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Kitchen Renovations - Design Tips

Kitchen Renovations – Design Tips

Step 1 – Measure                         

  1. Measure the kitchen walls accurately and draw the plan to scale. Centimeters make a difference.


      Measure your kitchen walls


  1. Indicate the doors and windows on the plan



  1. Measure the floor to ceiling height



  1. Mark the existing drains connections.


Step 2 – Layout

  • Always do a design that is firstly practical and then aesthetically pleasing (Pay attention to the triangle)



  • Do not position a sink that is exposed and visible in the entrance, try to conceal it by hiding it as best as possible



  • Do not position a fridge in the front of the window



  • If the hob and oven is placed underneath a window it is difficult to install an extractor fan unless it is a retractable model and they tend to be very expensive



  • If a gas oven is installed underneath a window the placing of the gas bottles may not be on the outside underneath the window. Get an expert to advise you on gas as it is dangerous if it is not installed to National Standards.



  • Do not place a tall cupboard and fridge at the entrance to the kitchen; this could result in a reduced visual and spacious affect.



  • Do not build partition walls that take up space and make the room appear smaller.



  • Do not build unnecessary and impractical steps around in the kitchen



  • Eyelevel ovens can be dangerous when hot dishes are removed, under counter ovens works easier




Step 3 – Common principles to implement when designing your kitchen

  • We views things in perspective and dimension therefore, place lower cupboards in the front and taller cupboards towards the back of the kitchen. Place items that have a broad base, on the floor and do not hang bulky cupboards on the walls. Applying these principals will create the illusion of space.




  • When squares and rectangle shapes are used in a kitchen design, it can create sharp corners. These may hamper the movement and the flow through the kitchen.



  • Using curves and round shapes enhances the flow of movement in the kitchen.



  • If there is a door to the kitchen ensure that the door at the entrance opens against the wall, this minimizes wasted space and creates a bigger spacious affect



Step 4 – Positioning of the Appliances

  • The focal points when entering the room should be the island if there is space and a cooking appliance



  • When possible, the tallest item which is commonly the grocery cupboard should be places in the furthest back corner.



  • The sink, dishwasher and washing machine should be placed out of sight if possible.



  • The fridge is always a focal point and should generally speaking be close to the hob and oven



Step 5 – Practical tips to consider when renovating your kitchen

  • Using LED lights to brighten up the room, the brighter the room the bigger it appears to be.



  • Use lights under the top cupboards, closed up with light shields to create a pleasant mood and atmosphere in the kitchen



  • Today’s kitchens can also be fitted with lights in the cornicing and underneath the floor cabinets around the kick plates.



  • Use big tiles; this reduces the number of joints between tiles. Spaces between tiles are filled in with grout. If there are fewer spaces a smoother and softer effect is achieved, this will make the room appear to be larger. Grout is porous and tends to discolor with time.



  • Lighter coloured tiles make the room appear bigger.



  • When designing your kitchen bear in mind not just your personal needs, but also the needs of a future home owner.


  • If possible consider choosing a double sink, prep bowl and even a water purifier or connection for the purifier in the main kitchen.



  • Choose the most stylish and practical appliances that will fit into the kitchen and that will enhance the overall look.



  • After many years of designing kitchens it is apparent that a simple uncluttered design is the most practical and also the most popular.


Kitchen Renovations - Where and how to start

Where and how to start:


  • Test the water pressure, firstly the cold water. Hold your thumb on the spout and block the water flow, and then open the cold water. Feel the pressure. Do the same but now open the hot water. You will find one of three possibilities:
       1. If the pressure is equal you have a balanced water pressure. This is the best system for the new generation Lever Mixers; it also works on the old generation spindle taps.2. If there is a pressure difference between hot and cold, the pressure is unbalanced.3. If the cold water is the stronger it means you have low hot water geyser pressure. Only old generation spindle taps should then be used.
  • NB. Balanced water pressure is when the hot and cold water have 100% equal
  • NB. To balance the system a pressure reducing valve must be placed in the pipeline before it splits the water and diverts it through various areas of the house. The valve must not be more than 13 meters away from your hot water boiler/geyser.


Kitchen Renovations - Why use Lever Mixers?

Why use Lever Mixers?

  • Lever Mixers are easy to operate and so convenient to use.
  • Set the tap to the desired temperature and leave it in that position.
  • The new taps have a built-in flow rating device to minimise water wastage.
  • The new taps have aerators that make the water flow appear stronger.
  • The lever mixer taps reduce water consumption and save electricity.

