What is the difference between bespoke and customised kitchen design?
We all desire a beautifully designed kitchen. Why wouldn’t you? After all, the kitchen is one of the places we spend the most amount of time in. It’s where we eat, catch up, socialise and connect. Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen is the one that needs to work around you. When thinking about a new kitchen, it can be difficult to know which design school to choose from. The first decision that you need to make, is whether to go for bespoke or customised kitchen design, these concepts often overlap. But what are the differences between the two?
Customised vs bespoke – what’s the difference?
When a design is described as ‘customised’ it refers to anything that is designed from a pre-existing template and then is tailored to fit an individual’s requirements. It may use pre-existing patterns or combinations of materials. For example, you might have matching furnishings like handles and fittings, or a set material like marble worktops and oak doors, or a specific colour scheme. These are then fitted to the pre-existing location’s requirements according to the specifications of the kitchen.
A bespoke design, on the other hand, starts from a blank page. This will be a kitchen that is completely unique and will stand unmatched by any previous design. It is a testament to your own personal family vision and story. Each and every element – from the door style to the handle design – will be worked out at the genesis of the project. You would be ideally suited to this type of project if you are open to working collaboratively with your designer and creating a truly unique creative vision, rather than following a trend. It helps if you have a clear understanding of what you like from the get-go, however with so much choice available many clients aren’t sure exactly what they are looking for initially.
If you choose a design studio that are specialists in bespoke design, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with experienced designers that are experts in helping clients to develop their vision. At Extreme, we have many clients that initially aren’t sure what they are looking for, however, through each step of our design journey, we begin to form a design direction until ultimately, we uncover the bespoke kitchen of their dreams.
The most obvious analogy can be drawn with suits. An ‘off the rack’ suit will be tailored to fit the client perfectly, but will ultimately be based on a blueprint that has already been designed. Certain features like buttons or cut can be altered to better suit the desire of the customer, but any changes will only be amendments to what is already in place.
A bespoke suit, on the other hand, will be an entirely original design. The tailor might use a fresh pattern or material, a novel approach to cut and fit, and will generally exercise a greater creative license. In the example of suits, creating a bespoke suit places a significant amount of trust in the experience and eye of the tailor.
At Extreme we believe that the more personal your design is, the more comfortable you will feel in your surroundings. We are all individuals and the materials, colour tones or textures that make one person feel relaxed and at ease could make another person feel restless. For example, some people feel at home surrounded by an eclectic mix of colours, textures, patterns and objects, whereas others may find this overwhelming and prefer a more minimalist and simple atmosphere.
Benefits of customised
Customised design is the perfect option for those looking to achieve the luxurious and innovative design features of a high-end kitchen, without creating a design from a blank canvas.
Customised designs are usually less resource heavy and take less time to create, in some cases they can also be more affordable than fully bespoke projects. However, this does not necessarily mean that there is a lesser degree of attention to detail, or that one should have to sacrifice a creative vision in order to get the desired final product. Customised products and designs are a recognition of the expertise of a design house as they are able to identify and understand which styles and features are desirable and then make them easily accessible to clients in the form of ranges, many of the most prestigious brands will offer both bespoke and customised design options.
Customised designs act as a framework from which to work from, without negating the ability to make certain alterations. Similar to a rough outline on a blank canvas, customised design is a framework onto which you can add your own ideas and personal concepts. If you find that you can truly achieve your design dreams from a customised range without compromise, then it may be a good choice for you.
Benefits of bespoke
If you cannot find a range to fully reflect the style, finishes and layout to suit you and your home then bespoke is likely to be the best option for you. It could be that you have a period property with slanted walls, floors or beams and you need cabinetry that will fit snuggly around these quirky features. Or, it could be that you are simply looking for a design style of your own and a kitchen that will be completely individual to your home.
There are so many ingredients that form a design concept – style preference, atmosphere, functionality, architecture – and the more individual each one is to you, the more personal your space will be. There are not, after all, many pre-existing designs that emulate the spirit of Iceland or evoke the sense of adventure of an American road trip.
Of course, a bespoke kitchen does not have to compromise on practicality. You may eschew the avant-garde if you have specific requirements that are not usually accounted for in customised designs. This might mean incorporating a specialised component, like a wireless charging drawer for your devices or herb garden system. When it comes to building a truly bespoke kitchen the only limit is your imagination
A common misconception with bespoke design is that it will be more expensive than customised design. This isn’t always the case and it can often be quite the opposite. If you are working with truly bespoke furniture makers, the workflow is set up to produce the furniture on a project by project basis and there aren’t any efficiencies gained from replicating the same design again and again. Therefore, producing cabinetry of a slightly different depth, height or width isn’t going to require any more time than producing a standard unit. However, with a customised kitchen, the workflow is not set up for special one-off alterations and by the time surcharges have been applied for bespoke items, it’s often the case that the final cost is higher than if the design had been completely bespoke from the outset.
Finally, if luxury is your focus and your ambition is to create a kitchen that is completely unique and incomparable, your design will undoubtedly feature completely bespoke items, exclusive materials and finishes that are beyond reach for many, and exquisite craftsmanship achievable only by the most expert craftsmen. For these projects, a bespoke kitchen is unquestionably the only choice.
Ready to begin designing your own bespoke kitchen? Unsure of how to start? The Extreme Design team are here to help. Visit one of our design studios and discover how our designers can help you design your dream kitchen.