The Home Renovators Guide to Kitchen Renovations

The kitchen is a key part of any family home and is probably one of the most frequently used rooms to boot. Smith & Sons understand your need to unlock the full potential of this space and can provide the kitchen renovations to make it happen.

As one of New Zealand’s most experienced and trusted renovation specialists, Smith & Sons can give your kitchen the TLC it deserves.

We have helped thousands of homeowners turn their dream kitchens into a reality with a fast, affordable service that’s guaranteed to provide the perfect results time and time again.

Your first job, however, is to work out the best way to utilise the kitchen spaces. This comprehensive guide to modern kitchen renovations will explain all.



Your Kitchen Renovation Checklist

In the same way that no two families are the same, no two kitchen spaces are identical either. Therefore, appreciating the essential elements that could influence your possibilities is an essential part of the preparations. Here are five issues that demand your attention before you even start thinking about the finer details.


Whether you like it or not, the level of funding you have for the project will have a significant influence on the final outcomes of your kitchen renovation. Once you know the budget, you can think about splitting it between essentials and luxuries in an effective fashion.



The variation in physical dimensions between one home’s kitchen and the next is probably greater than in any other part of the property. Even two properties of the same overall size may have two vastly different kitchen spaces. Naturally, renovating a small one is different from a big one.


Planning Permissions

Given its location in many homes, along with its importance, the kitchen is one of the leading candidates for an extension. If this is to be the case, Smith & Sons can provide the support needed to give you the best shot at gaining approval. Don’t do anything until it is.



Some people use their kitchens solely for cooking and cleaning while others may complete clothes washing, ironing, and other tasks in this space.

Again, this is primarily influenced by the physical dimensions but knowing what you want from the room is particularly crucial.




The kitchen is one of the busiest parts of the modern home, and also happens to be one that hosts the greatest number of hazards. Everything from proper ventilation to smoke detectors and electrical safety features is critical. This is a part of your prep work where Smith & Sons can help.


By taking the time to give your kitchen renovations the careful consideration they require today, you can prevent a major headache tomorrow. Aside from aiding the process of building your dream vision, it confirms that the proposed upgrades can be completed. Being left with an incomplete project or an upgrade that doesn’t quite hit the mark is the last thing you need.

Get in Touch

Layout options / make the most of your space

Whether your kitchen is big or small, unlocking its full potential relies heavily on how you utilise the space. Our highly experienced specialists all agree that the layout should be the priority for all kitchen renovations. Fail to use the available space in the most efficient fashion, and the outcomes will inevitably fall a little flat.

There are several layout styles available for the modern home, and it’s important for you to consider them all. Here are six layouts you may wish to utilise depending on the location and dimensions of the room.


Kitchen-Renovation-3 ..

Primarily located in smaller homes and limited spaces, the one-wall employs a single row of units for all cupboards and appliances.

This keeps everything organised and in easy reach while retaining a healthy amount of floor space. It can make plumbing and other issues a little more comfortable too.



The galley may have a single row of kitchen units. Or it may have two rows that run parallel to each other. Either way, it’s an ideal solution that makes particularly good use of long and narrow rooms - as is the case in a ship’s kitchen, which is where the name is derived from.



An L-shape kitchen uses two rows of units that form a right-angle, or ‘L’. This creates more room for appliances and storage than a one-wall alternative while still retaining a reasonable level of floor space. This can be used by kitchens of all sizes.



Otherwise known as a U-shape, the kitchen has units on three sides. The stove and hob will be in the middle while one side is for the sink. The opposite side houses the fridge and food cupboards. With the use of corner units, it offers  ample space for the modern family



A kitchen island is a unit that sits freely in the middle of a room, and can double up as a countertop for food prep, eating, or entertaining guests. The front of the island will commonly overlook a living space while the kitchen units and appliances are housed on three walls behind.



The peninsula is somewhere between a horseshoe and an island. It is a unit that offers the same function and striking appearance as an island but is connected to one wall. This means you can walk around three sides rather than the full unit, yet it can be a more practical option.


There are plenty of other issues that you’ll wish to consider, such as whether to go open play with other rooms or install a sliding door to the garden patio. Whatever the final vision may look like, choosing a suitable layout is unquestionably the perfect starting point for all kitchen renovations.


New cabinets and storage choices

One of the chief reasons for needing to pick the right layout is so that you can make the most of the cabinets and storage spaces. Naturally, different families have different needs, which is why you must always take your specific requirements into account.


If possible, it’s probably better to include a little more storage than you think is necessary. Aside from ensuring that you aren’t left regretting your decisions, it is a solution that could make the property more attractive to potential buyers should you ever come to sell the property. Even if this isn’t something on your agenda right now, it’s always worth keeping this in mind.


