The kitchen is often one of the major points of interest in any home, so the effective use of space is always an important consideration. For most people, installing a new kitchen starts with setting a realistic budget based on a particular set of finishes, unless you’ve got money to burn. It’s important to make the project come in as close to that budget as possible. Stick to the plan: It might sound obvious, but a big part of sticking to your budget is making a commitment to do so - which means staying true to what you originally planned and budgeted for.
If you’re thinking of improving your kitchen, be prepared to do a little research if you want the best services and materials. Firstly, decide on the appropriate design for your kitchen because it is costly to make changes during a project. Let’s say that you wanted good quality custom made cabinet units, a 17x20 ft kitchen floor space, sounds like a big kitchen, probably too big, however, once the cabinets and appliances start coming in, you realize that it’s too small and want the floor space to be bigger. This will cost you extra to make those changes. You can save yourself a small fortune, by planning in advance what you expect from the contractor and at what cost.
Cabinet unit height
Kitchen cabinet unit that is too high or too low can be more than a little frustrating - especially for a cook who’s taller or shorter than average height. It’s not rocket science, but getting your cabinet unit height spot-on in a kitchen renovation is worth some attention. Therefore, how do you work out how to get your cabinet unit height just right?
The first thing to know is that the ‘working height’ is the distance between the floor and the top of the cabinet unit. The working height should be between 850mm and 1050mm. The accepted standard height for kitchen cabinet units is 900mm. This is the most ergonomically justified position, what most people will feel is a comfortable working height.
Seniors and people in wheelchairs usually prefer lower kitchen cabinet units, anywhere between 700mm and 850mm. Work surfaces at different heights, pull-out worktops and adjustable worktops are other possible solutions.
Taller cooks may opt for higher kitchen cabinet units, an extra 100-150mm might not sound like much, but it is quite a big variation. They’re often a little more expensive also; an upside to the extra height is that it makes things harder for curious little fingers to reach.
Care needs to be taken when working with cabinet unit heights around the 1050mm range, as you can end up having a large gap between appliances, such as the dishwasher, and the cabinet unit. Another issue with taller cabinet units is that the extra height of the cooker top makes lifting and transferring pots more difficult.
Ideally, the cabinet unit in which the cooker top is located will be positioned lower (as is the case in a commercial kitchen), but this will affect the aesthetic of the kitchen design and add to cost. Remember that popular countertop materials, such solid surfaces, are often 20mm thick (as opposed to tile, which is 2-5mm), so factor this in when determining a height.
Breakfast bars will also benefit from some thought. While a stool can fit under a 900mm cabinet unit, it’s more comfortable if there’s an up stand (a raised ledge) at about 1200mm. This fulfils the dual purpose of providing an area at which to sit comfortably, and screening your sink from view, however, current trends for minimalism and clean-lined uniformity make features such as up stands unpopular from an aesthetic point of view.
These days, people are more concerned about the effect of custom kitchen renovations on their home’s resale value. Given stylistic trends and changing technologies, your kitchen will last about 20 years, so it must suit your needs.
Whether you just want a simple renovation or a complete makeover, an effective way of creating a kitchen design that’s appropriate for your home is to decide what you want. Take a pen and a small notebook and look around your kitchen. Make notes of its location in your home, its shape, the direction it is facing and the appliances and furniture that are already in it, such as a freezer, an oven or even the kitchen sink. Locate the water, gas pipes and the permanent structures that are already in place. Door, window, exit openings and air vents.
Take measurements and transfer them onto paper to scale. This is to make sure that things will fit within your allotted space. It will also help you choose the right-sized appliances, equipment, fixtures, layout and arrangement. Your kitchen is a reflection of your own preferences and usually follows the overall look and design scheme of your home, more importantly, knowing what your target is will help you decide your budget.