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Clean Up Your Act With Fitted Furniture!

Apr 2, 2008
Carpenters aren't just the stars of bible stories - they are busy sawing, hammering and sanding today, still creating both practical and ornamental features in our homes. While carpentry may be one of the oldest trades, it is continually evolving and is used in the most cutting edge architecture and interior design.

One important area for carpentry is fitted storage. This can range from basic shelving to cupboards, even fold up desks or beds concealed behind panels. Fitted storage can be particularly effective in small spaces, keeping visual clutter to a minimum.

Before you use a carpenter have a good think about the size and shape of items you want to store. Now's your chance to customise your storage and neatly organise oversized books, ornaments, clothes and so on.

Think about accessibility. How often are you likely to use a given item and what other items should it be near? Options include cupboards, shelves and drawers. Drawers are more accessible than cupboards as you don't have to root around in the back trying to find things. On the other hand they are more expensive because of the hardware that has to be bought and fixed to make the drawer workable.

Shelving is the most accessible type of storage and can be screened or open. As a general rule it tends to look better if larger items are shelved lower down and smaller items on the upper shelves - otherwise the arrangement can look rather top heavy. There are various shelving systems you can discuss with your carpenter, but all systems should be properly anchored i.e. attached to a solid wall. Also think about what the shelving will hold and choose an appropriate material that will be strong enough to bear the weight without sagging.

Adjustable shelving systems have vertical tracks and brackets that hold the shelves. But bear in mind that very few systems are in fact adjusted after the initial arrangement has been made! "Floating" shelves, which don't have brackets, are a popular option especially in modern interior design, giving an aesthetically clean line. And shelves fitted into alcoves can make maximum use of awkward spaces.

In terms of cupboard space again think about what needs to be stored. In the bedroom, how much hanging space do you need compared with space for folded and stacked clothing? Don't forget that shorter hanging items (skirts, jackets and tops) can be double hung (i.e. you have lower and upper rails), to make the most of your space. A fitted wardrobe with well thought out storage will be much neater and more space saving than buying a number of individual pieces of furniture.

Self contained areas - larders, dressing rooms and linen closets may sound luxurious, even opulent, but sometimes partitioning off a section of a room can leave more floor space than standard free-standing storage might otherwise occupy. Make sure the storage area is efficiently used and enjoy the lack of clutter in the kitchen and bedroom.

Carpenters can work with all sorts of different materials. Obviously strength is the most important issue but how your storage looks may also be important to you. Traditionally of course, carpenters worked with solid wood. Although they still can and do there are other options.

MDF is a very smooth, strong manmade material favoured by modern architects. It can be varnished, spray lacquered or roller painted any colour. Chipboard with a wood veneer is a good solid wood substitute and is cheaper. Plywood is flexible and smooth and comes in various thicknesses. All the solid wood substitutes have the advantage that they won't crack and warp like solid wood can and they are actually often easier for a carpenter to use.

So if you are thinking about fitted furniture, call in a carpenter but firstly work out what you need and how you want your storage to look. Then enjoy living in a new, organised space.
About the Author
Expert carpenter India Cooper delves into the world of one of the oldest tradesmen - the carpenter. To find out more please visit http://www.ratedpeople.com/find/carpenter
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