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The History of Wardrobes

Wardrobe and closet are used interchangeably but these two words have different meanings in the dictionary; a closet is an architectural feature or a designated space inside a house, whereas a wardrobe is a piece of furniture. Perhaps the main reason why wardrobe and closet now basically describe the same thing is because modern design has combined these two into one.


The history of wardrobes can be traced back to the 17th century in the United States. Back then, wardrobes were in the form of a hanging cupboard made from oak with heavy carvings on the doors. They were huge and Americans exported them to England for 100 years.

The use of oak for wardrobe gradually decreased and in came the American walnut that became the most sought-after material to build a wardrobe. Around the same time, clothes presses with drawers and sliding trays were also on trend.

In the 18th century, the tallboy, a new wardrobe innovation, entered the market. Tallboy is a chest of drawers commonly made from mahogany and comprises of five to seven long drawers and two short ones. The ideal size of a tallboy is equal to eight small men.


By the 19th century, the mass production of furniture was growing and so was the economy. People were able to afford more clothes and it led to a more modern wardrobe with a hanging cupboard at each side, a cloth press in the upper part and drawers in the bottom. The most common materials used were mahogany, satinwood and other previously scarce woods that started to be obtainable.

The biggest innovation in the wardrobe was the function of the central doors. Previously used to only enclose the upper part, they were stretched down to the floor, covering the drawers as well as the sliding shelves, with mirrors on the exterior.

In Indonesia, it wasn’t clear when exactly the wardrobe trend first entered the country but in 2001, one of the most established furniture makers in Indonesia, Metric started supplying wardrobes made of MDF material and HPL. The company received such a positive response from their customers that wardrobes became one of their core products.


Metric prides itself as a company that understands the customer’s needs and is able to match the furniture design with the ambiance of a room. One fine example is the company’s built-in wardrobe that’s more a part of the room than a separate piece of furniture.

Metric also tackles the challenges in producing a wardrobe, including shelves positioning and designing each compartment to be well organised and efficient.

By always offering the latest design trends from Europe, Metric caters to a market that is into modern and minimalistic style. Most often, customers ask for a wardrobe with a simple, contemporary feel, great lighting and in a neutral colour palette.

If today’s trend is all about minimalistic approach, the company predicts that people will lean towards rustic and industrialised design. Customers might also prefer a wardrobe that features the latest technology or lighting system that is environmentally conscious.

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