Nail your dream kitchen

Planning a new kitchen?  Take note!

In our New Zealand homes, our kitchens are definitely the heart of the home. It's where everyone gathers.  It's where homework is done and craft projects created.  It acts as a bar and cafe. And we spend time preparing quite a few meals there. In our open plan homes, our kitchen needs to visually flow and connect with living spaces, our kitchen finishes becoming more like furniture and furnishings than utilities. More than any other space in your home, our kitchens need to be functional as well as stylish - and that requires detailed planning. Whether you're building a new home or renovating your exisiting one, these steps will help you nail your dream kitchen.


1.  The Big Picture

The first thing is to consider where your kitchen sits in the home and how it will be used. Will it flow into dining and living areas, or is it a separate room? Can you avoid it being used as a thoroughfare? Do you want a separate scullery or can careful planning allow for ample storage in a bigger space? Is it a large, open plan space? (a U or L shaped kitchen with island bench could work well) Or a smaller space? (where a straight galley style kitchen may work best)


2. Tailor made

Designing your own kitchen means it can be tailor made for your lifestyle. 

Do you want an island bench area for family to eat and work at? Is it important to you to screen your preparation area? Do you dream of having designated coffee and breakfast prep areas? Do you like to entertain large groups of people? What appliances are you really attached to that need their own bench space?  

Spend time thinking about what's important to you and your family. And then decide what's mandatory - and what can give a little.


3. THE Golden triangle

As soon as you start planning your kitchen, you're bound to hear the phrase "work triangle". This is the distance between the places most kitchen tasks are carried out - your cooktop, fridge and sink. Ideally you want to aim for 1200mm between each of these workspaces to minimise the movement and interruptions for the cook. Above all, a kitchen must be functional. Extra time invested in planning the layout upfront will pay out with the end result. If at all possible, I recommend bringing in a kitchen designer to help you crack the perfect design for your needs and your space - you won't regret it - promise!



There will be some design decisions where you must choose one over the other. Sometimes what you think looks best might not actually work well. For example, push to open cupboards look great but are a pain in the proverbial if you’re using them often. And there’ll be times when what you think works well, might not look so good. Large, easy-to-grab handles might not suit the streamlined cabinetry look you’re going for. Again, above all a kitchen must be functional - but there are plenty of amazing products and finishes to ensure that it still looks like your ultimate dream kitchen.


5. All in the details

This is the chance to plan a place for everything - from pots to plastic wrap. I always advise drawers, drawers and more drawers! In most instances, drawers provide far more accessible storage than cupboards.  

Make sure you make the most of natural light, but you'll also need to consider downlights and pendant lights to provide the best illumination for your sink, bench and cooktop areas. And pendant lights are the perfect way to turn up the style factor in your kitchen.

Gloss, matte, woodgrain, laminate, lacquer… There are a multitude of cabinetry options to work with your budget and the overall look and feel you want for your kitchen. All finishes have their pros and cons, so do your research and consult the experts.

And finally, my favourite part of any kitchen design - the splashback.  A gorgeous splashback adds drama, personality and style - even to a monochromatic kitchen. Tiles, stone, glass, neutral, metallic, mirrored, matte… be bold and create impressive wow factor with a gorgeous splashback.

If you're about to embark on a creating your new kitchen, what a fantastic opportunity to create a space that not only looks fabulous, but works like a dream. And remember, time invested up front in planning all the details will help ensure you really do nail your dream kitchen. 

Contact Auckland Interior Designer Kirsten Ford for more information.