15 Golden Rules for a Kitchen Renovation

August 09, 2016

15 Golden Rules for a Kitchen Renovation

Remodeling a kitchen is an exciting time that stimulates your creativity and imagination. At last, you can get the kitchen of your dreams.

You need to give yourself with as much knowledge as you can about the kitchen remodeling and renovation process. This will make things flow easier for you and allow you to identify any problems before they happen.

Kitchen Renovation

1. How do you plan to use your Kitchen:

Think about how you plan to use your kitchen in the future. The requirements of you and your family.

Is the kitchen set by itself or does it allow access to and from other areas?

Finances and time can seriously restrict your renovation plans so, when planning, include the expense of the project plus how long it will take to complete. Check out our earlier blog where we gave a guide to the break up of your renovation budget.

2. The Work Triangle:

The rules for the work triangle:

  • create an efficient work area involving the three most commonly used items in the kitchen, usually the cook top and oven, refrigerator and sink, place them close together to minimize time spent moving between them.
  • The distance between any two items should be no less than 1.2 metres and not more than 2.7 metres with nothing in between to slow you down, while the triangle perimeter shouldn't exceed 8 metres nor be less than 3.7 metres.
  • Use the work triangle to design your new kitchen with efficient workflow in mind.

3. Function and Budget:

Understand what you like or don't like about your old kitchen to help you decide what you need in your new kitchen.

Think about how you want to use the kitchen and how you want to involve family in kitchen activities.

Plan your budget for really important items first, such as more storage, new lighting and appliances, but beware of unexpected expenses like heavy new appliances that require structural upgrades to the floor.

Check out out previous article on your kitchen renovation budget

4. Contractors and Installers:

Shop for contractors and installers as carefully as anything else you choose for your kitchen to ensure they are qualified to accomplish the task on time and on budget.

Communicate with everyone to be sure they know exactly what you want. Be certain of your kitchen design plan, review it with your contractor and stick to it once the work begins.

A change of plans in mid-remodel is expensive so be sure of your plan before the project begins and follow it as work progresses to catch any mistakes due to faulty design or communication before it's too late to correct them.

5. Building Codes:

No kitchen remodeling can be started until you become familiar with your area's planning and building codes.

These codes may impose certain limitations on your plans, such as how far you can extend a planned addition to the kitchen.

Other codes are in place to restrict construction elements like carpentry, plumbing and wiring.

6. Cabinet Efficiency:

Remodeling offers you the opportunity to gain more space and efficiency when it comes to cabinet storage.

Determining which cabinet styles offer you the best use of space is a task all its own. For example, in corner shelving areas, cabinets equipped with lazy Susans are much more effective than cabinets with fixed shelves.

7. Purchasing Appliances:

Purchasing appliances well ahead of when you are ready to install them can save you much frustration.

This additional planning time gives you the chance to measure appliances precisely and accurately and match them to the space available inside the remodeled kitchen.

Taking the time to take these measurements will ensure that you aren't surprised with the delivery of a stove or refrigerator that is anywhere from 0.5cm to 4cm too wide to fit into its allotted space.

When selecting your appliances we suggest that you follow these steps to help you make the correct decision for your kitchen:

Oven - select your oven first. How often will you use the oven, how many people will you be cooking for, how much space is required for your oven, where will it be located in the kitchen. Here is our range of ovens.

Cooktop - once you have selected your oven then choose your cooktop. How often will you use it, will it be gas or electric, what will we cook on the cooktop, does the size match the size of our oven and where will it be located within your kitchen? Here is our range of cooktops. Once you have answered these questions you can move to the next area.

Range hood - once you have selected the cooktop then you will know how powerful and the style of your range hood. Will you select a slide-out or canopy to compliment the design of your kitchen? Will you range hood recirculate or be ducted out? How much space have I allocated to storage with your cabinets? Here are our range of rangehoods

8. Refrigerator Placement:

Increasing your cooking preparation efficiency should be near the top of your list when it comes to remodeling plans.

An efficient placement of the refrigerator is in a location where you can actually reach inside it from the sink area.

If necessary, purchase a refrigerator with a door that opens in the direction that facilitates this ease of use or buy a model that allows the hinges to be switched to the opposite side.

9. Electrical Circuits:

Electrical appliances like cooktops and ovens are required to have their own electrical circuits.

This is an important fact to keep in mind because you will not be allowed to splice into an existing line.

Large appliances are not the only equipment subject to this necessity; garbage disposals and dishwashers are also subject to this code requirement.

10. Alternative Dining Plans:

One of the inescapable facts about kitchen remodeling is that, in many cases, you need to precisely address in advance how you will prepare and cook food while your present kitchen is in a state of distress.

Keep in mind that this preparation extends beyond how to cook food. You may need to find storage space for cookware, plates, dishes and silverware. If your plans are based on eating out during the remodeling process, you need to realize that completion time is always just an estimate.

11. Keep Workflow Priority Number One:

A kitchen is a functional environment. In recent years, kitchens have become places where we do everything--homework, TV-watching, snack-eating, and sometimes, yes, we even do a little cooking.

