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Functional spaces: we see them so often; bland, boring, run of the mill. Why is this? And what can we do to start breaking away and injecting a little soul?


Generally the blame here falls on the following: 

- The kitchen/bathroom designers and new builders of the world

Most of the time these spaces are fitted to spec. Meaning if you're in a new build, you've probably got the same kitchen as Kelly three doors down. 

- Lack of originality 

If you're scouting for a new Kitchen or Bathroom, you'll start to notice a pattern, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, looks exactly the same, but will vary in price and if you're lucky, quality.

I feel like new builds have set the precedent for these spaces. Because they are what we see so often, even if shopping for a non-new build, it's what the majority are drawn to thinking they “like”. I use inverted commas here because I bet if you stood and really looked at your kitchen, those high gloss doors would really not be your usual bag at all. We’re like the sight version of brainwashed, blinded maybe?!

- Uninspiring showrooms

When shopping, it's easy to become disheartened and overwhelmed by the sea of fitted cabinets, granite worktops and tiled splash backs. Uninspiring showrooms are boring as hell, and a lack of uninspiring outlets to roam around hardly jogs a creative flow.



                           @maxmademedoit                                                               @naked_doors


Of course, these spaces have to function. They have to include the obvious, but they don't have to look like everything you've ever seen before.

Think beyond fitted.

Treat these spaces simply as another room in the house to decorate. If you’re a family, the kitchen especially is a room you'll spend almost all of your time in. According to Ideal Home, the average Brit spends 253 minutes per week cooking alone - never mind the extra hours eating, socialising and the dreaded clean-up.

If you're revamping an old kitchen/bathroom, it's time to think a little differently. 

Ignore the practicalities to begin with - focus on the design and how you want the space to feel. Focusing your design around the practical elements will only distort your creative vision.

Start with a feeling (oh you know how I love that line!) and explore it.

For me our kitchen was far from what I wanted, it was ALL wood (and i mean A LOT) and had a pretty classic country-style feeling. We could never get away from how much wood there was just by painting the walls - there just wasn't enough wall to break it up - so it was time to go in on the cupboards.




          Our kitchen, image courtesy of Beautiful Homes in the North

I wanted a grown up, cool, and interesting space that I imagined would be the heart of Christmas gatherings and everyday breakfasts. We explored colours with real depth and things like feature lighting, unconventional worktops and tableware. This was how I was revamping our space.




                                               Our kitchen, image courtesy of Beautiful Homes in the North

Don't just paint the walls and expect an instant transformation - think about adding some furniture. Small side tables work great in bathrooms and cool sofas can really mix up a kitchen.

Your electrician will tell you not to, but mine (who also happens to be Mr LD) will say as long as its above a certain height, go ahead and put a dreamy light fitting over your bath.


This John Lewis Chadi is not a big as I'd have liked but I do still love it, and it casts the most gorgeous shadows.

The queen of statement pieces Abigail Ahern hangs an amazing wire chandi in her bathroom. Note the fireplace and pile of texture lurking in the corner too!




Hang framed art on the walls and add rugs. Shelving is also a great way to add some interest and a break away from the 'fitted' feel.

If it's a new-build, explore different cupboard options and think about what you actually need. Storage is great I know, but cupboard overkill is really a thing (it exists in our kitchen). Could you swap out some high fitted cupboards for open-shelving or bring in a freestanding unit?




Don't forget to always question the designer - not to undermine them, they do a great job (ahem, most of them), but they will be set in their ways after installing plenty of run of the mill fittings. Suggest something different - tell them you don't need all those cupboards - they might look at you like you're crazy, but it will give them a different perspective. Stand your ground and assure the fitter that you'd like something less conventional.

And when it comes to actual looks, we're definitely seeing more adventurous styles come through in magazines and online, but we're saying explore colours and finishes. Have you thought about painting your walls in the exact same colour as your cupboards? It will look super slick, seamless and your space will look huge!

So what I'm saying is just give it some thought. Don't be fooled by functionality - put that to one side and your ideas will flow - the functionality will reintroduce itself and your space will truly flow - unlike Kelly's down the road!!