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  • Granny Flats

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    With property prices continuously rising a granny flat allows you to maximise extra land.

  • Kitchen Renovation

    Kitchen Renovation

    Whether you are renovating or building a new home, the kitchen is the heart of the home.

  • Architectural moulding

    Architectural moulding

    Exterior decorative mouldings used to "add character to your home".

  • Bathroom Renovation

    Bathroom Renovation

    Xtreme Bathroom Renovations are a great way to bring a tired and outdated bathroom back to life.

  • Cladding

    Cladding

    Transform your home’s exterior with our cladding service.

  • Granny Flats

    Granny Flats

    With property prices continuously rising a granny flat allows you to maximise extra land.

  • Kitchen Renovation

    Kitchen Renovation

    Whether you are renovating or building a new home, the kitchen is the heart of the home.

Kitchen Renovations

Whether you are renovating or building a new home, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Taking the time to plan a great kitchen will not only make your life easier but also affect the resale value of your home. Talking to professionals and working out what you need will ensure that your kitchen remains functional and stylish for years to come.

What Are Your Needs? The very first thing to do is to work out what you will be using your kitchen for. Will you be entertaining a lot, or will you be cooking for your family? Is cooking a pleasant experience or are you an “in and out” cook? How many people will be using the kitchen? Do you need a breakfast bar, a space for the TV, or a space for the phone and to pay bills or answer correspondence? Answering these types of questions will determine everything from how much storage space you need to what kind of appliances to install.

Also work out what appeals to you personally in terms of design. Do you enjoy wood or are you a minimalistic steel kind of person? Because there is such a wide variety of finishes – everything from tiles to wood to glass – visiting kitchen showrooms is a fantastic way to see the latest in design and materials. It will also give you a chance to see how different looks work together and help you work out what is right for you. To have one of our Xtreme Design Consultants visit your home and go through the options available to you, call us now on 1300 GO XTREME or fill out the ‘Request a quote form’. They will be able to help you design a kitchen which suits your needs, is functional, stylish and cost effective. Read more about kitchen renovations below.

 

Don’t be seduced by the latest trends as what’s in fashion now may not be in fashion in a few years time. A classic, neutral look will stand the test of time and can be updated from season to season through the use of accessories such as small appliances and soft furnishings. Another low cost way of updating your kitchen is through adding new cupboard and drawer handles, or even replacing the cupboard doors altogether.

It’s amazing how much of a difference such small changes can make! However, the upcoming seasons feature lots of wood, brushed or matte steel and man made stone. Colour schemes feature blues and greens, honey tones (such as those found in wood) and the classic neutrals. Retro 50′s style appliances are also very fashionable. Red and stainless steel have been huge in recent years but are on the way out, partly because stainless steel is so hard to keep pristinely clean. When considering your design, keep in mind that while glossy or dark surfaces look great, they can be near impossible to keep clean, especially if you have small children!

Choosing a patterned or a textured surface will show up much less dirt while still looking good. Rounded bench tops are in vogue at the moment and safer than bench tops with the traditional squared off edges. Vinyl and laminates now come in a massive variety of colours and textures, allowing you to recreate even the most expensive looking granite for a fraction of the cost (vinyl and laminate). If you choose stone for your kitchen benchtops, they are durable and will last for years our. We provide only the best quality in stone Quantum quarts and CaesarStone’)

Lighting is also a vital component of your kitchen design. Wherever possible, you should make use of natural lighting. Try to use task lighting on top of your general lighting where possible in order to light benches, cooktops, sinks etc and try to eliminate shadows.

There is a wide range of light fixtures available to suit any design. Common kitchen lighting includes downlights, fluorescent lighting, and spotlights that can be manoeuvred to light up certain areas. It is a good idea to get a professional to draw up a lighting plan so that you are working in the best light possible.

Also consider the wide range of kitchen storage solutions out there – and there are too many to mention here. A few examples would be revolving storage in cupboards that makes reaching into the corner a thing of the past to sophisticated rubbish systems. Our Kitchen professional will be able to tell you more.

