What you need to consider when upgrading your kitchen

The evolution of kitchens is a reflection of our ever-changing lifestyles. One hundred years ago, they existed for only one reason – a space to cook. Now, they are the heart of the home, a place where family and friends gather to share a meal, a recipe, or their stories.

Who does not love kitchen renovations? Whether it is fixing wears, maximising space, or updating appliances, nothing is more satisfying than witnessing a kitchen before and after. After all, kitchens are often the most used (and loved) part of the house, and therefore, they deserve all the pampering they get.

Yet, remodelling the kitchen is a perplexing and exhausting process. Despite hours pored over interior magazines, the abundance of designs on the internet, and the advice of almost everyone, you still find yourself lost in an ocean of ideas or lack thereof. Do you really need that fancy centre island? How about those top-of-the-line appliances? Should you go trendy or classic? Or is it possible to do both? How can you make your kitchen stand out, but not too much?

Any refurbishing project can get out of hand if you don’t have a concrete plan. Never consign the fate of your kitchen to hit and miss. Of course, this is easier said than done. That is why we share with you four aspects that you need to consider when upgrading your kitchen.

The Environmental Impact

Taking the ethical and eco-friendly route is probably the least straightforward approach to remodelling your kitchen. However, the long-term benefits it brings are all worth the effort. You do not only help save the environment but also ultimately save money. When it comes to sustainable products, you don’t have to replace everything every two years.

Sure, granite and marble kitchen islands look amazing but think of the energy and resources required to extract these. Instead, go for sustainable and locally sourced materials. You’d be surprised by how many options you have – from repurposed cement to recycled plastic. There are stunning countertops made of reprocessed quartz, glass, acrylic, and even paper and yoghurt pots. Bamboo, linoleum, and cork make excellent flooring, while salvaged and reclaimed wood is ideal for cupboards and cabinets. Steer clear from VOC paints, which are known carcinogens. Choose ones made from natural organic components. Be artistic with your backsplash: use old CDs, pennies, broken plates, or bottle caps to create a mosaic. But if that’s too much work and DIY isn’t your cup of tea, recycled glass and clay tiles are as sustainable.

If you have the budget for it, invest in energy-efficient appliances, replace non-stick pans with cast-iron or stainless-steel cookware, choose low-flow faucets to save water, and install energy-efficient windows to let natural light enter. To complete the look, grow an indoor kitchen garden of potted herbs and vegetables.

Think Carefully about Space

Where space is concerned, more and more kitchen designs gear towards minimum clutter and maximum productivity. When it comes to kitchens, bigger isn’t always better.

The advantages of a larger kitchen are apparent. You can freely move, have more room for storage and appliances, and can install that fancy centre island with matching bar stools or that floor to ceiling pantry. But smaller kitchens also have their charm. They tend to be more organised and compact. The limited area requires less running around, so your every move is calculated and efficient. Because you only have space for necessary tools, gadgets, and appliances, smaller kitchens appear less cluttered. Naturally, they are also less costly to renovate.

Aside from space, always take into account your kitchen’s existing layout before getting a bespoke fitted kitchen, whether it is galley style, L-shaped, or U-shaped. Focus on how to utilise the available area. Are you willing to knock a wall down for an open-plan layout? Or install a smaller breakfast bar instead of a full-on kitchen peninsula?

Furthermore, plan your space to match your appliances and produce a seamless finish. If you’re going for built-in appliances, do thorough research on the dimensions to avoid unsightly gaps. Smart storage is a growing trend. Creatively conceal your gadgets, cooking equipment, and ingredients for both aesthetics and practicality.

Be Clever with Colour

Colours set the ambiance of the kitchen and influence feelings. Cool tones such as green, blue, and violet make a room appear more spacious. Warm hues like red, yellow, and orange evoke a feeling of cosiness. Always remember the kind of mood you want to achieve when refurbishing your kitchen.

Greys, whites, and blacks are regular kitchen hues. Blending these with colourful accents is a growing trend. Imagine muted red, burgundy, or scarlet paired with neutral greys and cocoa brown undertones. The blending brightens the kitchen without making it too overpowering. Emerald or forest green combined with variations of latte or soft metallics are swiftly becoming popular. Navy and midnight blues paired with silver accents remain a favourite for cabinet choices.

For a subtler and warmer ambiance, go for two-tone colour schemes. You can juxtapose deep and dark surfaces with lighter and brighter shades to create fascinating contrasts and add character to the room. Offset dusky countertops with pale furniture, balance wooden cupboards with multi-coloured splashbacks, or complement bare walls with stencil tile floors. If you want to make your rustic kitchen livelier, throw in creamy white, beige, and splashes of yellow to soften the mood. Warmer palettes of caramel accentuated by shades of orange, aqua, turquoise, or apricot create a homey feel.

Lighting Makes a Difference

Many people’s checklist for remodelling the kitchen typically includes cabinets, flooring, countertops, and appliances. Lighting is often an afterthought. However, overlooking its importance is a grave mistake. Lighting is an indispensable component that makes a big difference to the aesthetics and functionality of the room. Who wants to spend time in a dark and dim kitchen?

Like colour, lights set the mood of the kitchen. However, there is no single light source that fulfils all your illumination needs in one go. A well-lit kitchen combines layers of various lightings. Task lights provide adequate illumination when you are preparing meals or reading recipes. It is best to place these lights under upper cabinets for optimal use. Ambient lights soften shadows and fill the room with a warm glow, creating a welcoming ambiance. Accent lights give depth to the kitchen and highlight objects such as china, glassware, or other collections. Decorative lights add style and elegance. Examples include chandeliers, skylights, and candlestick sconces, or trendy hanging lamps.

And don’t underestimate the role of large statement windows in the kitchen. They give the illusion of extra space, improves air circulation, and provides natural light.