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The Illusion of Space

Articles, Articles from Issue 17

The kitchen and bathroom are likely two of the most frequented areas in your dwelling, so keeping these rooms organised is a must for those short on space. With the right storage solutions, transforming your kitchen and bathroom spaces so they’re free of clutter has never been easier. The design of these key areas can often impact your storage options, particularly for those with a limited budget or small residence, but fear not, as expert advice is at hand. Here, Leigh Marie Dodd speaks to Ben Murphy from Mint Designer Kitchens about storage tips and tricks that you can start using today.

Form and Functionality

When it comes to the ways in which we utilise our homes, modern society dictates very different usage to bygone eras. For instance, the kitchen of the 21st century needs to cater for a wide array of activities. “Gone are the days when kitchens were tucked away in the home purely for food storage,” Murphy says. “Considering the day-to-day function of your kitchen or bathroom will assist in the functionality and aesthetic.”

There are many considerations that are worth pondering before you settle on particular design choices, which will ensure your home functions optimally for your specific needs. For instance, Murphy highlights the importance of lifestyle on the type of design that will work best for you. If you intend to use your kitchen space for entertaining, your ideal design may be significantly different to someone who would prefer a communal, multipurpose zone where 

children can do their homework while meals are being cooked. Considering the purpose of the kitchen area will assist in creating the most effective solutions for user-friendly design and storage.

For new builds and renovations, Murphy recommends implementing the concept of the working triangle. “The concept is to minimise effort and walking distance between the sink, fridge, and cooktop or oven.” Having your most utilised appliances close to each other, forming a triangular shape, privileges user-friendly design. This framework is often employed by designers to create a kitchen that is both visually appealing and functional, minimising the amount of effort for the person cooking.

Regardless of your kitchen’s layout, it’s a great idea to build your cabinetry and storage spaces around these key areas. Having an idea of where all your bits and bobs are housed, including stored appliances and utensils, can help minimise mess, and privilege productivity, letting your kitchen design flourish.

Design Right

Building a kitchen or bathroom that’s right for your needs is essential, as it minimises the risk of running out of storage in the future. If you’re looking to maximise available space within your abode, Murphy suggests a galley-style kitchen. “It’s the ideal layout, I feel, for narrow rooms, but also looks great in open-plan living spaces.”

Much like the working triangle, this layout can provide an abundance of storage in your kitchen, as well as offering ample bench space. “Sometimes, flattening out that concept [of the working triangle] and having those three points in a line with a few steps in between works just as well, and can also look really effective.”

Likewise, in a compact bathroom, you need all the space you can get. Murphy advises you choose a door that swings outwards, so the open door doesn’t impose on your already limited area. It’s imperative that you position shelves and drawers wisely, too. “In terms of joinery, ensuring drawers or inner drawers are utilised can save you bending down in the narrow space to search in the back of the vanity unit,” Murphy adds. Opting for fixtures that are recessed back and recede into the wall is another clever idea for creating the illusion of more space.

Top to Bottom

When it comes to the style and placement of your cabinetry, using floor-to-ceiling cabinets can maximise floor space and open up your kitchen, while also providing additional storage options. “Having your tall and overhead cabinets go to the ceiling can not only help achieve more storage, but also make the room look larger,” Murphy explains.

When it comes to practical cabinetry designs, there are numerous popular options on the market, including finger-pull cabinets, which minimise the need for handles, creating a sleek, modern look. Murphy highlights overhead cabinetry with either open or floating shelving as a popular way in which to create an ingenious solution to storage needs, while also adding a touch of sophistication to your space. Pocket doors are another addition well worth considering; “they open and slide into vertical pockets, saving space and giving a sleek, modern finish,” Murphy says.

Simple Solutions

If you’re looking to update aspects of your home without spending a fortune, using these simple tips can help spruce your space, while also creating more room within your home. Using mirrored cabinetry in the bathroom can make the area look larger, and provides dual functionality by freeing up counter space and hiding general clutter.

In both the bathroom and kitchen, internal drawers can prove incredibly useful, and can be installed easily into existing cabinetry. “They instantly create easier access for hard to reach stuff that you probably haven’t seen for the last two years,” Murphy says.

Often, cabinetry can be tailored to suit your individual needs. “A client of ours once requested that a section of their laundry be designed to cater for their dogs, which I think is amazing! Featuring a lead rack and pull-out dog food trays, it was the deluxe dog station,” Murphy quips.

The Perfect Finish

Regardless of your interior design preferences, having stylish finishes can help elevate your home’s overall look. Murphy is particularly partial to acrylic panels; “from a pricing point they sit in the middle, but they have a high-quality look and you don’t get any of the scratching and re-painting issues that you do with two-pack”. For an on-trend look, select designs that emphasise a modern colour palette; think grey tones and bright whites, with touches of timber to add character.

If you’re unsure of where to begin, spend some time looking through social media for inspiration, or compare designers and companies to gain a better understanding of the available options. Decluttering can help create more storage, and doesn’t need to come at an expense.

Experiment with style and colours to enhance the look of your kitchen and bathroom, and implement updated cabinetry and storage solutions to keep your home looking spick and span. From additional drawers to floating shelves, there’s something for everyone; with a few simple updates, your home will be tidy and free of clutter in no time!

Images courtesy of Mint Designer Kitchens