Collette Hanlon looks at multi-tasking spaces.

Written by Collette Hanlon.

Over the last few years, we at Home Stagers have noticed a definite increase in “family rooms” in new developments and renovated properties. Typically, these rooms are kitchen, breakfast, dining, living rooms and,by default, have a wide variety of functions to accommodate.

To create a space that works on an aesthetic level and works to meet all our modern family needs, requires careful planning. My own kitchen come family room has to work for cooking, entertaining, homework, music practice, etc – often all at the same time!

I would suggest that before you even think about style and design, that it’s a good idea to draw up a list of all the tasks that are likely to take place in your family room.Then begin to look at the storage requirements and proportion the space accordingly. For example, the main kitchen run may require siting against an outside wall most convenient for gas and water, drainage and ventilation, as these can be costly and tricky to move.

Lighting and electrical circuits are also worth careful consideration at the planning stage; dining tables look great when you have a stunning lighting fixture above, and this helps to defines the zone visually, so getting the position right from the outset can save a lot of unnecessary hassle. Flooring should be considered at this stage too. Hard flooring is practical and functional in a kitchen, but if you plan to continue through with the same flooring would your first choice co-ordinate with a sofa and chairs too?

Storage and layout should be a primary matter in the planning stage before you even begin to think about surfaces and finishes. Even rustic kitchens look better when clutter is kept to a minimum, so analyse exactly what and how much storage is required. Then look at the entire space to see how the kitchen area will integrate into the room as a whole. If your space is limited, fitted units will provide much more storage
than free-standing and the result will be sleeker and more streamlined. 

When choosing finishes, look at each area and assess how it will integrate to achieve a cohesive result. This is where the mood board is a really valuable tool that can save on costly mistakes. See how that granite worktop and glossy doors will work together with a leather boxy sofa and arco lamp or perhaps hand painted doors and marble worktop with French style linen sofas and a vintage chandelier.

Collette Hanlon SBID is a Norwichbased interior designer and creative director. Home Stagers specialises in “staging to sell” bespoke show homes, show home rental furniture and property presentation across the UK. Email enquiries@homestagers.co.uk on 0800 542 8 952 or visit www.homestagers.co.uk

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