Top tips for kitchen renovations
Updated: Feb 10
Kitchens are probably the most frequently considered options for home improvement and can also add the most value to a home. If you're thinking about a kitchen renovation this year, here are some top tips to help you make the best decisions...
With the ongoing trend for open plan kitchens/dining/lounging spaces, when creating a living area for the family it's important to get this room right with, of course, the emphasis being on the kitchen area as it is the heart of the area and has many different functions.
Good circulation and flow is imperative with easy access to all its contents for parents and older kids, but not so easy for the younger children! Can you move easily around the kitchen? Is there enough space to pass each other? Can doors and appliances be opened with sufficient room to spare around them? Have a good think about how you'll be using the kitchen and think about circulation.
Put the kettle on
Due to the multi-functional nature of kitchens as mentioned above, a good, practical design is essential. We all know the basic sink/fridge/cooker triangulation rule which is very important for good practical function of a kitchen space, but an often overlooked consideration is the tea/coffee making area.
Ensure the kettle isn't too far from the sink for refills, and equally the coffee, tea, cups, teaspoons and milk are all in a similar area - the best being where you can make a drink without having to move! It seems small, but when you make several cups of tea or coffee every day, the wrong design can quickly become very irritating indeed!
Photo: Optiplan Kitchens
Islands in the stream
Islands and peninsulas are still on trend and for a very good reason: They fully utilise an open space without closing it down and are great for open plan living.
Hobs on islands are great, and allow you to keep on cooking without having to have your back to kids or your visitors, ensuring good sociability and view over the living space. They are also easy to serve from, especially for things like pancakes that come straight out the pan!
Don't be tempted to put your sink on an island though. The can mean lot more plumbing hassle in getting water to and from the area, which often means digging up floors and can be fraught with difficulties, unexpected complications and expense. Sinks (especially with dishwasher under) are also not to be advised for an island due to the inevitable collection of washing up which makes the space very untidy and is not a good look in the middle of your lovely kitchen.
Don't forget your dishwasher!
Dishwashers sometimes get overlooked or come in as an afterthought to a kitchen plan, but with today's modern life, they are just as important as an oven or fridge. So make sure you have a clear space for your dishwasher on your plan, and like ovens and fridges, make sure you have enough space to move around it when it's open and being loaded/unloaded.
Mix and match surfaces & colour
Kitchen surfaces don't have to all be the same material or height. Consider using something like stone or granite in the sink area for practical reasons (wood can be terribly hard to keep maintained around a sink) but use a warm wooden surface on your breakfast bar or seating area. You can lower surfaces around a sink and bring them higher for breakfast bars and islands.
Try to avoid clinical white hard shiny surfaces. While they look clean and stylish, you this is your home, not a lab. Mix up surfaces and consider injecting some colour into your kitchen. Don't be afraid to experiment. Bold bright colours along one wall can look great and add some vitality and a happy vibe.
But equally, soft tones are peaceful and calming in the chaos of a family kitchen! And with open plan kitchens now being the norm, go for tones you might use in your living room - dusty pinks and greys for example - to help with successfully combining your kitchen and living spaces.
Think about where you'll be doing your food preparation and chopping... this needs to be close to the sink and the hob and lighting for this area is very important, so ensure you have a spot light directed at it, a pendant over or some under-unit lighting if it's along the wall.
Don't forget your junk drawers!
It is very easy to clutter up a kitchen, so make sure you factor in plenty of cupboards and drawers to tuck things away!
Allow for a couple of drawers purely for junk and random bits and bobs, e.g. one for keys, bits of string, pens etc, and one for letters, bills, user manuals and other paperwork you need handy.
Photo: Wren Kitchens
One of the biggest factors in today's open plan living is noise... Accoustics are so important in an open plan kitchen/living area. It's really important to think about your surfaces - both work tops and floors and make sure you have adequate sound absorbing materials otherwise the clatter around your kitchen will become unbearable.
Don't have too many hard surfaces - stone and tiles are great, but not everywhere. Make sure you add in some absorbent surfaces and materials like wood, rugs and soft furnishing.
The power of extraction
A good, ducted extractor system is absolutely essential if you have an open plan kitchen and living area. So think about where you are going to be doing your cooking, ask advice about the best way to extract from your hob area and invest in a good extractor. It will make a huge difference. Extractors can even be quite stylish and add a feature.
We could go on for ages about kitchens... they basically rule our lives in terms of how much we use them in our home time...so just make sure you get the best advice when you plan your kitchen. It's a big investment, and long-term, so you need to get it right.
We work with several top kitchen designers, so please contact us to chat through your ideas and wishes for your kitchen and together we can come up with a great solution that will suit your home and your family.