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What to splurge on when renovating your kitchen

The kitchen should be a priority for homeowners looking to increase the value of their home. Here are some handy kitchen renovation tips.

Kitchen Renovation

Article summary

  • The kitchen is the heart of the modern home, so it should be a priority for investment.
  • Form a clear idea of what you want to achieve with kitchen renovations by taking into account lifestyle choices and optimal kitchen design.
  • Certain kitchen items receive significantly higher investment on average, indicating that they are a priority for homeowners.

From its humble origins as a room where the stove was kept, the kitchen has evolved to become the heart of the modern home. No longer just a place for cooking, it is also a place for eating, hosting guests, and even working.

As such, the kitchen should receive the most attention from homeowners looking to increase the value of their home. Here are some handy kitchen renovation tips for doing just that.

Kitchen renovation: Knowing what you want

The first step to ensuring cost-effective renovations is to have a clear idea of what you want, so you won’t have to call the builders back to fix mistakes made the first time. Some of the factors you’ll need to take into account include:

– Lifestyle choices; in other words, do you intend to do a lot of entertaining?

– Whether you plan to eat as well as cook in the kitchen.

– Whether the kitchen needs to be kid-friendly (particularly important as you’ll want to make sure sharp instruments are out of reach, and that children can’t accidentally knock heavy or hot objects off the countertops).

Optimal kitchen design

The ideal kitchen layout will have the following features:

Kitchen triangle The three focal points of the kitchen are the sink, stove and refrigerator. Whatever the shape of the kitchen, the ideal kitchen design will have these three points close together, and allow for easy movement between them.

Careful sink placement The sink is the part of the kitchen where the most time is spent, so everything needs to be built around that.

Efficient storage A good kitchen layout will not only ensure enough storage space, but that storage is easily accessible and strategically placed. Upper and lower cabinets are the go-to choice, with drawers for utensils and pull-out shelves for pots, pans and large bowls.

Large countertops You need lots of space to park trays, pots and pans while cooking.

Mobility The kitchen will receive high-traffic, especially if you have kids, so there needs to be sufficient walking space, and lack of obstructions.

Kitchen design trends: How important are they?

Paying too much attention to trends can backfire, if you invest in high-end equipment and renovations that end up becoming redundant. But it is worth your time to identify those that seem to have become mainstays.

The kitchen island (a large counter in the middle of the kitchen) is one example, due to its functional utility, in that it can serve as a counter for preparing meals, or as a table for eating them (some kitchen designs even place the sink here). Open-plan kitchens are another trend that interior designers favour for achieving spacious living environments.

Kitchen renovating on a budget

One of the most expensive aspects of kitchen renovation is plumbing, so avoid moving the sink if you want to conserve funds and limit the complexity of the project. Since the sink is the focal point of the kitchen, it makes sense to work around it anyway.

Other tips for renovating your kitchen on a budget include:

– Buying your appliances from one place.

– Repainting your kitchen cabinets instead or replacing them.

– Getting all the electrical work done in one phase, so you don’t have to call the electrician back.

What should you prioritise, and what can you afford to skip?

The Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence conducted a survey of professional kitchen designers, to determine which elements of the kitchen renovation receive the highest amount of investment from clients (and which receives the lowest). This provides a handy guideline for knowing which elements of kitchen renovation you should prioritise.

According to the survey, the kitchen items that received significant investment from clients were:

– Countertops (72% of homeowners invested heavily)

– Kitchen cabinets (63% of homeowners invested heavily)

– Refrigerators (44% of clients)

– Ovens (27% of clients)

Meanwhile, homeowners renovating on a budget chose to conserve funds by skipping the following kitchen items:

– Lighting (40% of homeowners)

– Functional hardware (37% of homeowners)

Homeowners were also asked to name the items they regretted skimping on, with kitchen cabinetry leading at 62%.

Looking to own your own home?

Of course, the first step to kitchen renovation is owning a home of your own. If you’re in the hunt for one, South Africa’s largest home loan comparison service, ooba home loans, makes the process easier by offering a range of home loan calculators that can help you determine exactly what you can afford. Start with ooba home loans’ free, online prequalification tool, the ooba Bond Indicator. Then, once you’ve found a home that meets your requirements, you can apply for a home loan.

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