Gone are the days of homes designed with small individual rooms. These days, open floor plans are more popular. And the change is driving a new trend in cabinetry design as well.
"Large, open living areas give homeowners more room to be creative with cabinetry as accent furniture," says Merillat's New Product Design Manager. With room to play, cabinets don't have to be pushed to the room's perimeter, but instead become part of furniture groupings that are integral to the overall design, flow, and decor of the living space.
The result is a popular "unfitted" or "furniture" look. By combining cabinetry and shelving units with structural details such as feet, box fillers, posts, moldings, and other decorative elements, you can create a piece of furniture that looks like a family heirloom but still blends with the rest of a room's cabinetry. Or use the details to create a piece that's more distinct. It doesn't necessarily have to match the rest of the cabinetry, but can still be harmonious within a room's style and atmosphere.
Either way, the best place to start is right here. Keep reading to learn about the details that might make the difference in the room you're working on now!
Newer kitchen designs use freestanding groupings of cabinetry to form hutches, worktables, armoires, and baker's racks. "It's no longer aesthetically appropriate to have four walls with rows of cabinets stacked around the edge," our design expert says.
These pieces look less like permanently installed cabinetry and more like collected furniture that was placed in the room and could be rearranged, if desired. Something as small as using different cabinet finishes (see photo at right) create a contrasting look and can add much to the impression of movable pieces of furniture.
In the kitchen shown at right, Merillat's designers used a number of techniques to create an eclectic-but-endearing sense of style. The cabinet that houses the stove, with its furniture flair, becomes the kitchen's focal point and almost looks like a hutch that might have once been found in a country estate.
Specific design elements include:
- A base cabinet in warm cream color. The color contrasts with the rest of the kitchen, but still harmonizes with the established cabinetry.
- The stove cabinet's extended countertops impart an unfitted look. Wicker baskets on either side provide added charm and a unique storage alternative.
- Tapered feet that give a sense of mobility to the piece.
- Architectural details, such as decorative valances and open shelving, add elegance and make the cabinets look like custom units that were slid into place during installation.
Furniture Styling in Other Rooms
As you ponder furniture-style ideas for your kitchen, don't forget to consider the cabinetry in other areas. Walk from room to room to get a sense of the style you'd like to include – or avoid – as you add storage and beauty throughout your home.
- In the Family Room - "You can create a piece that you just can't ind at an estate sale or antique dealer – but can still create a sense of legacy," says Merillat's Design Manager. "By the time you're finished combining elements, you can have a truly beautiful piece of furniture that can successfully house your TV and other home entertainment items.
- In the Hobby Room - If you have an extra or unused room in your house, consider creating a space where family members can work on hobbies or crafts. This room features ample functional storage space for tools and supplies and a large island to spread out and work on projects. Shelving units can be used to display instruction books, completed projects or collectibles.
- In the Bath - Dress up a simple pedestal sink with twin free-standing vanity cabinets with arched glass doors and fluted box fillers, and you've got an exquisite antique-looking vanity for the master bath or powder room. Doesn't it look like it could have been a china cabinet in your grandmother's dining room?
- In a Work Area - Using cabinetry pieces to furnish your home office provides a built-in look to your room while adding great functionality. For example, the photos at right show how cabinetry can be used to create a home office workstation. In each design, there is plenty of room to work at the computer, pay bills, or do homework, and the cabinetry blends in nicely with each room's décor.
Use these details and the creative mind of your Merillat showroom designer, builder or dealer to create furniture pieces of your own!
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