What is it about the opportunity to start from a completely blank sheet that makes your mind just freeze? There’s nothing more intimidating than having the opportunity to map out your dream kitchen or bedroom – and simply not knowing where to begin. Whilst we might not have the immediate design solution at our fingertips, what we do know is that kitchens and bedrooms are amongst the key factors that can make or break a house on the property market, so it’s really important to get these areas just right. If you ever get the chance to influence the layout and design – be sure to grab it with both hands! Not sure where to start? Here’s how.
Keep it simple
The best bedrooms are deceptively simple; they not only look good but they also function effectively in terms of space and storage. When planning out your design, the first job is to locate a space for the bed – purely because it is probably the biggest item that will be in the room and will likely dictate the placement of other furniture like wardrobes. Think about any other pieces that need to be housed and ensure everything can be accommodated. Keep the room balanced to create an illusion of space, and be sure to take advantage of any natural aspects in your design considerations
Wardrobes and storage
Having placed the bed it should be simpler to decide the wardrobe location and format. Understand what you need to house by assembling your belongings together and ascertaining the best use of any storage space available. This will also help dictate the size of wardrobe required and the appropriate internal formatting to best accommodate your needs – whether that be hanging space, shelving or drawers. Use adjustable shelving to keep the wardrobe space flexible, and consider some lower hanging space to avoid bending over for storage. The wardrobe can also make handy use of otherwise redundant areas such as awkward spaces or uneven walls.
It’s really important that the bedroom works for the person that is actually using it. This will affect the height of any shelving, hanging rails and drawers, as well as impacting the types of storage solutions you choose. Ask yourself what the most practical use of the space is by considering how the room is used, what you are storing and frequency of use.
It’s no coincidence that all hotel bedrooms look the same – there is a bedroom formula that works so well it is endlessly repeated. Take a step back to contemplate how your own space is working together; this will help inform decisions when considering swing or sliding wardrobe doors – as well as remembering to create room for hinge space and power points.
Think about all the niggles of annoyance you have had with past wardrobes, the lack of suitable storage and all the changes you wished you could have made, if only…
Location location location…
The beauty of a new home today means that your kitchen is already likely to be located in just the right spot – close to dining areas with good access to outside spaces and natural light. From this point the key considerations become more functional. Start with practicalities such as placing your key appliances and then move on to the personal touches such as materials, finishes and colour palettes. Use handles, textures and patterns to add personality and interest and really make it your own – but remember: function first, design later.
The magic triangle
Ask yourself, how do you operate best in a kitchen? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Essentially you need proximity to a fridge, the sink and the stove – it’s that magic triangle where the spacing plays an incredibly important role. Too small an area and it’s a one-man show, too large and you will be exhausted by the time the food hits the plates. The sink is one area that really sees a lot of action so ensure it is in a convenient and pleasant place, or perhaps consider moving the plumbing appropriately. Once your triangle is sorted, place the workbench, plan the storage and you’re done.
Room to move
The kitchen is where the party is. Modern open plan living means that meal preparation has become a social affair, a family space where the conversation never stops, and that is probably host to several other simultaneous activities. Plan in plenty of counter space as well as a decent breakfast bar so that you can chop and prep comfortably while others mingle around you without compromising your culinary delights.
Storage is crucial to the success of a kitchen and should be a huge consideration in the planning process. Contemporary homes lean towards indoor-outdoor living that can mean a plethora of dining equipment and utensils are required to suit both. Assign each of your cupboards a specific function so that you can be assured everything has a place. Choose drawers over doors for ease of use and less bending down, and consider a pullout pantry to avoid nasty surprises lurking at the back of the cupboard.
Light bulb moment
Kitchen ambience can really benefit from a flexible lighting system, something that enables 3 separate tasks. Firstly, enough overall light is needed for everyone to see what they are doing. Secondly, plan some task-oriented lights that allow for specific area lighting such as bench top or stove. Lastly, invest in some accent lighting to really change up the feel of the room when required.
The Green Room
As sustainability gathers pace, your kitchen will need to be able to accommodate not only the general waste, but also all the recycling. Be sure to include this area from the early stages to avoid tripping over freestanding bins.
Here at Fox Wardrobes, we work with home industry experts GJ Gardner to create the ideal setting for everything you value.