SHOWROOM OPENING TIMES
The Art of Space Management
Best Advice - How to Buy Customised Fitted Furniture.
We have collated some useful tips to help you along your journey.
However spacious your home or workplace, creating perfect storage systems for the TV, media centres, computers, books, clothes, files and an ever-growing collection of multiple possessions is a challenge.
Fitted furniture will make the most of the space and is ideal for awkward corners, such as alcoves, eaves and rooms too small for standard fittings.
Bespoke companies can also produce sleek, cohesive designs and offer customised internal storage solutions, such as retractable trouser rails, pull-out shoe racks and other specialist forms of storage, to get even the most extreme hoarder organised.
Why choose a specialist design?
There is a good choice of specialist companies, from wardrobe and home office suppliers who fit modular pieces to your specification, to truly bespoke companies, and this is reflected in the price.
Personal recommendation is often the best way to find your supplier but, in the absence of that, don't be afraid to grill the showroom staff on the products and services a company offers. Find out whether the furniture is made in the company's own workshops or assembled from standard sized components, as this will affect design flexibility.
*Truly bespoke fitted furniture
You can ask to visit the workshop or showroom to see the quality of build and check the sometimes loose interpretation of "bespoke". "A bespoke company can design furniture to any size and work around odd shapes. Look for the designer who can make any size of cupboard and cope with unusual spaces or dimensions."
*Solutions for your home
A good specialist company will send a designer to your home to assess both your lifestyle and your specific storage needs. Be honest if you are untidy, the more information they have, the better the resulting design will be. If you don't feel you have a good rapport with the designer before the work begins, go elsewhere. Ask a lot of questions at this point, including the proposed starting date and what happens if something goes wrong.
*Approving a design
The designer will produce initial drawings for your approval, and should show you different materials; final drawings will follow once the details are agreed. You may have to pay for those, but this should be refunded if the project goes ahead. Ask about lead times too.
Commission a professional
If you have a small, straightforward project or feel confident about your own design abilities, you may want to entrust your scheme to a local carpenter, or put together your own team of professionals. Independent designers offer one-off designs and total flexibility, while a carpenter/ joiner is likely to look to you for the specification. As joiners rarely have showrooms, it is important to see a portfolio of their work or some of their installations first. Personal recommendation is very valuable; in its absence, trade associations can help.
*Creating a brief
Put together as detailed a brief as possible, with pictures from magazines or the internet and samples of materials you like. Ask questions, such as whether the furniture is made of solid wood or veneered, and keep an open mind about materials and the craftsperson's ideas as well.
Make sure that you are absolutely clear about payment terms, such as when the deposit is needed, how much it is - typically between 30 and 50 per cent of the total price - and when the balance is paid. Never pay in full upfront. Ask for a breakdown of materials and labour, and make sure you get all the payment details, together with the schedule, in writing.
Key points to consider with fitted furniture in dressing rooms
*Keep clothes, shoes and accessories in order.
*Rails at varying heights use the space best: full-length for dresses, half-length for shirts and trousers.
*Opt for plenty of drawers and shelves, with perhaps a secure unit for jewellery, and space for shoes.
*A walkway width of at least 1m will allow for the opening of drawers and the selection of clothes in comfort.
*Opt for his and her sides with your own mirrors, if space permits.
Key points to consider with fitted furniture in bedrooms
*Fitted furniture makes the best use of space regardless of the size of the room.
*A bank of wardrobes frees up the remainder of the room for more decorative pieces.
*For a sleek look, hide some of the drawer units behind full-length doors.
*The entrance to an en-suite bathroom can be designed to blend in with wardrobe doors on either side.
*Fitted furniture is a safe option for children's rooms as it is fixed to floors and walls, where free-standing units can topple
Key points to consider with fitted furniture in home offices
*Almost any corner can be transformed into a work space.
*Have the desk made to suit your height.
*Use your books and storage files to gauge space between shelves.
*A bespoke office within a living room can be designed to match your existing furniture.
*Cupboards with doors will keep paperwork out of sight. Or opt for a screen or door that hides the whole office from view when not in use.
Key points to consider with fitted furniture in living rooms
*Combine display and storage with a striking designer arrangement.
*First, place key items such as the TV and fireplace at the desired height.
*Have a clear idea about how many CDs and books are to be stored.
*A combination of closed units and open shelving boosts storage and keeps the look neat
Choosing a designer who is willing to work with you to develop the design that meets your requirements will produce the piece that you will be proud to have featuring in your room for many years because as your design consultation progresses a relationship will develop that ensures the end result will reflect a good combination of your ideas combined with the designer’s expert advice.