Design Ideas For Small Kitchens

Planning a kitchen that fulfills all of your requirements can present many problems when you only have a small space to work with. Standard off the shelf designs, no matter how visually appealing they are in design, are often not suitable for the space you have available in your home. These cabinets will be standard in their measurements, often with shelf configurations which would better suit if constructed in a different way.

This is where the beauty of bespoke comes into its own! Bespoke designs give you many solutions for small rooms, enabling the area to be used to its maximum potential. When beginning the design process, we like to come to your home, get a feel for the area and have a chat with you firsthand about what is most important for you in the kitchen. We find it incredibly useful to making a wish list with your most important factors at the top and working down, for example is it more important to have more storage, or more space? Or perhaps a complete reconfiguration to make the best use of any natural light available. Whatever it is you require, we can work together to bring your ideas alive. Bespoke provides the freedom for something quite unique, even in a tiny kitchen.

When considering a kitchen layout and design, it is best not to fill every single available wall space, floor to ceiling, with cabinetry, as we find this can make the room feel particularly small and claustrophobic. Instead, we should rely on clever storage solutions, such as making the most of the interior of the cabinetry below your work surfaces, or using a combination of overhead cabinets and/or wall shelving to add some variety. With regards to the interior of your kitchen cabinets, there are many handy solutions which can be inbuilt to create a multitude of space, including pull out corner cabinet accessories and internal shelves on rollers adding functionality and practicality – gone are the days of having to climb into your cupboards!

Choose your colour scheme carefully, a light palette with encourage light to bounce around the room whereas a dark palette will draw the room in and make it appear smaller. Why not consider a timeless oak block or stone worktop or breakfast bar with a light colour of your choosing on the cabinetry and walls? The results of this combination really are striking.

And last of all, let us get onto clutter. Every kitchen has it, whether it’s on display or not! Those bits and bobs that have their purpose and come in handy once in a blue moon. We suggest organising it into seasonal use and store accordingly, for example the turkey tray can be stored up high, and those halloween cookie cutters and other accessories that are only needed once a year can be stored away thoughtfully too. Kitchen appliances that are seldom used can be put out of site to provide you with more valuable workspace for preparing food – it also looks a lot neater! Drawer inserts are invaluable for organising cutlery, kitchen utensils, food bags, elastic bands and other bits you may have.

For any more help and advice, or if you’re ready to start designing a dream kitchen of your own, please feel free to call us on 01962 733016, email or pop into our workshop and we can get your kitchen project off the ground today! 


Our 2017 Top 5 Kitchen Trends

Our 2017 Top 5 Kitchen Trends

With 2018 only around the corner we thought we would have a look back over 2017 at our top 5 kitchen trends we’ve seen this year and give you our thoughts as to whether they’ll be joining us next year!

  1. Quartz worktops

We have noticed a rise in people opting for Quartz countertops over other materials, and we envision this to continue well into next year! Especially as manufacturers are now providing a vast array of colours, stone patterns, and finishes to choose from. The current trend of having softer and neutral colours within the kitchen is readily achievable with Quartz and lends itself perfectly towards the cleaner kitchen styles we have seen. It is an extremely hard-wearing material which is antimicrobial and easier to maintain than Granite, it’s main competitor.

Alresford Interiors 2017 Top 5 Kitchen Trends

2. Shaker style cabinetry

This style of cabinetry is still our most popular by far and continues to be so. The cabinetry is characterised with a five-piece door with a recessed center panel and can be clean and simple with straight lines, or have decorative edging incorporated. The design options really are limitless, from a traditional country cottage look, through to a ultra-modern apartment, shaker style cabinetry can be suited to any home. The beauty, of course, with bespoke kitchen cabinets, is that we can construct to whatever specification you have in mind.

Alresford Interiors 2017 Top 5 Kitchen Trends

3. Feature items

There has been an increase in designing kitchens around a feature item, such as a large range cooker or American fridge for example. The feature item is often made the focal point of the kitchen and, as such, needs to referred back to when considering other design ideas for the room. Using the range cooker as an example, what colour will the cooker be? And what style? Will the paint colour of the cabinets blend in, or provide a striking contrast? How will the positioning of the cabinetry best emphasise your feature item? Whatever your thoughts/ideas/plans, we can help you each step of the way and maybe throw a spanner in the works (excuse the pun) to approach your design from a different angle or two.

4. Faux Chimney Breasts

A popular request has been to construct a faux chimney breast above the cooker in lieu of a standard cooker hood. This adds grandeur to the kitchen and really does look super when done properly! The extractor fan is still there, but is hidden underneath. An oak mantle piece is often added to the front of the chimney providing a surface for decorative pieces. Combined with a focal cooker, this overall appearance is spectacular.

