Designing a DIY kitchen: Where to start?

1. Look for inspiration

The very first step is simply to start thinking about what you want your kitchen to look like. Start looking at other kitchens – in magazines, on Pinterest and Instagram and in-real-life – and think about how they might translate into your space. Get an idea of what colour palettes or finishes you like. One of the most important and exciting parts of a renovation is collecting inspiration to map out and plan the style for the entire project. It’s a good idea to collate all of your inspiration, whether it be images, textures and materials. This will give you a clear vision of your style and colour palette and will help to determine the direction, look and feel for the rest of the renovation. It’s also important to complement the overall style and aesthetic of the home, so consider this too. Does your dream kitchen complement or clash with your home’s interior style?

2. Chat to experts

Once you’ve got an idea about what style of kitchen you covet, you can start hitting the ground, chatting to experts and visiting showrooms. There are two options: you can come to the store and sit with an in-store kitchen expert to work on a design; or if you prefer being in the comfort of your own home, you can hire an in-home consultant. It’s also a wise idea to chat to any friends or family who have renovated recently. They may have good recommendations for contractors or some wise words of advice.

3. Budget

Now it’s time to map out your budget. Budgeting is not only essential, it also helps you understand and prepare for all the extra steps involved in a kitchen renovation, such as scheduling licensed trades for electrical work. Sticking to a budget may mean sacrificing expensive details and materials for more affordable ones. If you know roughly how much you can spend, you can think about where you can make savings. For instance, can you buy second-hand appliances? A lot of places sell perfectly good materials second-hand or at auctions, which can help to cut costs. Doing your own unskilled labour is another big cost-cutter. The beauty of a DIY renovation is that it’s perfect for budget-conscious renovators as you can save big on labour costs by assembling and installing flat pack kitchens yourself.

4. Measure up

It’s very important to be precise when taking measurements for your new kitchen. Your builders will measure your space too, but it’s important for you to know what can fit in your space before you start buying appliances. Dimensions are often quite different in reality than in our minds. When measuring up, also be sure to future-proof your layout. Be smart with your kitchen configuration to maximise space and functionality, and consider a layout that works best for how you intend on using the kitchen now and into the future. Precise measurements are vital. Who knew you couldn’t fit a full size dishwasher?

5. If you’re truly lost…

If you’ve looked at Pinterest, done your research and still find all these choices incredibly overwhelming – you’re not alone. There are always places you can go and people you can ask for help. One sure way to help with decision-making is to look at kitchen packages. Pick an aesthetic that suits your style and then customise it to your space. The packages may include cabinetry, tapware and splash backs to fit your chosen design themes such as ‘Cafe Living’, ‘Hamptons Sanctuary’ or ‘City Meets Country’. And if you like certain styles from opposing themes, you can always mix and match.

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