The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Renovation: Layouts, Materials, and More
Your go-to guide for everything kitchen-related.
Renovating the kitchen’s a big deal. With the amount of activity this area sees, it’s no wonder that homeowners are forking out extra cash to create an aesthetically-pleasing, yet functional space.
Of course, there’s a bunch of things to think about, and it can get overwhelming. So, let us take some weight off your shoulders with this comprehensive list of everything you need to know about designing a kitchen!
The layout of your kitchen
Think of your kitchen layout as the foundation of the space. A layout that suits your cooking workflow will make your life so much easier, while an inefficient one will leave you scrambling around just to find what you need.
Open vs closed concept kitchen
An open vs closed-concept kitchen
While kitchen layouts have a few variations, the kitchen concept type is much simpler. You’ll just have to choose between an open or closed concept kitchen layout – which, in the Singapore context, is choosing whether you want a wall separating your kitchen from the rest of the communal area.
These days, most new BTO flats come with OR without a kitchen wall – so if you’re a fan of open spaces, you’ll no longer need to pay your ID to tear it down.
A semi-open kitchen | View this project by Plus Interior Studio
For the undecided folks, there’s an option for you, too! A semi-open kitchen gives you the best of both worlds, with clear, foldable partitions over a counter or a half wall that gives homeowners the option to open or close them when needed.
Types of kitchen layouts
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Singapore’s homeowners don’t always have the luxury of choosing any layout - particularly in BTOs or smaller condo units where space is a constraint - but it still pays to do some homework before talking to a designer.
Typically, U-shaped layouts are out of the picture unless you either a) live in a huge home, or b) are willing to do extensive renovations. If not, simple layouts like a galley, one-wall, and L-shaped styles are more than enough.
Here are some reading materials to help you pick the best kitchen design:
- Design inspiration for every kitchen layout
- Creative wet and dry kitchen layouts
- Layout changes for a more spacious kitchen
View this project by Anhans Interior Design
Houses in Singapore may be small, but there are layout changes that can help to create the space you need. With the additional space, you can now include extensions like a kitchen island, peninsula, or even a bar!
And even if you’re starved for space, there are still ways of squeezing in a kitchen island in a small home!
Workflow and lifestyle needs
It may seem trivial, but your lifestyle needs are especially important for kitchen planning as this will dictate your workflow and other things you need.
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For instance, heavy cookers may want to get a U-shaped layout for that sought-after ‘work triangle’ for efficient cooking. People who frequently host gatherings and avid bakers may also benefit from this kitchen layout (especially if there’s a kitchen island in the middle), since it provides plenty of space to whip up a storm and entertain guests.
Casual cooks, on the other hand, may not necessarily need a fully-equipped kitchen, meaning that a simple single wall layout is more than enough to accommodate this fuss-free lifestyle.
P.S.: If you’re curious, you can find the best kitchen layout based on your lifestyle here!
Kitchen countertop height
View this project by Yang's Inspiration Design
Most of the time, an ID will build your kitchen countertops at a height of 90cm, but surprisingly, this isn't recommended for all. If you're on the taller or shorter side (or if you're a wheelchair user), this height is going to be a pain in the joints.
Depending on what you'll be doing, the countertop surface should be anywhere between 3-8 inches below the elbow. You can check out this useful guide to find out what's the best countertop for your home!
The storage/organisation solution for your kitchen
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Renovations can be a technical process, and we’d understand if you’re leaning on your designer to decide things for you. But when it comes to your kitchen storage, it’s better to be more involved, since you’re the one who knows what you need best.
Essentially, your kitchen storage solutions should complement how you move about in the kitchen. For instance, you may want your frequently-used cookware near the stove, or the condiments stowed away to prevent clutter. Hashing this out with your ID will help the both of you figure out the kind of storage you need (see next point!).
Basic storage solutions: kitchen cabinet vs drawers
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All too often, homeowners choose a particular storage type only to end up wishing they had gotten the other after a few months. To avoid this same plight, take a look at their pros and cons below to see which one suits you best:
Storage solutions for smaller items like condiments and snacks
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Additional storage space sure doesn’t hurt. Fortunately, there are dozens of creative solutions that will give you the ample storage you crave, all while helping you fully utilise every inch of your kitchen.
Some of these solutions include corner racks, 2-3 tier drawers, and pull-out inserts, which you can pick up from kitchen specialist brands like Song Cho, Blum, or Hafele. But these are just some out of many solutions, as you’ll soon discover after reading these articles:
Image credit: BLUM
Mechanisms like hinges may seem too small for you to care about, but trust us – they really do contribute to an efficient kitchen! In general, brands like Blum and HAFELE are highly raved among homeowners for their array of innovative, yet practical fittings, so you won’t go wrong with any of their products.
Alternatively, check out our brand directory, where there are tons of other brands (and even some sweet deals!) for your perusal.
The materials and fittings used in your kitchen
Kitchen countertop material choices
View this project by Yang's Inspiration Design
Vigorous chopping, food spills, and scorching pots are just some of the things the kitchen countertop has to deal with, so it’s only fair for you to outfit it with the best material available to ensure it remains in tip-top condition.
In general, quartz is still the most popular choice among homeowners, but the other options are still worth exploring. Popular choices today include sintered surfaces for their sophisticated look, as well as KompacPlus – a sleek, slim countertop with a sink cover that functions as an additional worktop space.
It’s going to be tough to pick one, but hopefully, your research will go a little easier once you’ve taken a look at this guide to picking the right kitchen countertop material.
Kitchen cabinet material choices
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Laminates are far and away the most popular material for kitchen cabinets (corroborated by your response on our Telegram poll), and for good reason. They’re affordable, durable, and come in a myriad of designs that will fit into any home regardless of aesthetic choice.
Nonetheless, it wouldn’t hurt to read up on the other materials used. Stainless steel, for example, is antimicrobial and impervious to stains and liquids (a popular reason for commercial kitchens!), giving it an edge over laminates in terms of hygiene.
Read more about stainless steel kitchen cabinets here:
- Why You Should Get Stainless Steel Cabinets For Your Kitchen
- How to Design a Kitchen Cabinet: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself
View this project by Eames & Scales
More than just an aesthetic feature, the kitchen backsplash has a rather practical purpose – which is to prevent splashes of water and oil from dirtying the kitchen wall.
As such, it’s high time you find out more about them, the different types of materials available, and maintenance tips – all of which you can find in this comprehensive guide about kitchen backsplashes.
Essential appliances and fittings
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There’s a good number of things to get for the kitchen – like the fridge, hob, hood, dishwasher, oven, sink, sockets… the list goes on.
It’s best to start shopping early as these appliances measurements are typically accounted for in your kitchen carpentry. The last thing you want is your fancy (read: expensive) fridge to be too big for its designated space.
View this project by ELPIS Interior Design
Here are a few articles that you may find helpful for this stage of the renovation:
- Fridge buying guide
- Choosing a gas or induction hob
- The best kitchen hood for your home
- Sink buying guide
- Guide to buying major cooking appliances
- Unique hardware and fittings
If you’d rather browse through different brands to see what they have to offer, head over to our brand directory to see what’s available!
A guide to designing your dream kitchen
If you're read all the way till the end, congrats! With these bits of information, you're one step closer to designing a kitchen that isn't just aesthetically-pleasing, but efficient as well.
The next step? Finding an interior designer that can turn everything you need into a fully-functional kitchen. Tell us your renovation requirements, and you’ll get personalised renovation quotes from up to five interior design firms – completely free! Get started now by clicking the button below.
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