5. Copper Detailing

The main colour trend for 2017 has undoubtedly been the grey and earthy tones which work fabulously with neutral coloured kitchen designs. This year we have seen them teamed with copper handles on the cabinetry, along with copper accessories and other kitchen appliances. The copper detailing has been providing a warm and sophisticated alternative to the industrial stainless steel and blacks. We can see this design trend carrying on into 2018 due to its increasing popularity and huge affordability, we also envision brass and rose-gold to join copper in its increasingly popularity going into the new year.

For any more help and advice please feel free to call us on 01962 733016, email or pop into our workshop and we can get your kitchen project off the ground today! 

What defines a galley style kitchen?

What defines a galley style kitchen?

Traditional Kitchens

There are many ways to maximise a small area with a galley style kitchen layout, so we have endeavored to discuss them in some detail to best clarify what defines a galley style kitchen for you. A galley style kitchen typically features a long, narrow passage situated between two parallel walls. In normal circumstances, all the components such as the stove, oven, fridge and storage are along one wall, and the opposite wall houses the sink, further storage and perhaps a dishwasher and washing machine. This style of layout is commonly found in small kitchens, or in a kitchen where space is compromised such as a professional restaurants.

The galley style can also be found in wider kitchens where an area is separated by a window or french doors. Many designers choose to keep the layout of the room as a galley rather than creating a U bend with cabinetry. This keeps the space open and airy and allows room for a small breakfast table if desired, or in the case of french doors, allows light to flood through. Similarly, if room allows, an island come breakfast bar can be used to create additional storage and a seating area.

Sticking with the subject of light, it is important in narrow galley kitchens to try and generate as much light as possible. This makes the room feel and appear larger than it actually is. If natural light is limited, opt for a lighter colour palette within the kitchen which will encourage light to bounce around the room. Dark colours, although cosy and warming, have a tendency to make a room close in on itself and appear smaller.

Some useful design tips that can be incorporated to maximise the space within a galley style kitchen are:

1. Integrate or conceal your appliances to make the space appear tidier.

2. Use handless drawers for a sleek finish and more room.

3. Make use of the space available within your cabinetry by adding cabinet door organisers and incorporating tall pantry storage. Everything will be close to hand but neatly hidden behind closed doors.

If you would like any further information on whether a galley style kitchen could be the design for you, or on our kitchen design process, then feel free to get in touch and we will be happy to help.

For any more help and advice please feel free to call us on 01962 733016, email or pop into our workshop and we can get your kitchen project off the ground today! 

How much does it cost to sand a floor?

How much does it cost to sand a floor?

How much does it cost to sand a floor?


Domestic Floor SandingSo here is the million dollar question: how much does it cost to sand a floor? To help you get an idea of what you should be expecting, I have listed some examples of recent floor sanding work we have completed, along with the associated costs involved. There are several factors to take into account when costing a job, such as how long it is expected to take, if there are gaps to fill and the quantity of materials we may need. Therefore, the following information should be used as a guide only.



Recent jobs:

(1) Hallway of 9 square metres of finger block parquet (basket weave) straight sanding, no repairs, resin filled with a clear matt lacquer finish. £498 including vat

(2) Hallway of 16 square metres, engineered oak, straight sanding with no repairs and finished with ultra matt lacquer £498 including vat.

(3) Open plan lounge and dining room area of 20 square metres of engineered oak with no repairs, straight sanding with no repairs and finished with matt lacquer £576 including vat.

Again please note the above prices are only a guide and should not be taken as indicative for your own floor sanding requirements. Prices do vary from job to job.

Our basic charge is £25 plus VAT per square meter for sanding and finishing (staining will be more expensive). Most of the time we work in a team of 2, with a minimum daily rate, including all sanding and finishing products, is £415 plus VAT. It’s worth bearing in mind that the smaller the area, the more expensive the job works out per square metre. For example small hallways or bathrooms will be the most expensive areas to sand and finish.

To give some context to these prices, hiring a low range belt and edge sander for a day is likely to cost approximately £100. These two machines on their own won’t give a great finish as they lack the finesse and control that professional machines have. Ideally you’ll need to go around the edges with a lighter weight machine to remove all the scratches, as well as getting into the tight corners. If you simply use a belt sander for the main floor area, you’ll end up with a very poor quality surface. It’s also worth considering what you want to finish the floor with. For up to 16 square meters of floor, a 5 litre tub of lacquer finish should be sufficient, which will cost around £60.

One person, with limited (or no) experience in floor sanding is likely to be able to sand around 16 square meters of floor in one day with standard hire tools and the quality of these tools means that they’re also likely to create a significant amount of dust in the process. So after one day, you’ll have spent £160 in sander hire and materials at a minimum (depending on whether you needed to invest in hiring a corner sander or buying dust sheets as well). Your back hurts, the quality isn’t great, your house is full of dust and you quite possibly wish you had never started! In a worst case scenario, you might even have to call a professional to fix any damage that’s been caused. We’ve seen all too many floors that end up looking terrible because someone has “had a go” and sanded it themselves. In my experience, it really is worth the investment to get a professional in to finish your floors as this can make a significant difference to the quality of the room.

