The singer and writer Kimberly Schlapman said “My favourite room in the house is my kitchen. It’s definitely the heart and soul of our home”.
This is true for most of us. We cook, eat, feed our animals, work, and do homework, all in this one room making it especially important for it to be well designed, welcoming and functional.
Furthermore, an attractive and modern kitchen will increase the value of your home. So, when you are looking at renovating your kitchen, where should you start?
- Design and Layout
Firstly, get inspired! Visit kitchen retailers and buy décor magazines featuring kitchens. Choose the features you like the most and keep them in mind when you do your design
The layout is where it all begins. Unless you are a draftsman, use one of the many online drawing sites that will allow you to create a fully 3-D plan, including all fixtures and fittings, as well as colours and designs. This will allow you to “play” with the finished design until the look if perfect for you.
Measure your kitchen and add to your drawing anything that you want to keep, as well as where the pipes and electric supplies are. (Changing plumbing and electrical requirements will increase your renovation costs dramatically so think about this first.)
- Work Flow
Now study yourself! How do you move and work? Are you walking backwards and forwards too much because the sink is not in the right position or the stove is too far away? Plan where you would like each appliance and work surface to be according to your needs.
Normally workflow is centred around the stove, sink and refrigerator with workspaces in-between. Try to keep the stove close to the sink so you can carry pots and pans easily without passing over anything but a countertop.
It’s always good to have the sink facing the window so you have something to look at whilst washing up and the dishwasher should be as close to the sink as possible for obvious reasons.
Place your appliances and countertops in your plan and move them around until you are moving less as you cook.
- Floors, Walls and Ceilings
Floors should be of good quality and durable material as they receive a huge amount of wear and tear. Try to avoid colours and designs which show the dirt too much or you will be mopping constantly.
Walls and ceilings should be painted in a satin or gloss finish which is easier to wipe down and repels moisture. Choose a light and neutral colour to make your kitchen seem larger and brighter and to allow you to add colour touches later.
Tiles or splash backs should be used behind wet areas or the stove top to make it easy to clean, prevent water leaking and the build-up of mould.
Add all of these colours and designs to your plan.
If your budget allows, a kitchen renovation is the best time to invest in new appliances which are often much more environmentally friendly as well as cheaper to run. Modern appliances, such as dishwashers, also tend to be quieter in their operating cycles so this is an added bonus.
You can also add a stove exhaust hood whilst renovating to stop smells and moisture in your kitchen.
Now add these to your plan taking note of any changes in dimensions.
It could be time to change your sink, faucet and draining boards. Don’t change them simply because you have problems with blockages or other issues. There are many ways to fix these without adding to the cost of your kitchen renovation.
But if you do decide to change them, you could consider installing a double sink, spray hose or other extra features.
If you are making sink changes, add them to your design.
- Cabinets and Countertops
The choice of these is enormous so do your research. If you are very budget conscious, you can consider just changing the doors and countertops for a new and fresh look. Most kitchen cabinet companies will fit them for you and it is often worth spending a little extra to get them installed professionally.
Also, consider usage. If you cook a great deal, an investment in marble or granite is well worth it but if you are only an occasional cook, tile or laminate is a cheaper alternative.
Cabinets can be fitted with space-saving devices such as baskets, pull out shelves, pot holders etc.
Do your research on heights and depths of cabinets. You don’t want to be knocking your head on the overhead cabinet whilst cooking.
Once you have added all your appliances, cabinets and sins, look at the space. Make sure there is enough room to move around and for two people to work together if you want. Kitchens which do not have enough space for ease of movement might result in dangerous accidents.
Kitchen lighting should be bright without glaring. Look at the light levels on your countertops and stovetop to see if you can work well. If they are too dark, consider putting lighting under the wall mounted cabinets.
You should also take this opportunity to look at energy saving light fixtures.
Choose your kitchen design to enhance your home design to some extent. It will look odd if you have a modern home and then a farmhouse style kitchen.
Accessories can add to the look and design of your kitchen but you should be careful not to overdo them and make your kitchen look cluttered.
– Curtains and Blinds
Curtains and blinds can brighten up even the smallest and darkest kitchen. Use light and bright colours in a washable fabric that can be easily taken down and cleaned.
– Kitchen Islands
Kitchen islands are extremely useful if you have floor space. They can be stationary or moveable and are ideal for extra countertop and storage space as well as for use as a breakfast bar or dining table.
– Open Shelving
Open shelving will allow you to display attractive kitchen related items for an added decorative touch.
Renovating your kitchen might seem a daunting task but, with careful planning and research, you can have the kitchen of your dreams.