We asked Home Base’s kitchen experts to outline the key elements required to create the perfectly functional yet photo-worthy cooking hub designed to take you from family meal zone to catering for a crowd.
The first thing to do is take a step back and consider how your kitchen fits within the rest of the house.
“People often design their kitchen in isolation and forget adjacent areas and also what cabinetry components they have put in the rest of the home,” Catherine Valente from Laminex says. “Flow factor is integral so you need to think about all the key items.
“If you plan to bring a timber tone into the kitchen, you need to think about existing furniture as you want any timber tones to complement each other.”
Catherine says core colours should also support each other. “There should be a style to the whole home, not a different one to each area,” she says. “Most people don’t really think how they function in the kitchen. You must take the time to establish how you will use the space – what will be a cupboard and what will be a drawer, how will I move around the kitchen, do I have the prep space I need? Do I want the main section of my kitchen to be a showpiece so do I need a gallery prep kitchen? Taking the time to walk yourself mentally through the space will stop some major (and expensive) mistakes.”
The next part of the process is to plan the function of the kitchen.
“A lot of time and effort needs to go into looking at the details,” Simone Wood from Veejay’s Renovations says. “A good layout will make the space function well and could help you save time during hectic meal preparation sessions.”
She says with careful planning, you can get multiple uses out of the kitchen zone. “Don’t forget you can include a space where people can eat at the bench or study or work,” she says.
“It’s important to take the time to consider that all doors open in the most sensible direction, that the dishwasher is well located in relation to the sink. Those kinds of details make all the difference.”
Caesarstone’s Linda Hannah says it’s important to plan out how you want to work in the kitchen. “Where should you place the cooktop/oven, sink and fridge for ease of use?” she says.
“Will children be doing homework on the island bench and where should you place the power outlets? Some areas you may want to feature and highlight with open shelving and other areas you may prefer to have more discreet cupboards.”
Keeping the space looking clean and simple is a key concept when it comes to designing the perfect kitchen, according to Catherine.
“More than three finishes in a kitchen can cause the space to become too busy and you will lose the impact of it,” she says. “One colour in a kitchen can still be amazing or just doing a textural change in material but using the same colour can look great.
“If you want to do a contrasting colour to your overheads, then the colour needs to be supported somewhere else. This doesn’t necessarily mean another cabinet area – it could be picking the same tone for your stools or a pendant or even some key decor. If you want it just in cabinetry, try the back panel of the island if you have one or a tower section – this will balance the space and make a great feature.”
Selwin Freese from Kitchen Craftsmen says overhead cabinets are important from both a practical and aesthetic perspective.
“Even though you may not feel that adding overhead cabinets in your kitchen will assist in using your kitchen better on a day-to-day basis, the extra storage space may help alleviate limited storage in other areas of the house – you can never have enough storage space,” he says.
“Aesthetically, overhead cabinets provide an opportunity to add your own touch, by adding a pop of colour, or contrasting from darker base cabinetry by using light-coloured overhead finishes. With handle-less options becoming more popular for overhead cabinets, they can also assist in driving home a more minimalist approach.”
Pull-out storage drawers are still popular, years after they started to become mainstream.
“They’re versatile and easy to access and there’s no limit to what you can put into them,” Town and Country Design’s Maggie Milligan says. “If you work with a good designer, you can do some clever things and make really good use of every available inch of space.”
Supermatt is a massive emerging trend when it comes to splashbacks and other surfaces, according to Damien Craddock from TM Kitchens.
“This is not just a craze, supermatt surfaces are very durable and functional too, so I think they will be here to stay,” he says.
Catherine says the Laminex AbsoluteMatte product is fingerprint resistant so makes a great addition to any kitchen.
“Veined benchtops continue to be strong both in stone and laminate,” she says. “Our Unique Calacatta is a stunning version of a true Calacatta but in a reconstituted stone, giving the luxury of a high-end look and knowing it will withstand the daily elements.
“There is a continuing pull to the natural elements and technology gives us the ability to replicate the true texture of timber but in a laminate or take the soft granulation of stone and apply it to a laminate benchtop.”
Both practicality and functionality are important considerations when it comes to choosing a sink.
Undermount sinks are popular due to the streamlined look they create but the edges of the sink are susceptible to chipping, especially when washing larger pots. While top-mount sinks are more visible, there are models with inbuilt drainers offering a place to put dishes when drying. Black sinks are current trending.
There’s nothing worse than working in a poorly lit kitchen. Good lighting not only plays a role in the functionality of a space, it can also help to create ambience.
“If you can put aside a budget for installing lights under overhead cupboards, you really can take a kitchen to the next level,” Kitchen Capital WA’s Sue Jansen says.
“There’s a lot of clever things that can be done with lighting in bulkheads that also look very good.”
Marie Botsis-Premici from The Montauk Lighting Co. says pendant lights can add a huge amount of wow factor to any kitchen. “Choose something that is both artistic and functional and you can’t go wrong,” she says. “Adding pendants over the top of a bench can really help to transform the appearance of a kitchen and there are lots of beautiful options available.”
Integrating flooring with the rest of the living spaces in the home will ultimately make the kitchen feel bigger.
Tiles, concrete and other hard surfaces are the most durable, according to Sue.
“Having a surface that can work hard and withstand regular cleaning and high traffic is very important,” she says. “It’s a good idea to avoid lots of grout if you can and if you are using wood, make sure it is properly protected with a sealer because spillages can cause heartache if they stain.”
Integrated appliances are big in Europe and can make a kitchen look streamlined and clutter free, says Damien. “But this becomes redundant if there is space for a butler’s kitchen or scullery,” he says.
Grey, concrete, wood and dark colour schemes are all continuing to trend at the moment, whilst black is also featuring heavily in kitchen designs. While there will always be conservative designs using white kitchens, black is also a timeless colour.
Find out more about Home Base’s kitchen displays and showrooms.