It really does come down to what your time is worth and how good you want your floors to look and how much time, effort and hassle you are prepared to go through.

If you would like any further information on our floor sanding process, or would like to book in for a free quote, then feel free to get in touch and we will be happy to help.

For any more help and advice please feel free to call us on 01962 733016, email or pop into our workshop and we can get your flooring project off the ground today! 

What is Alresford Interiors Floor Sanding Process and How Long Does it Take?

So you may have read our series of blogs explaining the processes behind floor sanding, but what is Alresford Interiors floor sanding process and how long does it take? What is our methodology and what sets us apart?

Historically, sanding wooden floors has been an extremely dusty task, with rooms having to be decorated after floor sanding has been completed, due to the sheer amount of dust being kicked up and getting in every nook and cranny of the room. These days however, through a combination of modern machinery and dust extractors, very little dust is generated during the sanding process, provided you’re using the right kit. It can be costly to buy or hire the right kit, and needs a degree of expertise and experience to use it correctly for the best results.

At Alresford Interiors, our tools of choice are from Lagler, Festool and Fein. Specifically, the Lagler Flip, Hummel and Trio, the Festool RO150 and RO90 and the Fein Multi master. These machines are used by many professional floor sanding companies and either carry dust free classifications or are plugged into dust extractors, reducing the level of dust to virtually zero. Quite often we will see clients standing in the doorways of the rooms we are working on, in disbelief at how dust free the room is from start to finish.

As a rule when starting a floor sanding job the room needs to be completely empty. This includes all furniture and hanging pictures, and curtains are either to be removed or tied back out of harm’s way. We then thoroughly sweep the floor clear of all debris, then vacuum it to ensure it’s completely clear. We take great care in ensuring all possible dirt, debris and grime is completely removed before sanding, as this could cause marks and scratches on your floor if missed. Once clean, we ensure all nails and tacks are either removed or punched under the surface to prevent any damage being done to both your floor and our machines. After every change of grit, we vacuum the floor again to ensure the floors remain completely clean throughout the entire process. Whilst this may seem time consuming and labour intensive, the high standard of finish this creates speaks for itself.

Once we’ve prepped your floor, we use the a Lagler Hummel belt sander for the main floor area. The right grit selection is important; it needs to be coarse enough to remove all traces of the old finish, but not too coarse as this would add in additional processes, wasting time unnecessarily. There’s no one-size-fits-all starting point for grit selection, so we use our experience to determine which would be best for your floor, based on wood type, condition, wear, existing finish and other factors.

After each level of grit we apply to the main body of the floor, we then carefully sand the floor edges with the Lagler FLIP edging sander, ensuring they’re blended perfectly at each stage of sanding. When the floor has been sanded up to 60 grit, we use the Lagler Trio finishing sander to get a fine and completely smooth finish, then the Festool Rotex for a final sand around the edges of the room to remove any small scratches that may have been left by the Lagler FLIP. Finally, we sand and blend the edges of the floor to match the rest, making one seamless piece. By using so many specialised sanders for each area of the floor, we’re able to create a much higher quality finish than could ever be achieved by one or two hire sanders alone. If you want more detailed information on how we sand the wood around the corners and edges of a floor, check out our blog posts: ‘How to Sand Edges of a Floor’ and ‘How to Sand Corners of a Floor’.

The time we take can vary hugely from project to project, based on a huge number of factors. For example, an old, poorly varnished, damaged pine floor that would require thorough cleaning and gap filling would take far longer than an engineered oak floor that’s only 10 years old and fairly clean. Paradoxically, larger rooms can often be quicker to complete. It’s surprising how much more can be done in one large square room, rather than in two small rooms, or a small hall. The smaller and fiddlier the job is proportionally, the longer it will take. As an example, between a team of two we have had a 120 square meter community hall sanded and finished in two days, but a small hall lounge and dining room of 30 square meters could take two to three days. Typically, a domestic job of approximately 20 square meters that is straight forward should be sanded and finished in one day. But if lots of repairs are required, or if the floor is thick with an old finish, it could take as much as three.

Due to the highly job-specific nature of these timescales, we always conduct a home visit for every customer to evaluate the scope of the job and any additional processes that may need to be completed. All of these quotes are completely free and no obligation, and give us a chance to assess exactly how long it would take to complete your job, based on the factors listed above.

If you would like any further information on our floor sanding process, or would like to book in for a free quote, then feel free to get in touch and we will be happy to help.

For any more help and advice please feel free to call us on 01962 733016, email or pop into our workshop and we can get your flooring project off the ground today!