kitchen with furniture and appliances

Often coming in on top of the home renovations list, kitchen overhauls provide a fantastic way to get the home you want, and they needn’t even cost you the earth. In fact, even if you were to entirely strip your kitchen and start again, the existing foundations of this room mean that you’ll pay significantly less here than you would for, say, an extension project, all with potential returns as high as 5-10% in the long run!

Unfortunately, the fantastic kitchen inspiration out there and the fact that we’ve never embarked on a project like this before can quickly see many of us making choices with style rather than substance in mind. And, that could land us with a kitchen that looks great but doesn’t quite serve its purposes, resulting in the need to spend more money to get this right. 

That’s never good news, and it’s something that you can avoid by simply remembering the single most important snippet of information for success here – this is a practical space, and it needs to be designed for practical application. That’s by no means to say that you can’t still ensure it looks great. It does, however, mean that as well as considering color schemes and general styling, you’re going to want to take a little time to cook up a kitchen that’s ultimately more about substance than style in the following ways. 

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# 1 – Plan every element of your layout

Too often, we look at kitchen inspiration on Pinterest and copy those exact layouts without asking questions about how they work in a practical sense. This easily made oversight can then result in a finished kitchen that sees your dishwasher at the other end of the kitchen from your cabinets, or your trash disposal around the other side of your island to your chopping space. 

Trying to cook in a kitchen like this is next to impossible, requiring you to walk here, there, and everywhere for even simple functions, and as much as doubling the time it takes to cook each meal. By instead factoring for these small but crucial practicalities at the planning stage, you’ll therefore be far better able to plan a kitchen that works for you. Specifically, considering each element of layout from where your appliances sit to how that correlates with your cooking areas, and beyond, is all going to help you make sure that the finer details end up where you need them to be.

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# 2 – Make sure your kitchen can stand the heat

Just as you should focus bathroom design around waterproof elements, it’s vital to remember that your kitchen is guaranteed to get hot. As such, stylish additions like wooden countertops and laminate flooring could quickly become warped, burnt, and otherwise tarnished. That’s hardly what you want when you’ve gone to the expense of kitchen renovation in the first place, and it’s something you can avoid by simply making sure that your design choices can stand the test of heat. 

This is especially important in terms of your counters, with options like these new quartz countertops providing so much heat protection that you’ll be able to put hot trays directly on top without having to worry. Even if you are in love with the idea of wooden counters, opting for something like a built-in granite cooling tray or something similar can help you to keep things pristine regardless. In terms of your flooring, it’s also important to consider the potential for warping around your oven, an issue that’s by far best avoided with the installation of tiles that can far better stand up to that ongoing heat. 

# 3 – Never forget storage

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Amongst these great design choices, it’s all too easy to forget storage that’s ultimately a hidden yet essential aspect of any practical kitchen. Unfortunately, this mistake means that even the best-designed kitchen will quickly look cluttered and a little worse for wear. 

As such, the last but arguably most important step to practical kitchen design is to factor for storage at every stage. From islands complete with plenty of storage capabilities through to incorporated pantries and, of course, ample cupboard/drawer space, it should all feature in your plans somewhere. Then, you’ll be able to guarantee the spacious, sleek kitchen that’s, most importantly, as practical as you need it to be to power your cooking at last. 

It’s difficult not to have your head turned by uber-stylish kitchen design, but remember, successful renovation here is always about substance over style. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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