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Optimising Small Bedroom Design And Storage

Optimising Small Bedroom Design And Storage

The beauty of working with such a wide array of customers is that we see a stunning range of bedroom furniture designs and solutions that meet very individual consumer needs, whether that project requires walk-in wardrobes, sliding wardrobe doors or clever space saving ideas, there's always something new to look at or another way of doing things.

We recently saw a client project that managed to make the absolute most of a tight bedroom space to increase overall storage and generally make it a more pleasant environment to be in. The finished product was a testament to what could be achieved with a really good design and a little forward planning.

We thought we'd share some tips with you below:

The sky's the limit - or should we say the ceiling anyway! One of the key things we've found is that vertical space is quite often forgotten about or ignored, meaning that bedroom furniture designs are based more on floor area rather than overall room capacity.

If you're working on a design for a particularly tight bedroom space, it makes good sense to use the height of the room wherever possible. A great way of doing this is to actually elevate the bed, and create a practical storage space underneath it. Whilst some adults might not like this elevated position, kids tend to love it (providing the necessary safety precautions are taken into consideration), so it's a great idea to make kids rooms more fun too.

The space gained underneath the bed can then be used to provide additional cupboard or drawer space, and even a little office area for the kids' computer or television, or just a quiet space for doing homework.

Even in a bedroom where the height can't be used to this same extent, there are many possibilities to squeeze a little extra storage out of a space without making the room look too dark and cramped.

By specifying a fitted bed, rather than a freestanding option, the overall size and shape can be made to suit the size of the room, its layout, and to match the décor of other fitted furniture within the room. Storage compartments, such as drawers or cupboards can then be fitted underneath which helps to hide away items in a more accessible manner whilst optimising your storage, we've even seen integrated side tables that come out from under the bed, meaning they can be tucked away when not needed to allow for more floor space at other times of the day.

Glide into action: As houses have become smaller over time as the price of land increases, so too have the headaches for bedroom designers trying to make the space function well whilst feeling large and airy without compromising on space and storage.

One of the keys to making this work in a small space is the use of sliding doors, such as the Glide range of bedroom sliding doors from HPP. Compared to a tradition front opening door, sliding bedroom doors help to maximise the available floor space, meaning that where normal doors may otherwise interfere with other furniture items in the bedroom, sliding doors do not, providing a better experience for the consumer, and a better, more spacious overall look and feel.

These doors can be specified in a wide variety of decors and finishes, from vinyl wrapped board to mirrors and polished glass, meaning that any design and taste can almost certainly be catered for.

Using those nooks and crannies: Whilst newer homes are smaller, rooms do tend to be easier to work with than older houses as they are much more square and flat. Older houses quite often have odd shapes or small awkward spaces that make storage or just general use of the space difficult, but again, following some of our customers' latest project tips and advice, we can see just how well these spaces can be used.

Through building fitted furniture and using specialist fittings, awkward spaces such as roof pitches, alcoves and angled walls can be integrated with in a way that maximises the space, and often tidies up the look of the space in question. For awkward areas that are hard to reach, electrically operated openers can be used, with extendable arms that pull cupboard contents out past the actual cabinet to make items easy to view, access or store.

With the use of the right products, a bit of ingenuity and great design, almost anything can be accomplished with fitted bedroom furniture to ensure rooms still feel spacious, whilst offering storage that otherwise wouldn't be achievable through the use of free-standing furniture.

Hotel Luxury For Your Customers' Homes

Crema Gloss and Grey Brown Avola Pine

Creating the perfect bedroom design can be tricky as consumers' tastes vary wildly along with their room sizes, shapes, and overall budget, all of which can often dictate the finished design, materials and specification of the bedroom.

After recently speaking to a customer who had been asked to create a hotel style bedroom, we thought it was a topic worth covering to provide some ideas and tips on how best to achieve the utmost in luxury hotel experience at home.

The first port of call is without doubt materials.