Think about what you use in your kitchen – pots, crockery, food items and so on – and where it will be stored. Large drawers or pull out units are great for crockery, pots and dry foods, allowing you to easily access what you need. Pantries should be at least 900mm wide and have adjustable shelving. Consider having pull out shelves in your cupboards to eliminate you having to reach for the things that are stored at the back. Rubbish bins and systems should be placed near the sinks. Remember to allow for recycling and composting, if you have it. Utilise the backs of your cupboard doors – these can be great places to put items such as paper towels, cling wrap, alfoil and tea towels.

Storage with all of the equipment needed in a modern-day kitchen, it can be easy to feel disorganised and frustrated by searching for that ever-elusive item that you need to make your meal just perfect. Thankfully, there are some great storage solutions available for the kitchen, no matter what budget you may have. True organisation is only a few steps away.

Choosing the Right Storage

When planning the storage areas in your kitchen, you first need to ascertain exactly what it is you will be using the kitchen for. For example, if you do a lot of entertaining, your kitchen storage needs will be different than if you simply cook the family meals, You also need to accommodate how you use the kitchen, and ensure that the storage is laid out in such a way that the most often used items are the most easily accessible.

If you have cupboards above the benchtops, ensure that you can easily reach the bottom shelf, and preferably the second shelf as well. It is better to have a wide pantry with narrow shelves, than a pantry with deep shelves but if deep shelving is unavoidable then there are range of products such as racks and pull out baskets to make accessing food easier. Position crockery cupboards near the dishwasher to make unloading easy. This is called zoning – where your kitchen is divided into a set of distinct zones according to what is stored there. Some zones may be consumables, non-consumables, cleaning products, the preparation area and the cooking area.

Simple Storage Ideas

There are some things that you can do to easily and effectively maximise the amount of storage space that you have in your kitchen. Below are just some ideas.

  1. Use the backs of doors to hold things such as paper towels, alfoil, tea towels and so forth
  2. Pull out shelving makes it much easier to access items that are at the back of a cupboard or pantry
  3. Hooks are a great multi-purpose tool that can be used for everything from holding hand towels, to cups and saucepans
  4. Mount open shelves on the walls to hold your crockery and glassware – it will be easily accessible and look great
  5. Use racks and baskets in cupboards, on benches and even on doors and walls
  6. Use portable storage such as trolleys and cabinets that are mounted on wheels – this has the added advantage of providing extra space where you need it while entertaining
  7. Island benches are great for extra storage and also provide a place for the second cook in the household to cook
  8. Pot drawers make it easy to find saucepans and other bakeware
  9. Stackable plate carriers and load bearing drawers helps to keep your crockery well-organised
  10. Drawer inserts allow you to customise your drawers for the kitchen items and utensils that you have, making them easier to find
  11. Pull out drawers make it easy to find items that are hidden away – the new silent runners means that the days of drawers banging shut are gone

Whether you are renovating or building a new home, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Taking the time to plan a great kitchen will not only make your life easier but also affect the resale value of your home. Talking to professionals and working out what you need will ensure that your kitchen remains functional and stylish for years to come.

What Are Your Needs?

The very first thing to do is to work out what you will be using your kitchen for. Will you be entertaining a lot, or will you be cooking for your family? Is cooking a pleasant experience or are you an “in and out” cook? How many people will be using the kitchen? Do you need a breakfast bar, a space for the TV, or a space for the phone and to pay bills or answer correspondence? Answering these types of questions will determine everything from how much storage space you need to what kind of appliances to install.

Also work out what appeals to you personally in terms of design. Do you enjoy wood or are you a minimalistic steel kind of person? Because there is such a wide variety of finishes – everything from tiles to wood to glass – visiting kitchen showrooms is a fantastic way to see the latest in design and materials. It will also give you a chance to see how different looks work together and help you work out what is right for you.

