Given how much time we’ve spent indoors over the past couple of years, it’s little wonder many of us are considering changing up our living spaces.
And while it might sound overwhelming, a kitchen renovation doesn’t need to be a complete nightmare. Instead of a full-blown overhaul, small updates can make a big difference. By harnessing the right combination of trending finishes and new appliances, you’ll be cooking up a storm in no time.
“Design-wise, we’re seeing a lot more soothing colours coming through the showroom – soothing greens, muted greens, blues– and the more natural materials, as well, coming through timbers and stones,” says Ross Lizzio from Interfar Custom Furniture.
Naturally, storage is an important factor too, but the sleek, minimalist look of recent times is slowly being replaced. Open shelving with a few knick-knacks, such as vases or ceramic pots, are now on display.
“We’ve seen more of a timber style shelving on either side of the range hood, open storage, so it doesn’t look so top-heavy,” says Lizzio.
After the pandemic saw us working and socialising at home, benchtops with bar stools became places to congregate and kitchen islands featuring power points acted as a second workspace. Pops of mood-lifting colour are also creeping in with tiles.
“A lot of glazed tiles are coming back again, easy to clean and it gives it a bit more of a feature, a bit more texture, to the kitchen as well,” he says.
If adding a pop of colour sounds a bit risky, oak and lighter coloured timbers are making a comeback too. For a timeless look, think of matt white cabinetry.
“Plain white kitchens are classic. You can personalise it with accessories.”
Aesthetics aside, a kitchen also needs to be functional. Whether you’re preparing a meal for yourself or a family of five, there needs to be an element of practicality.
When it comes to cooking, natural gas appliances are another timeless feature that will never date, with cooktops coming in a range of colours and finishes to match your kitchen’s style and decor.
“One of the great advantages of natural gas is just the instant and accurate heating. So, you can flick from heating a wok at a really high temperature with the flame billowing out and generating lots of heat to a simmering action in seconds,” says Simon Wills, director of The Heater Man.
If you’re tossing pancakes, charring capsicum or tossing veggies in a wok, the gas burners can take a lot more of a beating than a smooth, glass electric cooktop. Also, when you turn up the heat, the flame is an obvious sign the heat is going to increase, rather than pressing a numbered button.
Another advantage of using natural gas over general electric cooktops is you’re in charge of the cooking. Most induction cooktops require pots and pans featuring a flat, magnetic-based material, such as cast iron or magnetic stainless steel. With gas, you can have a rounded wok or more flat-based pot that can handle the heat, and any type of kitchenware will work on a natural gas cooktop.
Most professional chefs prefer gas cooking too. Gas changes heat immediately and can heat the sides of the pot, not just the bottom. Some say it can give some foods a better flavour with the char effect.
“You can have shorter cooking times, so your food doesn’t dry out as much,” he says.
“From turning on the flame to actually cooking your food takes less time and saves energy, plus you’re getting a more even heat all around as well,” says Wills.