The most luxurious of hotels use different materials, textures and design schemes to create a true feeling of luxury, quality and interest.

By selecting a range of complimentary, high quality and tactile materials, a theme, mood and atmosphere can be set. The colours chosen can also affect the end finish too, so make sure to use deep, luxurious colours that opitimise luxury and opulence.

With your colour scheme and textures in place, lighting and technology is an absolute must. The use of mood lighting for a relaxing evening, as well as bright, vibrant lighting for those dark winter mornings help the room provide not only luxury when needed, but a more practical side for everyday living too.

Entertainment (AV) is becoming the norm in luxury hotels at present, so integrating this into the bedroom design is a great idea and offers a great way for consumers to relax and unwind in their new luxurious sanctuary. Consider an integrated sound system that tucks away neatly within the furniture build, and maybe a concealed TV screen or projector for watching TV or films.

Zone planning plays a key part in the process too, so make sure zones are clearly defined and obvious; from a space for sitting and reading, to eating Sunday breakfast and everything in between, making sure there are zones to satisfy your customers needs can make all the difference.

To add a real touch of luxury, consider adding items such as walk-in wardrobes, a four-poster bed and even consider including a bath-tub or sofa in the room (if space allows) to give it that real air of quality and indulgence.

The finishing touches to a room (although often outside many of our customers remit) can also build on and enhance the finished effect, so consider offering advice to customers on their supporting light fittings, decoration and soft furnishings, as these will complete the look and ensure the hard work carried out in perfecting the furniture and general bedroom design doesn't go un-noticed due to none-complimentary items elsewhere in the room.

Creating Kitchens For a Growing and Ageing Family

Open Plan Kitchens

The recent issues surrounding house prices, mortgages and the general state of our economy has undoubtedly had an effect on how we live our lives.

It is now very common for parents to still have their children living at home up to, and past the age of thirty. One of the main reasons for this is the sheer cost of housing, and the difficulty for first time buyers in acquiring a mortgage.

As this change in our world has taken place, so too has a change in the way our homes are being customised and modified, which has had an impact on the kitchen and surrounding living spaces to accommodate this change in lifestyle.

Additional to the above, we are also seeing the opposite take place too, with parents moving into their children's homes in later life to help ensure their safety and wellbeing in their later years, whilst reducing their cost of living.

All these factors are having an impact on kitchen design, and we are now seeing a variety of design solutions becoming more mainstream to satisfy these changing and growing demands.

First and foremost, we are seeing open plan living within the kitchen and dining areas being more critical to this than ever before. By creating an open plan area, families gain more space from the room and are able to fit more in than if they had sectioned the space off with walls, this also brings a better and more natural flow throughout the home, making it seem larger and more spacious than it actually is.

This additional space allows for a larger dining area, often encompassing a breakfast bar too, and lower level seating, easier to use appliances and clearly defined zones for different tasks, such as mini office stations for working from home or kids homework, and entertainment zones for watching TV, listening to music or reading a decent book.

We're seeing a variety of much more obvious, and practical solutions too.

Items such as more accessible and space efficient storage is becoming common, with lift systems and corner units that make accessing the contents of cupboards and drawers much quicker, easier and safer for those who are less able, whilst also maximising the use of the space.

Electronic lift systems that also attached to doors and drawers aid those users who may either be disabled or frail, as the units move the contents of the cupboard to a more accessible location, preventing the need to stretch or bend.

Whilst not all families are in this situation, there is a significant portion of the UK market now finding themselves either already making the transition or considering it, meaning that creating a kitchen that can cater to multiple generations of a family is likely to grow in importance over the coming years, bringing new challenges for kitchen designers and installers.

Neat And Tidy Just Got Simpler!

Orga-Line for Antaro

It's the age-old question we all long to find the perfect answer for - how do we make the space work harder for our customers.

Well thankfully, our friends at Blum have come up with a superb solution to this question that not only works great, but also functions beautifully whilst looking luxurious and feels of a very high quality.

