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What Is A Bulkhead & Why Do I Need One?

What is a bulkhead in a house & why do I need one?

While a “bulkhead” doesn’t sound like the most desirable part of designing a home, it can add some interesting dimension and style to your kitchen. Traditionally, bulkheads have been used for functional purposes — concealing services like wires and pipes, projecting air conditioning and masking changes in ceiling heights (more so after renovations).

With Montgomery Homes, however, we consider bulkheads a very decorative feature, defining the kitchen area in an otherwise open-plan setting.

Many people have never heard the term “bulkhead” before — and since we offer bulkheads as a standard inclusion in our Diamond Collection, we think it’s important for you to gain a better understanding of the term and how it can enhance the look of your kitchen and dining area.

In this article, we answer the question: “what is a bulkhead in a house?”

Read on! 

What is a kitchen bulkhead?

A kitchen bulkhead is a lower portion of the ceiling, acting as a sort of “step” between one space to the next. A bulkhead extends from the ceiling and ends in line with the kitchen cabinetry.

This clever design comes with a wide range of functional benefits — for example, kitchen bulkheads can be used to cover unsightly building elements like wires, extraction fans, pipes and ducted air conditioning.

A bulkhead over kitchen cabinets also reduces the need for cleaning in high places — cabinetry is installed to close the space between the top of the cabinets and the bulkhead. No more climbing onto the bench to clean the top of cabinets!

What are the visual benefits of a bulkhead?

Beyond the functional benefits of a bulkhead in the kitchen, a bulkhead can add some much-needed balance and dimension to the space. Here are just a few ways a bulkhead can enhance your kitchen design:

  • Creates a sleek, built-in look. By closing the gap between the cabinetry and the ceiling, the cabinets appear to be one with the wall.
  • Creates the illusion of a larger and taller kitchen. The floor to ceiling cabinet effect created by a bulkhead results in the kitchen appearing to be larger and more spacious.
  • Adds dimension. Even the slimmest bulkhead can add interest and dimension to the kitchen. Plus, if the bulkhead is suspended from the ceiling, you can create a fascinating shadow line to add contrast to the design (especially if you have white or grey walls).
  • Allows you to express your decorative flare. A bulkhead provides you with an extra surface to get creative with. For example, you might choose to paint or cover the bulkhead with a contrasting colour to the rest of the walls, or you could play with different textures like timber and aluminium for a contemporary look.

Our bulkhead ceiling designs in photos

DIY kitchen bulkhead ideas

Want to add a little extra style to your bulkhead? Once your new home is complete, there are lots of things you can do with a bulkhead to make it stand out from the cabinetry and create even more interest in the space. Here are a few kitchen bulkhead ideas to transform your kitchen:

  • Add removable timber-look wallpaper to make it look like a timber bulkhead construction — this will add a rustic feel to your kitchen. Alternatively, you might opt for a copper foil or marbling effect for a more contemporary, stylish look. The best part: the wallpaper is removable! If at any stage you want to restore your bulkhead to its original design, simply peel away the wallpaper.

  • Attach decorative items to the bulkhead to make it look more purposeful. For example, you might install plate hangers to display decorative plates along the bulkhead for a modern “farmhouse” atmosphere.

Of course, you can also get creative and paint your bulkhead to be the focal point of the kitchen — think free-hand floral or geometric patterns to add some extra bulkhead ceiling details. Once we hand over the keys, you have the freedom to make the kitchen cabinet bulkhead design a reflection of your own unique personality.

Installing a bulkhead in your kitchen or laundry with Montgomery Homes

As part of our Diamond Collection, you have the opportunity to install a stylish bulkhead in your kitchen! Our Diamond Collection is designed to take your interior design and home functionality to the next level with premium inclusions like bulkheads, premium finishes, and appliances.

To learn more about our Diamond Collection, download our brochure or get in touch with the team from Montgomery Homes today! We’d be more than happy to share our recommendations and advice, as well as more helpful information around bulkheads and their benefits.

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