Have Fun - Tips for renovating the kitchen

Consider design carefully when renovating your kitchen.

  • Use professionals kitchen including a builder, electrician and plumber.
  • Professionals need to be carefully scheduled.

Find out more about the initial considerations, common pitfalls and experts you may require when renovating a kitchen.

The kitchen is often the most expensive room to renovate in the house and requires extra care to get it right. Read on to find out more about what you should consider and common pitfalls to try and avoid.

Initial considerations

  • Will a kitchen renovation specialist manage the entire project, or will you engage an independent builder or project manager?
  • Will you be restructuring the space: altering floor or ceiling; removing walls; resiting or resizing doors, windows or skylights; or adding a pantry? If so, allow for extra time and cost. Do the same if altering the existing plumbing or wiring.
  • Is the kitchen to be part of a larger living or dining area or a self-contained space? Will it incorporate an eating area or a pantry?
  • If you are incorporating imported and custom-built fittings/appliances order these well ahead to ensure their timely arrival.
  • Determine what appliances, bench and storage space you require.
  • Determine whether you will be installing new lighting, power outlets or switches.
  • Do existing wall, floor and ceiling cavities allow for the plumbing, lighting, ventilation and water-heating options and cabinetry you plan?
  • Will you be replacing or resurfacing existing flooring?
  • Determine whether you will use any existing fixtures, fittings or finishes in the new design.
  • What colours and styles suit your taste and lifestyle?
  • How can you best plan around ongoing work? For example consider creating a temporary kitchen, eating meals out or renting a serviced apartment.

Expert advice

Your kitchen renovation generally requires help from some or all of these professionals:

  • Architect and interior designer
  • Environmental designer
  • Kitchen renovation service or builder/project manager
  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Carpenter
  • Tiler or benchtop/splashback specialist
  • Flooring specialist
  • Painter

Can I do it myself?

  • Major structural work and most plumbing and electricals must be performed by licensed tradespeople.
  • Constructing or installing cabinetry, flooring and benchtops also need to be installed by skilled professionals.
  • Tasks suitable for the skilled home renovator may include: removing existing fittings; constructing and/or installing cabinetry; fitting appliances installing cabinetry, storage units.
  • Keen amateurs might assist the designer with layout and finishes; source fittings and appliances; install simple fittings (hooks, shelves, etc); paint; sand, surface or seal cabinetry and flooring.

Common pitfalls

Plan well and consult the professionals to avoid these common kitchen renovation problems and pitfalls.

  • Failing to accurately measure your kitchen fittings, then finding your desired floorplan isn't functional, appliances don't fit, or your plan leaves insufficient space for working effectively.
  • Underestimating the complexity, time and costs involved.
  • Scheduling tradespeople in incorrect order or allowing insufficient time for each to complete their stage (especially with structural alterations or new plumbing).
  • DIYing complex jobs such as removing load-bearing walls.
  • Wishful thinking in kitchen layout: underestimating the dimensions of cabinetry or appliances, failing to account for the 'sweep' of doors, skimping on work surfaces or storage, allocating insufficient space for 'incidentals' such as waste disposal.
  • Purchasing fittings or fixtures without first consulting trade professionals.
  • Failing to consider hazards and workflow when planning kitchen layout.
  • Choosing unsuitable appliances and materials, skimping on quality or failing to maintain them (wood degenerates unless properly sealed; stone and concrete require maintenance; cheap stone benchtops chip).
  • Thinking you'll upgrade again soon generally, this is the kitchen you'll be using for the next decade, so plan it accordingly.