The new Antaro range of drawer runners provide a more compact design, meaning that up to 50% more space is available within the drawer unit than a typical 'standard issue' drawer unit.

The new space saving solution means that not only can more items be stored safely and neatly out of sight, but it also allows for a unique hidden drawer system by Blum, allowing you to visually have fewer drawers on the outside, but once opened, additional units are accessible, holding smaller items in a well structured and orderly fashion.

Whilst there's lots of emphasis placed on the look of the products (they do look fantastic), the functionality hasn't been ignored either. The units open and close smoothly thanks to the Blum BLUMOTION technology, allowing drawers to close silently even when excessive force is used.

Different combinations and formations are available too, meaning that the drawer unit can work anywhere in the home, and offer solutions to tricky areas such as under kitchen and bathroom sink areas.

The system is compatible with the ORGA-LINE range of Blum products too, meaning that organising and compartmentalising parts of your home storage is easy to achieve.

The products were easy to assemble and enjoyable to use, and are great value for money considering the engineering and quality of craftsmanship involved. To see them in action, why not visit one of our trade counters or view the video online.

15 Tips For Cool Contemporary

Contemporary Kitchen Design with Avanti

Contemporary kitchen design is still a very popular choice for the UK consumer and experience in this market sector over the years has seen a number of key trends emerging which highlights consumers' key needs, wants and desires for their ultimate contemporary kitchen.

We thought we'd highlight 15 key points for creating the ultimate contemporary consumer kitchen.

High Gloss

It goes without saying that high gloss is an absolute must for starting a contemporary kitchen. High gloss adds that cool, modern look and feel, and gives the space a clean uncluttered look; so make sure to include this in your next contemporary kitchen design.

Fit an Island

Open plan living is huge at present, not only for contemporary kitchens but most consumer kitchen updates and refits no matter what the style. Fitting a centre island helps to maintain an open plan feel whilst also helping to define the various zones within the living space and makes a great focal point for entertaining, preparing food and socialising.

Combine Colours

With the progression of high gloss decors, consumers can now select from a staggering range of colours. Combining two or more colours, usually with white acting as a base, contemporary kitchens can be created with a real wow factor and sense of individuality and personality, helping create a real sense of bespoke luxury.

Add a little curve appeal

Curves are growing in popularity as they become more readily available and accessible to the typical UK consumer. Adding curves to both base and wall unit design helps to create a more fluid, modern feel that allows the overall open plan living space to flow much easier.

Introduce Light

A key element of contemporary living is to introduce plenty of light to the design. The more natural daylight the better, so if sky lights, larger windows or folding patio doors are possible, make sure to incorporate them, otherwise, try using LED and low energy lighting to create a similar effect.

Use interesting finishes

The type of board available has come a long way in recent years so it's always a good idea to use a format that's slightly more unique and luxurious in the consumer's eyes. Wood grain effect boards, stainless steel and even concrete worktops can be great options for making the kitchen seem more unique and interesting.

Light up their world

Paramount to any kitchen design is a quality lighting scheme that serves a number of purposes. With contemporary kitchens, weird and wonderful lighting schemes can be developed that support the colour scheme of the kitchen design as well as setting different moods from task lighting to low level relaxing schemes and everything in between!

Triple lights

No matter where you look at the moment consumers are demanding and are being advised to choose triple lights over their islands and breakfast bars. These help create a focal point as well as useful task lighting.

Invest in clever storage

To achieve a real contemporary look the kitchen needs to be totally clutter free, so ensuring clever storage ideas are in place to keep clutter off the counter tops is paramount.

Built in appliances

Built in appliances help in ensuring lines are sleek, streamlined and fluid, so building in appliances behind a matching cabinet door helps to bring a cool contemporary look that is uninterrupted in its approach.

