The keys to great kitchen design

Putting two large or three smaller pendant lights over an island bench can really add a bit of pizazz, so don’t underestimate what lighting can do to set off the kitchen. Photo credit: Style My Space

Putting two large or three smaller pendant lights over an island bench can really add a bit of pizazz, so don’t underestimate what lighting can do to set off the kitchen. Photo credit: Style My Space

The old way to design a layout was to have a triangle – the sink and prep in one spot, your oven in another, and then your fridge in a third spot.

Modern kitchen designs use zoned areas such as the prep zone (benches used for prepping a meal), cooking zone (for the oven, microwave, thermomix), storage zone (for cupboards, fridge, pantry) and cleaning zone (sink, dishwasher).

Do what works for your space. You might even be able to incorporate both schools of thought.

Decide on the overall style of kitchen you want. This could be anything from ultra-modern to a Hamptons beach-style kitchen.

Whatever you choose, take into account the style of the house.  

Options for cabinetry include two pac, vinyl wrap, laminate or timber. Make sure your choices are suited to your circumstances, for example, if you’ve got small children or you’re planning on renting out the property, you might be best off with vinyl wrap or laminate.

Some people shy away from vinyl wrap, but these days they’re a pretty good option and come in a range of styles and profiles.

The main choices for splashbacks are tiles or glass. I prefer tiles because they’re practical and come in a broad range of styles, sizes and colours.

If your cabinet doors are plain, using a smaller sized tile for your splashback can introduce some texture to your kitchen. If you’ve got a bit more going on in the kitchen and cabinetry, you could opt for a simpler splashback to balance it out.

Although popular in recent years, glass splashbacks usually only look good in a very modern home. Keep 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.

Stone is a good option for benchtops and there are numerous styles available. You could go for a moderately priced white with flecks style to a plainer, but more expensive option, with a vein running through it. Don’t restrict yourself to a white benchtop though, other neutrals can work well.

I advise against using laminate unless it’s an investment property or it’s a lower value build or renovation. Wooden benchtops are another possibility, but this may not be practical in the long run. If you like the warmth of a timber look, you can always add it through some feature shelving or other accents instead.

You can do a very general lighting plan, but keep in mind the overall look you’re trying to achieve. Putting two large or three smaller pendant lights over an island bench can really add a bit of pizazz, so don’t underestimate what lighting can do to set off the kitchen.

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