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14 tips for creating the perfect kitchen

By Holly Sprott

We called up the experts to ask them one question, “What is your top tip for designing the perfect kitchen?” Here’s what they had to say…

1. Choose coloured cabinets
Don’t be afraid to go for bold colour on your kitchen cabinets – mid- to deep greys, blue tones and even shades of peppermint or sage green make great alternatives. If your walls are white, don’t go for white cupboards too; it’s a missed opportunity to inject a little more personality into your space. Of course, a dark hue is also a lot more forgiving where sticky fingers are concerned!

“I recommend asking your cabinetmaker to have cabinet doors coated with a satin two-pack painted finish in your favourite shade (they’ll be able to match any colour). This is a very hardy paint finish, ensuring a sleek look which is robust and super easy to wipe clean,” – Lucy Feagins​, Editor of The Design Files.

2. Think efficiently
“Make sure you have the ‘triangle of efficiency’ in place. Your journey from the countertop workspace, to the stove, and to the sink should not be too big or have obstacles in the way.” –Alia Dalal, Health and Wellness Chef.

3. Clear the bench
“If items can be put away or stored out of sight, the kitchen will be a much better place to work. Go through all the things you have in your cupboards and then work out where they would best be placed in the new kitchen: oils and spices near the cooktop, baking trays near the oven, platters and chopping boards near the workspace, and access to dinnerware and cutlery away from the work zone so others can assist in setting the table or dishing up.” – Jennifer French,Interior Decorator and Colour Consultant.

4. Build around light
“One simple trick to make your kitchen appear bigger is to make the most of the natural light available. Build your shelves and appliances around the windows and your kitchen will instantly be more inviting. If your window is in an awkward space, combine wall cabinets in different heights, widths and depths to create an interesting, dynamic storage solution in an otherwise restricted space.” – Tim Prevade, Commercial Activities and Visitation & Vitality Leader at IKEA Australia

5. Style with appliances
Coloured appliances are an ideal way to make a strong design statement, adding contrast, interest and style to the kitchen. Red appliances in particular suit white or rich, dark colour schemes, or try the European trend of choosing sleek black over stainless steel appliances.

6. Consider the space
“When planning a kitchen, it’s important to give careful consideration to how the space will be used. Some questions need to be answered, like ‘Do you want people in the kitchen with you while you are cooking?’ and ‘Do you want people sitting on the other side of the bar talking to you while you cook?’ How a kitchen should function is a personal matter, and your kitchen design should reflect that.” Drew Reaper, Architectural Designer at Verde Homes.

7. Colour block
“Colour blocking in the kitchen is great way to bring in colour without being overwhelming. Adding a feature row of contrasting cabinetry in colour or timber grain instantly transforms a plain kitchen into a dual-toned space with depth and unique visual appeal.” – Julie Hanover, Professional Kitchen Designer at The Good Guys.

8. Hide the sink
“Avoid placing your sink on the island bench, especially if you are a drip-dryer, because a messy island bench makes for a messy looking house. Alternatively, build up the bench around the sink to hide the mess.” – Carlene Duffy, Designer at Cedar and Suede.

9. Storage is key
“Storage and convenience have become a premium design element in kitchens with one of the major trends in kitchen renovations being the use of drawers for storage of crockery, cooking utensils and saucepans, as well as cupboards. This removes the frustration of searching behind item after item in cupboards that are too high or too deep to see into.” – Cameron Frazer, Ask an Architect.

10. Think practically
“Caesar stone is a great product, but a word of warning: some finishes (while beautiful) make it hard for the naked eye to see crumbs and marks. When in doubt, select surfaces of solid colour or with minimal texture.” – Vicki Brereton, Founder of Decor Interior Style.

11. Ignore the trends
“To be honest, I don’t follow trends in kitchen design­ – they tend to date. Innovative kitchen designs are all about clever use of space, material, and layout to achieve a functional and aesthetic solution to complement the overall house design and should be designed to work in sync with your lifestyle. Truly good design and good taste are always current and always relevant.” – Drew Reaper, Architectural Designer at Verde Homes.

12. Contrast materials
“Use materials such as glass and marble to soften the look of all-black cabinetry.” – Julian Brenchley, Principal Architect at Brenchley Architects

13. Opt for a tiled splashback
“Choosing a splashback can be a daunting decision; it just seems so permanent. Try and avoid the temptation to go for a highly reflective surface, such as glass or mirror. Whilst these options are often appealing because they’re easy to clean, a reflective splashback also reflects all the clutter on your bench tops, making a busy, functional kitchen counter look even messier than usual.

“Tiles provide a great alternative and are equally easy to maintain, and depending on your selection, tiles can also often be the most affordable solution.” – Lucy Feagins, Editor of The Design Files.

14. Look for alternatives
“Unfortunately we often don’t have the space for a pantry, but there is a simple solution. If you combine cabinets and cover panels, you can easily create a unit that doubles up as a pantry and also houses the microwave. In this kitchen, we also built an island using a base cabinet, a tabletop and a trestle, something that can easily be done in most kitchens and gives more storage options.” – Tim Prevade, Commercial Activities and Visitation & Vitality Leader at IKEA Australia.


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