If you’re looking to sell or rent out your Adelaide home, a kitchen renovation can go a long way to improving the look and appeal of your property. Alternatively, you may be having a new kitchen or a kitchen extension built as part of an overall renovation or upgrade of your home. In either case, there are some important design and construction elements to take into account that will help ensure you get a beautiful new or refurbished kitchen that also meets your day-to-day living needs.
Kitchens are lifestyle spaces. They have a very practical function, yet can also act as the centrepieces of your home’s living and entertainment areas. This dual function means that the design of your kitchen needs to be a reflection of how you and your family live, as well as providing an attractive focal point, especially important if you have a home with an open plan design.
The kitchen is also very often a deal breaker when it comes to selling or letting – prospective buyers can easily be put off by a tired-looking or poorly-designed kitchen that means they would have to spend time and money getting it up to scratch, while a kitchen that is both attractive and functional is a real plus in the rental market, where tenants are limited in what they can do to make the space meet their needs.
If you’re having a new kitchen built as an extension to your Adelaide home, or undertaking a significant renovation to bring your current kitchen space up to date, the first thing to consider is how you actually use it. Is it part of an open-plan design that means you not only cook and prepare meals there, but also entertain in and around it? Is your kitchen a separate room away from the dining area and therefore not on display? Or is the kitchen for you a purely functional space that’s not used to prepare multi-course culinary extravaganzas, but rather somewhere where you only spend a limited amount of time? All of these factors come into play when designing how your kitchen looks and how it works.
Older homes often have smaller spaces available for a kitchen than more contemporary, open-plan properties. However, in either case, utilising the available space effectively and efficiently is the key to a successful kitchen design.
If your kitchen is a focal point for entertaining, and is part of your dining areas as well, then an island bench top can act as a major design feature. It opens out the food preparation area to the rest of the house (so you can still interact with the family and guests while you’re cooking), and also adds additional workspace and storage. You may even want to take it one step further and actually have a cooktop installed in the island bench.
Even if you’re happy to have your cooking space open to all, there may be some things you’d like to keep out of view, like piles of dirty plates and more mundane appliances and utensils. In this case, a butler’s pantry or scullery can be the ideal solution. The kitchen sink, for instance, can be tucked away from your main food preparation and entertaining space in a butler’s pantry, so you can hide the dirty plates and glasses out of sight while keeping the rest of the kitchen that’s on show looking pristine.
It’s always surprising just how much storage space you need in a kitchen. Those everyday things like cups and cutlery, tea and coffee, Tupperware and jars, can actually consume more space than you think, meaning that you don’t have a lot of room left for more substantial or bulky items. A simple solution to help you make the most of all the available room in your kitchen are floor-to-ceiling cabinets and cupboards. These are not only an effective way to utilise space that would otherwise be wasted, but they look good in all styles of kitchen as well.
Almost every kitchen will have a toaster, a kettle, a coffee maker, a microwave and a host of other everyday appliances that you use all the time and so need easy access to, but which nevertheless take up quite a lot of bench space. When you’re looking at how you design, incorporate and use the available surfaces, you need to remember to allow space for these. No-one wants to have to store these things away, so they have to be gotten out and plugged in every time you use them – rather, they need to accessible and there whenever you want them. When you’re planning how much bench space you want or need, don’t forget to take the basic necessities into account.
Lighting is an often neglected part of kitchen design. Food preparation and other tasks performed in the kitchen can require delicacy, and so being able to see clearly what you’re doing is a must. Downlights over the working space, or lights in overhead cabinets that are directed onto the areas that are most-used, are a good solution for helping you to focus on practical tasks. However, don’t forget that lights can also be an attractive design element in the kitchen and there are plenty of imaginative solutions out there. Pendant lights, for instance, help you to concentrate the light into areas where you need it while still offering a pleasing aesthetic aspect. You can also look at ways of introducing more natural light, through a skylight or additional windows – this is both easy on the eye but can also help to keep those excessive Adelaide energy costs in check!
If you’re unable to undertake a full kitchen rebuild or to add a kitchen extension, but nevertheless want to spruce up what you already have, there are a number of ways in which you can make the most of the space and improve both its functionality and overall appearance.
Replacing bench tops is one of the most straightforward and effective ways of re-energising a tired kitchen. Along with the joinery, these are the most visible, not to mention most-used, parts of any kitchen and so upgrading them has an instantly transformative effect. There are options to suit all budgets, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive project, but you will undoubtedly reap rewards in the uplift it gives you.
For instance, laminates are affordable and nowadays both look and wear better than they might have done in the past. Stone bench tops, particularly those in reconstituted stone, are popular because of their look and durability – as well as being tough, there is great range of styles and colours to suit any colour scheme and design. If you want to go high end, then granite bench tops provide a unique look that is also strong and hard working. Alternatively, acrylic bench tops are especially effective in an ultra-contemporary kitchen, where features like sinks and draining boards can be integrated seamlessly.
Cupboard and pantry doors, drawers and other joinery are the first sign that a kitchen is out of date or has seen better days. Colour schemes and design concepts have changed significantly and so the joinery is probably what dates the quickest in terms of style, while at the same time, because they get so much use, they also tend to suffer from major wear and tear more than anything else in the kitchen as well. A simple paint job, or replacing handles and knobs, may be all that’s needed if your cupboard doors and drawers are structurally sound, but if they are worn or damaged, replacing them is probably more efficient and cost effective. Doing this will also give you a greater range of options in terms of creating a more up-to-date design concept.
Adding or replacing a splashback in your kitchen is a really simple way of achieving a more contemporary look, and there are options available to suit all types of property and budget. Coloured glass, for instance, is ideal because it’s low maintenance, easy to clean and prevents germs and bacteria building up, as there’s no grouting for it to hide in. Subway tiles are also popular in Adelaide kitchen renovations, as they create an old-school look that at the same time is widely used in contemporary design or, if you prefer, mosaic tiles can be a good alternative. For the ultimate modern look, mirror splashbacks are also being seen more often in today’s homes, and these have the advantage of creating a feeling of space, ideal if you don’t have as much room as you would ideally like.
There is an infinite variety of sink and tap styles and designs available on the market, and these can quite dramatically update and transform the look of your kitchen. From basic, functional design to more eye-catching models, replacing your exisiting taps and sink will do a lot to make your kitchen more appealing, even when you can’t reconfigure your existing space in any meaningful way.
At Builders At Your Service, we are specialists in building kitchen extensions and renovating existing kitchens in all types of Adelaide homes and properties. Contact us to learn more about our specialist kitchen design and building services, and find out how we can help you to create a brand new kitchen for your home, or put life back into the kitchen that has served you so well.