Renovations

Top tips for kitchen renovations

When renovating your home, there are generally two rooms that come to mind: kitchen and bathroom. These rooms make a statement about the age, style, standard and functionality of your house. Here’s how to get the most out of your kitchen renovation.

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With so many choices in fittings and cabinetry (and such a variance in price), you need to think back to those budget considerations at all times: what’s the maximum you should be spending so you don’t overcapitalise, what do you (and the future home-owners) need from these spaces and how can you think smarter about making them work harder for you and your budget

The wish-list

These days, most people want their kitchen to be a multi-use space where you can cook, eat, read the paper, entertain and help children with homework. How do you use yours? Does your kitchen work? Does it have the golden triangle, between the stove, fridge and sink? Does it have enough storage? Does it connect with the other rooms in the way your family likes to live? Is it open to your living room or closed off and out of sight? Is it big enough for the number of people living there?

Just a facelift

If your current kitchen works, consider a facelift. There are lots of small things you can change to make a difference and add value. Install a new benchtop or fabulous faucet, upgrade your appliances (stove, hob, extractor), replace the sink or install new lights. A new splashback will change the look of the space in an instant. So will painting your cupboard doors or updating your cupboard handles.

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Starting anew

If you’re starting anew, plan the space. Get plans drawn up so you can visualise what it will look like and how it will work, as well as getting an idea of the cost. Rework it until you have maximum efficiency. Think through the details. Do you have a big family and need more than one sink? Is your proposed sink big enough to fit your biggest pot? Does your pantry have enough space to hold the food your household needs? Do you entertain a lot and need a butler’s pantry? Think about the existing plumbing and how you can work with that so you can save money. Be clever with the layout. Put your dishwasher near your sink. Have the fridge an easy step or two step from your sink and hob. Have your bin close to your sink. Have knives and utensils close to where you’ll prep food, and pots and pans near the hob and oven. Put crockery near the dishwasher so you don’t have to make numerous trips to unload it.

Appliances

Choose appliances before you plan your cabinetry, so you can be sure they fit. Big family? You might need a double oven or double fridge. Electricity or gas for cooking? Do you want your fridge and dishwasher on display or behind cupboards?

Kitchen islands or breakfast bars

These are what make the kitchen a multi-tasking space. Get one long enough to fit at least three chairs along if possible. Make it work harder by adding wine storage or cookbook shelving, power points for laptops and charging phones, or extra drawers or hidden cabinets that you don’t need to access regularly.

Benchtops

What standard is the rest of your house? If it’s mid-level, a marble benchtop is probably over-selling it a bit. If it’s top class, a skinny laminate benchtop will let it down. Laminate is the cheapest option, it can be made to size and there are loads of colour and edging options – but it can scratch and you can’t put hot pots directly on it. If you’ve chosen your benchtop to be the hero feature in your kitchen, engineered stone and granite are hardy and good looking. Marble is beautiful but may stain. Stainless steel is great for an industrial-style home but it does scratch. If you have a traditional house or a country-style kitchen, a timber benchtop could work. Concrete benchtops give a ‘wow’ factor and come in a variety of finishes, but they are expensive.

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Maximise storage

Consider making your cabinets go to the ceiling. Look into the bevy of organisation solutions out there, including pull-out pantries and lazy Susans for corner cupboards. Big drawers are great because you can immediately see and access everything. If you have the budget, invest in soft-close drawers.

Checklist:

✔ Space planning
✔ Appliances
✔ Breakfast bar/island
✔ Benchtops
✔ Storage
✔ Cabinets
✔ Lighting plan
✔ Splashback

Words by: Debbie Harrison and Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by Room. Photography by: Tom Hollow/Hollow Creative and Todd Eyre.

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