No matter how much you love your kitchen, at some point, it will start to look dated and tired. Fashion moves on, and so does technology, so you may find that your kitchen no longer meets your needs. If this is the case, it’s time to consider a kitchen renovation.
Building a new kitchen is an extremely exciting project, but it also takes time and can cost a lot of money. This is why it is vitally important to get it right the first time. Here we take a look at some of the main elements you need to consider when planning a new kitchen design, as well as some clever kitchen ideas, enabling you to inject some fresh life into the ‘heart of the home’.
Planning your kitchen renovation
A kitchen renovation is a complex project, but it can be made a lot easier by doing the proper planning. These are some of the most important factors you need to take into account before you start work on your new kitchen.
Correct budgeting is probably the most important element of the entire project. Before you can even start planning your kitchen renovation, you need to sit down and work out exactly what you can afford. Never be tempted to go over your budget – costs can quickly spiral out of control and get you into a financial mess, so you need to keep a firm hold on your finances.
2. Changes you need to make
Most of us could plan a dream kitchen if we had access to unlimited money, but your budget will determine the exact changes you can afford to make. You can save yourself money by looking at the elements of your current kitchen you can keep, rather than automatically assuming you need to change absolutely everything. For example, do you really need to change the kitchen layout completely, or can you keep the main appliances where they are? If you can create a new kitchen design without needing to move the plumbing, this can save a lot of money.
You can also look at other elements in the same way. Do you really want your walls tiled all the way up? Many modern kitchen designs feature tiled splashbacks, while the rest of the walls can easily be given a fresh new look with a lick of paint.
3. DIY or professional?
There will probably be some elements of your kitchen renovation you can handle yourself, such as painting and even tiling. But building a new kitchen is a complicated job, and if you are not experienced, there are many things which can potentially go wrong. Even a small mistake can cost you money, while a large one can compromise your safety.
It is essential to be realistic about your skill level from the start. A professional kitchen builder will be able to suggest kitchen ideas which make the best possible use of the available space and create innovative storage solutions, as well as having a highly trained team and all the latest equipment to make sure the job goes right the first time.
Getting the best return on your investment
Your new kitchen is likely to cost you a significant amount of money, so you want to be assured that your investment will be worthwhile, and your kitchen renovation will add value to your home. To achieve this, you need to look at what potential home buyers actually want from kitchen designs in Australia. These are the elements you should concentrate on if you want to gain maximum returns on your investment.
Adding an island will make your kitchen more attractive to potential buyers, as it increases the versatility of your kitchen by increasing the amount of usable space. An island can be used for food preparation, storage and even as an alternative eating space to a table, so it is a multi-functional asset which is well worth investing in. Islands also work particularly well in open-plan kitchen layouts, as they create a natural dividing line between the kitchen and the rest of the home, without impeding the flow of movement and natural light.
Attractive benchtops are a must, so if your current benchtops are looking tired or damaged, it is definitely time to replace them. Natural stone such as marble or granite will add a luxurious touch if you can afford it, but if you are on a budget, you can choose a man-made stone such as quartz, or even a laminate which has the appearance of stone. Whatever material you choose, it needs to be hardwearing, so it needs to be resistant to staining and heat damage. It is also worth bearing in mind that neutral colours are best, as they don’t tend to date.
Home buyers are looking for good quality appliances, preferably modern, energy-efficient models with a uniform appearance. This means it makes sense to choose appliances which are all from the same manufacturer and range, ideally a well-known brand which offers a generous warranty. If you can afford to include the latest smart technology, this is even better, as it will make your life a lot easier as well as adding value to your home.
Probably the most important element of good kitchen design is that it provides as much useful storage space as possible. You can never have too much storage in a kitchen, and including some clever storage solutions will boost the appeal of your kitchen significantly. Consider purchasing an island which contains cupboards, installing concealed drawers behind your kickboards, and taking your cabinetry all the way up to the ceiling to create as much usable storage space as you can.
Creating the right kitchen layout
The best new kitchen designs are those that make the best possible use of the available space, whatever the shape and size of your kitchen. The kitchen is generally the most-used room in the home, so you need to consider exactly how it is used to decide on a design which looks beautiful but offers maximum functionality for everyone who uses the space.
Most respected kitchen designers start with the concept of the ‘kitchen triangle’. This involves leaving a clear space between the three elements of your kitchen you use the most: the stove, sink and fridge. You should be able to walk between these three items unimpeded if you want to get maximum functionality from your kitchen design.
You also need to consider the shape of the room to make the best use of it. There are several basic kitchen designs which work in kitchens of all sizes, and can easily be adapted to suit your particular needs:
1. L shaped kitchen
An L shaped kitchen can fit just as easily into a small apartment kitchen as it can into a large space in a show home. This design involves having the cabinetry and appliances along two walls, turning a corner in the middle, with one row shorter than the other. Your stove and sink are built into this layout, with room for a draining board next to the sink. In a smaller kitchen, you may have to include the fridge on the end of one of the rows, possibly compromising on some floor-level storage space, but you can easily add another row of cabinets above, going right up to the ceiling.
This design can work well in an open-plan space of any size, as it frees up the rest of the space for dining and an island. It can also be ideal for a traditional kitchen, as the dining table then becomes the main focus in the centre of the room.
2. U shaped kitchen
A U shaped kitchen is in some ways the most practical design, as it takes the cabinetry and appliances around three walls instead of two. This makes it easy to create the ‘kitchen triangle’ in a larger space. However, in a smaller kitchen, it is important to make sure there is enough floor space between the opposing walls for this design to work well.
A U shaped kitchen creates maximum space for food preparation, as it includes more countertop space. It also enables you to include more storage due to the increased amount of cabinetry. However, it does mean you have to factor in additional space for dining, so this is a design which tends to work better in larger kitchens with a square or rectangular shape.
More clever kitchen ideas
Whatever the size and shape of your kitchen, an experienced kitchen builder can help you to bring your ideas to life and create a beautiful kitchen which functions perfectly and suits all your lifestyle needs. If you would like more information and advice about kitchen renovations, our specialist team here at R. A. Paul will be happy to help. With over 25 years’ experience designing and installing new kitchens in Melbourne, we are the ideal choice for anyone wanting to give their kitchen a new lease of life. Contact us online or call 0419 558 532.