Contrast Old with New

If your next customer is fortunate enough to live in an old property with real character and charm, combining the original features of the building with the new contemporary look kitchen can achieve a stunning combination of old and new that adds to the contemporary look and feel to make it even more effective.

Invest in Energy Efficient Lighting

Investing in LED lighting and low voltage lighting is key to keep your customers' energy bills and carbon footprint to a minimum. Specifying the right lighting at the start of the project not only helps make the process run smoothly, but also helps create a contemporary look using the latest lighting technology available.

Make it SMART

Smart home technology is a growing area in the KBB industry as it allows for the automation of many elements such as lighting and heating, and even enables the automation of your cooker and other appliances from your smart phone, so to achieve truly leading contemporary kitchen design, SMART technology is a great route.

Create a feature

Having a central focal point to the space is key in creating the right impression, so the use of designer hoods, sinks or centre islands can often act as a key feature to draw the eye in the finished kitchen design. If space allows it, consider integrating a large, double sided open fire that brings the kitchen and dining space together.

Create a streamlined look

One key component of contemporary is a streamlined look. The use of handles on door and drawer units can often break this visual up, so consider handleless furniture, with either hidden handles or 'push-to-open' fittings that control the door from the internal of the cabinet either electronically or mechanically.

Bespoke Kitchen Furniture - Making it happen for your design

Blue Acrylic Duo Bespoke Doors.

Creating the perfect kitchen and living space often comes down to a clever design that helps each area of the home work together in harmony, without any awkward transitions or junctions that makes the spaces feel separate. This is one of the biggest reasons that demand for bespoke integrated kitchen furniture is becoming so popular within the industry, and often demanded by the consumer.

We're now seeing combinations of fitted furniture in living spaces that mimic the materials used within the kitchen design. This can often be a seated breakfast or dining area that joins onto the kitchen space, or something as simple as a country style dresser or entertainment unit; all of which would be made from the same materials as the kitchen in order to create a cohesive feel to the space.

With work and study playing a greater role in the modern UK consumers' lifestyle, integrated office and desk areas are also being incorporated into living spaces whilst being made out of the same materials as the kitchen to create one succinct, and well harmonised living space for the consumer to move through freely allowing them to feel truly at home.

The usage of styles, materials, colours and applications for fitted furniture varies massively from one design to another, as each is often built bespoke to how the consumer wants to live, and how they want the space to work for them and their lifestyle. With new materials such as precision embossed board and new innovative styles such as oak effect and mirror gloss, consumer demand is likely to increase thanks to the release of these innovative materials and finishes.

The concept behind bespoke fitted furniture is great for the consumer, as they don't have to buy off-the-shelf products that prevent them from using the space exactly how they anticipated. By going down the bespoke route, the consumer is able to specify to their kitchen or interior designer the exact format they would like, including storage, hidden compartments, design features, right down to details such as the type of drawer or hinge units that might be incorporated into the finished item.

The trend for fitted kitchen and living area furniture will undoubtedly increase as consumers are seeing this as a true progression of open plan living, and often value the ability to make one large space work seamlessly together, whilst still having well defined zones and areas that serve different purposes.

Give it some curve appeal

Avanti Quadro Alabaster Grained Paint Effect Roomset

Curved kitchen carcasses help to soften the overall appearance of any kitchen design as they are pleasing to the eye and allow it to move around the space in a more fluid and comfortable manner. The demand for curved kitchen furniture has increased in recent years, in part thanks to improved manufacturing processes bringing costs down considerably, and also thanks to increased demand for a more natural look from consumers.

The curved appearance helps to compliment natural styles such as painted oak effect kitchen doors and wood grain effects, but similarly, yet somewhat surprisingly for many, also lends itself well to more contemporary looks such as high gloss units and clear, handle-less design.

An underlying driver to the success of curved furniture has to be the increase in open plan living. With one room merging into the next and being much more open, consumers have often found the traditional square edged kitchen a little impractical, and not as aesthetically pleasing as required for an otherwise streamlined look and feel.