It’s not all about the number of cabinets used, as the style of cabinet can make a big impact as you look to utilise the space. For example, smart corner units may offer far greater storage capacity than two standard connecting cabinets at the right-angle.


Other issues to consider when looking at cabinets include



They need to be tall enough, wide enough, and deep enough to satisfy your needs without being so bulky that they create a claustrophobic atmosphere.



While wood is the most common option, metals including aluminium may be used. Likewise, high gloss finishes are increasingly popular. This and the colour will set the aesthetic tone.



This is particularly important for the high cabinets as they need to be practical. If your family are all under 6ft, you don’t want to be reaching 9ft high.



The mechanisms are primarily a concern for parents looking to childproof the kitchen. However, the function can impact the style and the ongoing maintenance.

Talk To Us

Ultimately, the cabinets need to fit the style (traditional or contemporary for example) while also providing practicality and function. Meanwhile, additional storage may be found behind the door or via shelving.



New appliances

No homeowner wants to needlessly replace their kitchen appliances. If yours are in good health, it may be possible to stick with what you have. However, it’s worth remembering a number of key factors.

  • Outdated appliances may not perform as efficiently, costing more money in the long run.

  • The hassle of replacing them after the kitchen renovation is far greater.

  • More streamlined designs may be available, saving valuable space.

  • Weary-looking appliances are likely to ruin the overall aesthetic.


Perhaps the more pertinent question, however, revolves around which appliances are needed. The fridge and cooker are essentials, as are items like the sink. However, many families find that dishwashers are essential while those looking to complete laundry duties in their kitchen require a host of other items.


With any appliance, you need to buy a brand that can be trusted while the colour and size need to fit the overall appearance of the room. Smith & Sons can offer advice on the right appliances and where to source them. Furthermore, we can install them in the correct fashion to ensure that they perform as expected without causing plumbing or electrical problems.


Just remember that the old items need to be disposed of too. Maintain control of this feature, and the entire project will feel far smoother.


Benchtop options


The benchtops, or counter-tops, are another crucial feature. Again these are available in various materials, with laminates and stone materials both popular solutions. Regarding the latter, stone and granite surfaces are very much on trend.

Similarly, choosing the finish for your benchtops will have a massive impact on the appearances and the feel. Likewise, the choice between rounded or squared finishes is key. If you have children running around with benchtops at head level, it’s probably best to go for a rounded product.


Before making your decision ask these crucial questions

  • Do the benchtops work well with the cabinets and storage facilities.

  • Do the benchtop materials and colours fit nicely with the colour scheme of walls and flooring.

  • Are the benchtops practical and safe?

  • Will they last or are they likely to suffer from wear and tear?

  • Will precautions need to be taken, such as keeping hot pans away from laminate counter-tops?


The benchtops aren’t the final factor to consider, though. The flooring choices are naturally very important, with tiles, marble slabs, and vinyl just three good examples. Again the colour and the material should complement the overall theme and vibe.


Kitchen doors provide a significant function concerning safety and aesthetic. They can also be very useful for keeping smells at bad, unless you’ve opted for an open plan style. Meanwhile, doors to the external spaces, such as sliding glass doors can add a whole new dimension.


Finally, kitchen renovations are never complete until you’ve added the little features that make a house a home. A variety of accessories can be used to brighten up the walls while even the right choice of oven gloves can bring that touch of personality. Perfect.

Before and after – Ideas to inspire

Regardless of the size or shape you’re working with, the upgrade process will (for the most part) cover the same fundamental planning preparations. The only thing that separates your project from other kitchen renovations is that you need to find a formula that satisfies your family’s needs.


Taking inspiration from other success stories is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways of gaining clarity in your vision of the dream kitchen. Smith & Sons have worked on just about every shape, size, and style of kitchen imaginable. We firmly believe that our past projects show we are capable of creating the perfect kitchens for just about anyone,


Here are five examples that demonstrate our professionalism and, more importantly, provide insight into the type of upgrades we can complete for you:


Blenheim – Wall removal to create an open plan kitchen, diner, lounge space

Pukekohe – Reconfiguration and redesign of a compact kitchen space

Riccarton – Modern upgrade to bring fresh energy to the family kitchen

Howick – Complete kitchen rebuild and connected to the backyard

Ashburton – Comprehensive revamp to the kitchen/laundry room


Whether you’ve seen something you’d like to emulate, have your own vision, or still need a little help in the design process doesn’t matter. Give Smith & Sons a call on 0800 764 846 today to discuss your project in detail and take the first steps towards a brand new kitchen. Frankly, it could be the smartest home improvement you ever make.

Contact Us

Request A Quote