The kitchen is increasingly becoming the hub of the home, as it is not just for preparing meals but is now becoming a meeting place. For the kitchen to be truly functional, it needs to have good cupboards. Here is our guide on selecting kitchen cupboards.

Kitchen Cupboard Design

You have a range of options when it comes to the design of your kitchen cupboards. You can have them readymade or you can have them custom made. They can be installed for you or you can opt to do it yourself. If you are on a budget, consider flat pack kitchen cupboards as they are a cost efficient alternative while still providing you with quality.

Kitchen cupboards can be just about any colour you want, and you can also opt for timber or timber-look finishes. Doors can be made out of the same material as the other parts of the cupboards or you can opt to create a feature using things such as clear or opaque glass. A designer will be able to fill you in with more options. You can even choose to leave the doors off altogether for open shelving.

If you opt for wall mounted cupboards, consider if you want them to go all the way to the ceiling or not. Cupboards that meet the ceiling can look extremely elegant and make cleaning easier, but the standard wall mounted cupboards that leave a gap between the top of the cupboard and the ceiling means that you can use the space for displaying objects.

Options for Kitchen Cupboards

Because you need to store all kinds of items in your kitchen cupboards, you need to make sure that they meet your needs. This is where careful planning comes into play. Designate specific cupboards for specific things. For example, a pantry cupboard may benefit from pull out shelving or wire racks to hold items while a “junk cupboard” may benefit from drawers for small items, inserts to keep items separated, and several shelves placed close together. Cupboards that hold pots, pans, and small appliances should be deep enough to hold the items without crowding and allow you to easily access them.

Think about what may benefit you – options such as pull out shelving, wire racks and baskets, turntables, drawers, hooks, organisers, and so forth. All of these kinds of items will display your kitchen items well and make it easy for you to get what you need when you need it, which is particularly valuable during busy meal times where you simply don’t have the time to go hunting around.

If you are storing cleaning items or chemicals in your kitchen, think about a locking cupboard, especially if you have young children in the home. This could prevent accidents from occurring.

Kitchens have become much more than food preparation areas, in the modern home they can double as entertainment areas too. Kitchen sinks are a key element of great kitchen design from a practical and aesthetic point of view (for options see kitchen sink product brochures). The kitchen sink is integral to everything that happens in the kitchen, and can influence the entire feel of your kitchen. Choose your sink in conjunction with the fittings, fixtures and theme you have chosen for your kitchen.

This could reflect a traditional style with for example a white porcelain sink, or a more contemporary approach with a sleek and functional industrial themed stainless steel sink. You will be using your new sink on a daily basis for a long time, so be practical when choosing. The kitchen sink should also be placed in a convenient location with plenty of natural light, and should last for many years if maintained well.

What to consider?

Before deciding on which kitchen sink to purchase take time to consider:

  • Cost – affordability will influence your choice
  • Durability – some materials are more resistant to scratching and chipping
  • Size – the size of your kitchen and practical space requirements will determine what sink you can fit
  • Colour- sinks come in a huge variety of colours to suit your kitchen theme
Styles

Kitchen sinks come in many configurations, including single-bowl, double-bowl and triple-bowl. Choose how many bowls you need based on practicalities such as space and the amount of use your sink will receive.

You will also have to decide what type of sink to install, which will often be influenced by your kitchen countertops:

  • Rimmed – these sinks are the most common and least expensive type of kitchen sink, but are not especially stylish.
  • Self-rimming – this sink has a rolled rim, and is installed on the top of your counter, making it easy to install or replace.
  • Integral – the sink and countertop are made from one material, sleek in appearance and easy to maintain.
  • Recessed – installed under a countertop to create a seamless flow, easy to clean but only suitable for solid countertops.
  • Tile-in – used with tile countertops, a practical option for an integral look.
Materials

Kitchen sinks come in a variety of materials to suit your particular needs. These include:

  • Stainless steel
  • Porcelain
  • Cast iron
  • Acrylic
  • Granite
  • Marble
  • Copper
  • Plastic

Knowing how different materials stand up to wear and tear is crucial when choosing a sink. Granite is durable, but chips easily, and is expensive. Enamelled cast iron is highly durable and more affordable, but expensive and prone to lose its finish if cleaned inappropriately. Plastic sinks are inexpensive; come in a variety of colours, but are easily scratched and best fitted if your budget is tight.

