20 ways to make your kitchen more valuable and functional

November 24, 2020

Large luxurious interiors of kitchen and dining room

The kitchen has a made a big comeback in 2020. In recent years, kitchen benches piled with papers, and stoves went untouched, as our busy lives saw a rise in takeaway and dining out. COVID19 forced us to slow down and gave us more time than we knew what to do with. Mealtimes became a bright spark in our dull lockdown days where we baked, slow-cooked sauces, and expertly mixed cocktails. 

Our revived love affair with the humble kitchen doesn’t look like it will fizzle anytime soon, as it provides an intimate and cost-effective alternative to a five-course-tasting-menu with matching wines. The extra time spent in the kitchen has many Australian’s wondering how they can make it a more functional and enjoyable workspace with the added bonus of potentially adding value to their homes. 

To inspire your kitchen makeover we’ve made a list of 20 ways to increase its value and function.  


A kitchen island adds bench space, storage, and extra seating, which are all key ingredients to a liveable kitchen. A must-have feature of any new kitchen – an island is a perfect place to store your new cooking tools that were accumulated during the lockdown. A kitchen island can also double as an office or a place for the kids to do their homework under a watchful eye. 

Changing a splashback can instantly elevate your kitchen. Cheap and durable tiles come in a vast range of styles and colours, so you can create a truly unique and eye-catching splashback. If you want to create a more luxurious aesthetic, a small marble splashback can give you a touch of opulence for a fraction of the price of marble benchtops.  

Extra bench space is a must for a busy kitchen but when it comes to benchtops, material is just as important as size. To increase functionality, upgrade your kitchen benches to a more durable material, extending them where possible. Granite is an excellent choice due to its price point and durability. Stainless steel is the most hygienic option and can give your kitchen the sort-after industrial look. 

Replacing cabinet doors is an easy way to update your kitchen or try a different design style. Opting for a bright white colour can turn a dreary kitchen into a warm and inviting room. Overall it’s a much cheaper option than replacing entire cupboards.

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When choosing cabinet doors, soft closing features are a great option. Kitchens are a high traffic area, and little hands opening and closing cabinets and drawers can make for a noisy environment. Soft closing features don’t just prevent bangs and slams, they also ensure cupboards and drawers are properly closed, and prolong the life of the hinges. 

Shiny new taps and handles are a must if you want to refresh the look and functionality of your kitchen. Modern taps don’t just look great they also have clever features that can make washing up less of a chore. Detachable hoses and temperature touch controls are just some of the functions to look for in a new tap. 

No matter how stylish the rest of your kitchen is, old appliances can drag down its overall feel. Besides from being an eyesore, dated appliances also lack the functionality that modern appliances can offer. With all that extra cooking and experimentation, new appliances can take your cooking to the next level. With Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can remotely control the timer and temperature, touchscreens, self-cleaning functions and multiple cooking settings – you can run your kitchen like a Michelin Star chef. 

Integrated appliances are having a moment in 2020. Ovens, dishwashers and fridges are now designed to disappear seamlessly into their surroundings, hidden in cupboards and drawers. Integrated appliances make for a sleeker-looking kitchen, and free up space usually taken up by bulky freestanding fridges and ovens.  

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Make organisation fun and stylish by adding a blackboard feature wall to your kitchen. A matt black wall makes for a striking feature, which doubles as a place to write down recipes, menu plans and shopping lists. If you’re not bold enough to commit to an entire wall, blackboard paint is easy to clean, making it an interesting splashback alternative.  

Your kitchen’s layout affects its look, flow and functionality. With just a few adjustments you can modify your kitchen to better suit your family’s needs. The ‘work triangle’, or the distance between the fridge, sink and cooktop, is the recipe for a functional kitchen. Each side of the work triangle should be no less than 1200mm, to minimise movement around the kitchen and increase workflow. 

Due to the global pandemic, Sunday brunches at the local caf are few and far between. Transform your kitchen into a makeshift coffee shop by plumbing in a professional-grade coffee machine. If you don’t have the time or patience to weigh your coffee shots and master milk frothing, choose an integrated automatic machine that churns out quality coffee at the touch of a button. 

In the past, two sinks were considered a frivolous luxury item, but attitudes are changing as cooking becomes more of communal activity. A second sink makes it easier for multiple cooks to work at once without getting in each other’s way when rinsing and washing up. An island bench or butler’s pantries are both great spots for a second sink, as it creates a whole separate workspace. 

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New lighting can literally and figuratively brighten up your kitchen, as out-dated light fittings can impact the look and feel of the room. Lighting is both functional and decorative – a well-placed pendant can draw the eye and illuminate a workspace. 

Gas has become a sort-after kitchen feature. A cheaper, greener, quicker alternative to electric stoves and ovens, gas is also the first choice for serious cooks. Connecting gas to your house ranges from $1200-$5000, but it will potentially boost your kitchen’s value and cooking street cred. If you already have gas heating or water, installing gas in your kitchen should be a breeze. 

A good cook is an organised cook. Optimise your drawers with custom inserts for spices and utensils. Drawers come in all kinds of configurations to store oven trays, knives and even hang your pots and pans. For the tech-savvy, you can install a powerpoint in your top drawer to create a hidden charging station. 

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Turn your fine china and glassware into art with glass-front cupboards. Putting your most beloved items on display will give your kitchen a rustic feel, whilst making everything easier to access at a moment’s notice. Glass cabinet fronts also make your kitchen appear larger and lighter. 

Bread makers, pasta makers, slow cookers too, as well as every type of condiment under the sun the resurgence of home cooking has left us with a whole lot more tools in our kitchen arsenal. Extending your cupboards from the floor to the ceiling will increase your storage capacity immensely, and give you a place to store your new goodies. 

If you take drinking as seriously as eating, a separate wine fridge might be for you. A dedicated wine fridge adds a decadent touch to your kitchen and is both attractive and functional – keeping your wine on display whilst ensuring it’s the perfect drinking temperature. 

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The kitchen has taken back its title as the heart of the home. When making changes to your kitchen, reimagine it as a communal space rather than a strictly functional room. If you’re adding an island, make sure it can accommodate a few stools – or upsize the bench-top of your existing island to create a breakfast/homework/wine bar. Installing bench seats under windows is another way to make your kitchen more inviting and increase seating capacity. 

A flextension (not the Brexit kind), is an extension that transforms a room into a multi-purpose, multi-person space through clever storage ideas and seating solutions. It’s more than a few stools around an island bench it’s purpose-built to optimise space and liveability. A flextension can come in the form of a kitchen island, an extended bench, or a butler’s pantry/office, you name it, as long as it optimises the living space. 

Words by Nell Matzen

Sources:

20 kitchen design trends for 2020 you need to know about

Expert eye: 6 smart ways to add value to your kitchen reno

How to add value to your home with a kitchen renovation


Written by Refinancing.com.au

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