Designing a new kitchen is one of the biggest and most exciting aspects of any home renovation. Any new design must multi-task by being practical and beautiful. A custom kitchen design guide can help.
When planning a new custom kitchen, there is a lot to consider, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. As experienced designers and kitchen cabinet makers, we’ve put together a guide for Melbourne, that lists what we think are some of the most important design considerations in a new custom kitchen. You can use this guide to begin your planning process. When you visit a kitchen cabinet maker, you’ll have some basic ideas that will assist the designer to develop preliminary concepts and answer any questions you have.
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With many years designing and building custom kitchens in Melbourne, we’ve put together a list of important design elements for customers who are starting to think about a new custom kitchen.
Before anything, think about function
One of the best places to start with the design of a new kitchen is an audit of your current kitchen. If you want to get the best new kitchen result you can, it’s helpful to know what you like and don’t like in your current kitchen, as well as how to communicate with your designer and cabinet maker. Perhaps brush up on some basic kitchen design terms. Next, consider the kitchen layout. A kitchen should have a layout that allows for an easy flow of traffic and enables people to move efficiently between the main work areas of cooktop, sink and fridge (the workspace ‘triangle’). Depending on the layout of your current kitchen, you may consider a totally new layout.
Minimalist Or On Display?
If you are spending money on a new kitchen the one thing you want to avoid is not enough storage. Think about the way you like to work. Do you like a minimalist kitchen with everything stored away? Do you like to display favourite items? This will effect how much storage space you need, whether you want lots of cupboards or a mixture of cupboards and shelves for display. Think about your pantry requirements. There are lots of different kitchen pantry design options. A good tip is to extend cabinets all the way to the ceiling to provide extra storage for the things you don’t often use, as well as providing a more streamlined look overhead. If storage is important, a kitchen island bench provides a lot of different options for cupboards or shelves, on both sides and at each end.
Let There Be Light…And Dimmers
Lighting can very easily be overlooked in a new custom kitchen design, despite it being a priority. If you have an opportunity to increase the amount of natural light in a kitchen, then do it. Natural light creates a pleasing environment and saves on energy. Because kitchens nearly always serve multiple functions as work, relaxation, eating and entertaining spaces, it’s important to integrate an appropriate lighting design to cater for these different conditions. Use dimmers and a mix of bright task lighting and mood lighting to cater for different occasions. Under-cabinet lighting is a great way to eliminate shadows beneath overhead cabinetry, as well as create a warm glow. Familiarise yourself with LED terminology and learn about how warm and cool lighting effects the surface colours you use.
Keep It Fresh
Because Melbourne has a cooler climate, we spend more time indoors than in warmer cities like Sydney. This means ensuring good ventilation in our homes, and in our kitchens. If you are designing a new custom kitchen, take advantage of any natural ventilation through open windows and doors.
The rangehood is an important part of any kitchen design, and not only because it extracts steam, oil, smoke, and stops your kitchen and home from smelling like last night’s curry! Positioned over the cooktop, the rangehood usually sits in a prominent place, so choose a style proportional to your space and matched perfectly with the style of your kitchen design. There are lots of different styles of rangehood to choose from, including minimalist. A minimalist rangehood is concealed underneath overhead cupboards, and is popular for an uber streamlined look. A final consideration is to choose a rangehood that is as quiet as possible. This could mean spending a bit more, but it will make all the difference if you want to avoid cooking with a freight train.
Durable Is Beautiful
There are so many different surfaces and materials to choose from when considering a new custom kitchen design. From beautiful natural stone and engineered stone benchtops, to stainless steel, timber, concrete and laminex. Cabinetry is available in solid timber, timber veneer, plywood, and a huge choice of laminex, vinyl wrap and 2pack finishes.
When choosing your benchtop and surfaces, consider how and who uses your kitchen. This is a practical and aesthetic decision. For example, dark matt laminex will show finger marks, which is impractical if you have little time or inclination for cleaning cupboard doors every few days. Stone benchtops are hard wearing, but still require some caution around hot pots and spices like turmeric.
Matt and shiny surfaces also effect the play of light in your kitchen. Shiny surfaces encourage light to bounce around the room. Matt surfaces have a calming effect. While there are a huge number of choices when it comes to choosing the surfaces in your new kitchen, the flexibility in design aesthetic these days and the huge choice of materials, means you can carefully match different types of surfaces to create just the right look. For example, you may choose to make the benchtop the focal point and spend more money on a high quality finish. You could then opt for a more affordable material for cupboard doors. Carefully combining more expensive and affordable options is a smart way to get the look you want for the budget you have.
Who Are You?
Colour has a big impact on shaping how we feel and respond to our surroundings. Given how much time is spent in the kitchen, a kitchen colour combination should make you feel good and reflect your personality.
Many people opt for white or a very light neutral palette when designing a new kitchen. Neutral colours are classic, but they never have to be boring. Never be afraid to opt for dark palettes. Particularly in an open plan home, that has lots of light, darker colours can define spaces and create intimacy. Breaking up cabinetry by using more than a single colour is a great way to create interest and a focal point.
The dominant colour does not have to be on cabinetry, either. Colours can be used as a focal point in a kitchen design on the appliances you choose, a standout backsplash, a feature floor or a wall. When combined with the right materials and combinations of textures, colour is what makes a great kitchen pop.
Colour will also tie into the overall design aesthetic and cabinet profiles you have chosen for your kitchen. This may be the classically beautiful shaker style, a sleek contemporary look, or perhaps a transitional style of kitchen, which combines classic with modern and contemporary.
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Custom Kitchen Design Melbourne
A custom kitchen design needs expert designers and experienced kitchen and cabinet makers. Exact Cabinet Makers have been building custom kitchens in Melbourne for almost 20 years. We offer an experienced end to end service, beginning with our designers in our 3D design studio. Visit us at our award winning showroom in Kilsyth.