All the personnel at PHI KITCHEN RENOVATIONS have been trained to advise you on the products that are used in your kitchen.

Kitchen Renovations - What should be included in a kitchen renovation?

What should be included in a kitchen renovation?

  • Remove all the old pipes from the walls and the floor, especially if they are galvanized. They will have rusted and corroded. Pipes are not costly to replace.
  • The new layout:
    • The new design must be practical (It will last for many years to come).
    • It must be aesthetically pleasing.
    • Never combine old and new products. The old items will be very noticeable.
    • Be wary of fashion trends, they to date quickly. Simple and classic designs are the most practical.
    • Always use a good quality product (first grade only and make sure that after sales service is available). Inferior products will not qualify for after sales service.
    • Re-enamel, re-glazed or re-surfaced products have a limited life span.
    • Use only first grade tiles. Tiles and how they are laid can make or break the renovation of your kitchen.
    • Use an established company whose workmen are properly qualified to do the work:
    • Ask for references & follow them up.


Kitchen Renovations - Do's and don't's to consider:



  1. Colored Cabinets. If your walls are white or cream don’t be afraid to use bold color cabinets, they will add more character to the kitchen. Darker colors don’t show the slightest little spot. Don’t be afraid to use color it adds depth and visual appeal to your kitchen. Think about color blocking some areas of the kitchen.
  1. Is my layout practical? The functioning of a kitchen is a personal matter. You need to consider the following. 
    (A) Do I have unobstructed movement between sink, stove, and workspace?
    (B) Do I want people sitting at the breakfast nook talking to me while you are cooking?
    (C) Can the utensils be placed near the areas where they are used? i.e. spices near the stove and chopping boards near the work areas. 
    (D) Does my fridge door not open onto a wall and away from the heart of the kitchen? Think carefully when making these decisions. It is important to utilize every inch of space practically.
  1. Natural light makes any space look bigger and brighter. Always accentuate your windows by placing your cabinets and appliances around the windows in such a way that as much light as possible can flow in.
  1. Choice of appliances. Bold colors or a sleek black and stainless steel appliances make a definite style statement but beware of too much. You don’t want a sterile looking kitchen but you do want character. 
  1. Hide the sink. This is usually the untidy spot in the kitchen especially if you drip dry your dishes. Try and place it out of site especially not on the island.
  1. Storage is important. The use of drawers for utensils, cutlery, crockery and pots, and pans is a practical solution for not having to search behind other items in a cupboard that is too dark too deep and too low.
  1. Be practical when selecting countertops. Choose solid colors and an even texture especially when using artificial or granite tops, this enables you spot marks or crumbs easily. 
  1. Beware of Trends. Choose a style that suits your lifestyle and fits in with the rest of your home. Good taste is timeless.
  1. Contrast Materials. Use a variety of materials of different textures such as glass, chrome, and granite to create an interesting look. 
  1. The Splashback. Tile this area as it must be easy to clean. It can be successfully used as a focal point in your kitchen by using an interesting mural and accent lighting.
  1. Alternatives to create space. Look carefully at how the clever use of cabinets can be used to create a pantry or to accommodate the microwave. By using a floor cabinet on coasters, a table top and a trestle you can build an island that can be easily moved aside when a little more space is needed.
  1. Gas Appliances. Be sure to use an accredited expert to advise you about the laws and regulations to be adhered to in order to comply with the National Safety Standards. It is essential that a Certificate of Compliance be issued.


Often the kitchen becomes the hub of your home. Meal times, cooking, and socializing happen there. The kitchen needs to be aesthetically pleasing, practical and functional. 

