Designing and fitting a new kitchen can be a daunting prospect.  With a price tag of $7,000 to $50,000 (or more), the kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate (followed closely by the bathroom). The good news is that, done well, a kitchen renovation tends to be a sound investment, adding more to the value of your house than you spend.

Your first big decision is whether to use a kitchen company or go it alone.  Closely followed by the choice of going custom with your cabinetry or modular?  If you are planning to keep costs down by doing as much of the project yourself as possible, a lot will depend upon how capable you feel when it comes to handling the installation. 

Some things to consider…

Your lifestyle:  First and foremost you need to make sure that your kitchen meets your day-to-day requirements.  “You should take plenty of time to think about your needs and wishes if you want to carry out a refurbishment," advises Mariam Witzemann, dynamic space expert at kitchen fittings and hardware company, Blum. "What are your daily routines? What items do you want to keep in your kitchen? Where do you eat your meals?”

Answering these questions will help to steer your initial design ideas.  Also take into consideration the way that you eat – if you follow the trend of eating more fresh produce than canned or frozen goods, you may find you need less storage in the pantry but a larger fridge.

Storage and accessibility

The configuration, hardware and materials used for your kitchen cabinets needs careful consideration.  Cabinets make up around 40% to 50% of the total cost of your kitchen renovation — and they will set the tone of your new kitchen, playing a major role in transforming your space. 

Think about how you want to access your food, crockery, cutlery.  It often helps to focus on the way you currently spend most of your time in the kitchen.  If you use this as a guide, your cabinetry requirements will become clearer.  Blum has a great online tool called Zone Planner, which helps you visualise your storage requirements practically.


Drawers or shelves?  

Using drawers instead of shelves in the pantry is a convenient and increasingly popular way to store food.  (check out the Blum Space Tower). Think about the things you want to store when deciding the height of your drawers— would a combination of drawers and shelving suit your household better?

Check out the Blum website or visit their showroom to see their latest ideas in action.

Best use of space  

When you’re planning a kitchen, corners are often a point of contention.  What do you do with them?  Do you try to use the space or void it?  And how do you access those deep, dark recesses of your corner cupboard when you need to?  Have a look at our corner cabinets blog to get some new ideas.

Narrow cabinets can be a great solution to effectively use all your space.  Check out Blum’s solutions for ergonomic access to hard-to-reach places.  Consider kick-board drawers as an option to store things like trays and platters.

Kickboard drawers.png

Panel options: 

Do you want gloss or matt or something in between? Do you want your panels to be acrylic, thermofoil or painted?  These decisions almost always come down to personal choice and budget.  Check out the GlossMax coating as an option.  As an alternative, you may prefer getting your cabinet panels professionally painted using a company like Total Coatings.

At Cutshop we have the sophisticated machinery to cut and edge band any material – from solid timber and composites like MDF sheeting and plywood for custom cabinets through to acrylics and perspex for splashbacks.

GlossMax panels look fantastic and are available in a  wide range of colours , including white, black, red and caramel galaxy, right through to natural wood grains.

GlossMax panels look fantastic and are available in a wide range of colours, including white, black, red and caramel galaxy, right through to natural wood grains.

Handles or handle-less

The current trend is for handle-less, single touch, soft-close drawers.  Whether you prefer more traditional handles or a cleaner drawer profile, our cutting machines can create the foundation for any combination of opening mechanism.  Have a look at some of the latest lift-system options for overhead cabinets.

Benchtops and splashbacks

When it comes to benchtops, there is a wide range of options available.  Engineered stone and granite are still the most popular - have a look at suppliers such as Stone Warehouse or ABG Stone to get an idea of the range of options available. Laminated surfaces are also popular as they are hard-wearing — check out Tauranga Laminates for a full list of suppliers.

Timber benchtops can be a stunning feature in any kitchen (read a recent blog on Timbertops or create an eco-friendly, modern look, consider a bamboo benchtop from Plantation Design

Martin's stunning timber benchtop - see more over on our blog

Martin's stunning timber benchtop - see more over on our blog

Glass is the material most commonly used to create splashbacks.  It’s heat-resistant, easy to clean, easy to install and available in many colours, but it can be quite an expensive choice. There are new, more affordable splashback options that can be custom-cut to size.  We have added some new alternatives to our range of splashback materials like Reflections, made from hard-wearing aluminum. Reflections offers all the benefits of glass with a more affordable price tag.  Like glass, the aluminum used in the Reflections range is designed to reflect light and looks great under LED lighting.  Take a look at the Reflections range,  Lustrolite from PSP or Perspex as a glass alternative.

If you’d like to make a design feature of your splashback area, a decorative panel in acrylic or Perspex can work well as a water-proof option for laundries and kitchens.  Check out our recent blog on decorative panels.

Lighting and Electrics

One of the common mistakes when planning a renovation is a simple failure to install enough power points.  These are easy to include in your design but can be difficult and disruptive to retrofit once the work is complete. 

When planning your cabinetry, consider including a narrow groove in which to install LED lighting (called negative detail), e.g. Brightlight.  This creates modern ambient lighting and neatly solves lighting problems in kitchen dark spots (eg. over the hob and inside cupboards).

Another small but important detail to consider is where you plan to charge phones and electronic devices.  If you want to use your benchtop island or counter space, think about getting a hole cut in the benchtop and installing a powerpoint underneath to tuck cables out of sight and keep them out of harm’s way.

Cutshop can help

Whatever your design, panel and storage plans, at Cutshop we can now offer you more options. We work directly with everyone from DIY’ers to cabinet makers who use us to supply cutting and edging services.  Whether you want your kitchen to be flat-pack, ready-to-assemble or custom-fit and made-to-measure, we can help.

We also have a range of hardware suppliers that can offer you flexible and affordable options – so you really can get everything you need in one place.  With an online drawing software, a good measuring tape and a bit of handyman knowledge, you can renovate your own kitchen the easy way with Cutshop. And here’s how, in five simple steps:

Five Steps To Renovating Your Kitchen

  1. Use our online drawing software tool to draw up your plan (or if you don’t have a flair for design and eye for detailed measurements, you may wish to employ a kitchen designer to do this for you)

  2. Research your options for hardware and benchtops – your local Cutshop team can help and advise you.

  3. Get a quote from Cutshop – if you use our online software your plans will automatically be sent to us and we’ll come back to you with a quote.

  4. Source your appliances

  5. Install or use a builder/handyman to install for you. If you’re planning to install cabinetry yourself, take a look online. There are some great resources, like videos and apps from Blum, on how to install the hardware.

To get started, just talk to your nearest Cutshop or go online and try our drawing software tool.