Kitchen benchtops truly add the finishing touch to a kitchen, so it makes sense to choose one that suits your style, adds functionality and is aesthetically pleasing (for more see kitchen benchtops). There is a myriad of choices out there, so we’ve gotten the lowdown on some of the more common benchtop types to try and make things a bit easier.

When selecting your benchtops, it is not only the material that you need to consider. Benchtops need to be at least 600mm wide (or deep), with the recommended range being 600mm to 900mm. If they are too wide, it becomes too hard to reach all items on the benchtop. Don’t forget to allow sufficient room for food preparation. Benches should be 600mm long at the absolute minimum if only one person is preparing food. Obviously, the longer the benchtop, the better, with a length of 900mm plus being recommended. If two or more people are involved in food preparation, consider a benchtop with a length of 1200mm to 1500mm or more.

Design

Two major factors will influence the design of your benchtop and those are personal choice and your budget, with different materials varying in price. The kitchen benches are the first thing that you see when you enter a kitchen and are the most visually dominating element so it is important that you choose a material that matches your existing décor and that suits your lifestyle. For example, if you are a serious cook, you may be better off with a heat and scratch resistant material such as granite, rather than a laminate which cannot take heat at all.

If you want to overhaul your kitchen without doing a complete renovation, then it is possible to replace just the benchtops for a whole new look. However, you will need to consider the structural soundness of your existing kitchen, especially if you will be laying a heavier benchtop than originally existed. You will be limited to the existing layout so this is an option that works best when you simply want to update the finish. Always get professional advice when replacing benchtops as they will be able to advise you on any hidden expenses.

Types of Benchtops

There are several different types of benchtops, meaning that there is an option to suit any style of kitchen. The most common styles are outlined below:

  • Granite – very durable and is scratch and chip resistant. You are able to place hot items directly on the benchtop as well as use the benchtop itself for food preparation. However, because granite is porous, it will need to be sealed regularly, usually around once a year.
  • Corian – is a patented blend of acrylic and natural minerals. It allows for a seamless finish and is hygienic, non-porous, and resistant to stains and heat. It comes in many different colours and is available in matte, semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes.
  • Marble – has many of the same qualities as granite and because it is such a smooth surface, it is favoured for the preparation of dough and pastries. However, because it is so porous, it will require sealants to be applied more often than granite does.
  • Quartz Surfacing – is the most durable stone benchtop. It has the look of natural stone and is highly resistant to staining. Quartz surfacing is low maintenance, non-porous and very hygienic.
  • Concrete – concrete benchtops can be pre-cast in a mould or cast on site. It is rapidly rising in popularity but it needs to be sealed in order to resist stains and water damage.
  • Laminate – the most traditional and common of all benchtops. It is an economical alternative and is made up of several layers that have been pressed together. It does not have the durability of stone but it is highly versatile in that it is available in a wide range of colours, finishes and textures.
  • Tile – while more commonly used in a splashback or as trim, stronger tiles can be used as a benchtop. Tiles may have raised, inset or painted designs and are commonly made from materials such as ceramic, porcelain, glass or natural stone. If unglazed tiles are used, they must be sealed.
  • Hardwood – commonly known as a “butcher block”, these benchtops are made from maple pieces that have been stacked and glued together. Hardwood benchtops are generally between 1 ¼ and 6 inches thick and are highly favoured by chefs and serious cooks.

