The kitchen is the heart and soul of many people’s homes. In our house, it’s certainly not just a place for cooking food, it’s where we gather to socialise when friends and family visit.
At this time of year when we tend to spend a lot of time indoors, many people start planning kitchen renovations. Renovating your kitchen is a long-term investment and there’s a lot of factors to consider, so I encourage all Workshop members to share their kitchen design ideas.
What are some of your top tips for designing a new kitchen or renovating an existing one?
I hope the video below also gives you some ideas.
For cabinetry, I've mentioned before that I reckon the most important thing is the craftsmanship of the cabinetmakers. Ask for testimonials and look at previous installs for perfect joins, nice straight lines, smooth edges, no gaps or overlapping.
You will probably find that most cabinet makers use MDF so the only difference is the thickness. Obviously the thicker the better. Make sure you get solid backs (not stapled thin Masonite).
The hinges and drawer runners etc can vary in quality a lot so you will want a reputable brand, and preferably soft close.
And remember that the finished result depends on multiple trades working together well – eg plumber, electrician, possibly also stonemason, tiler and glazier – that need to be coordinated and not destroy each other’s work!
I didn't design my kitchen from scratch but made a few changes to the plans. The big one for me was ensuring that the kitchen island bench was as big as possible. I go to so many people's houses and the island bench becomes the centre of all activity, whether it be cooking, or hanging out, so it's really important to get it right - somewhere that is comfortable to sit at and serves multiple purposes. I also think that it's worth sinking a lot of money into the stone for it so it lasts a long time and looks great for years.
My advice would be to be careful about following the latest trends with colours, tiles, splashbacks, surfaces etc. You only have to see the average 70s or 80s kitchen to realise this. A kitchen is a very big investment and you want it to last and look great for a long time. It's particularly important to be conservative with your design and decorative choices if you don't plan on being in the house forever as kitchens have a big impact on potential buyers.
My advice, don't just jump into it. Planning is the key. Discussions with family and friends bring about some really good ideas. During my kitchen reno (actually every reno) I have taken the time to plan it out and put it on paper. Luckily our old kitchen was reasonably sound so all we had was cosmetic and appliance changes. The layout was adequate for what we needed. Put away plenty of time to shop for materials (especially tiles) as there are so many to choose from. Last of all - Stick to the plan. Last minute changes (unless unavoidable) will cost you plenty of beer coupons.
Kitchen reno dos and don'ts - http://www.domain.com.au/news/kitchen-renovation-dos-and-donts-common-mistakes-to-avoid-20160909-gqs...
The bench space and storage tips in that list seem the most important to me. You can never have enough of both.
Some good ideas here for easy kitchen updates:
Find a good cabinet maker @Maggieaggi63. Our house was built by the previous (original) owner and none of the walls are square, not the floors level. The cabinet makers took everything into account and hid the impections of the room beautifully.