RENOVATIONS FOR JOYFUL COOKING SMART DESIGN ELEMENTS A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
INVESTING in a new kitchen is well worth a few weeks of mess, disruption and takeaway dinners.
Whether it’s a hideous colour, falling off its hinges or bursting at the seams, a dodgy kitchen can take the joy out of cooking and make it more of a chore than it needs to be.
Conversely, today’s low-maintenance features make cleaning up a breeze and a clever layout will give you a place for everything.
A shiny, all-white kitchen has long been the default choice, but kitchen design is now favouring a more layered look, combining various textures, finishes and colours.
Poliform senior design consultant David Cross attributes the shift to today’s kitchens being part of open-plan living areas.
“The objective is to make them look less like a kitchen and more like freestanding furniture,” he says.
“We’re moving away from one monolithic single colour theme that makes the kitchen look enormous from the sofa.”
Jenny O’Connell of Freedom Kitchens says popular colour choices include matt black, grey and warm timber grains.
“Designers use colour blocking to define spaces such as upper and lower cabinetry, or to highlight an island,” she says.
Shiny surfaces are also being ditched in favour of low-maintenance brushed, matt and textured finishes.
Cross says: “It’s about the practicality – we don’t want to see watermarks and fingerprints.”
WORKING THE LAYOUT
No matter how good it looks, a kitchen plonked in a space with no thought to its functionality will quickly lose its shine. The old kitchen triangle, with sink, stove and fridge within easy reach of each other, is a good guide, but can be over-simplistic, Cross says.
Pantries and fridges should be side-by-side to make it easier to unpack groceries and source recipe ingredients in one spot, he adds.
Also think about the parts of the kitchen that need to be accessed from other rooms, such as the fridge and bin.
Compact kitchens provide the benefit of everything within easy reach, and some clever design tricks will maximise every inch of the available space.
“Every single cabinet has to work harder,” Cross says. “You get about 40 per cent more space out of a drawer compared to a cupboard because it comes out to you; you lose a lot of space down the back of cupboards.”
Consider a drawer beneath the cooking space to house pantry items, rather than cluttering up your kitchen with a tall pantry unit. “If your back bench is too short, removing the tall pantry unit will give you more prep space — make it a horizontal pantry instead,” he says.
Combining the functions of a kitchen and dining room is another way to save space. Drop part of your bench down to table height to create a comfortable dining nook within the kitchen, Cross suggests.
Alternatively, park your dining table against your island bench and only pull it away when you have a large group over for dinner.
O’Connell suggests adding “connectivity centres” to kitchen seating areas, where iPads and laptops can be plugged in.
Today’s kitchens combine textures, finishes and colours (above) and use drawers to maximise storage (above left). Pictured is the Phoenix kitchen from Poliform, poliform.com.au/kitchens.