The kitchen and living spaces are typically the hub of your house; and whether the others in the ‘hub’ are helping or just watching, it’s often where you’ll connect and bond after a day at the office or school. Most people prefer an open plan layout for this reason; simply to fit all the people who want to congregate there. Since it’s such a draw card; it needs to not only function well, but all look great too.

Layout
No matter whether you’re planning a new build or a renovation, layout is the very first step to designing your kitchen. Ensure the layout is practical, makes the best use of the space you have and, if possible, has a view to the outdoors. If renovating, consider altering the layout to better suit your needs.
You can design the layout using the traditional ‘kitchen triangle’ of sink, oven and fridge, or you could do the more modern ‘zoning’ system. This usually consists of a prep zone (benches, etc.), a cooking zone (oven, microwave, thermomix, etc.), a storage zone (cupboards, fridge and pantry) and a cleaning zone (sink and dishwasher). You could incorporate both schools of thought if that works in your space.

Style
Are you going for an ultra-modern look or a clinical white? Perhaps Hampton beach is more your thing. Whichever way you go, you need to take into account the architectural style of the house. For example, putting a sleek, modern kitchen in a colonial house or a Queenslander would really look out of place. However, you can find a middle ground where you create a modern-ish kitchen with a ‘nod’ to the style of the home (Queenslander, Federation, 70’s etc) to make it visually work better and more cohesive.

Colours and materials
Cabinetry – If your kitchen is going to get a bit of wear and tear from kids or tenants, vinyl wrap or laminate could be your best option. They come in a range of styles and profiles and are of much better quality than in days gone by.
Other cabinetry choices include 2 Pac or timber; these are perfect if they’re not likely to get too much rough treatment.

Handles – There is a vast range of handles to choose from, and they come in an assortment of colours, shapes, finishes and styles. I like to use the handles to give a bit of a nod to the architectural style of the house.

Splashback – My choice here is usually tiles. With an array of sizes, colours and styles; you can always find something that complements your kitchen design. A large plain tile can be used to balance out a busy looking kitchen while a smaller tile can be used to add texture to a stream-lined kitchen.

Glass splashbacks have been popular in recent years but if you’re leaning towards using them, bear in mind that glass is painted on the back face, so any splashes of oil will not only show the splash itself, but also the shadow of the splash.
Mirrored splashbacks also show cooking splashes much more than tiles do. Both glass and mirrored splashbacks usually only suit very modern kitchens.

Benchtops – Your best choice is stone in most cases. It’s hard wearing and comes in a broad range of styles from white with chips of stone through it to a marble-like look. Neutral colours can work just as well as whites. Prices range from moderate to expensive.

If you like the look of wooden benchtops, consider using stone instead but adding some wooden shelving or other accents. Although the warmth of timber benchtops is nice, it’s not always practical in the long run.

If you’re doing a very low-value renovation or new build, you might choose laminate but just bear in mind it generally won’t wear as well as stone.

Lighting – I’m a bit of a fan of pendant lights in the kitchen. Hanging two large ones or three smaller ones above an island bench can really add something special. Lighting is a great way to add some wow factor, so put some real thought into it your lighting plan.

So, that’s most of your kitchen design choices covered! If you would like to talk through kitchen design options or need a bit of a hand planning your dream kitchen, you can get in touch here.

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