The most popular dream home features requested of interior designers are surprisingly achievable. Here’s how to make them a reality
Clients often want two things: to have time in their busy lives to read, and to have a place in which to do it. While the first can’t be guaranteed, the second is entirely achievable. It’s unusual not to be able to find a spot in your home into which you can squeeze a bookshelf, lamp and chair. You may need to think laterally and consider areas such as the hallway (under the stairs), a landing, if you have a good-sized one, or a dead corner that’s been overlooked.This spot under the stairs really utilises what could have been an awkward space. The sofa has been pushed further out into the room, so residents don’t need to worry about headspace where the ceiling slopes.
The right artwork can give a room the wow factor, but it can be daunting knowing where to source the perfect piece. That’s why many homeowners ask for help in buying a work that lifts a room out of the ordinary.Choosing art for a client is not only a joy, but an honour. It’s something I prefer to do either right at the start of a project and build my scheme around it, or right at the end, when I make it my mission to find the perfect picture. Art is very personal and can be a big investment, so you need to love it or have taken very good advice on where your money is going. Alternatively, it could be something worth very little in cash terms, but lots in sentiment.Take your time deciding where something should go. It’s a good idea to prop it up on a chair against the wall you have in mind and keep revisiting it over a few days before you knock any holes in the wall. Also, don’t be afraid to hang your paintings lower than you might feel is natural. As a guide, go by your line of sight at the centre of the painting. It’s no good hanging the centre at six foot high if you are five foot!
You need very little space to create a food haven in your kitchen. A pantry can be as small as a glorified cupboard, but the key to a good one is that there is both shelving and display areas: you need places to hide the messy things, and then areas to keep your everyday foods in lovely containers and really do some showing off.Try incorporating a worktop, too, to make it super-functional; this pantry has a breakfast station for speedy morning snacking, and the mess can be hidden behind closed doors until you return in the evening.If you can get some sort of lighting into the space, too, it will help it look more like a pantry than a dark cupboard. Don’t be afraid to use the full height of the space; keeping wine higher up, for example, can make a fun feature. And it requires a bit more effort to get that Friday tipple, which makes it taste all the better.
A laundry room shouldn’t be confused with a utility room, which is typically for muddy games kits and a wet dog drying off in the corner. A laundry room can be quite small, incorporating a washing machine, tumble dryer, sink and some worktop space for sorting out your clothing and linens. You could even have a radio in there to create your own secret bolthole; your family will think you’re toiling away, but you’ll actually be sipping tea and listening toThe Archers omnibus…You don’t need a great deal of space for a laundry room. Carve it out of an understairs cupboard, a portion of the kitchen, or even part of the garage. At a pinch, it could simply be a full-height cupboard with double doors, revealing a stacked washer and dryer on one side and a sink and shelves on the other.
While many of us desire a bar, sometimes it’s just not possible in your space. Enter the drinks trolley! The idea that you can wheel this into a certain room and essentially take the party with you is very appealing.It also needs a permanent home, however, so free up an alcove, as here, or commandeer an unused spot. There are so many drinks trollies on the market today, both new and second-hand, that it’s a great opportunity to bring a piece into your home that has some character.
Pendant lighting has returned and is once again a very important part of a room. It’s also an opportunity to be really creative. Your ceiling height will limit the type of design you can have, so you need to consider this carefully. The lower you hang a light fitting, the larger it looks, which is a good tip if you feel it’s likely to overwhelm the space.Be inspired by this selection of pendant lights
Cloakrooms are achievable for many, as they can be squeezed into quite small spaces. Popular spots include under the stairs or in a mini room carved out of the kitchen.To help a tiny cloakroom feel bigger, create perspective with a digital mural, as shown here. You can also use wall stickers or a panel of wallpaper to achieve a similar effect. Alternatively, hang a mirror above to give that sense of distance, or a picture that has a vista you can fall into. It helps to lead your eye off into the distance from what could be quite a dull space.Read expert advice on transforming your cloakroom
I don’t know many clients who don’t have this on their wish list! A walk-in wardrobe is really only going to be successful, though, if you can do just that, and move freely around the space, so this dream feature does need a bit of room.Do you have a boxroom you could convert? Or, if you can shift some walls about, then consider taking a slice off the bedroom, which really only needs to be big enough for a bed, and create room for your walk-in wardrobe, where you’ll really feel the benefit of that extra storage space.Choose a closed wardrobe if you’re untidy, like me, but if you’re organised and like to be able to see your clothes all at once, then open hanging is a great option and usually slightly cheaper, too. A mix of open hanging and wardrobe doors can work well, especially if you’re trying to break up the space.
High-gloss finishes look great in smaller areas, as they bounce the light around the room and make it feel bigger and brighter. Lighting is paramount – you really need to be able to see your clothes, especially as dressing rooms tend to have little natural light.
Having a large photo wall on which to display your happiest memories is a wonderful, and popular, request. Arranging pictures can be quite an art, though, so it can be worth really taking your time to create what will be a very visible and eye-catching feature.Patience is the key to a good photo wall. You need to take your time thinking about the layout, positioning the pictures on the floor first, or Blu-Tacking corresponding sheets of paper to the wall until you’re happy with the arrangement. If you can get some lighting onto this area, too, all the better.If you love the idea but can’t face the hassle, you might want to think about getting a professional picture hanger in to do it for you. They usually charge by the hour, and can put up all those other pictures around the house that you never got around to hanging, too.
In conversations with clients, one of the main topics that comes up is why their home lacks character. Often it’s because it has very little architectural detail, which can add depth and soul. I’m not suggesting you start putting up ornate ceiling roses, but there may just be the odd area where you can introduce some simple mouldings or perhaps panelling – a section like this one is relatively easy to create and instantly adds bags of character.If you’re building a new home, there’s a temptation to go without cornices, for example, but a low-profile design can look interesting without going overboard on the overall look of the house. Small decorative details can be introduced into the joinery, too, such as the doors and skirting boards.TELL US…
Which features are on your dream home list? Have you managed to incorporate them into your home? Share your thoughts and photos in the Comments below.