawers for rings or special trays for earrings? Moreover, consider the space you have, where your jewelry armoire will go, and based on that choose one of the types we listed above.

In summary:

Perhaps one of the most versatile pieces of furniture in your home is the armoire. While most often recognized for its use as a place to store clothing, this pretty piece of furniture can also serve the needs of several rooms in your home.

It’s surprisingly affordable, and it comes in multiple sizes and designs, making it a great choice for any space.

So hopefully you now have good knowledge about the armoire history and have seen plenty of variations and styles of the modern-day armoire.

You may also be interested in… Different French Style Furniture & Accessories and Different Types of Bedroom Dressers Including Lowboys & Highboys