When it comes to the heart of the home, there's no question Australia–based Blue Tea Kitchens holds the key to creating your ideal space. Awarded Kitchen Designer of the Year in 2017, the team of design and renovation specialists guides clients through every step of their revamp, ensuring happiness, satisfaction, and endless inspiration. Below, they share their top 10 useful tips that can assist with any kitchen remodel.
1. Designing a Layout
Because the kitchen is essentially a working space, it needs to be designed with functionality in mind. Easy and accessible access to food storage and preparation areas are key to a successful kitchen redesign.
The floor plan and space dictates much of what is possible, and you have to design with these constraints in mind. For instance, in smaller kitchens, large appliances and kitchen islands will decrease space, so think about whether you need more work areas or storage.
2. Choosing Sinks
Ensure that your sinks and taps are of high quality so that they last longer. When choosing stainless steel products, look for a high percentage of chromium and nickel, as this indicates the steel is strong and durable.
Also, decide how much space you can afford to set aside for your sink. It may not be a wise decision to install a double-sink if you’re in need of more worktop space. If this is the case, consider a single, undermount sink.
3. Picking Materials For Worktop Surfaces
A work surface should be durable and hygienic. Each material will have its own benefits and drawbacks, so think about your lifestyle and aesthetic preferences when making your choice.
Some homeowners adore the natural beauty of marble and will put up with the extra maintenance it requires. But if you want a hassle-free surface, composite stone is a better choice, as it is durable, attractive, and more economical.
4. Mixing Lighting
To create a balanced ambience in your kitchen, use a mixture of task and decorative lighting. Task lighting—such as LED down lights, florescent lighting, and LED cabinetry strip lighting—will make your kitchen more user-friendly, but decorative lighting such as pendants can help create a cozier atmosphere.
5. Preparing For Your Backsplash
Most people don’t consider the backsplash until the final stages of a renovation. However, this can be a mistake, as the backsplash carries much visual weight in most kitchens.
Think about the size and scale of your backsplash. For example, using an oversized slab or marble of natural stone can help you create a striking kitchen. If you’re choosing tiles, subtle textured tiles can create timeless appeal, while bold, colored tiles can add a sense of drama.
6. Choosing Cabinetry
Choose high-quality hinges and runners, as these are the engine of your kitchen. For instance, the team at Blue Tea Kitchens likes to use hardware from German-engineered brands Blum and Hafele, because they find them both practical and durable.
7. Being Mindful About Electrical/Plumbing Systems
Be mindful of your current electrical and plumbing configurations when renovating. If you live in an apartment, it may not be possible to change your electrical or plumbing systems, as the structure of the building may not allow for major alterations. You will probably have more flexibility if you are remodeling the kitchen in a house. However, it is important to always hire professionals to help with these areas.
8. Maximizing Space in Small Kitchens
To maximize space in small kitchens, swap cupboards for drawers, which can hold 30-percent more items. Keep the layout simple, yet smart.
The symmetry of your cabinetry is especially important in a smaller space, as cabinets that are well-proportioned make a space look bigger. Tall but slim cabinetry is also a good idea for tinier kitchens. For your pantry, utilize inner and pull-out drawers.
9. Increasing Functionality in Large Kitchens
If you have ample floor space and entertain frequently, consider including a butler’s pantry—a utility area for preparing food and cleaning up.
With much of the functional programs located within the butler’s pantry, you will have more space within your kitchen to incorporate social areas, such as breakfast bars.
10. Assessing Maintenance
Choose durable materials from the start. Some luxe items such as marble benchtops and backsplashes require special care, as they are softer and more porous, not to mention stain and scratch faster.
Cheaper cabinetry and hinges may save you money up front, but often incur higher maintenance costs in the long run. That said, it will be worth your time and money to invest in high quality, long lasting options.
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