By introducing curves, the eye is drawn from one area to the next effortlessly, giving the feeling of a much more open space, and one which flows and merges seamlessly, ensuring the rooms have a certain coherence with each other.

Curves also offer benefits in terms of safety, something that is key to family buyers. By removing potentially dangerous right angled edges and replacing them with curves, parents can be more confident that their children are less likely to have a nasty accident by hitting themselves on a sharp edge if they were to fall over.

Worktops have also developed considerably, and now offer some outstanding laminate and composite options that can be curved and shaped to your own kitchen design without any compromise. These can be used for breakfast bars and centre islands too, meaning you can complete the look of your kitchen without the need to install natural stone every time.

The future for curved looks promising as we see demand rise, and I have to say, the finished visual does work perfectly with most modern homes and kitchen refurbishments.

With other kitchen items catching up with the trends too, we're now seeing some stunning new products such as curved kitchen islands, kitchen furniture, sinks and other fixtures and fittings, all of which will help to support and develop an already popular segment of the market.

Festive Looks for Christmas

Whilst it might not be an everyday part of a kitchen designer or installers job, we thought it was time to take a look at Christmas, and how our kitchen designs could influence this much loved time of year in a way that gives consumers a much more pleasurable festive experience within their kitchen space.

Most people love Christmas; it's a great time of year for family, socialising and just being together, and as such, it's likely that the kitchen will see the most use of any given time in the year, so why not design it to make sure that time is as special as possible.

The way to make this happen is by planning ahead - try to understand how your customer wants to use the kitchen over the festive period, whether that's for family gatherings, cooking, or just general entertaining within the household.

With this plan in mind, you can then understand how they want to use the space, from where they might want to place Christmas trees, decorations and lights, and how your design can either facilitate, or hinder this desire for a perfect festive look.

Once you've got this spec in mind, ensuring elements such as adequate electrical points are in place is key for Christmas lights and decorations, whilst also making sure that there is still adequate space to entertain and cook without interference from Christmas accessories and decorations.

Lighting plays a key part in that warm Christmas feel too, so make sure to select kitchen lighting solutions that can be changed for the time of year, such as colour changing LED lighting, or low voltage dimmable lighting that can help create a certain mood and atmosphere that better reflects Christmas and all its wonder.

Ask your customer a few questions too, making sure you've covered all the bases. Here are a few suggestions that might just help out.

Christmas Tree - Whilst most people expect to see the Christmas Tree in a living room, we are seeing more consumers place them in their kitchen dining spaces as the room often gets much more use in modern day living. Understanding where this needs to go, and what colour schemes might best compliment the kitchen design helps the consumer to have a happier, more hassle free Christmas, as well as a stunning centre piece to the room.

Decorations - Whether it's planning on where to place a wreath, garland or Christmas ornaments, it's good to think well ahead with how these might interact with the kitchen layout. Ensuring there are discreet but useful tie down points for garlands and Christmas lights means your customer will not only have a fantastic Christmas experience, but they'll also adore the kitchen you've designed and installed, wowing friends and family who hopefully in turn will commission you to do the same for them!

Accessories - Christmas accessories are often seen littered around the house, whether that's ornaments, decorations or just a few advent calendars, but consider this in your design too. The use of open shelving lends itself perfectly to accessories, and allows for the kitchen to be given that festive look with next to no additional effort from your customer.

Dress it up a little

Stone Grey Dakar 'Shaker' Doors

We've seen a boom over the last year in consumer demand for a more natural, country style look through the use of painted oak effect doors and wood grain textured finishes, but one thing consumers aren't looking to do is compromise on the integrity of the design, and it's links back to the traditional style, but with a more modern flavour.

Modern country style is quite different to what it used to be, as consumers are now creating streamlined, sophisticated kitchens which have the characteristics and rustic charm of a country style kitchen, but with all the modern conveniences, detail and material specs to make it something truly amazing.

