Check Out These Pro Tips For Designing Kitchens and Bathrooms

Check Out These Pro Tips For Designing Kitchens and Bathrooms

By Dwell
Four designers spill their secrets for smart kitchen and bathroom design.

From the all-important touch test to the importance of lighting, the expert advice below is a great place to start when you're designing a kitchen or bathroom.

Think of the Big Picture First

Andrea Michaelson / Andrea Michaelson Design / Beverly Hills, California

"For kitchen design, I think about layout and flow first, and only then about the materials. I focus on large items such as cabinetry and appliances and allow the rest of the details to unfold as I’m working. I always make sure to incorporate details that will distinguish the design, such as a splash detail, unique storage solutions, or new ways to use a material— for instance, creating cabinet faces and doors out of reclaimed wood and metals. I also always try to integrate a counterpoint, a beautiful, unexpected ‘aha!’ moment that brings a little soul to the space."

It’s OK to Show Off a Little

Barbara Hill  / Barbara Hill Design / Houston, Texas

"I love minimal kitchens and bathrooms. I always try to take down upper cabinets and replace them with interesting open shelving. My go-to material is steel and I always try to avoid the built-in look. With open shelving, not only can you showcase a great collection of white dishes, but you can mix in vintage showpieces or even small artworks."In bathrooms, I love a prettily shaped freestanding tub. Bathrooms should have a sexy feel. I always want to bring romance into the bathroom—I usually place a small table next to the tub for bubbles, salts, and champagne. I also like an unusual chandelier over the tub with a dimmer." 

Don’t Forget the Touch Test 

Francine Monaco / D’Aquino Monaco / New York, New York 

"When designing bathrooms, I’m often trying to create a jewel-box experience—you open the door and find yourself transported to a pristine little world. To achieve this, I strive for a seamless design from wall to floor. We’ve relied on tile of standard sizes for many years, but now there are so many different options for scale change within the bathroom. Plumbing fittings are the jewelry that makes the room feel more intimate, since the touch and feel of those fittings is ultimately what you’re engaging with. We’ve recently been using these wonderful cast glass faucets by Fantini that feel warm to the touch and have beautiful colors that you can use to animate other, more natural materials such as stone."

Lighting Makes the Difference

Clinton Cuddington / Measured Architecture Inc. / Vancouver, British Columbia  

"Bathrooms are often designed with only functionality in mind, but they provide really interesting opportunities. They can be seen as moments of reprieve from the rest of the house, so they can be designed with a separate narrative." When designing bathrooms, we think about ways to include tile in the space that doesn’t read as appliqué. We will often look to work monolithically with tiles throughout the entire room—whether we’re using simple subway tile or handmade Fireclay tile. Another thing that we do is place over-scaled objects in the room. We often use full-wall mirror surfaces that cover much of the room—sometimes attaching lighting fixtures onto the mirror itself."The right lighting is important. You don’t want a residential bathroom to look like an institutional environment. Since bathrooms often utilize cold materials like marble and tile, coupling them with warm lighting helps soften the space."


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