Over time coat racks have become a must-have-accessory, as they add personality to a house, at the same time ensuring personal belongings are in good order. Coat racks add value to the furniture enriching a space, be it classic, modern-styled or of design. What makes a clothing rack fundamental in a living area is its functionality. The first thing we do once we step in the house is to look where to put our jacket. Coat stands are the object that can best respond to this need.
How to choose the right coat rack?
No doubt, space is the first key factor, combined with personal taste and the style chosen for the house, in the second place. You can choose from more ore less in-view flossy versions or almost hide-away designs, visible and usable only when needed. In their standing version, coat racks are certainly complete and fully functional. The same can be said for the more traditional wall-mounted versions. But if the house is small and the space available on the wall is so limited that it is impossible to fix any hook or rack, hanging coat racks enter into play. Since they are suspended, no space is needed on the wall or floor to use them, but they float in the house waiting to be of use. If there is no space left either on the wall, on the floor or even on the ceiling, only one option remains that can serve all the needed functions and that is door clothes racks. They can be fixed on the upper edge of the door, exploiting a space that there certainly exist in any house, but that in most cases stays unused. Brief, there are no excuses not to have a coat rack! The quantity of garments to be hanged is the next element to be considered when choosing a clothing rack. Choosing a coat rack for the house will surely be different from choosing an office coat rack that needs to have a much larger capacity when compared to the routine of a household’s – apart from needing a greater stability to bear a greater weight. On top of that, it is not a given that a coat rack for private use feature an umbrella stand (often a furnishing accessory in itself), an option that turns often winning in the world of the office furnishing.
Metal, plastic or wooden coat racks?
Be it in iron or wood, there is one characteristic all clothing racks must have, stability. This object is conceived to bear a relevant weight, especially in the coat stands version that needs to be self-supporting and cannot be fixed on a wall. Metal coat racks are certainly the most popular. Partly due to the collective imaginary recalling the models diffused at the beginning of ‘900 and partly also for the notorious metal manufacture, metal coat racks are synonyms of a warranty in terms of safety. The modern style diffused in contemporary houses and the increasing preference for a Scandinavian furnishing style have legitimized wooden coat racks, apparently less sturdy but more modern-looking and dashing to the eye. Equally common are plastic coat racks which light and versatile material fits ideally with indoor spaces used by young people and teenagers.
Coat racks between icon and functionality
The ‘70s saw the first appearance of coat racks meant for communal use, thought to hang more winter coats at the same time and to embellish the spaces where they would be placed. Since the 1972 lunching of Gufram Cactus, only one year passed for Zanotta Sciangai to be put into production in 1973. These are maybe the most representative icons of their category, pioneers of design clothing racks devised to be useful but also to decorate the house with their outstanding and thought presence and impressiveness. The ideal space where to place a coat rack and where all its functionality turns explicit is indisputably the entryway. As soon as we walk in, the coat rack is the first thing we reach to hang a jacket or even leave the umbrella and the keys. As a matter of fact the more modern versions of this accessory offer the possibility to integrate a shelf or a mirror to the coat rack, turning it into a fully-fledged hallway unit.
Not only clothing: the alternative uses of a coat rack
When we think of clothing racks it comes natural to picture coat stands endowed with more or less hooks to let more or less people use them. Nonetheless this is not the case for a multitude of modern wall-mounted coat rack versions, used as sheer furnishing wall accessories where to hang anything; from keys to bags, from winter coats to hats, without discarding its application to the kitchen environment to hang cups and accessories, or in the bathroom to hang towels, bathrobes and even extra paper rolls. Coat racks with umbrella stands (or with a shelf/pin tray) proof as the right choice when there is little space and we want to give this object multiple scopes. We know it: depending on the seasons this accessory can be more or less used. Therefore its extra value lays in the possibility to disappear when not needed to make way for others of its functions.
The history: from mannequin-coat hangers to design coat racks
Probably not everybody knows that coat racks appeared in their very first versions as mannequin-clothes hangers, especially used in the tailoring sector for tailor-made-to-measure dress making. The mannequins perfectly reproduced human shapes, thus allowing the expert hands of a tailor to model the ideal jacket or dress on it. Once the model was done, the mannequin became a truthful stand as we are used to know it nowadays; it is likely that this was the starting point from which the idea sparked later on to use this complement to keep garments tidy and not only for one single person but for the entire family. Normally one could think of hangers as the rightful successor of mannequins, but that is not the truth. Noticeably a hanger needs a standing, wall or ceiling-mounted support in order to stay up. It was exactly the combination of the two aspects that brought to the design coat racks as we know and define them today and that gave dignity and autonomy to a product used ever since and ever since present in the life of many.
Wall-fixed hooks. The minimalist evolution of a coat rack
If wall-mounted racks can be considered a reduced version of coat stands, wall hooks are the absolute reduction of the concept of coat racks. Tiny hooks spread on the wall in a more or less organized and thought way can serve the same functions but using the least space possible. They are possibly less adequate to hang dresses and winter jackets, but are ideal in the kitchen to hang cloths or oven mitts. As they are not supposed to hold big items, it is common to find sticky wall-mounted hooks that with no nails or drills, but only by means of a double-sided tape can hold up small objects for the every-day use (particularly in the kitchen and bathroom). An obvious alternative to double-sided tape are suction cups that easily adhere to smooth surfaces like glass, mirrors and tiles. This way every hook can hold up to 2 kg.
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