Mar 20, 2019

6 Essential Kitchen Renovation Tips


In his book, “Cooking as Therapy”, Dr Louis Parrish says “If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life.”

So, have a look at your kitchen and see how organized it is (or isn’t!).  Most of us spend a huge amount of time in our kitchens; cooking, cleaning and, if you’re lucky enough to have a large kitchen, socializing, gathering as a family for meal times, and even homework.

It only makes sense that we should be proud of our kitchens and feel that they are somewhere we can be efficient, creative, comfortable and happy.

If you are not happy in your kitchen, it is probably time for some essential kitchen renovation to make it truly into the heart of your home.

There are some things you can do yourself and some for which you will need professional assistance but the key thing, before you start, is to plan.  Over the course of days, record how you move in your kitchen, how easy or difficult it is to reach for items that you use frequently, how far is your work space from your sink, is your stove in a convenient place, does your sink face the window, etc.

Once you have worked this out and made your plan, you will need to start with plumbing and electricity which may involve major construction work.
1.      Plumbing

If you are planning to move sinks, dishwashers, washing machines or fridges with built in ice dispensers, etc.; you will need to move the water outlets and drainage.  Unless you are a professional plumber, you cannot do this alone.

If your sink is old and constantly blocking up, before you panic and replace it as part of your kitchen renovation, you can easily solve a clogged kitchen sink without the need for an expensive plumbing job.

However, if you are moving things around, now is the perfect time to check that your pipes are in good condition and have no cracks or bulges that could cause untold damage to your newly renovated kitchen. 

You might also want to consider putting in or changing a garbage disposal at the same time as well as changing taps and sinks to continue with your shiny new kitchen theme.

2.      Electrical Work

As your kitchen is already in a mess at this point, contact your local electrician to get your wires checked.  Older houses have fewer electrical sockets so those can be added at this point.  Also, be aware that some electrical appliances require a 220v socket.  So if you are changing your appliances, ask your electrician to fit one of these as well.

Finally, look at your kitchen lighting.  Often, work spaces are located underneath wall mounted cabinets which means visibility is poor.  Ask your electrician to put in sunken strip lights under those wall cabinets so you can prepare your food safely and clearly.  Also, florescent lighting, so common in kitchens from decades past, can be replaced with energy saving inset, track or pendant lighting.

3.      New Appliances

If your kitchen is old and run-down, it’s likely your appliances are too so this is a perfect time to invest in new technology which uses less electricity and water.  Also, if you are tired of hearing your dishwasher thundering noisily through its cycle, now is an excellent time to buy one of the new ranges of quiet dishwashers. 

Although these appliances can be costly, their water and electricity saving abilities will soon make them worth the investment.

If you do not have good kitchen ventilation for your new oven, or you often cook food that has a strong smell, you should seriously consider having a kitchen extractor hood fitted as well so those smells don’t spread around your home but are extracted outside and you don’t have a problem with condensation build up inside.

4.      Cabinets and Counter Tops

Now all the electrical and plumbing work is complete, it is time to install your cabinets and counter tops.  There is an enormous range on the market and you should consider your cooking and storage needs when buying.   Be aware that if you have a small or dark kitchen, it is probably best to use lighter colored cabinets and tops to give a feeling of space.  Larger and lighter kitchens can have any color you choose.

If you don’t want to change all your cabinets, you can buy replacement doors only which will give the kitchen a fresh new feel.

If you cook frequently, you should really invest in some heavy duty counter tops such as granite or stainless steel (like in a professional kitchen).  If your cooking is more occasional, or microwave based, you can go with a lower cost tile, wood or laminate counter-top.

Some retailers even have on-line kitchen design services so you can design your own cabinets or, if you have an awkward shaped kitchen, many retailers offer a kitchen design service as part of the purchase so you might want to choose that option.  Remember always that this is yourkitchen so your preferences are what counts after listening to the advice of the experts.

The standard height for kitchen cabinets is 35 inches including the counter top.  If you have different height requirements because you are very tall or short, or physically challenged in some way, now is the ideal time to install them at a height that suits you.

5.      Accessories

Where to start with accessories?  Recent years have shown a remarkable collection of cabinet accessories that really increase the space available, as well as make items accessible that were once lost in the back of your cabinets until they expired.

Clever use of wire basket drawers, knife holders, pull out trays etc. can double your cabinet space for very little expenditure. 

See if you have space for a kitchen island which will make the most of the center of your empty floor space giving you extra counter top space, storage and even can serve as a breakfast bar or dining table.

6.      Decorative Touches

This is the most fun part.  Try fitting or sticking waterproof and easily wiped splash-backs on the walls behind food preparation areas, cookers, sinks etc. These will save you a great deal of cleaning time and effort and there are some very decorative ones that can really cheer up a boring kitchen.

Colored curtains or blinds are windows can offer a cheerful color touch but make sure you choose washable ones as they can get dirty quickly.  Use matching or contrasting fabrics for bar stool covers or cushions.

Use attractive crockery to display on open shelves and don’t forget to highlight your enormous cookery book collections too.


You can do any or all of the above to make your kitchen a more efficient, attractive and comfortable place to be.

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