Kitchen Renovation: A Beginners Guide To Success
Your household is not like any other, so don’t settle for a cookie-cutter kitchen renovation. Customise your kitchen to your family’s unique needs. Following these dos and don’ts will help you innovate and avoid the many pitfalls of average kitchen renovation.
Understand Your Kitchen Renovation Needs
A kitchen renovation is a significant investment. Make sure your new kitchen lasts the test of time. Be clear about your needs upfront by asking yourself:
- How many people will be using the kitchen and how will they use it? This impacts on thoroughfares, the amount of bench space and appliances needed.
- Where will you position that side-by-side 700L fridge? Will a single door 321L fit your needs and your space better?
- How often will you be entertaining? Will a standard 60cm oven suffice or would a larger 90cm oven be better for your lifestyle? And would a four ring cooktop suit your cooking needs or do you need five rings?
- How often will the kitchen be used? If you’ll be cooking every day or have children, consider more durable materials like Quantum Quartz or Caesarstone. Marble is stylish but its porous nature can attract stains. Likewise, while stainless steel can look sleek, it scratches easily.
An open design with spacious bench space, a large oven and kitchen stools can make entertaining easy and sociable.
2. Dare To Be Different
Your new kitchen won’t just add value to your home, it can also really lift the décor. Aim for an exceptional kitchen renovation, not just a safe one. Creative design solutions can express your style and make the most of the space. Injecting colour into your splashback or bench top can make a tight kitchen look larger. And bold or unusual light fittings can transform a kitchen, giving it flair. Consider how including imaginative design elements in your flooring, ceiling, splashback or lighting could take your kitchen renovation to the next level.
Don’t forget about the floor! Its large surface area can impact your overall design considerably.
3. Consider Storage Space
In all the fun of picking a new design, it’s easy to forget about the practicalities. Make sure you plan your storage solutions up front. Outside of your dinner sets and cookware, you need to think about your appliances. You’ll probably want the appliances you use daily (like your microwave or coffee maker) to have a place on the bench top or within a custom made alcove. But what about other appliances—toaster, slow cooker or bread maker? Make sure the depth of shelving in your cupboards will cater to your needs. If you have limited space, utilising drawers and pull out pantries will multiply your storage.
Drawers, whilst more expensive, will increase your storage space by up to 30%.
4. Get Savvy With Your Budget
Your dream kitchen renovation comes with a pesky anchor: your budget. While it’s important to consider all costs, there are always ways to make your money go further. Some things to consider are:
- Kitchen design – Ask the pointy questions. Does your kitchen company charge for design? Are the designers paid a wage or a commission? What is their margin on the manufacturing and installation costs?
- Cabinetry and materials – Sometimes small modifications can bring the cost down but still achieve a great look and the right functionality. Leave out fancy pull-out items if you are aiming to keep the cost down. Ask your designer for options and then decide which elements you’d be happy to compromise on.
- Appliances – You’ll be using these daily. You don’t need to go for top-end appliances, but it’s worth spending a little extra for trusted brands. Find out what their servicing policy is and whether you can pay for an extended warranty.
5. Insist On Custom Manufacturing
Every space is different and there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to kitchen cabinets. When planning your perfect kitchen renovation, be sure to check that your kitchen will be custom manufactured to fit your space. There is a difference between custom manufactured kitchens and “custom designed kitchens”. Some companies use modular cabinets that need fillers or panels to adapt them to your space. This not only looks bad, it’s also a waste of space.
Your kitchen renovation will look best when it is made to fit your space precisely.
6. Plan Your Bench Space Carefully
Nothing is more frustrating than feeling cramped and disorganised in your kitchen. Consider what works and what doesn’t about your current bench space. This is your chance to improve it. Try to allow work space on each side of your cooktop – around 800mm each side is a good guide. Plus you’ll want a larger work area for food preparation – at least 1200mm if you can.
While it is not always possible to control the amount of bench space in your kitchen, there are a few practical things you can do to make it function better. Keep the microwave clear from the bench top and use a smaller sink if you are tight on space. You can also consider forgoing a pantry a traditional pantry to maximise your bench space.
A small sink will increase bench space in your new kitchen design. There are other solutions to standard and sometimes bulky over-head storage solutions such as these open shelves.
7. Remember Your Waste Disposal
It’s easy to overlook small but important things like waste disposal. Depending on your budget, out of sight functional solutions work best. A small slide out bin under the sink works well, as it utilises otherwise wasted space. Dedicating a whole cabinet to garbage disposal, however, may be too excessive if space is limited.
This Hafele bin is perfect for under-the-sink waste solutions.
8. Remember Lighting!
Your kitchen renovation should make the most of natural light. But because natural light isn’t always available, you can use LED lights in your wall cabinets to brighten your bench space and add ambiance to your new kitchen. Preparing meals is easier if the light falls in front of you so no shadows are cast.
Get clever and creative with your lighting solutions to provide both practical and ambient lighting for your kitchen renovation.
9. Don’t Forget Ergonomics
Your custom kitchen should be a joy to use. But a sink, cupboards and benchtops that are at the wrong height can cause unnecessary strain on your back. A good reference point is your current kitchen – is it comfortable to use? Would it make your life easier if the surfaces were a little higher or lower? The right height can and should be factored into your new kitchen design. But remember, slight differences make a big difference when you are changing the bench height so err on the side of caution.
Also consider the space between your bench tops and vertical surfaces. Allow enough space for thoroughfares through-out the kitchen.
10. Functionality Is The Key To A Successful Renovation
While your new custom kitchen should be stunning, it’s nothing if it’s not practical. Before finalising your kitchen renovation design, ask yourself:
Is there enough space to stand directly in front of the oven with the door open?
Can I open the fridge without hitting a wall or blocking a walkway?
Are the cooktop, fridge and sink intuitively positioned to make food preparation easier?
Can you access your fridge easily without cupboards or appliances, such as the dishwasher or oven, getting in your way?
Planning a positive and successful kitchen renovation is easy if you remember a few key points; design your new kitchen to be beautiful and functional, choose a supplier that custom makes your kitchen, listens to and understands your needs.