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The winning formula to a kitchen makeover

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

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Kitchen functionality is most important when renovating, says the winner of Australia’s best kitchen makeover of 2022.


Claire O'Connell, known as @Renowayoflife on the Workshop community, was a winner in our D.I.Y. July competition last year for her outstanding kitchen renovation of a century-old Queenslander


“Take your time to understand how you use your kitchen," recommends Claire. "Before you invest in your renovation, do your homework and come up with a design that is functional first and beautiful second.” 

Claire’s renovation of the kitchen in her parents’ century-old Queenslander has “held up great” over the past year, with her parents “loving the new layout and walk-in pantry”.

She says one of the biggest things she learnt was to stay confident whenever things go wrong.

“The thing to remember is that it’s okay to make mistakes, almost everything can be fixed or touched up. You’re more capable than you think.”

For anyone planning their own kitchen makeover, Claire emphasises the importance of prioritising what makes you happy.

“A lot of people try to renovate for resale rather than for themselves. If you’re not planning to sell in the next three years then design and add finishes to your taste, not that of the masses. Renovating is expensive, and you should love the end result.” Claire's renovation of her parents' kitchen has "held up great"Claire's renovation of her parents' kitchen has "held up great"

Expert advice for your kitchen renovation

Mitchell Mclean (@MitchellMc), resident Bunnings D.I.Y. expert and one of the judges of the 2022 D.I.Y. July competition, has further advice for kitchen renovators. His tips include:

1. Create a layout that prioritises ergonomics. Consider the placement of appliances, cabinets, and work surfaces to minimise unnecessary movements and physical strain. This will enhance the overall functionality and comfort of your kitchen.

2. Kitchen renovations can be expensive, so it's essential to establish a realistic budget and stick to it. Conduct thorough research and determine the costs of materials, appliances, labour, and potential additional expenses. It's also wise to allocate some extra funds to handle unexpected surprises.

3. A well-lit kitchen is essential. A poorly illuminated kitchen can be hazardous, dull and uninviting.  Ensure you place light fixtures in optimal locations and take advantage of natural lighting.

4. Use smart storage solutions to optimise your kitchen's storage capacity. Consider incorporating pull-out pantry shelves, hidden drawers, and vertical storage systems to maximise the available space. Customisable modular storage units can be tailored to suit your specific needs. 

5. Select high-quality materials and appliances. Choose durable and premium products that require less maintenance and last longer. Focus on functionality, reliability, and energy efficiency when making your selections.


For more handy tips on renovating your kitchen, check out experienced Workshop member Adam Woodhams (@Adam_W)'s guide How to plan a kitchen renovation.


Inspiration for your kitchen makeover

The Bunnings Workshop community has shared many inspiring kitchen renovation projects. Check out these collections for great ideas:


D.I.Y. July is here and we are searching for Australia’s best D.I.Y. projects of 2023. Winners will get their projects featured in the Bunnings magazine. You can check out the entries on our project gallery and add your own today.  

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