Function over form

When its time to start designing your cabinetry it is easy for people to get caught up with the aesthetics rather than the functionality. Geelong interior decorator, Mel Wilson shares her tips.

With amazing resources like Pinterest, Instagram, design blogs and glossy magazines showing us all the latest “have to have looks”, there is so much inspiration for how your kitchen, bathroom, laundry etc. should look, often the function of these spaces is forgotten.

As a decorator it is my job to help a client pull together a design that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional.

When designing the cabinetry I always work closely with the cabinetmaker, discussing the latest interior and exterior cabinetry hardware, finishes and options for our chosen design.

When customising joinery to suit the individual, we discuss things like –

  • If you are tall bringing the standard bench height from 900mm to 950-100mm
  • Choosing soft close hardware for no more banging doors
  • Opting for drawers rather than cupboards on the lower cabinetry, which is great for easier access
  • Do you want handles or a more stream-lined look with finger pulls or push to close mechanisms?
  • What sort of finish do you want on your cabinetry, laminex glossy, matt, two Pac, vinyl wrap, hand painted?
  • In the kitchen – do you entertain a lot, wanting to leave your Island bench free of a sink?
  • Where should the bin, sink, fridge, oven be located to be the most functional place?
  • Overhead cabinets or open shelving
  • Fold out ironing boards
  • Drying cupboards
  • Pop down electrical points in bench tops or tucked away in drawers (there is even a device now for recharging your iPhone on your stone bench top)










Getting the overall layout correct is also very important; you need to think about how you use your space.

With the trend at the moment of having the walk in pantry, I have come across some impractical designs because people are adamant this is what they want. Speak with your cabinet maker, they can show you the options for-

  • Pull out pantries, which are great for smaller spaces or different pullout shelving options that you can customize with different colors or glass panels
  • Cabinet doors that can lift up or bi-fold
  • Integrated fridges / fridge drawers
  • Step shelving shallower as they get higher so that top shelf doesn’t get cluttered with things you will never see again if your cabinet maker will have tricks that you may have never considered!

Dark cabinetry has been a popular choice lately, but the practicality of darker cabinetry leaving visible grubby finger prints has been an issue for a lot of people, this has seen the development from companies like Laminex, Polytec and Wilsonart to name a few, now offering darker colored products with “fingerprint free, smudge free surfaces.











Marble is also very on trend but once again, as it is aesthetically pleasing but not always the most practical of surfaces, it can easily scratch, also being porous and easily stained by particular foods and drinks, it is recommended to be sealed, however there are many companies now doing great engineered stones that are heat proof, scratch proof and non porous. Most cabinet makers will have on hand a selection of different types of bench top finishes available which you can discuss to work out which is the most practical for you!

So once you have worked out what your cabinetry is going to look like, really give the function and how your going to use your space some thought, and ask your cabinet maker to show you the architectural latest products that are available to make your cabinetry the most practical and functional spaces in your home.

Mel Wilson. Mel Wilson Interiors, Geelong. Tel: 0400 110 041

You can find Mel Wilson on Instagram. 


About Mel Wilson

I have been a decorator for over years after leaving a successful 21 year  hairdressing career.

I had been doing a bit of styling for family friends and client’s over the years and so when I realised my hairdressing career was expiring , I took a leap of faith and followed my passion of interiors. I studied, I did as many decorating jobs, no matter how big or small, I then landed a retail job working in the industry, mainly doing curtains and soft furnishings but also working on the occasional full house project. It was then I realised this is what I really  I wanted to do –  everything from start to finish.

I love building a relationship with clients and bringing their vision to life. I have  worked for a couple of display home companies, commercial projects,  builders and private clients. My job can  be big or small depending on the project. It  could be selecting new paint colours for a client or new furniture selection, maybe  a new kitchen and bathroom or new lounge cabinetry or larger scale projects from renovations to new home builds and all they involve.

My work is mainly through word of mouth. 

Mel Wilson at Geelong Tiles and Bathware
Mel Wilson (Left) enjoys the 2017 ICM Geelong Trade Night at Geelong Tiles & Bathware


The information contained in this article has been prepared by our guest blogger and does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, position, advice or endorsement of ICM Geelong, it’s members and sponsors.


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