If you’re building or renovating a house, as the hub and heart of every modern Australian home the kitchen is something that you can’t afford to get wrong.
Whether you’re flipping a property or selling your own home the condition and design of the kitchen can affect the property’s value significantly. According to Movewithus a new kitchen can add around 6 per cent to the value of a home.
Before jumping headfirst into a kitchen renovation, it’s very important to set a budget and to make sure you stick to it with careful planning and smart spending. Cherie Barber, creator of Renovating for Profit, says ‘you don’t want to spend more than two per cent of the value of the property on the kitchen remodel’ as a good budgeting guide.
11 tips and tricks to help you cook up an amazing kitchen:
1. Create the kitchen work triangle. When planning the lay out of the kitchen think about making the ‘work triangle’. Put simply, you want to plan your kitchen layout to have the sink, fridge and cooktop forming a triangle with no more than 1.8m or so between each for ease of access and movement as you prepare meals.
2. Timeless colour palette. When completing your colour selection for tiles, paint, cabinetry and finishes opt for a neutral and non-polarising palette that won’t date easily. Use light natural colours in the kitchen to help make it feel light and bright, and more spacious.
3. Opt for an open plan. Nowadays open floor plans are in high demand. They improve the flow of the home and as a bonus let in more natural light. So if you’re renovating an older home you may consider knocking out a non-load bearing wall to open up and extend the kitchen, meals and dining areas to make a more open and functional living space.
4. Durable finishes. Regardless of your budget, it is crucial to select durable surfaces that are easy to maintain for the high traffic work space of a kitchen. If you have a tight budget go for the more affordable option of granite or engineered CaesarStone benchtops and glass splashbacks. With a bigger budget, add some wow factor with a Carrara marble benchtop, waterfall island bench and splashback. Note that grout between kitchen floor and wall tiles is hard to clean and maintain, and stainless steel benches scratch very easily. Both finishes you should avoid for longevity in the kitchen.
5. Quality appliances. Nothing dates a kitchen as badly as old, nasty and ill-fitting appliances. So if you’re kitchen units, sink and surfaces are in good nick, the best way to quickly refresh the space is to get a new oven, cooktop, fridge and dishwasher. Always ensure the appliances fit comfortably into the allotted spaces, go for quality well-known brands so they can be repaired and serviced if needed, and select quiet and energy efficient models where possible. These are all things that potential buyers will be on the look out for when it comes time to sell.
6. Maximise storage. You want to make use of every nook and cranny of available space in your kitchen. Maximise space by making overhead cupboards stretch right to the ceiling. Get a lot of deep pot drawers under benches for quick access to utensils, food wrap, containers, dishes, pots and pans. Also make sure you make room for all those little appliances (think toaster, kettle and blender) so you can tuck them out of sight when you’re not using them. Don’t forget to make a space for your microwave.
7. Task lighting. When planning your electrical layout consider that you will need sufficient lighting to ensure you have a safe well lit preparation area. More often than not overhead lighting isn’t enough in a kitchen, as this can cast shadows over your workspace. We recommend adding under cabinet lighting, pendants over island benches, LEDs in your wall cabinets and getting range hoods with good lighting. For extra handy hints check out our Kitchen Lighting Guide.
8. Add a butler’s pantry. If you’re lucky enough to have the space and the budget to create an entertainer’s dream kitchen, be sure to add in a butler’s pantry. Consider adding an extra sink, wine racks, a bar fridge, dishwasher and cooktop to the butler’s pantry, so you can prep food in peace and keep all your small appliances and mess out of the line of sight while entertaining. Go for open shelving to the ceiling to keep costs down. Add a space-saving cavity sliding door so you can easily close off the mess.
9. Rubbish ideas. Don’t forget to plan for the practical elements everyone needs and uses everyday in a kitchen, like rubbish bins. You could go for cleverly concealed separate rubbish receptacles for landfill and recycling waste in hidden drawers or under the sink, or select a sleek no-touch stainless steel bin with an automatic sensor (try alwaysdirect.com.au).
10. Fab fittings. Add some new cabinet, door and drawer handles to instantly update your kitchen. There are many styles and materials out there to cater to every taste and kitchen vision. Luxe metallics, including gold, copper and bronze are right on trend at the moment. Also think about replacing outdated or shabby tapware with a modern functional design. Extendable taps and flip mixers are both practical and chic options.
11. Flooring. Engineered timber flooring is a great option for a kitchen because it not only looks great, but is durable, low-maintenance, works well for open plan designs, is timeless and adds warmth to any room. For a tight budget check out vinyl flooring. Vinyl is a breeze to clean, cushy under foot and stain and water-proof. Carpet Court have some good timber-look vinyls.
Happy house hunting!