What do you want out of your new room?

Is your new kitchen to be solely a room in which to prepare and cook meals, or is a place to entertain? How many people will be primarily using the bathroom and especially in the morning rush?

What style do I want?

Some people are sure from the onset about the style of room they require. If you are unsure or simply don’t know where to start, look both online and in home interest magazines. Pinterest is a great online source for ideas and inspiration. Without realising it, you might migrate to the same styles of kitchen.

Whilst many interiors tended to reflect the period of the home, this is no longer seen as the done thing – a contemporary bathroom can look sensational in a Victorian home and equally, a painted kitchen with a homely feel will look ‘at home’ in a new build.

What’s on my wish list?

Once you’ve decided and defined the role of your new room, consider which of the following you might like:

  • Dedicated dining area or a breakfast bar in your new kitchen?
  • An island unit if your kitchen can accommodate it?
  • Separate integrated fridge and freezer or an American fridge freezer?
  • How many ovens will you require?
  • Twin basins in the bathroom?
  • Separate shower enclosure and bath?

How do I know if I can fit in an island unit in my new kitchen?

Fundamentally, an island unit will fit if the doors of both units that face each other will fully open without colliding.

It is very unlikely that a slim galley kitchen can accommodate an island unit, but there might be a compromise to achieve a similar look. Employing the services of a kitchen designer is paramount, especially to maximise the overall layout and feel of your new kitchen.

Should I have a bath or shower?

For future proofing and resale value, a common piece of advice is to have at least one bath in your home, especially if your property will appeal to families with small children. A bath with shower fitted over can be a good compromise.

If the bathroom has to accommodate a lot of morning rush traffic then it might be wise to consider having a separate shower enclosure if space permits. If you have the luxury of more than one bathroom then perhaps consider having a bath in one and a shower enclosure in the other.

A freestanding bath is a great way to utilise the space under a window or sloping roof and can look sensational. Equally, showers can take up a much smaller footprint when space is at a premium. The key is to go for what is right for your room, your family and your lifestyle.

How do I get the most efficient layout?

Once the designer has measured the space available and located the positions of items such as the boiler, existing pipework and soil stack along with utility meters in your kitchen, they will then take time to understand you, your style and your requirements.

Only then will the designer start to plan your new room, creating zones in a layout to ensure the smooth running of your kitchen or bathroom. Equally when planning a new study or bedroom, the flow and best use of space to maximise storage is always the priority.

This layout planning will be undertaken, whilst planning and considering all hidden issues such as effective drainage, the location of the gas, the electricity supply in your kitchen, bedroom and study and where electrical points are required for each appliance.

Where do I want my lights and heating?

At the planning stage, your designer will also ask you to consider accompanying elements of the overall design, such as lighting and heating.

Lighting can totally change the feel of a room and be used as both accent lighting and functional. It’s vital to get the lighting right in your new room, as you will need functional lighting to be able to see clearly while you’re cooking, choosing an outfit or applying make-up! Decide whether you need direct lighting over the work surfaces and general spots from the ceiling. Consider the possibility of some feature element lighting in the plinth or on the walls, or dedicated lighting in areas.

Whether you opt for underfloor heating or plinth heaters, radiators or towel warmers, it’s a must to decide on the positions for these at the outset. It can be costly to reposition or divert your utilities once you’re at installation stage and that’s one of the key benefits of employing someone to project manage. It may seem more costly initially to use a project manager, but undoubtedly there will be many issues that you simply forget to consider, which could have all been considered on your behalf.

What type of flooring can I use?

While looks are important, practicality is key in a bathroom or kitchen, with the most popular options tending to be hard-wearing, easy to keep clean and moisture-resistant.

Tiles are an obvious choice and very easy to maintain, but can be quite cold and so consider having under-floor heating.

Natural wood flooring is also highly desirable, but solid wood does require maintenance to prevent water damage. For a slightly easier life, consider engineered wood with a lacquered finish or try a wood alternative such as wood-effect vinyl or porcelain tiles.

A carpet tends to be the preferred choice in a bedroom or dressing room as it is warm underfoot.

Likewise in a study, a carpet or wooden floor is preferential, both from a warmth aspect but also for ease of moving an office chair around the room.

Do I need Planning Permission?

If you’re having building work done as part of the job, planning permission will be needed. If you’re undertaking this level of work, you’ll more than likely have employed the services of an architect as well as a project manager. The planning permission will be applied for on your behalf, allowing you to carry on with your everyday…

Smaller scale changes, such as removing partition walls and chimney breasts or installing an extractor can be left with the project manager to oversee.

Helping you to decide?

Your designer will work with you to ensure all decisions are made, both on time and within budget. Everything, from door style and colour, to worktops and appliances will need to be chosen.

Whilst it might seem daunting to have to choose so many items, the help, advice and direction of your designer will ensure that you don’t make snap decisions that you may later regret.

How long will the installation take?

That very much depends on the complexity and level of work required. A simple like for like re-fit is likely to be fairly straightforward and simple, taking minimal time, whereas a project that involves building works can often take a couple of months.

Once plans are in place and agreed, we will be able to advise you of an approximate timescale.

How to look after my furniture and workstops?

Remove most everyday stains from units by cleaning with a damp cloth and soapy water. Never use abrasive cleaning agents or scouring pads, wire wool or any similar cleaning aids. Spillages should be wiped off immediately as any liquids left standing can cause damage. Please ask Steve Hills Design for specific, detailed care and maintenance of your furniture and worktops, such as granite or marble.

Do you obtain your materials from sustainable sources?

At Steve Hills Design we source our materials wherever possible from responsibly maintained sources here in the UK. All our furniture is sourced and made in the UK and all our timber products are FSC Certified.

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