  1. Do not disturb the kitchen triangle. Have easy access to the sink, the stove, and the refrigerator. The sink should be near the plumbing if this is not possible it may be worth getting a plumber to move the plumbing point.The legs of the triangle should not be shorter than 3 meters and not longer than 7.6 meters. This will ensure an easy flow of movement. 
  1. Storage space. Do not create areas of wasted space. Be sure to have enough storage space. If your kitchen is small consider installing cabinets to the ceiling and across the top of the refrigerator.  You may even be able to put a draw under the oven. 
  1. Too little counter space. This is very common problem. Take into account appliances that remain permanently on the counter, maximize your space by considering an island or adding a breakfast bar. 
  1. Inadequate lighting. Don’t skimp on the lighting. You should have lighting above all work areas especially the stove. General lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Your kitchen can look very sterile with only florescent lights. Accent lighting draws attention to the prime areas that you want to accentuate. Pendant lighting over prep areas works really well and under cabinet, lights will show off your beautiful backsplash. 
  1. Open shelves. are great for displaying special items but don’t overdo it. They tend to gather dust and keeping them clean can be time-consuming. 
  1. Poor Ventilation. Avoid last night’s food smells by ensuring that you have a good ventilation System. Extractor hoods simply circulate food smells especially in an open plan kitchen. A good ventilation system extends the lifespan of your appliances and keeps your kitchen cleaner. 
  1. The kitchen island. It is not wise to have an island if your kitchen is very small. We tend to think that it adds storage space but it can also become a barrier that you must maneuver around all the time. Specialists maintain that unless your kitchen is at least 2.4 meters deep and 3.6 meters long you should not consider having an island. 
  1. Watch kitchen trends. They have a short lifespan, it is wise to choose a timeless design. Presently Fridges, Dishwashers and Microwave ovens come with stainless steel finishes but beware of too much stainless steel. You do not want to lose the cozy warm feel of you kitchen and have it looking like a morgue. Always mix other materials and textures into your design. 
  1. Use Professionals. Do not attempt to save on costs by using an inexperienced designer to do your kitchen. Designing and installing a kitchen is not easy and mistakes cost money. It is wise to use professionals who will identify your needs and give the best advice and plan to suit your pocket. 
  1. Electrical outlets. Not having enough plug points is a disaster and not having them in the right positions is as bad. It is worth spending time on the electrical outlay of your kitchen. This will save you much frustration.
Kitchen Renovations - What are the most likely problem areas in the kitchen renovation industry?

What are the most likely problem areas when renovating a kitchen?


  • Ensure that a good quality wood is used. It must be sealed and suitable for the purpose for which it is to be used.
  • Ensure that the cabinet has sufficient ventilation.
  • Cabinets can be set on leg sets or be wall hung to prevent water damage.


Kitchen Renovations - Choosing products

Choosing products:

  • Take time to look and listen to advice given by the consultant on the various products. He can advise you on which companies are willing and helpful in the event of problems that may occur with products.
  • A beautiful kitchen renovation adds so much value to your property; avoid colours and styles that would date easily.
  • Make a list of what is required i.e. taps, tiles, basins, kitchen cabinets etc. before going to select the various items required for your kitchen renovation.



Kitchen Renovations - Important points to consider when selecting the tiles for your kitchen renovation


  • Use Light coloured tiles in neutral shades.
  • The darker the tile the smaller the room will appear to be.
  • The longer the tile the higher the ceiling will appear to be.
  • The broader the tile the bigger the room will appear to be.
  • Mat tiles absorb light, glossy tiles reflect light.
  • Glazed tiles are easy to clean.
  • Natural, unpolished porcelain, slate or marble will absorb body fats and soaps. This will eventually cause discolouration.


  • All houses are out of square and the floors are not level. The art is not to demolish the house and rebuild. It is to hide the imperfections and make them less obvious. This is when the skilled artisan is so important.
  • If the tiles are laid diagonally across the floor a wall that is not straight will be less obvious than when the tiles are laid in a straight line.
  • Ensure that the sizes of the two end tiles at the corners of the room are the same. Ensure that the tiles directly below the ceiling and the last row on the floor are cut to the same size.
  • A diagonal pattern on the walls of small areas is not recommended as it could create a busy looking corner.
  • Start tiling from the floor to the ceiling and balance the last row on the floor and just below the ceiling to be the same size.


  • It is important to discuss this aspect with any of us at Kitchen Renovations
  • Colourful borders and architraves date easily. Rather use classical designs.


  • The wider the space between the tiles the more grout needs to be used. Grout is a porous substance and will absorb dirt and deteriorate with time.
  • When tiling the walls care should be taken to place the tiles as close together as possible according to manufacturer’s specification.
  • When tiling the floor, stick to the manufacturers recommended spacing. As there is more movement in the floor than in the walls.


  • When renovating your kitchen take into account that light and natural colours disappear; darker colours frame the tile and can look very busy. We recommend that white grout is used on the walls and dark grey on the floors.
  • White Grout on the floor will discolour rapidly.

PHI Kitchen Renovations has all the skills, knowledge and experience to give the best advice and to do the best job possible to make your renovation a huge success.