Designing kitchens and bathrooms is both rewarding and complex, whether building from scratch or renovating
They’re also two of the most expensive, so it pays to consider how you want to use them now and into the future as this will guide your choices in layout, fixtures, fittings and electric home design.
Flow and function
Katherine Lightfoot of Kella Design Co. says kitchens and bathrooms need careful thought and planning. “There’s so much to designing these rooms in terms of flow and function,” says Katherine. “Investing in a designer might cost you a little more up-front, but can save you money in the long-run with making the most of the space you have and knowing the quality products that will have longevity.”
“I believe great design is discovering ones individual style and pairing it with equal parts functionality and beauty." says Katherine
Tracking the trends
Interior trends reflect our shifting lifestyles, and Katherine says there’s a softer, more natural look emerging with chunkier benchtops, textured cabinetry and a return to curves across kitchens and bathrooms.
“Organic shapes and raw, natural products are really in,” says Katherine. “Nothing too polished; definitely more matte finishes.” She says engineered stone benches are popular for recreating a more expensive natural look. “They really replicate that gorgeous natural stone, but with amazing properties.”
Making a statement
“Everything was quite square and strong for a long time, but it’s all softened a little bit. There’s a lot of detailed and textured cabinetry, whether that’s fluted or slatted timber, or scalloped panelling.”
Statement handles are also replacing the trend for handle-less kitchen drawers and cupboards. “Handles at the moment are like the jewellery of the kitchen,” says Katherine. “They finish it off and add that extra layer of beauty.”
She says colour palettes have shifted from the favourites of black, white and grey to warmer tones of beige and brown, often with oak accents.
Kitchens are the beating heart of a home: a place to cook and share meals together, catch up over a wine, or help the kids with homework at the bench.
Flow, flexibility and efficiency are key, and Katherine recommends thinking about how you like to cook and what you use regularly. Let your designer know if you’re left- or right-handed too, as this affects how you interact with the space, like reaching for equipment or ingredients.
Good electrical planning
Thoughtful electric home design is also crucial. Decide which appliances you want to have out and plugged in for quick use. “Do you want your mixer out on the bench or a toaster?” asks Katherine. “Make sure you have a power point for everything, then add a couple of extras, so when you pull out the rice cooker you don't have to be pulling plugs and moving things around.” She adds; "A motion sensor in the pantry is perfect for when your hands are full."
She also suggests an instant hot water tap instead of a kettle, and a steam oven to replace a microwave and provide other ways to cook.
Task lighting is important too, with LED strips above bench tops, or a feature light. Katherine notes that single suspension track lights or a light cluster at one end of an island are replacing the traditional ‘three pendants’ look.
A multi-functional space
More of us are also using our kitchens as an extra workspace or homework/study area. “There’s definitely been a mindset shift,” agrees Katherine. “People are using those spaces differently. You could have a tuck-away home desk that flows with the kitchen cabinetry and sits at the end of the kitchen in the living space.” She recommends adding power points to the island bench for this, along with USB charging ports.
The Iconic range has a USB Fast Charger that can charge your devices quickly and safely on the go, and the Iconic SmartShelf is great for when you want to keep your devices off the counter so they don't get wet or dirty - perfect for holding your tablet or phone so you can read the recipe while baking or cooking.
Bathroom basics and beyond
Bathrooms can be functional and fabulous with the right planning. Think about who will use it and their needs, as that affects additions like twin basins, a bath, or extra storage.
Katherine says layout is crucial in bathrooms as they’re usually smaller spaces. Consider how much room you have to open a shower door, access a towel rail, stand in front of a vanity, or kneel next to a bath if you’re bathing children.
“Cavity sliders are fantastic for bathrooms,” says Katherine, "because you don't need to be worried about the door clashing with anything."
Factor in power points for electric toothbrushes, shavers and hair styling tools. With the Wiser Connected Power Point for instance you'll never have to worry about whether you turned the hair straightener off again. Katherine also suggests installing underfloor heating, which adds comfort and helps to eliminate moisture build-up.
“People often think it’s really expensive so they don’t do it – but having it installed isn't the expensive part, it’s running it. If you choose not to run it later on that’s fine, but having it there is really important.”
In the right light
Good task lighting is a must-have and should illuminate your face from both sides or in front – avoid light from above as it casts shadows. “I’ve just finished a bathroom with round LED mirrors and they can change from warm light to cool light,” says Katherine. “It’s thinking not just of the light itself, but the kind of lighting that you're putting in.” Something as simple as adding a dimmer to your lighting means you can have bright task lighting when you're getting ready, and soft, dimmed lights when you're ready for a relaxing bath.
Adding motion sensor lighting to your bathroom for when you, your kids or guests get up at night is essential. You can integrate it with existing lighting, or use the Iconic Night Walk motion sensor that was specifically designed to keep little feet safe during those late night visits to the bathroom.
Katherine also recommends smart touches such "LED strip lighting added to tiled niches in the shower. It's such a minor detail but it really elevates the look of a bathroom.”
The Wiser Smart Home range also offers a variety of smart accessories to enhance your bathroom and add comfort and convenience to your everyday life. A humidity sensor can for instance automatically turn your exhaust fan and heated towel rail on when moisture is detected and turn it off once humidity levels return to normal.
A touch of nature
With a natural timber finish and smooth, elegant styling, Iconic Essence has been designed for those who are seeking balance in every aspect of their lives.
The Arctic White finish brings together birch timber and matt white to perfectly blend into the surrounding wall colour – no matter which room you put it in.
The Ash Grey finish looks stunning against the natural beauty of other raw building materials – perfect alongside slate or stone.
Adding style to your space
Cool to the touch, Iconic Styl is a fresh, clean design for the modern home. The extruded aluminium finish has a fine grain running through it, and the delicate rounded edge has been designed to catch the light.
Silver Shadow is the perfect finish for a cool, crisp décor and works well with darker wall colours. For versatility and style, the Crowne finish is a glistening champagne colour which is sure to inspire, while the Silver finish complements a range of décor styles and colours – everything from a brilliant white wall to a mirror splashback or black gloss tiles.
Comfort and convenience
The Iconic, Iconic Styl and Iconic Essence ranges all integrate with the Wiser Smart Home system, which means you can add smart touches however and wherever you want to enhance how you live in, and enjoy your home now and into the future.
So, when it comes to creating your perfect kitchen or bathroom, take time to make sure that everything from the floor plan to the appliances and electric home design are just right.
With a little planning and some expert advice you can have a space that works perfectly for you and adds so much to the everyday enjoyment of your home.
Electric Home Design Magazine
Room-by-room inspiration and planning advice