4 Kitchen Renovation Tips to Remember

Some pointers to consider before you update your kitchen

Updated on June 16, 2017 9:06 am

Samantha Echavez

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Ah, to fantasise about our dream kitchen. "This is the room that is easy to blow the biggest bucks on. Designer stainless steel appliances? Sure. Granite benchtops? Bring ’em on. But when the bill arrives, many a renovator can regret their choices," says Alex May, author of Planning Your Perfect Home Renovation.

"Spend the money that you believe is appropriate for your lifestyle choice," adds May. So before you do get carried away overhauling your kitchen, check these kitchen reno tips first:

1. Decide what type of kitchen you want so you know where to invest your money on.

  • The glamour kitchen. "Many renovators simply want their kitchen to look more modern and to become a design feature of the home. They will spend money on high-quality finishes like cupboard doors, backsplashes, and appliances," says May.
  • The chef’s kitchen. If you care more about having the right equipment and configuration to whip up delicious meals, then spending money on appropriate appliances and cooking services should be your priority.
  • The functional kitchen. "Some people go batty trying to cook every day in a kitchen that has no bench space or can’t accommodate two people. This renovator just wants to change the configuration.This could be achieved with some ingenuity and a [small] budget," says May.
  • The budget kitchen. "Other renovators don’t care much about the function of the kitchen, but need it to look presentable for resale. For this renovator, cost is the most important consideration. If the current fittings and fixtures are serviceable and all that is necessary is some maintenance, paint and the replacing of door handles and splashbacks, a [small] budget may be adequate," explains May.

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2. Good kitchen design lies in the configuration of the cabinets, cooking area, and sink. Work the kitchen work triangle within your kitchen layout, be it a galley kitchen, G-shaped kitchen, kitchen with a centre island, L-shaped kitchen, or a U-shaped kitchen.

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3. Note the components that make up your kitchen:

  • Cabinets. You can have them made by a carpenter, but it's cheaper to use a modular kitchen. Also, the biggest expenditure in most kitchens is cabinetry—about 45 percent of the total cost. Check out different cabinet styles here.
  • Countertops. Laminate countertop is the cheapest while granite and stone are more expensive options.
  • Door handles and hardware. "If you’re refurbishing or just maintaining and repairing, remember that shiny new door handles will revive a tired old kitchen," says May.
  • Refrigerators. When planning your kitchen, leave a space for your fridge as refrigerators vary widely in size.
  • Stoves and ovens. "These days, most ovens are electric and are often permanently wired on their own circuit. Gas stovetops are popular, but require good rangehoods to cope with the heat and steam output.There is a new generation of steam and convection cookers that use low energy but offer good-quality cooking results," says May.
  • Exhaust systems. According to May, the more you spend on powerful cooking equipment, the more you will need to spend on ducting the cooking fumes out of your kitchen.
  • Backsplashes. These protect your wall from splashes of food and fat. Look for backsplash designs here.
  • Kickboards. "These are attached between the floor and the bottom of the cabinet carcasses and stop dirt from getting underneath your kitchen cabinets," explains May.
  • Floors. It will easily be the dirtiest floor in the house, so go for a good quality, non-slip, and easily washable floor surface.
  • Lighting. You need good task lighting over the sink, the stovetop, and preparation areas. Know more about properly lighting your kitchen here.
  • Taps. May recommends getting a good-quality kitchen tap—usually a mixer.
  • Electrics. Says May, "If you change the configuration of a kitchen, the power points to run the dishwasher, rangehood, fridge and stove may need to be moved. It is also wise to plan where you need benchtop power points and install 'quad' points rather than 'doubles'."
  • Plumbing. The kitchen sink and dishwasher are the only features in the kitchen that require plumbing.

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4. It helps to use a kitchen planning template. "Using templates on grid paper can help you plan the fine details of your kitchen layout. All you have to do is measure your rooms and note the positions of doors, windows, power points, and plumbing on your grid.Then cut out your templates and arrange them on the plan to try different kitchen layouts," says May.

Source: Planning Your Perfect Home Renovation by Alex May

Look for a designer to help you create your dream kitchen.


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Cover photo courtesy of House Beautiful

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