So, it is easy to forget that workflow is the number one priority. Prioritize your workflow by keeping the classic kitchen triangle in mind, keeping services as close together as possible, and giving yourself enough counter space to spread out and do your cooking-- but not so much that it makes it difficult to get from place to place.

12. Smaller is better:

Even though large kitchens have become trendy in recent years, they do not work as well as smaller kitchens.

Smaller kitchens are less expensive to build or remodel, and they are better for the cook. If you absolutely feel that you need a spacious entertainment kitchen, then by all means do so.

But it’s a decision you need to ponder deeply, because the more space you take for the kitchen, the less space you have for other rooms in the house.

13. Plan Your Kitchen Wisely:

Does your kitchen have enough room for placement of an island? If so, this will spread out your perimeter counters that much farther. In that case, you will need to max out your kitchen island and make it fully functional, perhaps by adding a cooktop or even a sink.

The One-Wall Kitchen Design Layout is perfect for long and narrow kitchens. It's simple and, as far as kitchen remodels go, fairly inexpensive. While it does not utilize the classic kitchen triangle its linear design still allows for unimpeded traffic flow.

Counter space is at a premium. The one-wall kitchen design is not the best design, though. It can be improved with either the corridor or L-shape kitchen design plans--provided kichen square footage is available.

One Wall Kitchen Design

Corridor Style Layout kitchen design is highly functional because it uses the classic kitchen triangle. This layout gives a bit more space for counters and cabinets, though crowding between the two main work spaces may be a problem.

Still, the corridor style kitchen design is a highly affordable and functional plan.

Corridor Kitchen Plan

L-Shaped Style kitchen design plan is very popular, though this plan does away with the crowding problems found in the corridor plan.

We still find the kitchen triangle, though the walk from range to refrigerator is longer. This arrangement allows as much--and even a bit more--counter and cabinet space than the L-shaped design.

The corner counter space (upper right in the illustration) is difficult to reach for food preparation, and is often used for storing mixers, toaster ovens, and other small appliances.

L Shaped Kitchen

Note that with the increased counter space, a double-sink can installed. A highly evolved kitchen design layout, the double-L allows for two workstations.

The smaller "L" has a cooktop (but not an oven) and a second sink. The major cooking operations are focused on this area, while food prep goes on in the larger of the "L" spaces.

This larger "L" also has tons of open counter space because the cooktop has been moved away. Note that not much space is gained for cabinets: the smaller "L" has only a short run along the wall for cabinets (though cabinets can be hung off the ceiling above the cooktop, if desired).

L Shaped Kitchen


U-Shaped Style kitchen design plan can be thought of as a corridor-shape plan--but with a closed end. The closed end gives extra room for a range or a sink.

This arrangement maintains good workflow by means of the classic kitchen triangle. The closed end also provides plenty of space for extra cabinets.

U Shaped Kitchen

14. Lighting:

When considering the best kitchen design for your home, you need to incorporate lighting into your thought process.

Unfortunately, most homeowners take care of lighting as the last step in the process; it becomes an afterthought. And there is no need to stick to the time-worn and mundane can (or recessed) lights that you see in every kitchen in the world! Try lights that focus more on the work areas, such as kitchen pendant lights.

Task Lighting

There are some places in the kitchen where lights should be installed in order for cooks to work safely.

It's best not to use extremely bright lights, as they could be blinding and defeat the purpose of their function. Install task lighting in the stove area; place a light directly above the stove so that the cook can clearly see all food that is being prepared on the stove top.

Most ovens come with lighting from the manufacturer. Install a light directly above the kitchen island so that the cook can accurately see how to chop and prepare food before placing it in the stove or oven. The kitchen island light should be bright enough to be used alone when the main kitchen light is not on.

Accent lighting for a kitchen

Accent Lighting

Install low voltage kitchen accent lighting to add depth and appeal to the space. Accent lighting can be used in the crevices of cabinets and counter tops in order to showcase certain appliances.

If there is a cabinet in the kitchen that showcases fine china or other unique dinnerware, install accent lighting around the shelves in the cabinet to bring attention to these pieces.

Lights that accent a kitchen space are especially ideal for small kitchen, as the lights can add depth to the space and make it appear larger. All wires should be hidden and properly contained for accent lighting. This not only improves the look of the lighting, but prevents overheating and electrical shortages.

Accent lighting for a kitchen

Ambience Lighting

Use lighting to produce the appropriate ambiance for the space. Ambient lighting softens the shadows in the kitchen, and can create a warmth in the kitchen dining space that is similar to candlelight.

Add soft lighting along the floor panels of the kitchen to open the room up while conveying an inviting and intimate feel. Install the lights so they are safe for children; glass casings or lights that are installed high on the wall are usually best for families with babies and toddlers.

Ambience lighting in a kitchen


15. Solid Surface Counters 

Solid surface countertops have a real strong fan base because they are solid (no particle wood core), minor scratches can be sanded out, and they even have the appearance of seamless stone materials.

Check out this article to see the different types of edges you can have on your benchtop

If you follow these steps and keep calm then you will have a headache free renovation and be able to enjoy your lovely new kitchen. 


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