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. However modern kitchen designs use zoned areas such as the prep zone, cooking zone, storage zone and cleaning zone. According to Ranee Buckle, kitchen design consultant at Central Kitchens in Bendigo, our tea and coffee obsession has also made a drinks zone more prevalent.
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, taking into account the style of the house. “As kitchen designers, we encourage clients to wait until plans are resolved before purchasing appliances,” says Ranee. “The design will assist them in deciding the sizes of items, including the sink.”
Options for cabinetry include vinyl wrap, laminate/melamine or timber. Make sure your choices are suited to your circumstances – 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/melamine.
The main choices for splashbacks are tiles or glass, however Ranee notes that a stone splashback in the same finish as benchtops is becoming more popular.
“We are embracing a more European design aesthetic, where there is a more visually seamless approach to joinery,” she says. “This is a significant shift from the days where every plane, from kick to overheads, was a different colour and finish.”
Ranee notes that glass splashbacks are ideal for older homes that often lack natural light, as the glass provides a light reflective opportunity to brighten these spaces. 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. If your cabinet doors are plain, using a smaller sized tile for your splashback can introduce some texture to your kitchen. If you have concerns about the grout, Ranee suggests selecting a large tile with a visual texture or pattern.
While stone is a popular option for benchtops, Ranee says laminate is an often misunderstood product, with excellent durability, together with visual and textural qualities. “Often on measure ups we come across ancient laminate benchtops which hardly have evidence of wear and tear,” she says. ”Don’t underestimate laminate, it’s truly worth exploring what this product can provide, whatever your budget.”
Also don’t underestimate what lighting can do to set off the kitchen. You can do a very general lighting plan, but keep in mind the overall look you’re trying to achieve. Ranee advises not to overlook task lighting, which will reduce shadows in the main prepping areas.