Forget those flimsy, unattractive and temporary-by-design hanging rails, now it’s all about freestanding open wardrobes that are handsome furniture pieces in their own right.
A clothes rail can come in handy if you want to keep your bedroom looking light and airy without boxy closets imposing on your floor space.
It goes without saying, too, that a hanging rail can be a renter’s best friend: this is sartorial storage you can pack up and take with you.
A standalone rail is also a great addition to the hallway, keeping it clutter free and organised without the need for drilling, so look for styles that incorporate shelving for shoes, and hooks for accessories.
Guest bedrooms will also benefit from a stylish clothes rail, offering visitors a simple way to hang up their belongings if existing wardrobe space is (predictably) already maxed out.
And if you’re lucky enough to be tasked with fitting out your walk-in wardrobe, a freestanding clothes rail gives you the versatility to play around with your space.
We hung our attire on these design-led clothes rails, looking for style and simple functionality, but above all, sturdiness.
The best clothes rails for 2021 are:
Best overall – Habitat Arnie metal freestanding clothes rail: £18, Habitat.co.uk
Best for Grandmillennial style – Dunelm cream clothes rail: £35, Dunelm.com
Best for minimalists – Tikamoon Kilim solid teak linen rack 140: £129, Tikamoon.co.uk
Best for heavy coats – Cox & Cox industrial iron clothes rail: £275, Coxandcox.co.uk
Best for portability – Songmics heavy duty clothes rack, black: £54.99, Manomano.co.uk
Best multi-tasker – Brabantia large linn clothes rail and storage unit: £115, Next.co.uk
Best for occasional use – John Lewis & Partners collapsible clothes rail: £85, Johnlewis.com
Best for sustainability – Argos Home Belvoir clothes rail with shelf, bamboo and white: £60, Argos.co.uk
Best open wardrobe – Ikea Nikkeby clothes rack, grey-green: £45, Sweetpeaandwillow.com
Best for Scandi chic – Uyen Scandi-style ladder clothes rack in solid pine: £250, Laredoute.co.uk
Habitat Arnie metal freestanding clothes rail
Available in black or white, the beauty of this contemporary clothes rail is its simplicity. The frame is crafted from a powder-coated metal and although there’s self-assembly involved, it gives the impression of one continuous piece. Despite its lightweight make-up this one can take an impressive 20kg of clothing weight and allows for our summer maxi dresses to hang at their full length, thanks to its clever design. At 80cm in width, it might not hold your entire wardrobe but its incredible affordability means you can easily double up without breaking the bank.
Buy now £18.00, Habitat
Tikamoon Kilim solid teak linen rack 140
Best: For minimalists
This might not be the most practical of storage solutions but it is a beautiful piece. Crafted from solid teak that’s been sustainably sourced, the rack offers oodles of rustic Scandi charm. We loved the way the natural grain of the pale wood is exposed, as well as the imperfect organic shaping of the tepee-like poles. At 158cm, the rack is relatively tall but with two integrated shelves it won’t allow for anything longer than a midi dress. But, what this one lacks in hanging height, it more than makes up for in versatility.
Buy now £129.00, Tikamoon.co.uk
Dunelm cream clothes rail
Best: For Grandmillennial style
Dunelm’s offering hints at vintage granny chic without being overly fussy. In cream, the free-standing clothes rail is inconspicuous, while its decorative curls are refined but pretty. This one proved surprisingly practical: the open rail offers plenty of hanging space – as well as a decent amount of hanging height – and is sturdy enough to take a few heavy winter coats, despite its delicate aesthetic. One for a dreamy bedroom.
Buy now £35.00, Dunelm.co.uk
Cox & Cox industrial iron clothes rail
Best: for heavy coats
This is one seriously sturdy clothes rail – and of course, that’s reflected in the price. Crafted from iron, and in jet black, it offers a cool industrial look suited to bedrooms and hallways alike. The rail stands out because it boasts ample hanging height as well as nifty storage space, which is a rarity. Its basket-like shelves both top and bottom are ideal for hats and shoes, keeping everything together for a quick exit out the front door. At 175cm, this is one imposing piece that demands some space. But it makes a great first impression in the hallway.
