Flip through the pages of any glossy home magazine and you will see that Australians have come of age in creating stylish, timeless residences that tick all the boxes in form and function.
As people’s tastes in design and decor have become more sophisticated, increasing consideration is being given to the quality of furnishings used to fit out and finish a property.
Interior designer Matt Tucker from Tucker & Negus says the popularity of built-in furniture has skyrocketed recently.
“Built-in furniture gives people far more options when it comes to furnishing,” he says. “It allows people to create the perfect piece, that is exactly the right size and scale and made of exactly the right materials, so that it enhances the overall look and design of the home.
“For many people, the way we furnish homes has become equally as important as the architecture, so it is a natural progression that the two have become integrated.”
Matt says installing built-in furniture allows people to apply the same amount of precision and care that is used to design spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms in all areas of the home.
‘We are now seeing custom, built-in furniture used extensively in outdoor spaces, living areas, lounge rooms, home theatres, bedrooms and studies,” he says. “And quite simply, it just makes sense.”
CHOOSING TIMELESS FINISHES
Matt says one of the potential pitfalls of installing built-in furniture is that it is fixed and will most likely stay in place for a considerable period of time.
It is important to choose designs and finishes that will stand the test of time. “Design trends have taken a turn towards the timeless and understated,” he says. “Sometimes older homes benefit from having something new and shiny and on the other hand, sometimes new homes benefit from finishes that soften their look.
“There are no rules, it is about achieving overall balance and the materials and finishes used should always tell a similar story to the materials and finishes that are used throughout the rest of the home.”
Giovanni Iozzi from Timbacraft says there is a big demand for veneer finishes at the moment.
“Having been in this industry for 20 years, here at Timbacraft Furniture we have seen trends come and go,” he says. “But what we notice is that as with fashion, over time, certain styles become recycled and make a comeback, often with a slight twist or adaptation to suit the new generation of consumer.
“Right now there is a lot of veneer around and a lot of straight-grained timbers that look crisp and breathe a lot of life into a room.”
According to Matt, built-in furniture increases the value of a property, especially when it is done well. “When you make deliberate design decisions, enhance the architecture, use materials that are sympathetic to the rest of the home and create a property that offers the complete picture, you will naturally have an attractive package to take to market,” he says.
But on the flip side, it is important to not limit the appeal of a property by adding only appropriate built-in items. “Don’t do things like building in dining furniture because people will see that as limiting the flexibility of the property,” he says.
“It is also a good idea to steer away from anything that is too crazy or trend driven or specific to your own individual taste.”
It is also advisable to call in a good interior designer to help you work out the aim of the proposed works and to ensure they are executed well.
“An interior designer’s skill is in understanding what you’d like to achieve, seeing what ideas would actually benefit your home and then provide the right alternatives along with clever or unexpected solutions,” Matt says.
“A good interior designer will be connected with trades and up to date with all of the options. You’ll probably even find that they can design, help you choose the perfect finishes, have made and installed just about anything that you would need and deliver you a far better result than if you did it on your own.”
Giovanni says choosing the right tradesperson to install the furniture is also vital. “A great place to look for choosing a qualified candidate would be an industry based association such as the Cabinet Makers Association, which has a big membership base of qualified businesses.
“Also having the knowledge that you are using an affiliated business can give you greater confidence in the entire process and know that the services received will be of a benchmark standard.”