Often, it's not possible to get rid of structural pillars,' says Scott Nicholson, ‘but sometimes you can move them, and even shifting by half a metre can have a huge impact in some rooms. You can usually convert something negative into a positive feature if you deal with it imaginatively – try building a pillar into an island to create an architectural feature, for example. L-shaped and t-shaped rooms can be effectively split into zones, dedicating one leg to dining or storage, and keeping the working kitchen in the other. If you buy a property with curved walls, such as an oast house, it's usually because you like its style – ‘so make the most of its quirkiness with cabinets that follow the curves,' Scott advises. Even if this means that you have to buy more expensive bespoke furniture, you may not need a large amount of it to create a dramatic effect.
Try changing decor to demarcate the separate dining, lounging, cooking and office areas in a multifunctional space. ‘This can be achieved by using different floor finishes, paint colours and lighting in each of the zones,' says Robert Burnett, head of design at Holloways of Ludlow. ‘Don't forget, you can always strategically position a wall, or include a room divider such as a half-height wall or storage unit, to help screen off certain areas,' advises Scott Nicholson, MD of Chamber Furniture. ‘It does need to be carefully placed so as not to block out light, but we are using these features very successfully in an increasing number of our designs. Not all kitchens are standard cubes or rectangles. Some are glass boxes with limited wall space, others have sloping ceilings, while you may also have tricky features to work around such as pillars or numerous entrance doors. An experienced kitchen designer will have come across all these sorts of problems before, so do ask them for advice.
Consider lighting options. When planning lighting it's a good idea to make the system quite flexible so you can regulate areas of your kitchen independently. Secondary lighting, such as spots above cooking and preparation areas, is also useful. Consider your kitchen must-haves. Do you long for sleek worktops, a statement island or lots of cupboards for storage? Or are there some specific appliances that you think will make your life in the kitchen much easier? Everybody likes to work in their own particular way and each person has a different list of priorities, so it's important to write yours down right at the beginning to ensure your kitchen is tailored to your family's specific needs. This will also save a lot of time and trouble when it comes to discussing your project with a kitchen specialist.
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