Built-in closets are a recent development in clothes storage. In earlier periods, the only facilities for storing clothing were freestanding cabinets. These include armoires, which began life as a cabinet for weapons, hence the name; chests, which doubled as traveler’s luggage; and wardrobes, which were basically armoires but retooled for clothes storage.
Although built-in versions are now the most popular closets in North America, freestanding wardrobes or armoires are still preferred in Europe. This is perhaps proof that built-in and freestanding closets have both advantages and disadvantages.
Advocates of built-in closets often argue that they provide more storage space. This is because they are typically built from floor to ceiling, while armoires and wardrobes are often elevated from the floor and are limited with their own tops. While their widths may vary, it is not uncommon to have built-in closets occupying half or even the entire width of the wall.
If there are baseboards in your room, there will always be a space between the wall and the back of the freestanding closet. Dust and dirt can gather within this space, and because it is tight, cleaning is difficult. In addition to this, dust can also gather at the top of the wardrobe.
Since built-in closets are integrated into the structure of the room, the bedroom looks neater and less cluttered.
Armoires or wardrobes, on the other hand, have the advantage of portability. If you tire of the arrangement of your bedroom furniture, including the closet, you can always move them around, or even purchase a new one.
Persons with an increasing need for additional storage, but who do not want to tear down their bedroom walls may also prefer a freestanding wardrobe. With the many beautiful designs of wardrobes which are built with equally beautiful materials, they can actually make a fine decoration in any bedroom
Renovating a bedroom to install built-in closets is also generally more expensive than buying a freestanding unit. A more affordable alternative would be a freestanding wardrobe.
In the end, neither built-in nor freestanding closet is better than the other. It all depends on the personal preferences and needs of the user.