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July 3, 2015

Top tips for renovating the kitchen

By FRANK VALENTIC

Kitchens have become the heart of the home. Some years ago, the living room was the place where families gathered at the end of the day, but kitchens are now the central meeting point.

That’s why kitchens should be high on your renovation priority list. A great kitchen, one that’s inviting and usable, hinges on both clever design and functionality. Here are my tips to achieving the perfect balance.

Create zones

The key to ensuring your kitchen is a practical space is to zone areas based on activities. For instance, in the food preparation zone, ensure the fridge, knives and chopping boards are in arm’s reach. In the cooking zone, position the area for utensils, pots and pans and seasonings close by. Also, ensure the sink, dishwasher and cupboards are grouped together in the clean-up zone. Keep these zones in mind when designing your kitchen with an architect or draftsman and your kitchen will be easier to use.

Inviting benchtops

With the kitchen bench being the ‘go-to’ place for eating breakfast, doing homework or even entertaining guests, it’s imperative that the counter has enough space for these activities as well as preparing food. When planning your renovation, ensure the bench is at least 1.5 metres wide to cater for this – and space for the humble fruit bowl, too! Also, make sure your benchtop can fit a couple of bar stools on the other side.

The kitchen bench can also act as the divider between the living and cooking spaces, so consider making it a key feature of the room. If cost allows, look for eloquent materials such as marble, granite or stone, which are easy to clean but also add a touch of class to the room.

Storage space

When the kitchen was a separate room in the house, it was far easier to hide the food preparation from your guests. Now, with open plan living in vogue, having plenty of storage solutions are a must to keep items hidden away when entertaining.

Apart from installing cupboards and drawers, some other solutions to declutter your kitchen include having cupboards at bench level with power points to contain your appliances, a walk-in pantry for food storage, or even a butler’s pantry for food preparation. Keep these ideas in mind when renovating to help you find a good balance between practicality and appearance.

Sufficient lighting

The kitchen isn’t an area of the home that you can get away with the ‘bare bones’ when it comes to lighting. For the purposes of safety in food preparation and cooking, good lighting is paramount. It’s also important for those wishing to read the paper at the kitchen bench. Downlights are a great option for renovators as they provide solid lighting, are simple, modern and classy, and not too expensive. They also appeal to a wider demographic of buyers when it comes to reselling your property down the track.

While the kitchen is a very personal area of the home, the basics such as clever zones, the right bench space, smart storage and ample lighting are features that almost all buyers value. Take these factors into account when renovating and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards when it comes to re-sale.

About Frank Valentic

Frank Valentic is the founder of independent buyers’ advocacy service as well as a buyers’ advocate judge on TV show The Block. Over its 15 years of operation, Advantage has expanded its service offerings to include property management, vendors’ advocacy, group block purchases and owners’ corporation services, having bought and sold for more than 3000 clients.

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