How to design a dream kitchen that you’ll love for years to come

Article by Homes to Love

Whether you’re looking for a small on-trend update or you want to do a complete overhaul of your kitchen, we’ll help you break the process down into stages

How to design a dream kitchen that you’ll love for years to come

As the hardest working room in your home, your kitchen will be one of the biggest investments you make when building or renovating. For this reason, it’s important that you do it once and do it right! Before you begin this exciting journey you need to have a clear vision about what you want to achieve. Here’s how to create a kitchen that has timeless style with your own personal twist:

Plan, plan and plan some more

The key to a nailing a big project like your kitchen is to make a list and check it twice. In fact, make multiple lists – the most important being your budget spreadsheet. Make sure you include two columns: one for budgeted expenses and one for actual. This way you can keep track of any variations so there are no unsavoury surprises at the end.

Break the details of your project into categories – i.e your budget, style ideas and tradespeople, so you don’t miss anything. Remember to include other costs like skip hire, tip costs and even takeaways. Research recent sales in your area and make note of any renovations to make sure you’re not over capitalising. A good rule of thumb, especially if you’re renovating for sale, is to not spend more than 2% of your home’s value on your kitchen. Then create a solid timeline of the project and give yourself a deadline – this will help you to finalise your budget.

Measuring up

It’s one thing to day dream about an L-shaped kitchen with an island but it’s another to actually fit it into your home. Measuring up your space and considering the era/style of your home will help you to figure out what items from your lust-list will work in the space you have. To nail your vision from the beginning, try an online planner, like the PlaceMakers Design Planner, to test out your ideas. All you have to do is put your measurements into the Planner and it will create a to-scale 3D mock-up of your kitchen. You can then try different layouts, colours, cabinets and fixtures, to get a clear picture. Don’t forget to consider windows, doors and the direction they open when taking your measurements.

The layout

With your measurements in mind, close your eyes and imagine you and your family in your dream kitchen. Then ask yourself some practical questions: Do you have a busy breakfast rush? What kind of food do you cook – do you use the oven a lot? Is your kitchen the hub for social occasions?  The right layout for your kitchen is a response to your space and should reflect your cooking and social habits. The key is to nail the working triangle between your sink, stove and fridge. The functional flow between these three elements is what can make or break a kitchen. There are several popular kitchen layouts such as the U-shape and galley, and each one has different benefits regarding storage, workspace and efficiency. See our comprehensive pros and cons guide for each layout style here.

Storage is key

If there’s one thing you can’t have too much of in a kitchen it’s storage. In order to achieve that clutter-free space you’ve always dreamed of, everything in your kitchen needs a home. The secret is to split your kitchen into zones for food, crockery/cutlery, prep, cooking and cleaning. The style of layout you choose will influence where your storage can live. Extending your cabinetry right up to the ceiling will increase your storage space and will mean you don’t have any sneaky dust traps. If you’re looking to utilise every nook and cranny, especially if your kitchen’s on the small side, deep drawers and kickboards for storing baking trays and chopping boards are a clever choice.

If you’re considering an island, see if you can include couple of shelves for your cookbooks and some drawers. If you have the space, why not include a scullery with a second sink to hide away the breakfast dishes!  Don’t feel like you have to hide everything away, keeping selected items like your stand mixer and special collections will add character and stop your kitchen from feeling too clinical.

Choosing your style

This is the part where you get to show off your personality. Start by creating a mood board of inspiring kitchens then break down your vision into categories: colour, material type, fixtures, benchtop, flooring etc. You’ll get a clear idea of what you want and what particular style you’re drawn to. The best way to future-proof your kitchen while adding your personal touch is to choose classic features and then add a little twist.  We love the idea of a simple palette with unique taps and handles or using grey or black grout to give classic subway tiles a modern update. Sticking to one or two accent colours will also make your kitchen feel clean and cohesive.

Style combos we love:

+ Scandinavian chic: Warm whites, pale wood and greenery.
+ Modern and monochrome: Dark timber, white marble and brass accents
+ Soft and sophisticated: Grey hues, feature tiles, panelled cabinets
+ Bold and dramatic: Matte black, light floors and copper accessories
+ Fresh and bright: White base, mint hues, wooden touches

Matching materials

When it comes to materials in the kitchen, durability is important. To stand the test of time, you want low maintenance, easy to clean materials that don’t stain or scour easily – especially if you have kids. Don’t rule out certain materials until you get quotes, you could be pleasantly surprised at how competitively priced some options are. Mixing contrasting materials and textures together is the secret style weapon of many kitchen designers – use our style combos above as a guide. Remember to refer back to your original plan when choosing your materials to stay true your vision. A budget friendly hack we love is mixing your feature material with a cost-effective one: like a splashback of patterned mosaic tiles against a white Formica benchtop.

Self-assembly kitchens

If a creating your kitchen from the ground up isn’t in your timeframe or price bracket, self-assembly kitchens are a smart choice. The quality finishes and accessories available allow you to achieve high-end results on a humble budget. It’s also easy to design layouts around your space without the need for structural changes – so it’s perfect if you’re renovating.

Self-assembly kitchens come with comprehensive warranties, with trusted brands like PlaceMakers offering 15 year warranties on their cabinetry and a lifetime warranty on their internal hardware accessories, so you have peace of mind. We love their specially designed range of kitchens for tiny spaces – ideal for small homes, baches and apartments. Some of these kitchen packages can also offer discounts on big ticket appliances like ovens and dishwashers – win, win!

Talk to an expert

Whether you’re overflowing with ideas or have none at all, talking to a kitchen expert is a useful way to streamline your project. They’ll help you find solutions to fit your budget by advising you on what to invest in now and what you can update later. PlaceMakers offers free consultations with their kitchen team who are armed with tonnes of practical knowledge. They’ll help you to future-proof your design and can introduce a range of options you may not have even considered. Use our checklist below, get in touch and start planning your dream kitchen.

Your design checklist:

✔ Space planning

✔ Appliances

✔ Breakfast bar/island

✔ Benchtops

✔ Storage

✔ Cabinets

✔ Lighting plan

✔ Splashback

How to measure your kitchen

Loading the player...

Check out the PlaceMakers kitchen catalogue and online Designer Planner, or head in-store to speak to one of their helpful consultants.

Photography courtesy of PlaceMakers

Home experts are just a click away