From planning to the final touches, this article also featured in Fantastic Living tells you everything you need to know about planning a kitchen renovation with a few tips on buying secondhand kitchens, too!
The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in the house. From cooking to cleaning to simply catching up with friends and family, it all happens in the kitchen. So it’s no surprise that it can be one of the areas of your house that could most benefit from a renovation. Whether you can simply update the colour scheme with new cupboard doors or an entire refit is in order, read on to learn everything you need to know about kitchen renovations.
Firstly, take a good look at your kitchen and work out why it needs updating. Does it simply look dated? Does the colour scheme match the rest of your home? Is it inviting? Are some of the surfaces a bit worn? Have you run out of space? Is an entire refit in order? If you’re going to change the layout, how will you need to change it and why? Answering these questions honestly and making a note of them will give you a good start on planning your renovation and working out a budget.
Write a list of the things you like and dislike about your current kitchen and from that, start to work out what needs to be done. Draw a scale plan of how you would like the kitchen to be and if it’s a massive redesign, try marking out with masking tape on the floor where things such as new benches might go, so you can get a feel for what you’re creating. If you don’t feel up to the task, remember there are kitchen renovation specialists you can hire who will guide you through the entire process.
Next, research! There is an incredibly large array of options available for kitchens. From the layout design to benchtops, fittings, cupboard door designs, tiles, textures, lighting, appliances and more! It can be quite overwhelming, however if you have answered the questions above then you’ll be one step ahead as you’ll be coming into this with a plan and hopefully a rough budget.
You’ll also want to research materials. Better quality may cost more, but it will also last a lot longer. Consider timber cupboard doors instead of chipboard, granite benchtops over laminate and good quality door slides and hinges.
Once you have an idea as to what colours, fittings, materials and style you prefer you can start visiting stores and seeing the items in person. You should also get samples if you can as, depending on the lighting in your kitchen, colours and textures can appear quite different to on the showroom floor.
At this point you might also consider looking around on ebay and gumtree. For a fraction of the cost of a new kitchen you can purchase someone else’s kitchen second hand. You may even want to consider putting the kitchen you’re planning on replacing up for sale.
Once you know what you’re doing, where it’s going, what you’re using and have a rough idea of how much you want to spend it’s time to look at the installation costs. We see kitchen renovations done in a day on the tv all the time, but it’s important to realise that it is never that simple. If you’re inexperienced at laying tiles or fitting storage units then you might want to leave it to the professionals.
You’ll definitely need to hire a professional for any electrical, gas or plumbing work that’s required. You should also ask for a certificate stating that they completed the works to the appropriate standard, as there’s a chance it could be required should you ever try to sell the house.
Finding and comparing quotes is never a great process, but websites such as Service Central (www.servicecentral.com.au) can make your life easier by enabling you to ‘post a job’ which is then referred to appropriate, certified tradespeople. The main advantage to posting your job online is that you can clearly write down what’s required, including measurements, instead of having to rattle it off again and again over the phone, potentially forgetting things.
Once you’ve worked out how the installation will take place, prepare for your kitchen to become a construction site. Depending on what’s being done this could be a minor inconvenience or it could mean moving back to Mum’s for a week or two. If the kitchen’s going to be undergoing some major changes then remember to store everything away from the renovation zone to avoid losing or breaking things.
Finally, once your renovation is complete, remember to add some personal touches. A new knife rack or some simple decorations can make a world of difference. Hopefully you’ll enjoy your new kitchen for many years to come.
This article, written by Service Central's lead writer, Pauline Hill, was published in Fantastic Living, Issue 1, 2011.