Kitchens are getting more and more sophisticated. You can now choose between electric, gas and induction cooktops, with some cooktops having extras such as wok burners – perfect if you love Asian cuisine! Ovens can be under bench or wall mounted and can be single or double, depending on how much room you need. Refrigerators now come with all sorts of extras such as automatic icemakers and the Internet. Dishwashers can be set into the cabinetry and pulled out like a drawer – no more bending over to load the dinner dishes! We at Xtreme have formed Alliance with Bata electrical to provide our clients the best products and service . The average family spends a lot of time in the kitchen, so the right appliances can not only save time but make the food preparation process a lot more enjoyable. There is a lot available on the market, and the choice can be quite confusing, so we’ve put together some tips on how to choose that perfect appliance.

Design Considerations

There are two general types of kitchen appliances – built in and freestanding. Built in appliances include things such as the stove and dishwasher while freestanding appliances are usually smaller such as a mixer, kettle or juicer. However, the kitchen should be designed to accommodate all types of appliances. For the larger appliances such as the refrigerator, oven and cooktop, they should be well placed within the work triangle (see kitchen design for more information). Smaller appliances can be placed in an appliance cupboard with roller or bi-fold doors if bench space is at a premium.

When choosing appliances, it is important to work out how often you cook, and what you are most likely to cook. For example, if you eat a lot of stirfrys you may require a cooktop with a wok burner. Also, stay realistic. There is no point in spending a lot of money on an appliance with features that you are unlikely to ever use. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. This will see you being much less likely to fall for appliances that feature the latest “tricks”.

Appliances can be matched to the kitchen either through fully or semi-integrating them or alternatively through using complementing finishes such as stainless steel, brushed aluminium, black or traditional white. Many smaller appliances are also coming out in a range of colours such as blue, red, pink and so on. You do not have to buy all of your appliances from one manufacturer, however it is best to if you want a fully matched look.

Fridges and Freezers

Because fridges and freezers can use a lot of energy, it is worth looking for an energy efficient model to save not only the environment but your electricity bills. Look for the number of stars that the appliance has – the more stars the better. Also ensure that you choose the right size for your needs. If you have a large family, one large refrigerator is generally more efficient than two smaller ones. Also, models that have one door above the other are more efficient than side-by-side refrigerators. If you require a lot of freezer space, look for a chest freezer as opposed to an upright one as they lose less cold air.

When selecting your fridge and/or freezer, look for features such as easy to reach and operate temperature controls that are separate for fridge and freezer, adjustable shelving, and a door open alarm.

Dishwashers

When choosing a dishwasher, ensure that you get the correct size for your needs so that you don’t have to wash partial loads, or do more loads than you need. It is also important to get the most water and energy efficient model you can. When looking for a dishwasher, try to find one that has hot and cold water connections, or just a cold connection. If the dishwasher only has a hot water connection, it will heat water through the whole cycle, using much more energy. Also look for economy cycles to save both water and time.

Microwaves

Microwaves now come in a range of styles and features and are no longer used just to reheat and defrost food. New technology has allowed microwaves to come with a range of pre-programmed options that let users cook a whole meal simply by pushing a button. There are also combination microwaves that feature both microwave and electric cooking. Sensor cooking is another recent innovation and it works by the microwave sensing how much steam is in the microwave and adjusting cooking time to suit. New microwaves are available with pull down doors and in different finishes to the traditional white, such as black and stainless steel.

There are a variety of cooktops available on the market. These include:

  • Gas – offers instant heat and allows you to control the heat precisely
  • Electric – cheaper than gas, however elements take longer to heat and adjust
  • Combination – has both electric and gas elements, allowing the advantages of both
  • Induction – uses electromagnetic energy that starts when the pot touches the cooktop. It is energy efficient, safe, and allows rapid temperature adjustments
  • Cooktops also come with features such as stain-resistant surfaces, wok burners, and integrated features such as having the kitchen sink included.

