Clothes are coming out of the closet and becoming a useful part of home decoration in their own right. The trend for open storage has seen rails and racks go from a flimsy student fix to beautiful furniture that makes showing off your wardrobe more fun than functional. Be prepared to go minimal if you want to embrace the style, most rails are only around 100-130cm in width. Having everything out in the open means curbing any clutter habits too. If you’re not convinced by having your clothes on display, rails are handy for guest bedrooms and hallways too, and using a few in combination can be a versatile way to fit out a walk-in wardrobe.
1. John Lewis Brooklyn Clothes Rail: £120, John Lewis
This easy-to-assemble rail has a metal A-frame that appears to loop over the wooden rail. It has a fitted wood base shelf too. Better suited to compact spaces (and capsule wardrobes) it measures just 105cm in width. The other pieces in the Brooklyn range all have a similarly minimal look: there’s a shoe rack, set of wall hooks and magazine rack to match.
2. La Redoute Elori Oak and Metal Rail: £99, La Redoute
This is a smart rail that mixes rounded oak elements with metal connectors. The prominent metal parts come in either a black or copper finish. The unusual thing about the Elori rail is the central splayed leg. It means the rail can’t go flush against the wall, but does give the piece more depth for tidying other bits underneath. It’s 133cm wide and 47cm deep.
3. Urban Outfitters Iron and Wood Clothes Rack: £450, Urban Outfitters
The price of Urban Outfitters’ rack kind of outweighs the cost benefits of using rails over wardrobes. But if you want to nail that industrial look for your bedroom, and own something sturdy, it’s not a bad choice. The iron rail has two solid wood shelves and a fitted base, and it comes on handy casters too. The copper fittings are a nice touch. It measures 127cm in width.
4. Normann Copenhagen Toj Large Clothes Rack: £296, Clippings.com
The Scandinavian-style Toj clothes rack has a simple A-frame construction with a 120cm-long ash wood rail and perforated metal bottom shelf. It comes in white or black, and there’s a smaller version with a 74cm width too. Use one for hallways, or place several side by side to fit out a walk-in wardrobe or wall of the bedroom.
5. Portis Clothes Rack: £35, Ikea
IKEA’s bargain clothes rack avoids looking shabby or temporary with a smart black powder coated steel frame. It has a shoe rack that can hold up to 10 pairs, a width of 119cm, and four extra hooks for hats and scarves. The rolled finish to the legs is similar to details in classic wrought-iron, giving it the antique flair of French café furniture.
6. Menu Anker Clothing Rack: £190, Black By Design
The total width of the Anker clothing rack is 130cm, but it’s wider at the base than the top, making it seem larger than average. The real advantage of this rack is that is folds down to almost flat, making easy storage when not in use. The frame also hooks together, meaning that it requires no tools to assemble. It comes in a white version too.
7. BEdesign Lume Coatrack: £280, The Organised Home
The elegant Lume coat stand makes a virtue of display – you’ll wonder why you ever wanted to hide your clothes away in a wardrobe. The stand, by Finnish sibling design duo BEdesign, is made in tubular metal with minimal details and has a twisting asymmetric design. The large version is 100 cm wide and 155cm tall, giving plenty of room for long coats and dresses; you can also add the smaller version alongside for extra storage.
8. Habitat Parkinson Clothes Rail: £125, Habitat
Habitat’s stand looks like a piece of modern art. It has one A-frame bent metal end, and the other with a metal foot. The thin rail is powder coated in a bold red finish, and there’s a small circular shelf for showing off shoes. This really is a rail for the fashion-loving extrovert. It measures 124cm by 190cm – a taller than average design to accommodate long garments.
9. Heal’s Tra-ra Clothes Rail: £185, Heals
Heal’s lightweight rail in beech wood mixes eastern and western design. By London-based designer Tomoko Azumi, the rail has slender but strong beams that make the top rail, crossed sides and base. It’s fairly easy to assemble and pack down – making it a versatile piece to have around the house. The wood is finished with natural oil, and the rail is 103cm wide.
The Brooklyn rail by John Lewis draws on the raw industrial look of open storage without copying – you’ll still be able to appreciate its looks if you don’t live in a huge New York loft. It’s also a decent size considering the price. La Redoute’s elegant Elori rail is also well-priced, and might suit a lighter, more delicate bedroom scheme.
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