A couple of years ago and about 10 years in the making, we finally decided to renovate our kitchen.  With 3 teenage daughters, a dog and a husband who likes to cook in the mix, we knew it was time to give what was in essence the “heart of our home” a facelift. We were looking for an inviting, functional and modern kitchen. But where to start? Here are 5 important questions to ask yourself when thinking about your own kitchen renovation:

1.  Is it out with the old and in with the new?

The first thing to ask yourself is whether you want to keep your current appliances, especially your fridge and oven? The size and shape of these will heavily influence your new kitchen design. Keeping current appliances certainly reduces cost, but may also limit the extent to which you can reshape the overall layout of your space. Consider also the age of your fridge and oven. Are you likely to have to replace either one of these within the next 12-18months? Make sure you allow yourself enough room to upgrade when the time comes.

2.  How are you going to use your kitchen?

This may seem like a silly question to ask, but consider the purpose of your kitchen. Is it truly just functional designed for cooking, or would you like to use the space as a social hub?  Can you picture family and friends gathering around, sharing a drink and chatting while you are busy in the kitchen? Would an island bench allow you more flexibility and the option of sitting down to eat breakfast/dinner or do you simply want to use it as a prep area? Perhaps you like the idea of the kids sitting down and doing their homework, while hubby prepares dinner? If yes, then this will impact the size and placement, as well as the general traffic flow and room needed to move.

3.  Take a look in the mirror – what do you see?

Consider who will be using the space, as our shape, age and height greatly impacts the way we use a kitchen. How high should the counters be so that you don’t get a sore back? The kids may be young now, but if genetics suggest 6.4” is on the cards, then higher may be wiser. Are there any age or medical conditions that could restrict someone reaching overhead cupboards or shelves? Will you be staying the same property for years to come?

4.  Gadget Queen, Master Chef or One Minute Noodles?

Integrating an efficient “kitchen triangle” into your design is a great starting point i.e. where your fridge, cooktop and sink are close together, cutting down on wasted steps. Consider how this could work with either a full-length vs pull-out vs below-the-bench drawer pantry. What other storage will you need – are you a gadget queen or do you rather lean towards a minimalistic approach? The scale at which you are choosing to renovate will determine how much flexibility you have with reconfiguring storage options.

5.  Money, money, money – determine your budget and stick to it!

Ultimately it all comes down to budget. Be realistic. Sit down and calculate how much you can afford to invest in your renovation. With so many options and choices available today you will be able to spend as little or as much as you can afford. The sky is truly the limit nowadays, but ultimately the best kitchen is of no use if you can’t buy groceries. So, know your limit and draw a line in the sand before anything else.


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