There are several types of ovens and we have outlined the most common below:

  • Gas – uses a raw flame to create heat, meaning that heating the oven is faster and it is easier to maintain high heat levels
  • Electric – still a popular choice with the temperature being easy to maintain. It is also likely that electric ovens will have multiple functions
  • Steam – gaining popularity as it allows the user to adjust humidity and temperature in order to stop food from drying out. It also eliminates the need to use oil or fat
  • Combination – a combination of two types of ovens such as gas or electric combined with steam
  • Fan-forced – uses a fan to circulate heat in the oven, heating the oven faster and more effectively
  • Multi-function – an immensely popular option that combines a fan, oven and griller

Ovens can be freestanding or wall-mounted. Colour-wise, stainless steel is still extremely popular but black is also an option. Look for features such as self-cleaning ability and programmability.

The best kitchen is a well-placed kitchen so carefully consider where your sink, oven, cooktop, refrigerator and dishwasher will be. The sink should have plenty of natural light, be placed close to the cooktop and be near your main food preparation area. Ovens and cooktops should have an area nearby for hot dishes to be placed, and wall mounted ovens should ideally be at a height where the middle shelf is equal to the cook’s elbow. Make sure that the rangehood servicing your cooktop will discharge hot air to the outside of the home rather than into the roof cavity. As the refrigerator is the most-used appliance in the home, it should be placed in an area that is easily accessible both to the cook and to the other members of the family without interrupting the flow of traffic in the kitchen. The dishwasher should be near the sink for ease of loading.

The cooktop, refrigerator and sink should be in the shape of a triangle and the distance between each of the points should ideally be seven metres but no more than ten or less than five. Also, if you are renovating, do not worry too much about where existing services such as power and plumbing are located. If the benefits of moving the services are significant then it should definitely be done, and the cost to do so will be worth it in the long run. The kitchen needs to suit you. Kitchen – Tips for Turning Yours Green

With energy sustainability becoming a major issue in many Australian homes, it can help both the environment and your wallet if you make some changes in your kitchen to use fewer resources and become greener. We’ve put together some ideas that anyone can follow with a minimum of hassle whether you’re building new or looking to make a few changes.

A colour palette refers to the colour themes that you choose for each room in your home. Ideally these should merge seamlessly, and should also relate to the furniture, fixtures and fittings that grace these rooms. Having a colour theme does not imply that you should have the same colour throughout your home, rather that all rooms should complement one other and be coordinated. Rooms should be defined by a key colour around which suitable related colours can be matched to. In a kitchen colour will come from a combination of wall paint, tiles, lighting and plumbing fixtures, storage cupboards and appliances.

Factors to consider when choosing a colour palette for your kitchen include the size of the room you have to work with. Dark colours have the habit of making spaces smaller, so go for a lighter palette if you have a smaller kitchen. Related to this is lighting, which should be functional and provide adequate coverage for all worktops and the stove area. Also take into account how your lighting will affect the colours, which includes the type of bulbs you use and their placement. Any colour palette for the kitchen should also bear in mind the style of the rest of your home, most particularly the room it adjoins, which may have a traditional or modern/contemporary feel?

Though colour perception is a complex process, colour can affect our moods. Bear this in mind when choosing the colour palette for your kitchen as certain colours have very definite associations, and can determine the atmosphere of a space. The following are some of the more common colours and their ‘mood’ associations:

  • brown = warmth
  • yellow = optimistic
  • blue = calm
  • green = tranquil
  • red = stimulating
  • Some examples of popular palettes include greens and blues together with tan/brown, for an environmental theme; or black and white with stainless steel accents, for a sleek, modern industrial theme. Follow these simple guidelines for a trouble-free process choosing your colour palette: Determine what colours you like and build a palette around them
  • If you are moving into an existing home and are remodelling, use the existing fittings and fixtures to help you select an appropriate theme
  • Permanent fixtures should be chosen with care as you are likely to have to live with them for a considerable time
  • Stick to neutral colours if you do not have any strong colour associations
  • Use the natural environment to help you choose a colour palette. This may be the colour of the vegetation in your garden, or the variety of shades in your surroundings
  • Use paint samples to test colour on your walls rather than relying on paper test strips

