Flooring: A high-traffic area, the kitchen is prone to spills ranging from water to oils, dishes and wine. You want to look for kitchen flooring materials that are low maintenance and can withstand use over time. The most durable flooring options include: concrete, stone, tile, vinyl and wood laminate. Besides durability, cooking requires long periods of standing and walking back and forth. Flooring that has some cushioning is helpful, especially if you suffer from back issues. The most ergonomic flooring options include: bamboo, carpet tiles, cork, rubber flooring, vinyl, wood, wood laminate. But alas, there is also style and appearance to consider: we suggest weighing up the priorities when selecting.
Windows: A much-loved feature in the kitchen is the window above the benchtop and sink – you spend so much time here, so make the most of it by optimising your views out of this space. Consider where kids may play, views out into charming landscapes or nature, and where the sun rises and sets to help determine where this feature will best sit. A wider window taking up majority of a wall space provides lots of natural light into a space you often need concentration is a great option, whereas a long and thin horizontal window will allow light in without completely sacrificing privacy.
Lighting: We all want to keep our fingers and toes so a well-lit work area is a safety essential in a kitchen but the key to great kitchen lighting is to rely on a cast of lighting sources. Layer your lights by mixing ambient (overall), task, and accent or decorative lighting with natural light. The kitchen has become about so much more than food prep; it’s inevitably where everyone congregates when entertaining, so it’s important to ensure lighting is both task-oriented as well as ambient and friendly. Avoid anything overly bright, you don’t want it to feel clinical, and if possible fixtures should be dimmable so the light can be adjusted to meet different needs, from early morning lunch-making to late night dinner parties.
Storage: Having a well thought out plan or design for your storage needs is a must before commencing any work. When thinking of your cabinetry, consider if you want to build to the ceiling – this allows for ample storage as well as avoiding endless dust that collects with cabinets that fall just short. Make the most of your kitchen storage by incorporating drawers in the kitchen island, pull out pantry shelving racks and corner cupboards. If you have the budget for it, invest in soft-close drawers.
The Kitchen Triangle: The kitchen work triangle is a concept that was developed back in the 1940’s when kitchens were very compact and appliances very large. The concept is used to determine efficient kitchen layouts. The primary tasks in a home kitchen are carried out between the cook top, the sink and the refrigerator. These three points and the imaginary lines between them, make up what kitchen experts call the work triangle. The segments of the triangle represent traffic flow within a kitchen, ideally creating a rotational movement between the tasks. Despite the fact that the kitchen triangle is a 70-year-old rule, it is still something worth keeping in mind when you are redesigning your kitchen however, it is highly likely that you’re going to factor in other new-age elements such as eating, doing homework, and entertaining.
Appliances: Choose appliances before you plan your cabinetry, so you can be sure they fit. If you have a big family, you might need a double oven or double fridge. You’ll need to decide between electricity or gas for cooking – induction cooktops are not only environmentally friendly, they save time, energy and the absence of flames makes the kitchen cooler and safer. Ensure there is enough ventilation around the appliances and plan out power points and where cables and plugs will be placed. Consider if you want your fridge and dishwasher on display or behind cupboards. Built in appliances look a lot slicker but can be more costly and complex to change in the future.
Islands and Breakfast Bars
These are what make the kitchen a multi-tasking space. Get one long enough to fit at least three chairs along if possible. Make it work harder by adding wine storage or cookbook shelving, power points for laptops and charging phones, or extra drawers or hidden cabinets that you don’t need to access regularly. Depending on the shape of your kitchen, an island can make the work triangle more efficient. In a compact kitchen, consider a rolling or mobile island that can be tucked against a wall when not in use.
What standard is the rest of your house? If it’s mid-level, a marble benchtop is probably over-selling it a bit. If it’s top class, a skinny laminate benchtop will let it down. Laminate is the cheapest benchtop option, it can be made to size and there are loads of colour and edging options – but it can scratch and you can’t put hot pots directly on it. If you’ve chosen your benchtop to be the hero feature in your kitchen, engineered stone and granite are hardy and good looking. Marble is beautiful but may stain. Stainless steel is great for an industrial-style home but it does scratch and it can be hard to stay on top of fingerprints and smudges. If you have a traditional house or a country-style kitchen, a timber benchtop could work, whereas a concrete benchtops give a “wow” factor and come in a variety of finishes, but can be expensive.
Avoid using small tiles such as mosaic tiles as grease and grime can easily stick to the grout lines making them very difficult to clean. Consider what’s best long-term; colour or a neutral? Although a colourful backsplash has immediate impact, a neutral backsplash can add just as much character to your space. Backsplash height is often a design detail homeowners overlook. The backsplash has to end somewhere, but where it ends is up to you. If you just want a hint of tile, only bring your backsplash up to the bottom of your cabinet or first shelf in an open shelving design such as the one below. Your tile backsplash is always going to be right up against your countertops, so it is important to make sure the two materials and colours work well together. If you want your kitchen to remain timeless in design, we suggest sticking with a classic field tile size such as a white subway tile.
This article has been supplied by Refresh Renovations