The kitchen is the heart of a home where we spend a lot of time cooking and gathering with family.
Renovating offers the opportunity to create a functional and beautiful space for cooking and entertaining. It can also add significant value to your home. So it’s important to plan well and get it right.
Here’s our guide to get you started on planning your dream kitchen.
It’s worth determining if your project is a remodel (more of a cosmetic makeover) or full renovation as it impacts the scale of your project, permissions needed, time and budget.
A remodel is a good option if your kitchen layout is well-designed and functional but your appliances, fixtures and/or cabinetry need updating.
You wouldn’t relocate services, such as plumbing, and the biggest change might be the location and number of power points, lighting and ventilation. With a remodel, you likely won’t require council permission. In a strata situation, however, Owner’s Corporate permission might be required.
Tackling a remodel as a D.I.Y. project can be achievable as you can do a lot of the work yourself and simply get trades in for any plumbing and electrical work.
A renovation takes the space back to bare bones so you can start again. You may be looking at changing windows or adding new ones, moving or expanding doorways, or even taking out walls. Relocating plumbing is likely on the cards too.
A project of this scale will likely require council permission, so check on this or have your designer do so. If wall or window changes are planned you’ll need to involve a designer or builder who can have the engineering planning conducted. In strata you will most definitely require Owner’s Corporate approval for larger scale works.
Projects of this scale fall into the owner-builder category rather than a straightforward D.I.Y. project. You could conduct some work yourself, but you will need to engage professional trades for plumbing, electrical and any structural work such as walls, windows and changes to doorways.
The following steps are the foundation stones of your project.
How well does your kitchen work now? There’s an old principle developed back in the late 1940s called the kitchen work triangle. This is based around the three most important task zones in the kitchen – storage, cleaning and preparation, and cooking. This means you should be able to quickly, easily and efficiently move between your fridge, sink and cooktop.
When you start thinking about workflow and work zones, keep your scope broad and consider all associated tasks and functions too, including the amount and location of storage space. It’s important to consider the relevance of the storage space to the tasks being conducted above or beside. For example, the amount of bench space beside the cooktop and sink and the quality of light in the areas you need it.
Armed with this information you can start to think about layout possibilities for your new kitchen. The best starting point for this is to purchase or print grid paper that allows you to draw a simple scale plan of your kitchen. You can also draw a scale plan using a ruler by translating 1m on the floor to, say, 5cm on paper. If you are looking at flatpack D.I.Y. cabinets, use an online kitchen planner tool to compare your options and plan the perfect layout.
Here are a few dimensions to consider that will help with your rough design.
A kitchen island (a freestanding cabinet and bench) or a peninsula (where cabinet and bench run at right angles extending from the wall) can be a great way to add extra work area. If room allows, this can also be a brilliant location for your cooktop. You may even be able to add an overhang for seating, and you’ll find that this naturally becomes the social hub of the kitchen.
One way to see if either idea will work in your space is to put a sideboard in place in your existing kitchen and see if an island or peninsula would work. You’ll want adequate walkway clearances with at least 90cm both sides. You may find that within a few days you are reflexively using the extra space. If so, refine the size and include it in your design.
When you are pencilling in your layout, think about how the cupboards will work and what they will likely be used for.
Whether remodelling or fully renovating, you will need the plumber and electrician to disconnect and reconnect all services.
Think of your lighting as being two types – functional and designer.
A renovation is the perfect time to get ventilation right. Take the time to look at the variety of rangehoods and extractor fans. You’ll find there’s everything from discrete slide-out models to the big and bold. Whenever possible aim to have the extractor hood vented to the outdoors, not back into the room. If you do have to vent back into the room, select a model that has filter systems that can be easily removed for cleaning, preferably just by throwing it into the dishwasher.
Island or peninsular cooktops can pose a design problem for ventilation. You’ll find there are now cooktops with down-draught extractors that draw downwards through vents in the cooktop. Talk about this option with your appliance specialist. These type of units will mean that cabinets need to accommodate the ducting for the output.
When it comes to style, colours, shapes, patterns, it’s often based on personal preference. However, keep in mind some basic principles as you complete your design.
Need help with your kitchen renovation project? We’re here to assist. Hit the start a discussion button and share as much detail as you can, including what your goals are for the project and the dimensions of your space.
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