4 things to consider before designing your dream kitchen

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s also one of the busiest zones of the home, and no longer just a space for cooking. From makeshift study to full-blown entertainment quarter, the modern kitchen requires a multi-functional design in order to keep up with the myriad of different uses.

And while a kitchen renovation gives you the opportunity to create a kitchen tailored to your specific needs, it also comes with a lot of things to consider – and a wrong decision can leave you with a very costly kitchen blunder. Which is why we’ve come up with this kitchen design “essentials” checklist – to ease the pressure and help you achieve that fabulous kitchen you’ve always wanted.

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Practical layout

As tempting as it may be to jump straight to picking materials, a kitchen without a thoroughly thought out floor plan is doomed from the get-go. No amount of marble splashback will save a kitchen that suffers from poor layout. It’s all about creating flow and ensuring ample space for cleaning, food prep and storage.

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Take for instance this recent kitchen project – the drop-down bench acts as an extension of the kitchen island, which is ideal for extra seating while entertaining or for finishing homework before dinner. To maximise bench space, think about creating nooks and cabinets where appliances can be hidden away while not in use.

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Adequate lighting

Because the modern kitchen is host to a diverse array of activities, the right balance of lighting is essential to creating a functional, comfortable and great-looking space. There are three types of lighting to consider when it comes to kitchens: ambient, task and accent.

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It’s important to nail your ambiance lighting as it will help to establish your kitchen’s overall mood. Down lights can be used to prevent glare, and pendant lights provide a great accent over the island bench. Also, incorporating a skylight or window splashback can help increase the amount of natural light while under cabinet lighting is perfect for illuminating the main cooking area.

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Timeless, not trendy

Kitchen renovations are expensive. Even the most budget refresh will set you back a few hundred dollars – and that’s without replacing benchtops, cabinetry or plumbing. As tempting as it may be to jump on the hottest kitchen designs, make sure you do your research. That Pantone colour might be in this year, but next year? Probably not so much.

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Whether your kitchen is part of the larger living space or is sectioned off, choosing a palette and materials that complement the rest of the home’s design is essential to creating a harmonious space, rather than one that sticks out like a sore thumb. You don’t have to stick to an all-white kitchen (unless that’s the look you’re going for), but a balanced palette – one that takes cabinetry, benchtops, appliances as well as other elements of your home into account – will ensure your new kitchen remains timeless.

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Durable materials

The kitchen is your home’s workhorse. It makes sense then, to opt for materials and finishes that will endure this consistent use and leave your kitchen looking just as good for years to come. The quality of a kitchen is based on the properties of materials used, the functional benefits as well as the resilience to everyday use.

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Our Altona project utilises natural stone benchtops which are resistant to scratches, heat and acid, while the timber veneer cabinetry is much less prone to warping or cracking and provides an economical, environmentally friendly alternative to solid wood. And don’t forget about other elements such as tiles and tapware; your kitchen needs to withstand a tonne of use, so choose non-porous materials and avoid cheap zinc-alloys for long term easy cleaning and stain resistance.