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Nine tips for designing a winning kitchen

By Peter Gow

The most important room in a home for most buyers is the kitchen – it’s where the family gathers and many memories are created. Research suggests this area alone can be responsible for up to 15% of a property’s value.

And today, an awesome kitchen probably commands a more significant value premium with buyers than ever before.

In part, this is due to our shared experiences with Covid-related restrictions. The ability to create great food, and do so in wonderful surroundings, is a luxury when everything outside our front door seems to be crazy.

If you’re a homeowner who’s thinking of selling, then a kitchen renovation will likely maximize the value of your home more than any other project. And given the increasingly buoyant state of the real estate market in our neighbourhood right now, there’s no better selling environment to get the most value from your property.

As experienced local real estate agents, we’ve seen our fair share of kitchen upgrades and admired the spectacular and quietly cringed at the worst.

So we’ve listed the common mistakes to avoid when updating the heart of your home to help ensure your kitchen renovation is a real success.

  1. The triangle – Have you heard of the “kitchen triangle”? This term is used to describe the placement of the fridge, sink and stove. Designers insist the triangle should be tightly formed. This is true but don’t get too hung up on it. It’s a great guide to ensure your kitchen is practically laid out, but don’t feel obliged to sacrifice all your ideas for it.
  2. The gap – One rule of this triangle should never be broken – keep your stove a reasonable distance from your fridge. The cooking area produces heat and makes the fridge work harder to stay cool. It’s easy to forget this rule and it can cost you with your energy costs.
  3. The gadgets – Your kitchen plan should not overlook the location for gadgets such as the microwave, coffee-maker, kettle and toaster. It’s fashionable these days to store them out of sight. Clear countertops are all the rage.
  4. The sockets – All gadgets need power. So, don’t forget to plan the best places for power sockets. Their location will determine where you use each appliance. If you have an island bench, include two sockets there. And a ‘charging bench’ for the family’s mobiles and tablets can also be handy.
  5. Storage sense – Work hard to create as much storage as possible. A walk-in pantry is a winner with many buyers. The sin of insufficient storage space will create clutter, and you won’t be happy with the final result.
  6. Matt matters – Glossy cabinet doors are finger-print hell! You’ll spend your life wiping away greasy marks, especially if you have young children. Opt for a matt finish on your doors.
  7. On the shelf – Open shelves are popular because they give the kitchen a sense of character and depth. But don’t overdo it. Most of your storage should feature cabinets with swing doors and pull-out sliding drawers.
  8. Size matters – There are two primary mistakes when it comes to size issues. The first is a table that’s too big for the space available. Your kitchen will shrink before your eyes. The second error is to install large handles on cabinet doors. When that happens, the whole room becomes about the handles. It’s quite off-putting and spoils all the other work that’s been completed.
  9. Height matters, too – You must have the countertop at the right height. The standard measurement is between 900 – 1000cm . If you have an eating bench, then double-check that the stools will be a suitable height for the counter.
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