Popular Kitchen Materials

Your kitchen is composed of several different materials, finishes and accessories. It will be beneficial to start thinking about the different materials involved in your kitchen before you start your renovation. Here is a quick guide  to help you choose the materials that best suits your needs and desires, and practical tips to avoid mistakes.

Appliances

While they are technically not a kitchen material, every new kitchen needs appliances. In Australia alone, there are 93 different brands of appliances! They range in price dramatically based on prestige and available functions. While selecting appliance brands is a personal choice based on needs and budget, follow our tips to make some practical choices.

A good kitchen layout allows space on either side of your cook top for efficient cooking. Consider this during the design phase.

Many people want to have a gas cooktop, but gas may not always be an option in your home. Find out if gas can be connected to your building before shopping.

Consider how much cooking you do and how many functions of your oven you will actually use, and choose an oven that matches your budget as well as your needs.

Look for energy-efficient appliances, especially when shopping for a refrigerator.

kitchen appliance

Benchtops

Benchtops for your new kitchen are available in a large range of materials and colours of benchtops available to suit your individual needs and tastes. These materials include Caesarstone ®, Corian ©, laminate, marble, granite, and stainless steel. Benchtops vary dramatically in price. Consider the benefits of each material carefully and remember that your benchtop will get used heavily.

Laminate is the most cost-effective material. It’s warm to touch, and comes in a variety of colours and finishes.

Caesarstone ® is known for good quality and resale value.

The natural materials of marble and granite make each slab unique. Both come in a variety of colours and textures. Costs vary according to pricing category. Frequent sealing is recommended. Lighter marbles require more maintenance.

Corian © blends acrylic resins and natural minerals to create a seamless moulded benchtop. It’s pricier, and requires maintenance; but small scratches can be professionally buffed out.

caesarstone 40mm benchtop

 

Kitchen benchtops marble

Drawers

Drawer mechanisms are an essential choice of materials for your new kitchen. Look for brands that offer a lifetime guarantee, such as Blum. Blum drawers are composed of strong steel drawer sides with high impact nylon rollers. Many innovative drawer solutions are on offer, including soft close mechanisms, pot/cutlery drawers, pull-out inner drawers, corner drawers, pantry drawers, and under sink drawers.

Drawer runners should be able to carry 60 kg.

Drawers are ultra space-efficient. They can have around 30% more usable capacity than cupboards.

Consider non-conventional uses for drawers besides storing plates, pots and pans, cutlery and utensils. In smaller spaces, drawers can be used as an ergonomic pantry.

Under sink drawers are desirable, but the drawer cannot be customised in size and needs a minimum width of 1000mm. They are also fairly pricy.

Corner drawers also can not be customised in size, and space is lost due to the mechanisms of opening the drawers on a corner.

blum inner drawers | small kitchen ideas | Blue Tea

Handles

Choosing your kitchen materials can be fun, and the finishing touches can add personality to your space. Handles do more than just serve a function; they can change the entire mood of your kitchen. Handles can be subtle or dramatic, seamless, streamlined, or elongated.

You can mix handles with handless cabinets too. A great look is to have handless upper cabinets with handles on the lower cabinets and drawers.

Don’t be afraid to choose a mixture of handles for design and function. However, we recommend that you choose no more than two different sizes/ styles .

Choose handles that fit the proportions of most of your doors and drawers.

If you have small children, consider using curved handles, with no harsh edges.

gold kitchen handles

Lighting

Get creative with light when selecting your accessories. It makes a considerable impact on the look of your kitchen.  Besides general lighting, light can be added inside cabinets and walk-in pantries, or mounted in wall units to provide spot lighting on benchtops or to feature specific cabinets.

Fluorescent and LED lighting provides flat light, casting no shadows.

LED lights last longer and are better for the environment.

Focus lighting on main preparation areas.

Get your kitchen supplier to install a light shelf if mounting lighting within cabinets, as the fittings can get hot.

oversized pendant lighting hamptons kitchen

 

kitchen shelf LED feature lighting

Splashback

Splashback materials add dimension and flair to your new kitchen design, and can be one of the most striking features in your kitchen. Choices for your splashback are limited only by your imagination, as long as it can withstand heat and can be cleaned easily. Popular splashback materials include glass, mirrored glass, stone, tiles, and stainless steel.

The colour of the splashback should complement or contrast with the colour scheme of your whole living space.

Tiles offer a variety of textures and colours.

Glass is easy to clean and maintain, and generally can be matched to any dulux colour.

If you’re unsure about which splashback colour or material to choose, you can make your decision once the cabinets are installed. You can hold up tile or glass samples next to your new cabinets, then see what you like best.

white subway tile splash back | hamptons kitchen

 

scandinavian kitchen featuring marble splash back

Tidy Bins

Tidy bins are bins that are hidden within cabinets, often within their own specified cabinet or under the sink. They can be door mounted, they can slide out  or they can simply sit within the cabinet.

A bin that seals when the cabinet door closes prevents germs and smells from escaping.

Choose a bin capacity to match the amount of rubbish your household generates, considering how often you will need to empty it

Built-in bins can get expensive and may not be recommended for an investment property.

If you have a small kitchen, it may not be wise to use a whole cabinet for a rubbish bin.

tidy bin kitchen

There are many different materials, finishes and accessories to consider when renovating your kitchen. The key to a successful renovation is to balance the beauty and the practicality of each material, and to do this within a budget that suits your expectations.

6 Comments

  • Sophie says:

    Wow, we are thinking about renovating our kitchen and this site is a wonderful resource. I have never even thought about adding a splashback, but it sure sounds interesting and it would definitely be unique.
    I have a question: you said that one could use colors that contrast or compliment the color scheme of the living space. Are there any disadvantages to either method?
    I don´t want our kitchen to look too crazy, but I also don´t want it to be boring.

    • nadiah says:

      If you use complimentary colours in your kitchen, it will keep the theme fairly subtle. A contrasting colour adds more flavour. At the end of the day you have to choose colours that you feel comfortable living with, one isn’t better than the other.

  • Very interesting. I love what you wrote about Benchtops.
    Which material is easiest to take care of, e.g. to clean?

  • Samuel says:

    Lighting is so important in your kitchen. There is certainly nothing worse than cooking with poor lighting. I personally prefer fluorescent lighting and I like to have many options on which parts of the kitchen are being highlighted.

    • nadiah says:

      Hi Samuel, fluorescent light is fairly even, flat and bright, so it makes sense to use it in the kitchen. Sometimes it can be a little cold though so you should make sure to get the warmer tones of the bulbs.

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