If you have ever lived in a home with a dysfunctional kitchen, you understand the pain. Everyone converges in the same corner to unload the dishwasher, grab a snack, and prep the next meal. Unfortunately, the layout has failed to accommodate the typical kitchen workflow. 

Homeowners may not all agree on what they like, but they can all agree on what they don’t like. Not enough prep space, lack of integrated waste disposal and recycling centres, poorly organised and inadequate storage, nooks and crannies that make it difficult to clean to name a few.

Before you plan your kitchen renovation, take time to rethink the kitchen layout for maximal efficiency. Here are 5 practical kitchen upgrades you should consider including…


1. Build a Dedicated Bar or Beverage Centre

Having a dedicated bar or beverage centre can alleviate a lot of frustration. For many of us, a day doesn’t really begin until we’ve had our first cup of coffee. A kitchen area with a small sink, beverage fridge, cappuccino or coffee maker, and all the dishes at the ready can help you start your day off right.

But a beverage centre can really save the day when you have guests. Suppose you like them to make themselves at home without worrying about them rummaging through wilted lettuce and refrigerator spills the kids didn’t clean up. In that case, a beverage centre is a great solution. 

Keep coffee mugs, and the sugar bowl, as well as cocktail and wine glasses, all together in one place, and your next party will go much smoother. 

Someone can be prepping trays of appetisers without bumping into the host serving drinks. If you’re like me, and prefer to keep what’s happening in your fridge a bit (ahem) private, then having a dedicated beverage area will create great boundaries for your guests to help themselves.


2. Include an Island or Breakfast Nook

Adding an island or nook alters the experience of your kitchen altogether. Homeowners are asking for an island for almost every kitchen renovation we are hired for. Some homes suit a galley kitchen better, but if you have the space and opt for an island, you will find the increased prep space invaluable.

With an island, you can group tasks can by zones: cooking in one zone while clean-up is happening in another. Think about your space from a functional perspective. Perhaps you have a dining room you only use on holidays. Can this real estate be taken over by the kitchen allowing for the addition of an island? 

Many older kitchens have a peninsula that creates a great “L” or “U”-shaped work zone, but it can block the flow of traffic through the space. By trading off a bit of counter space, you can separate the island from the mainland (kitchen perimeter cabinets) and allow for better flow throughout the room. 

Dead-end zones with only one entry and exit point do not allow guests to circulate and are generally not suitable for entertaining.


3. Integrate the Newest Kitchen Technology

After re-learning handwashing over the past months, we are getting more requests for innovative technology in kitchen renovations. Touchless faucets just make sense when you are trying not to contaminate anything until your hands are clean. There are many new players on the market that are either motion or voice activated. 

Do your research and carefully consider the pros and cons. Becoming too dependant on smart tech also means being dependant on power or batteries, and there is more to go wrong than in a faucet you simply turn on and off, but there are trade-offs.


4. Update Lighting from Simple to Statement-Making

A kitchen without statement lighting is a missed opportunity. Pendants and chandeliers are the jewellery of a room. Nothing can shift the style of a room more than a strong statement light fixture, much like an exclamation mark can change the tone of a sentence!

Choose pieces that add personality and reinforce the style or mood you want to convey. 


5. Add Colour for Character and Charm

Colour is a powerful way to inject warmth and personality into a room. We have seen the proliferation of grey in home décor recede completely, making way for joyful abundant colour. 

Our best advice here is to use colour on the less permanent items. You can easily swap out a shiny bright red appliance paired with a floral valance over the window if your mood changes. Keep the large elements classic and timeless. No harvest gold refrigerators pleas ;-). 

This is also true for your backsplash. There are few occasions where a backsplash is an excellent opportunity to make a strong colour or pattern statement. Those occasions are in your forever home only! The next buyer may not be as enamoured with your taste, especially if it will look dated in a few years.

If you want to update your kitchen but aren’t sure where to start I’d love to meet you and talk about creating a beautiful kitchen with a spacious flow.