Choose energy efficient kitchen appliances If you’re replacing the appliances in your kitchen, make the effort to look for appliances that are as energy-efficient as possible, especially when it comes to the cook top, oven, fridge and dishwasher. The best way to see if your appliances make the grade when it comes to energy efficiency is to check the number of stars that it is. The more stars, the more energy will be saved. Also ensure that you choose appliances that are the right size. If your fridge or dishwasher is too large, they will use more energy, or water, than they need to. Also check out the new induction cook tops. These work by using electricity to create a magnetic field to cause molecular movement in your cookware, meaning that the stovetop stays cool while the cookware itself heats up.

Go green in the kitchen with recycled materials. Recycled materials can be of just as high quality as newly-made materials and save equipment going needlessly to landfill. Recycled materials can be used as flooring, as counter tops, as splashbacks, and can even go as far as using your old kitchen carcass, which may still be in perfectly good condition.

Make recycling a part of your kitchen. When planning your kitchen, ensure that you leave lots of room for recycling. A surprising amount of items can be recycled in the kitchen, from packaging right through to food scraps. Turn your food scraps into compost and your garden will benefit too. Save water in the kitchen.

An easy way to save on the amount of water that you use in your kitchen is to install water saving taps that have a good water rating. If your taps don’t need replacing, consider installing a flow regulator or aerator to minimize the amount of water that comes through. You’ll be amazed at how much water you can save with such a minimum of effort.

Use energy-efficient kitchen lighting. As light is necessary in every kitchen, using the right lights can save an extraordinary amount of energy. Most kitchens require both general and task lighting, and fluorescent lights can be used for both of these applications. Try not to use incandescent bulbs as these are the most energy-intensive of all.

Use natural ventilation in the kitchen. It may be tempting to use the range hood to rid the kitchen of steam and cooking odours but oftentimes their use just isn’t necessary. Ensure that you have an openable window – or more than one if it’s feasible! – and you will be able to let in fresh air as well as let out what you don’t want. You’ll also have the bonus of natural light. Save energy by installing your kitchen fridge correctly.

Many fridges are put into spaces that are simply too small for them, meaning that they will use more energy trying to keep the contents of the fridge cool. If you have a fridge cavity, ensure that there is plenty of space at the back – at least 80 millimetres. Also, it may sound obvious but try to keep the fridge a good distance away from heat sources such as the oven. Use eco-friendly flooring in the kitchen. There are many types of flooring out there that are environmentally friendly. A few of your options include polished concrete, natural rubber, bamboo, timber flooring from sustainable forests, recycled timber flooring, and cork flooring. Not only will you be helping the environment, all of these options look fantastic!

When working in the kitchen, it is vital that the lighting is correct, both for safety reasons and practicality. Natural light should be maximized but during times when this is not possible (such as at night), artificial lighting is required. In the kitchen, it is important to have light shining on the work surfaces, sink, and stove. This is because it is dangerous to work in shadowed areas. A single light in the middle of the kitchen will nearly always be insufficient. You will probably need to use three different types of lighting in your kitchen: ambient, or background, lighting; task lighting; and mood lighting. There are three common types of lights – downlights, fluorescents and spotlights – and these can be manipulated to suit your area. The hottest lighting trends see the return of the fluorescent bulbs, downlighting and pendant lights.

Ambient Lighting

When installing ambient lighting in your kitchen, it should match the colour of natural light as closely as possible. Good ambient lighting comes from ceiling lights that have been correctly positioned. Popular forms of ambient lighting include recessed halogen downlights, halogen bulbs on an exposed trapeze, fluorescent lights, or even the standard incandescent bulbs. For energy efficiency, install bulbs with the maximum brightness that you need and also install a dimmer switch. This will give you greater control over the illumination.

It is important to locate the ambient lighting away from overly reflective surfaces (such as stainless steel or glass) and in places where you are not likely to be distracted by dazzle when carrying hot objects.