Buy now £275.00, Coxandcox.co.uk
Songmics heavy duty clothes rack, black
Best: For portability
For an affordable slice of industrial chic, Songmics’ heavy duty clothes rail proves a great buy. It is simple in design yet offers an arresting contrast of materials: a rustic wooden base is met with a powder-coated steel hanging rail in black. We loved the decorative plumbing details: water pipe-like connectors, circular floor flanges, and wheel-like cranks at either side. This one takes an impressive 90kg of clothing weight, offers good hanging height, and best of all, it’s portable. With lockable wheels, we loved the way it can be moved around at ease yet stays reliably sturdy.
Buy now £54.99, Mano Mano
Brabantia large linn clothes rail and storage unit
An ideal addition to the utility room, Brabantia’s clothes rail is as practical as it is sleek and streamlined. The metal A-frame rail offers both hanging space via a bamboo rod, and adjustable shelving that doubles up as a handy drying rack – hang your clothes straight from the machine and you can say goodbye to that pile of ironing. It’s worth noting that the shelving also allows for longer dresses to hang through it, too. This one proved lightweight but deceptively strong.
Buy now £115.00, Next.co.uk
John Lewis & Partners collapsible clothes rail
Best: for occasional use
This nifty and versatile clothes rail is perfect for the guest room. Its sleek, simple design allows for both the A-shaped frame, and the sizable polyester fabric storage box, to fold up neatly when not in use. It’s crafted from a lightweight, pale bamboo, making it both eco-friendly and effortlessly stylish. The rail is sturdy enough to hold some hefty clothing items but you won’t fit too much onto it. One for neat freaks who want their hanging rail to fit in with their Scandi-minimalist schemes.
Buy now £85.00, John Lewis & Partners
Argos Home Belvoir clothes rail with shelf, bamboo and white
Best: For sustainability
Easy to assemble and offering the look of a much more expensive furniture piece, this Scandinavian-influenced open wardrobe proved an impressive find. We loved the contrast between the smooth natural wood and the clean, bright white of the hanging rail and shoe shelf. The frame is made of bamboo, which scores high on sustainability, and boasts a lightweight feel. Reliably sturdy, this one offers a rail weight capacity of 20kg and can take an impressive 50kg on the shelf. At 149cm in height, it’s perfect for most clothing items but we did find our longer dresses brushed the shelf with their hems.
Buy now £60.00, Argos.co.uk
Sweetpea and Willow Harmony mirror and shelves
Best: Open wardrobe
Another sculptural affair, but one that sits on the higher end of the price bracket, is this elegant unit from Sweetpea and Willow. Not only does this one offer hanging space and shelving but has a full-length mirror thrown into the mix – all you need for getting dressed, in fact. What we loved most about this modern clothes rail is its contrast between material and design: its heavy iron frame belies its light and airy look. At 194cm in height, this piece combines uninterrupted hanging space for long dresses with nifty open shelving. It’s also strong enough to store those heavier garments.
Buy now £350.00, SweetpeaandWillow.com
Uyen Scandi-style ladder clothes rack in solid pine
Best: For Scandi chic
This unusually shaped clothes rail has an outdoorsy feel about it. Its ladder-inspired frame offers good hanging space and accommodates a generous bottom shelf for shoes. Crafted from solid pine, its quality is palpable, the pale blond wood offering a calming presence. Sturdy and stylish, we found the rack works brilliantly in a bedroom filled with trailing house plants, but it would look equally chic in a hallway – it’ll easily support the family’s heavy winter coats.
Buy now £250.00, La Redoute
The verdict: Clothes rails
It’s easy to see why Habitat’s Arnie metal freestanding clothes rail is a perennial best-seller. Its simple design and functionality allows for optimal hanging space while offering a chic, contemporary and minimalist look to the bedroom. It also offers incredible value for money. We were also impressed with Songmics’ heavy duty clothes rack for its cool industrial look, its reliable sturdiness, and its attractive price tag.
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