22 November, 2007

Interior Design Article Part 5 - How to Choose Fittings and Fixtures

Today we are spoilt for choice in every area of home decorating. So I will provide a few guidelines to help you weed out what you don't need and leave you with a way of deciding what you do!

Fittings and Fixtures basically mean every thing that is fixed in your home. Appliances, bathroom ware, taps and faucets, light switches, light fittings, mirrors, heating fittings, door handles and locks - you get the picture?

To try and simplify how to pick out these items for your home, whether it is a new home or you are doing alterations, I will speak in general terms and not go down to each individual item.

All fittings and fixtures in your home should have some sort of uniformity, be this by color, finish or style. There is nothing worse than opening doors in a home and each handle feels different and is at different heights, similar problems with light switches. Try and keep things simple - the old "KISS" method works well in this case.

"Keep it Simple Stupid!"

Fittings and fixtures should be selected at the same time as the color scheme and incorporated in to a finishes schedule, this way you will make sure that all the materials used in your project will work together. How do you do that? Start with one think and start layering. An example, you find a beautiful brass bed head with white ceramic detailing and you have recycled timber dressers and think that you would like to theme your villa around that.

You choose timber floors, skirting boards and doors, you think a crisp white wallpaper with a moire effect could soften the walls and hide a few small defects! You then find a brass and frosted glass pendant for the living room, use brass knob door handles and face plates, and frost a border on the glass mirror in the bathroom and on the timber french doors leading into the dining room.

Antique brass taps / faucets add charm to the kitchen over the ceramic sink and timber counter top. The window latches and stays are brass, the window frames painted white. There is no microwave on show, it is hidden behind a cupboard door, the light switch has a brass face plate. Are you starting to get the picture? Obviously other metals can be introduced, but the major items are the same and fluent throughout the house.

This was an example of a renovation where you have not had to think about new appliances, lighting, bathroom fittings, for a new house, it is very daunting. All I can say is good luck!

No, really, take it step by step, start in one room and use your brief of what style you are looking for, and your brain storming for your ideas and start to search out products that fit that look. A contemporary apartment, sleek lines, white walls, large open expanses, minimalist look, you will need to keep every thing shiny simple and understated. There will be pieces of artwork or furniture that are the feature here, brushed stainless steel kitchen appliances, all white bathroom fixtures and slick stainless steel tap ware and accessories, lots of glass, stainless steel light switch plates, stainless steel down lights with perhaps a feature pendant.

A warm family home, here you need to think practical. Tough plastic face plates to light switches, (easily washed), Strong and robust bathroom fittings and fixtures, especially the towel rails and toilet roll holder, children love to swing off these items! A bath as well as a shower for little children, probably without the spa or jet options, unless you want water everywhere. Large oven with self clean properties, a large refrigerator big enough for all the family, and with an easy clean surface. Strong and robust cabinetry with strong hinges and solid handles.

Are you starting to get a feel for it? It all comes back to getting the correct client brief, your brain storming of styles, choosing the starting piece and then using a process of elimination begins. That is the best part because you can weed out all the products that don't suit what you are looking for. This is when cost can be looked at and is often a factor in the decision making. The best way to handle this is to list up a functional priority list and and an aesthetic priority list. Work through these together to get the best quality and functionality possible.

Choosing fittings and fixtures is a lot simpler when you have only got a few things to choose from, and if you follow the few steps I have shown you, you will only be left with a small sample of items to select from. Then you only have to put your taste to the test!

Architectaria - Architect and Planners

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