1. When visiting a designer, ask to view photographs of previous commissions and to see a range of materials and timbers the designer uses. (Image: Andrew Webb)
2. Ask for recommendations from former clients. Discuss how well their items have functioned and how they have worn.
3. Once scaled designs are drawn up, ask for details of front, rear and side views.
4. Always request an elevation, as proportion is critical with commissioned furniture.
5. Don’t hesitate to discuss money. Your budget will influence materials and your choice of designer.
6. Maintain communication with the designer during the planning stages, but allow the designer final say regarding construction techniques. (Image: William Garvey).
7. Be patient as it can take up to 12 weeks to make a bespoke piece of furniture.
1. You cannot assume floors are level; insist that dimensions are scaled to the room
2. Don’t assume that walls are perpendicular to floors. If the walls are not entirely straight, it may be better to specify cabinetry which is not fitted wall to wall.
3. If ceilings are not precisely horizontal and the cabinetry cannot be levelled with legs or panels, leave a gap between ceiling and cabinets. (Image: Somerville Scott)
4. Ensure that the depth of fitted furniture will not obscure light or views out of a window.
5. If you intend to specify wardrobes in bedrooms either side of a chimney breast, check there is sufficient depth for hanging space; you will need 50-60cms internal space, depending on whether the wardrobe will hold men’s coats and suits.
6. When planning a wardrobe discuss your needs with the furniture designer. Do you require internal shelves or drawers? Shoe storage? Determine what proportion of hanging space should be full or half-height.
7. Consider including electrical wiring for lighting and for a socket inside the wardrobe at a sensible height. Also consider mirrors on the inside of the wardrobe doors.
8. When designing shelving, consider what will be on display, as fixed shelving looks more attractive than adjustable shelving with side strips or spaced, drilled holes.
9. Voids under the base of a wardrobe or behind the plinth are ideal for storing valuables so consider including access panels during the design process.
10. TVs and audio equipment can be incorporated into shelving units but discuss this with an audio visual specialist, who will specify electrical outlets, ventilation, depth and any space necessary to surround the audio visual units. (Image: James Mayor Furniture)