Thinking of updating your kitchen but trying to avoid upturning your life?
We spoke to a selection of kitchen design experts to get a run-down on what needs to be taken into account. We’ve gathered the wisdoms of designer Pauline Stockwell, interior designer Kathrine McDonald and experts Tracy Murphy and Chelsey Mathieson. They’ve shared their advice on what to do – and what not – to make the experience as smooth as possible so you can knock your project out of the park.
While each of the experts we consulted say that a kitchen makeover is likely to be a super idea, don’t expect it to happen at supersonic speed. Setting a realistic time frame to get the job done is the first step towards success.
The general rule of thumb in the past has been to allow two months of lead in time for the planning and then add six to eight weeks from the final ordering of the kitchen for the manufacturing. This planning period includes getting a feel for a budget, developing a plan that incorporates layout, product, colours, lighting and lighting layout and other finishing touches, as well as time for making amendments, finding the right placement for appliances and selecting them.
If stone benchtops are on your wish list, allow another 10-15 working days as these will need to be templated after the cabinetry is installed.
With the current flurry of renovations up and down the country and many freight delays, you’ll likely need to factor in even longer, so check with your kitchen specialist.
A kitchen renovation often starts with a selection of inspirational images. So, start by doing your homework, referring to the likes of magazines, Pinterest, the habitatbyresene.co.nz website and home shows. Perhaps create a picture board of ideas that appeal. You’ll soon realise there are many options and numerous choices to make.
“Rather than getting confused by all the choice and bogged down by the detail, employ an expert in kitchen design and colour consultancy,” Pauline Stockwell advises. Such professionals are well equipped to put together a fantastic kitchen plan from your wish list, incorporating a selection of materials and finishes, she says.
Start by talking to a kitchen designer as there are various spatial relationships to take into account and a number of design guidelines worth knowing about. These include: don’t have a dishwasher hard in a corner as it will restrict access to adjacent drawers; ensure fridge doors can open past 90 degrees for access to shelves and vege bins; and don’t have a dishwasher and oven opening opposite each other as they will block a walkway and there may only be the potential to open one at a time. Other pointers include ensuring the internal walkway space in an island-style kitchen is at least 1.5 metres wide to keep things functional. The list goes on.
Elissa Eastwood created this stunning stencilled and hand-painted ‘tile’ splashback
Kathrine says it’s wise to start by assessing how many people will be using the kitchen, which areas will be busiest and to make sure they are positioned in locations relevant to one another.
Paying an expert may seem expensive, but its money well spent as they often see things and the space in a different way, including finding solutions to maximise space.
While any time is a good time to improve your kitchen, Tracy especially recommends summer. It’s a perfect time to use the BBQ and the hand-wash sink in your laundry can make double-duty as a dish washing station.
Paint is an easy impact point to change – it's the most cost effective and quickest way to freshen up and transform a space. Pauline advises speaking to the experts at Resene for advice on what can be painted, how to prepare the surface, and which paint best suits the situation. They can also recommend painters.
Black and white kitchens accented by plants are one on trend look that, when done well, will look classic for many years to come. Resene Bokara Grey is a current favourite for cabinetry. Resene Nero is also popular, as is the deep grey of Resene Fuscous Grey. The warmly dark and mysterious Resene Element is another option. A stark black such as Resene Noir combined with a warm white such as Resene Thorndon Cream is a classic combo for a traditional home, but it also works equally well in a contemporary one.
Chelsey says glass splashbacks provide the opportunity to introduce painted colour behind the glass.
A recent client selected the lime green of Resene Citrus as a colour injection.
Pauline loves green as a kitchen accent colour – her favourite is the "wistful and pastoral" Resene Paddock.
Tracy adds that sculleries also offer the opportunity for a splash of colour.
"Painted walls with open shelving are a nice alternative to full cabinetry. Doing so offers the chance to introduce some paint colour on the walls," she says.
Of course, colour can be used in many ways to manipulate a space to make it look bigger, lighter, or maybe more intimate. It can also help to camouflage areas and enhance architectural features.
Make sure your kitchen specialist specifies the Resene colour and the Resene AquaLAQ paint finish so you get the genuine colour you have chosen. Many homeowners have horror stories of off white kitchens looking pink because the joinery supplier has tried to substitute a lower quality paint in the wrong colour.
Some kitchens are still in good condition and just require some titivation. Maybe a new benchtop or repainting cabinet fronts is all that is required.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to fully renovate your kitchen if your carcass is still in good condition and you’re happy with the layout, or working to a really, really tight budget. A lick of paint can be transformational. The Resene AquaLAQ range, for example, provides a tough finish that’s ideal for kitchen cabinetry while Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss can be used over Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer for quick DIY updates. Lots of companies can recoat existing kitchen door panels and drawer fronts and replace ones that may have cracked or chip beyond repair. In some cases, depending on the material, benchtops and splashbacks can even be painted. If you’re not committing to a total renovation then updated lighting, handles, a new benchtop and tapware, and an updated splashback will give your kitchen a real lift.
And remember when considering paint, it’s not just cabinet fronts and walls in the equation – concrete and tile floors can be painted with Resene Walk-on and timber floors can be stained or painted.
At the end of the day, stop and acknowledge that putting together a cohesive and satisfying look will give years of enjoyment and ultimately add value to your property. It’s a job worth getting right.
Establish expectations and be upfront with your contractors about time, budget and quality
Remove all items from your cabinets and set up a temporary kitchen space if required
It’s worthwhile having fully marked up plans with your plumbing and electrical notes to save you being asked a lot of questions – and to make things clear to the tradespeople
Allow time for, and cost, the breakdown and removal of your existing kitchen. This includes the plumber, electrician and builder
Good lighting is essential for not only creating atmosphere, but chopping, cooking and prepping
Consider whether your floor needs to be replaced or repainted
Have everything signed off and sorted before the project starts to avoid making changes while the project is underway, as failing to do so from the get go can have serious time and cost ramifications later on down the road
Share your plans judiciously with friends to save getting too many people’s opinions and to avoid confusion
Be prepared for plenty of noise and disruptions
To get started on your dream kitchen, visit www.habitatbyresene.co.nz and select the kitchen filter to view a whole host of kitchen projects to inspire you from other decorators. For more colour combinations, ideas and inspiration, visit your local Resene ColorShop.
Photography by Jessica Gernat.
Kitchen Decorating Ideas
View more kitchen decorating ideas from Cuisine magazine in the Resene kitchen inspiration gallery.