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Sometime between 1950 and 1990, armoires stopped being attractive storage and display cabinets and became entertainment centers.

With the invention of affordable flat-screen TVs, people abandoned their armoires and started mounting their screens on the wall. Thrift shops were overrun with used armoires, and many furniture manufacturers dropped them from their product line.

Designers have always understood that the armoire provided more than just an attractive way to hide the TV; it also gave height and dimension to the room.

For an interior space to be really interesting, your eye needs to flow up and down as well as horizontally as it surveys the space. Without taller, more stately furniture pieces or built-ins, the view can be flat and boring.

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Armoires are tools that set the tone and style of a room’s décor.

Homeowners are rediscovering the value of the armoire, as well as its functionality. Furniture manufacturers are responding to this renewed interest in armoires by creating beautiful home furnishing pieces in a wide range of sizes, finishes and styles.

As houses get smaller, storage becomes a challenge. But unlike open shelving, armoires provide storage that can be hidden from view but easily accessed.

In a kitchen, an antique armoire can be painted and utilized as a pantry or dish cupboard. In a bedroom, it can function as an additional closet for storing clothing, shoes, accessories or jackets. In the bath, it adds height to a space and serves as a storage solution for towels, linens and toiletry items.

Pay attention to scale when selecting an armoire. What fits nicely into your living room may overwhelm your kitchen or bathroom.

Consider the width and the height of the piece. You want at least 10 inches between the top of the piece and your ceiling to avoid it looking like it’s stuffed into place. Keep the depth narrow enough that it doesn’t interfere with your walkways. The width will depend on how much wall space you have.

If you have the space, consider using two armoires to frame a room’s architectural element such as a fireplace or wide window or doorway.

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