Designing a coat stand

Karen Henry Coat stands Design Furniture Design

Engineering equipment

Designing a coat stand is a great metalwork or woodwork project. Coat stands are often used to teach design students in their first or second year of engineering or design school about the nuances of engineering design.

A coat stand may appear simple, but great care needs to be taken in its design. 

See this great idea for a simple and effective concrete stand and wooden sticks coat rack (

Design Considerations

  • What type of coat stand are you designing? A traditional Victorian style coat stand, garment rail, coat tree, coat hook, clothes pegs on a pole, or a valet.
  • What materials will you use? Wood, metal, plastic.
  • What colours and shapes will be a part of your final design.
  • Who is it for? Child, adult, men, women, unisex, universal - pets!?
  • What is the target environment - office or home - what is the expected number of people that will likely use your coat stand at any time.
  • Think about winter and summer - winter requires heavy coats, whereas summer requires lighter sweaters and jackets.
  • What about storage for related clothing: umbrellas, scarves, gloves, and hats. Valets, because they are more personal sometimes have storage space for cufflinks and ties.
  • Balance - will it topple over when one heavy coat is placed on it
  • The height of the hooks
  • Matt or glossy?
  • Clean steel or grungy wood?
  • Wear and tear - will it break. Will the legs fall off when it is moved - a common problem
  • Will it be invisible when there are a few clothes on it? Maybe this is what you want - maybe you want it to stand out even when there are clothes hanging on it
  • What equipment will you need? What about mass-production? Cost of materials? Self-assembly?
  • Delivery, packaging, weight...


  • Choose a vision or a goal related to your coat stand - what is it you want to achieve - E.g. dominate the coat stand world, appeal to parents, emphasis on function and ease of use, or a trendy fashionable coat stand
  • Choose a set of design rules (formulae) that you want your prototype designs to adhere to. E.g. Must be designed for children, must support 10 kgs/lbs of clothes, must fall over if a person puts a jacket on it
  • Think of 3-5 different coat stand designs - use sketches
  • Spend some time refining all the designs
  • Choose the best design that will help you achieve your goal
  • Refine the best design
  • Perform calculations and rationalise your design. Ensure it meets quality and safety standards. For example, what effect will it have if you place a 10 kg/lb weight on the end of the coat stand to unbalance it?
  • Build a small prototype of cheap materials (wood/glue)
  • Decide what materials are to be used for the finished product
  • Purchase the materials
  • Build it


Build a prototype. Research and choose the materials that will help you convert the prototype into a finished product. Use metal pipe bending equipment if needed.


Use software e.g. Autocad(TM), 3D studio, to design the coat stand. Base the design on your initial goals and design rules. 

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