The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home, you cannot afford to get the design wrong, literally! Being (generally speaking) the most expensive room in your house.
Its easy to get caught up in the look of your kitchen and forget the simple more functional items. We have compiled a small list to get you thinking about how you kitchen will work for you and your family as well as how it will look and feel.
Plan carefully and allow flexibility in your budget. The more effort you put into the planning and estimating stage, the more likely your kitchen will come in on budget. If you are unrealistic with your budget, you could find yourself overspending or running out of money halfway through your build.
What’s your style?
Whether it be contemporary, French provincial, modern etc? You really should start here. Once you have decided on style the following steps will be a little easier. Remember, the style of the kitchen should complement the rest of the home. If the style of your kitchen is most important to you, design the rest of your home around it.
Start from the bottom up. Flooring is the anchor of your design, laminate, tile, wood, which should you use? Is this an investment property or your dream home that you plan to live in for the rest of your life or a good while in any case. If it is an investment property, you may choose laminate flooring or cheaper tiling to save on cost. If it is your dream home, you will likely want higher end tiles or a warmer French oak floor or solid timber floor. Other factors like children or pets may influence your choice.
Colours & textures.
Here you have an important choice to make. Do you want white or light grey, warm or dark colours. Dark coloured cabinetry always adds an element of depth but if you do not have a lot of light coming into the kitchen, try to avoid them. This is where you will have to make a decision on the colour of your window frames as well.
Always remember the triangle rule. Your cooker, fridge and sink should form an easy access triangular form. Avoid putting the fridge or sink around corners or on the other side of a bench or island. When cooking you ideally want an unobstructed path between all three. Remember to keep your dishwasher near the sink also. The longer the distance between the two and the greater chance of leftover food and sauces dripping on the floor.
Bench Space, Storage & Shelving. The kitchen is generally the heart of the home. Ensure that you have plenty of storage and shelving, liveability is important. A butler’s pantry is desirable and extremely convenient. Leave yourself plenty of bench space. Nothing can be more frustrating than running out of room to prepare while you are in the middle of the cooking. Ensure that you leave enough space around the cooktop also. This is an area that you are forever putting pots and pans on and off, chopping and adding things to your food. The more space you have the better.
At the very least, decide what size fridge you are going to buy. Ideally, decide on the actual fridge as their dimensions can vary somewhat. A fridge space too large can be a little distracting but a fridge space too small could be disastrous. It is not unwise to leave a little extra room to future proof for a different fridge on an upgrade on size as the family gets bigger. Don’t forget a water outlet on the wall behind the fridge for that cold water dispensing and ice making machine on your fridge?
Size Up Your Sink
Think carefully about the size and quantity of sinks you need or want in your kitchen. This is a personal preference and the more often you cook and spend time in your kitchen, the more you may need or want. An extra sink can be used as to put all the dirty dishes into before they get washed. The more the merrier is my philosophy.
Gas vs Electric Cooktop
Again this is a personal preference, ceramic, gas or induction. Ceramic cooktops are declining in popularity and models as a result. The two most popular are gas and induction. Some people love gas and others prefer the accuracy, safety and speed of the induction cooktops. The cooktop itself never heats up and is easy to clean but don’t look as impressive as a gas cooktop. The only drawbacks to induction are an extra breaker/electrical line and potential expense of buying new pots and pans, if you do not already have them. Check to see if your pots and pans are induction compatible?
Splashbacks serve not only to protect your wall from getting dirty, they can be a highlight of your kitchen also. Mirrored, stone, tiles or exotic glass, they can really impact the look of your kitchen. Note, they can be expensive so a compromise between look and price might be wise.
Rubbish & Recycling.
The rubbish and recycling bin are often neglected. They should be in an easy and convenient place to access, not too far from where you prepare your food, and be discrete. A cabinet slide out style is ideal at achieving this.
If your kitchen has limited natural lighting, ensure you make up for the difference with adequate artificial lighting. Downlights, pendant lights or chandeliers or a combination will come down to personal preference and the ambience you are trying to achieve. Use LED lighting for economic efficiency and environmental friendliness. Think about the colour of lighting you are after also, cool, daylight or warm, there are often many options to choose from. Mood lighting and under cabinets LED strip lighting for effect should be considered also. Another area often neglected is your cooktop. When cooking, you are often looking for changes in colour as a trigger to add more ingredients or to reduce temperature etc. So make sure you have plenty of light aimed in that area.
Whether you choose a hooded style or slide out rangehood, check the rated power and ensure it totally covers your cooking area. Ideally, have the rangehood ducted outside. There are dishes who’s odour can linger for longer than you would like and dishes that are very smoky. If your rangehood is under powered and or undersized, you may have to cook with the doors and windows open!
Power outlets. Aside from your cooktop and oven, kitchens are often filled with modern day electrical appliances to make life easy for us. Microwave ovens, blenders, juicers, toasters, coffee machines, kettles, rice cookers, bread makers, sandwich toaster, dough makers, mixers and the list goes on. Ensure you have plenty outlets available. Position them strategically around your kitchen. You don’t want 12 appliances in one corner on one bench. Spread them around and don’t put them all on the one line or you will be forever tripping the circuit when trying to make coffee, toast and use the microwave at the same time.
The position of the kitchen in your home is important and where you put it may change based on the type of person you are. If you do a lot of entertaining and have an alfresco or backyard, you might want to locate the kitchen near them for convenience. The kitchens is often filled with noise and smells so avoid putting it next to bedrooms.