Our top 6 design tips to create your dream kitchen.

Notice how most people gravitate towards the kitchen in the home?  Whether it’s for daily meal prep, chatting and debriefing about the day, or entertaining friends and family, there is no doubt, the kitchen is the heart of the home!

Take it from us – renovating a kitchen is complex, there is a lot to consider both functionally and aesthetically. It’s not just about beautiful lights and an amazing stone benchtop – although we do love selecting those elements – the most important part of designing a kitchen is to ensure it’s highly functional as it will have a huge impact on the way you live and enjoy the space.

Doing a kitchen reno is also one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your home, so it’s important to take the time to ensure it’s a highly workable space and somewhere you love to spend time (and show off to your friends and family).

So, to help you design a kitchen you love, we’ve listed our top 6 design tips!

1. Identify the 3 most important things you’d like to address with your new kitchen.

It could be to improve the overall flow, to have more preparation and cooking space, to have more storage, or to modernise with a cosmetic refresh. It’s important to know what your goals are from the outset.

Kitchen design, Sydney interior designer, McMillan Design
Double Bay Project | McMillan Design

2. Overall look and feel.

Set a vision for your kitchen by collecting inspiration imagery of kitchen designs you love. Identify the elements that resonate with you in your inspiration – is it the colour palette, the benchtop, the cabinetry style, the pendant lighting, or the layout perhaps… This will help you develop a clear look and feel for your design direction, to create your dream kitchen.

For some inspiration, you can check out our projects here, and our Instagram feed which also features some beautiful kitchens and inspiration @mcmillandesign

Contemporary kitchen, dream kitchen
Wollstonecraft Project | McMillan Design

3. Kitchen layout.

Determine the space you’ve got to work with – you may be using the existing kitchen space and set out, OR you may be able to extend to create a larger kitchen. Is there space for a butler’s pantry for additional storage? Or an island bench to sit around? Or are you limited to a galley style kitchen to make best use of the space?

Once you’ve identified the space and shape you’ve got to work with, you can start planning your layout. Think about the different ‘work zones’ of a kitchen – your cooking zone, sink / washing up / rubbish zone, and your prep zone where you need accessibility to the fridge and pantry.

Other important considerations with your layout are the ‘traffic flow’ in and out of the kitchen, where your family or guests can sit and gather without being cluttered around the cooking or prep zones, and ensuring there is enough space for appliances and drawers to open without banging into each other.

Create your dream kitchen layout

4. Plan your appliances.

It might sound a bit strange to start thinking about the appliances at the early stage of your kitchen design, however trust us, appliances have a big influence on the design as you need to account for the format, size and the location of them. For instance do you prefer a wall oven, so you’re not bending over to use the oven? Or do you prefer an under-bench oven?  Or if you’re an avid cook you might want to consider two ovens?

Contemporary dream kitchen design
Surry Hills Project | McMillan Design

5. Cabinetry considerations.

Cabinetry design has a huge impact on the look and feel of your space, but it’s also an extremely functional component of your kitchen. From a functional perspective, think about these options….

  • Drawers for your under-bench cabinetry rather than cupboards. Drawers enable you to see and reach everything inside vs cupboards where you have to bend over to reach the items at the back of a cupboard (I’m sure you can relate!)
  • Pantry design – Ensure everything is accessible and easily reached. If you have a deep pantry space, pull-out shelves and drawers are a great solution!
  • Integrated options! We love to use cabinetry to cleverly ‘hide’ appliances and rubbish bins! Hiding the big and bulky appliances, like the fridge and dishwasher, with integrated cabinetry panels will create a seamless, luxe look in your kitchen.

From a cabinetry perspective, there are so many fabulous options … from profile, colour and finish, and of course handles and knobs, all of which will bring your kitchen to life. Have fun making your selections and remember to always tie back to your design direction.

White kitchen design, create your dream kitchen
Camperdown Project | McMillan Design

6. The fun stuff – benchtop, splashback and lighting.

These design elements can create ‘design magic’ in your kitchen, helping to create your dream kitchen.

Deciding on your benchtop is a biggie as it’s the largest working surface in your kitchen.  There are so many options available, from natural stone, to engineered stone, to porcelain, to timber, and whilst we particularly LOVE working with natural stone its not for everyone as it can be more prone to marking and need additional care.  If you do choose natural stone, ensure it is protected with a sealant to minimise stains.

Good lighting in a kitchen is IMPERATIVE! You want to aim for the perfect mix of ambient and task lighting (and hopefully some natural light too!)  Task lighting is important to ensure you can see what you’re doing when prepping food and cooking, whilst ambient lighting is key for the overall, general lighting in the space.  We also love to add some feature lights over an island bench, and its important to keep in mind how that space is used as these may also provide task lighting for the area.

Contemporary kitchen design
Mosman Project | McMillan Design

So, there you have it, our top 6 design tips to create your dream kitchen!

The kitchen is such an important space in your home and as a result there will be so many considerations when designing yours, so I hope our design tips have given you confidence and guidance to prepare for your kitchen renovation.   We do strongly recommend that you work with a professional to help create your dream kitchen as they’ll be able to optimize the layout, help avoid common mistakes and address any challenges that pop up along the way.

Of course, if you are looking to refresh your kitchen and would like some design support, we would love to chat about working with you.  You can book a complimentary 20min Discovery Call by simply clicking here.


Anna x