Task Lighting

Because the kitchen is a place where a lot of work is carried out, good task lighting is paramount for safety reasons. Task lighting needs to illuminate the sink, stove, benches, and any other work areas. Options for task lighting include downlights that have been installed underneath wall mounted cabinets, spotlights aimed at a specific area or fluorescent lights that have been mounted above the splashback.

Pendant Lights

Pendant lights are increasing in popularity and usage due to factors such as more island benches being installed and the absence of overhead cupboards. Pendant lights can be both task and ambient lighting, depending on how they are used. Installed over countertops, they can throw bright light directly on the area that needs to be illuminated. If there is some sort of dining area in or near the kitchen, a pendant light can be positioned over the area and dimmed as required to provide ambient lighting, or even mood lighting depending on the light levels.

Splashbacks are essential in the kitchen to not only protect the wall against moisture and cooking debris but also to create a decorative element. The right splashback can make your entire kitchen pop so we’ve put together a guide to help you choose the perfect one for you.

What is a Kitchen Splashback?

A kitchen splashback is the material on the wall above the sink, cooktop or other benchtop space that protects the wall from oil, grease, splashes, and other kitchen messes that occur when you are cooking or preparing food.

Types of Kitchen Splashbacks

There are many different materials that you can choose from when you are deciding on your kitchen splashback. Each will create a different effect so you need to keep this in mind when making your final decision. Here are some of your choices:

  • Tiles — tiles are a common splashback material and you can choose between many different shapes, colours and patterns so you can create a truly individualised splashback. However, it can be difficult to keep the grout clean and free of dirt or stains.
  • Glass — glass splashbacks are becoming ever more popular as they are extremely hygienic and easy to keep clean and they are also surprisingly versatile. You can opt for plain glass, textured glass, colours painted behind the glass, or even to have wallpaper installed behind the glass. However, they can be costly to install and they need to be cut exactly right or they will not fit.
  • Stainless steel — stainless steel is a very modern, clean choice for your kitchen splashback and it is another material that is very easy to keep clean. Be aware that it will easily show smudges, fingerprints, water marks and other things if you are not careful.
  • LED — LED splashbacks use LED lights behind a sheet of glass. You can set the LEDs to stay on one colour or you can set them to periodically change colour. This is a great way to create a unique looking splashback in your kitchen.
  • Benchtop — benchtop splashbacks sound unusual but it simply means that you are continuing the material of your benchtop up to become the splashback as well. This could be laminate, or a thin veneer of stone or stone composite.
  • Freestanding — some freestanding ovens and cooktops now come with their own splashbacks which is great as you don’t need to think about providing an additional one.
  • Mosaic — mosaic tiles can provide a brilliant feature when used as kitchen splashbacks. These are small tiles that are laid in sheet form and you can create some truly stunning effects. There is a lot of grout to keep clean however.
  • Paint — paint is a simple choice and a very economical one but you need to be sure that it is water resistant and easy to clean. The beauty about paint is that you’re practically unlimited in design choices.
  • Timber — a timber splashback can create a beautiful effect but if you go for this choice, it is imperative that the timber is properly sealed and maintained so it is not damaged by water.
  • Mirror — mirrored splashbacks can really open up the kitchen but they cannot stand up to moisture, food debris and the other rigours of the kitchen as well as standard glass can.
Considerations with Kitchen Splashbacks

You may think you know which splashback that you would prefer but you need to take into account the amount of maintenance that you are prepared to do and the budget that you have. Some splashbacks can be simply wiped down with a damp cloth to remove all traces of mess, while others may require special cleaning agents to avoid damage or streaks, or take extra time to clean. Kitchens are one of the expensive parts of the home to renovate so you need to make sure that you stick to your budget when it comes to your splashback so that you don’t short change yourself in any other area. Tiles are a generally economical choice but they can break or crack over time so make sure you order a few extras. Glass and stainless steel are two of the more expensive options. No matter what splashback material you opt for, always remember to shop around for the best deal and ensure that any quotes you get include delivery and installation.