The heart of any country style kitchen from the past has to be the traditional country dresser, but modern tastes are seeing this become re-invented, and I have to say some of the results are outstanding.

The first and most important element seems to be that country dressers are now becoming a much more integral part of the kitchen design as we see them being made up of the same materials and accessories as the main kitchen units themselves. This helps to achieve a fluid design, and adds a feeling of quality and substance to the overall effect of the design.

We also often see kitchen dressers being integrated into the run of units themselves as opposed to the traditional freestanding dressers, which again harp back to the olden days of traditional country style.

For those aiming to achieve this more rustic, traditional look, there are some great ideas out in the market too. We've seen some of our installers take a couple of old country dressers (distressed and beaten to say the least), cut them down, re-purpose them slightly, and turn them into the most magnificent centre islands with a matching worktop to compliment the rest of the kitchen design. This is a great way of re-using existing materials, whilst also making a fairly substantial design statement with something that can't really be bought anywhere else.

The traditional Irish dresser is probably the most popular design for consumers at this moment in time, and adds a feeling of elegance to any room. Key to the design is the distinctive plate rack and cupboard storage, both of which add a level of practicality whilst maintaining a strong visual appeal.

Consumers have started to create some variation in this design however to better cater to modern living. This is often achieve by using additional drawers which are perfect for storing away smaller items that would otherwise clutter the look of the kitchen, and glass doors which can be back-lit to enhance and showcase the contents of the cabinet.

If you're thinking of installing a kitchen dresser in your next kitchen install, why not talk to us about ideas of how best to create something that's unique, stunning and practical. We've got some fantastic products that are perfect for the country style look, from board and doors, right down to the handles, lighting and fittings that are needed.

Chic yet cheap - can it really be done well?

Avienda Doors with Integrated Handle

With the UK economy being far from 'out of the woods', we're seeing certain consumer groups buying more intelligently when specifying a new kitchen. This usually means economising in places where they can get away with it, and spending the money where it makes the biggest difference visually. However, with this 'make do' attitude in mind, we have to ask the question, can a kitchen be made to look chic when the overall cost is relatively cheap?

Well in short, the answer is yes.

For many people of course, they'd only want the best quality materials and finishes throughout, meaning that cheap wouldn't come into it, but for those willing to economise in certain places, a truly unique, and rather sleek looking kitchen design can be achieved without it costing the earth.

One of the first and most important elements to achieving a cheap yet chic kitchen is to buy as many standard, off-the-shelf products as possible. By doing this, there's no bespoke machining, cabinet making or labour intensive tasks coming into play.

One area that a large saving can be made has to be in terms of carcasses. If your space allows it, standard carcasses can be purchased, with savings that can really rack up, but beware, awkward spaces and oddly sized kitchens often need bespoke carcasses to make things look polished, so don't compromise if the look will be effected too much.

Providing your carcass purchase went well, you can then start to look at the finishing elements of the kitchen. This is where some clever planning, design and buying comes into play.

If you were able to buy standard off-the-shelf carcasses, you can buy off-the-shelf doors and drawer fronts too. Again, this helps to reduce cost of manufacture, and will also reduce your fitting costs too.

Don't go wild here though; pick a solid door that will stand the test of time and suits your taste well, and then look to spend a little more on your handles. Buying high quality, well made handles can transform the look of an otherwise standard kitchen door or drawer, giving the kitchen an immediately improved look and feel.

Worktops also finish the look too, so consider buying an alternative to solid stone worktops, such as composites or laminates, all of which perform extremely well for the conditions they're exposed to, whilst also giving a very similar finished effect to stone but without the additional cost.

As one final touch should budgets allow, think about adding some extra detailing to your kitchen, with items such as cornice, pelmet, lighting and storage accessories. Whilst they might seem an indulgence when trying to economise, they're likely to make the kitchen more attractive, and easier to live with for a much longer space of time.

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