Kitchen buying guide

What to look for and how to stay on budget.
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About $20,000 (including appliances and installation) will buy you a basic kitchen, using laminates and middle-of-the-road appliances.

Adding natural stone, two-pack polyurethane doors and an island will bring costs up to about $25,000, while about $35,000+ includes natural or reconstituted stone or stainless-steel benchtops and European appliances. (Structural changes, such as moving plumbing or door and window openings, will eat into your renovation budget.)

This large – and growing – cost outlay reflects the increasing importance of the kitchen in open-plan living but kitchens also need to be practical, so today’s kitchen designer must balance functionality and aesthetics.


Vital questions to ask yourself

  • Do you cook a lot? Are you a passionate cook? What type of meals do you generally prepare? These considerations will influence your choice of equipment, materials and layout.
  • How many people in your family use the kitchen? Besides preparing food, will you be eating here, or entertaining? Will the kids be doing their homework at the kitchen table? These activities will influence both the layout and floor space requirements.
  • How much storage space? Whether you buy mainly fresh or packaged foods and shop daily, weekly or monthly in bulk will influence how much storage you need.
  • Heavy or light duty? Some surfaces and finishes can take more wear and tear than others, but they each have their pros and cons.
  • Do you really need it? Extra cupboards to house rarely used appliances can reduce the budget for other items such as benchtops or taps, so why not get rid of that waffle-maker and other items that rarely see the light of day?
  • Which appliances are best for you? While you’ll want style and whizz-bang features, you’ll also need reliability. Always check the product’s energy ratings, too.
  • What do you recycle and how often? Recycling bins built into the joinery don’t take up much room. Use small bins that you empty often, rather than big ones that need more space and can get too heavy when full.
  • Are you keen to reduce energy? Looking to be water-efficient? See Part 3 of our Greener Living Challenge on page 18 of the August issue for tips from the experts.
  • Will accessibility be an issue? Or is it likely to become a problem in the future? Accessibility issues will affect bench and cupboard heights, and possibly the kitchen layout itself.




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