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A simple kitchen with black cabinetry, wooden floors and countertops, and white tiled splashback
These are the 10 ingredients essential for creating the ultimate cook zone.

The perfect kitchen: form and function

Whether you’re designing a kitchen from scratch or remodelling an outdated one, the key to achieving the perfect space for your style and budget is ticking off the non-negotiable inclusions. These 10 must-haves cover form and function for a kitchen you’ll love. 

1. Create the ideal layout

Consider your lifestyle and the way you use a kitchen to determine functionality that works for you, suggests Cameron Gray of Kaboodle Kitchen.

“An optimal kitchen layout has everything readily accessible. The kitchen ‘work triangle’ concept – based on the three main work areas of the sink, refrigerator and cooktop – is a start, but it’s not a hard and fast rule,“ he says. “The three work areas should be near enough to each other to allow for efficient meal preparation, but also not feel restrictive. Marking up a floor plan and plotting in cabinetry and appliances with masking tape on the floor allows you to walk around the space, and feel what your kitchen is going to be like.”

2. Ace the appliances

Start with big-ticket items such as the oven, cooktop, rangehood, fridge and dishwasher to determine the budget left over for cabinetry, benchtops, walls, floor and lighting.  

Danny Hamilton of Kleenmaid advises picking the oven first. “Take into account how much cooking you do to choose the oven size. Do you want it under the bench or in a tower? Consider convenience and safety in terms of lifting and pushing trays in and out. Do you have children who could access the oven?” he says. “Once you’ve established the size and location of the oven, select the cooktop and rangehood next.” 

A monochrome kitchen with white dining table, black chairs and cabinetry and a hexagon patterned splashback

3. Set the tone with the right cabinetry

Choose a look that lends workability to your design, and decide if you want it to complement the era and style of your home or deliver a contrast. Shaker-style cabinet profiles are a perennial favourite and work well in almost any home. Modern flat-front cabinets are also popular, fitting with the trend towards minimalist, uncluttered spaces.

4. Consider storage

Utilise internal storage devices, like pull-out baskets for cabinets, drawers and the pantry. Problem areas, like corner cabinets, can be solved with rotating baskets. “Drawers are a great accessibility solution – you don’t have to get on your hands and knees to get to the back of the cupboard,” says Cameron. “The general rule now is, install as many drawers as possible.” Maximise vertical space with overhead cupboards. In a compact zone, open shelves provide a less closed-in feel.

5. Look at the benchtop

“You want a benchtop space that has a good run so you’ve got a decent amount of space to work with,” says Cameron. “Also consider the benchtop landing space next to appliances.” Choose the best quality material you can afford and be practical: if you’re on a tight budget, bear in mind that timber and easy-care laminate can be fitted D.I.Y., but surfaces like engineered stone will need to be installed by professionals.

Tip: Our Special Orders Desk can provide advice and information. 

A marble countertop with build in sink and brass tapware

6. Illuminate

Ambient, task and accent lighting all should be in a kitchen plan, zoned for separate duties. It needs to be functional, particularly in food prep areas. Safety is paramount, especially when dealing with sharp knives and hot pots. A mix of downlights and pendants will illuminate work spaces, as well as allowing you to adjust the ambience.

7. Nail the flooring

Tiles are affordable, easy to clean and available in a wide range of colours, patterns and finishes. Natural stone (such as marble, slate, granite and travertine) adds a touch of luxury, but requires more care than ceramic tiles. Engineered timber flooring lends warmth and is more forgiving underfoot. For the look of stone or wood, vinyl is budget-friendly, hard-wearing and water-resistant.

A light seaside themed kitchen with wooden floors, blue kitchen island and various potted plants

8. Tap tips

For tapware, think about how the kitchen is used, says Luke Di Michiel at Caroma. “If you enjoy cooking, tapware with a pull-out or pull-down retractable hose system is great for quick clean-ups and practical for big, deep sinks,” he says. “Additional features can provide streams for different tasks, such as a gentle mist for washing vegetables to stronger water flow for removing cooked-on spaghetti from pans.”  

For the finish, Luke suggests looking to your appliances or door hardware. “Consider how the tapware fits with the rest of your kitchen. Be conscious of the metallic finishes, making sure they complement each other.” 

A stainless steel sink and tapware on a stone countertop

9. Be sink savvy

Maximise benchtop space by choosing an undermount sink. “They give a clean look and are practical,” says Luke. “Printing out the size of your sink on paper is a great way to visualise how it will sit. There’s nothing worse than losing too much benchtop because you’ve underestimated the size of your sink, or choosing a sink too small for your needs.” 

10. Style matters

White kitchens won’t date, but a bold finish might bring you more joy. “We’re seeing a trend toward woodgrain and timber-look cabinets paired with white, forest green or light blue cabinetry,” says Monique Parker of Kaboodle Kitchen. “Blacks and black woodgrains work well in larger spaces with natural light, whereas softer tones tend to work better in more confined settings to help open up the space.” 

Paintable cabinetry, like Kaboodle Kitchen’s paint-your-own doors, provides unlimited options to express yourself.  

For impact without going too bold, look at the splashback; this can be equal parts functional and feature, especially in a small space. Slab splashbacks are a clean, modern look, while tiles come in a myriad of sizes, colours, patterns and finishes, including irregular texture for an artisanal feel.

Keep in mind:

  • Always engage licensed professionals to perform plumbing and hardwired electrical work.

More kitchen layout advice

Follow our expert tips for creating a D.I.Y. U-shaped kitchen.

 

Photo Credit: Kaboodle Kitchen, Kleenmaid, Alejandro Sosa 3D, Jody D’Arcy and Caroma 

Some photographs feature products from suppliers other than Bunnings. Some products are not available at all Bunnings stores, but may be ordered.

 

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.