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As the heart of the home to gather, entertain and unwind, kitchen design is something that can make or break a home. A well-designed kitchen should not only look great but also be functional. With so many elements to consider, the kitchen can be one of the most challenging rooms when it comes to renovating or building.

Porter Davis Homes Interior Designer, Koraly Fasone, shares her top five tips when it comes to kitchen design, to help take the stress out of your kitchen transformation.

Invest in planning

Like all elements of design, planning is key. First, consider the key functions of your kitchen. The kitchen isn’t just a space for cooking; it’s a place to share meals, gather as a family, entertain or even to be used as a place for the kids to do their homework while dinner is on the way. It’s so important to consider all the different ways the space will be used.

Ask yourself: how much time do you and your family spend there? Do you want it to become a hub of activity in your home? Do you need additional space to dump bags and unpack groceries, or to study? These functions are your brief, which you’ll fulfil with your design.

Island benches are extremely versatile across all times of the day, whether that be early breakfasts, after school homework and evening social gatherings. If you’re thinking about installing an island, measure and mark up a space on the existing floor for the role you want it to play. Will it include a cooktop, sink, appliances, power points, or just be a free workspace? Include markers for anything sitting on or around the bench and allow enough space for everything to be in reach. Islands don’t even have to be permanent fixtures - if you’re working with a small space, consider a movable bench or trolley for instant storage and flexible space.

Embrace lighting

Natural lighting is crucial in the kitchen as it not only creates warmth but a seamless connection to the outdoors. If your kitchen can’t cater to a window, consider a skylight or maximise the windows in the surrounding rooms to help that morning sun shine through.

In this all-hours, highly functioning room, task lighting is vital. Position lighting to specified areas, including beside the cooktop, over the island bench or above the sink. This will not only help these areas function better, but can also be used to highlight feature areas of your kitchen. Think LED strip lighting to the underside of overhead cabinetry - its addition not only brightens a work space, but also illuminates a feature splash back. Smart fittings, dimmers or diffusers can help transform your kitchen and add further aesthetic and function.

Transform the lighting and the mood of your kitchen in an evening to a soft ambient glow - exactly what is needed to make a relaxing evening cup of tea.

Storage is a hero

Well considered storage is imperative to effective kitchen design. Make your space work for you by grouping items that are used for the same purpose or at the same time. Storage spaces need to be easy to access and practical to what is or will be stored there (think both height and depth), and nearby to where those items will be used.

Some zones I like to follow include:

  • Grouping all breakfast items together like tea, coffee, mugs, bread basket and toaster.

  • Keep utensils, pots and pans within reach of the cooktop.

  • Store dinner plates close to the dining area.

  • Often, people just want to shut things away, only to realise that what they need is too much effort to find.

  • Drawers will generally give a better vision of what is stored inside, and are great for storing smaller items.

  • The addition of storage systems inside cabinetry can quickly increase your storage capacity and practicality, consider built-in rubbish bins and storage pull out racks, baskets and dividers.

  • You can even reserve hard to reach cabinets for items that aren’t needed very often.

The three F’s: Fixtures, Finishes and Fittings

When we move into the fine details of fixtures, finishes and fittings, the choices and decisions can be overwhelming. If this is you, revisit your brief and remember how you want your kitchen to function, and the aesthetic character you wish to achieve.


Appliances all have their functional and visual elements of appeal, so consider how each appliance’s technology, capacity and price tag fits in with your household. While they may not need to take centre stage visually, their size and function need accommodated your requirements.

Hardware The sleek look of handless cabinetry isn’t for all, and for those who love the application of a cabinet handle, the choices are endless. With the ability to tie in finishes to tapware, appliances and décor accessories, handles easily become a main focal point and accessory, to a well designed kitchen.

Benchtops and Cabinetry You can achieve the look you’re going for with any price point. Natural stone is a beautiful material, but can be substituted for reconstituted stone. Similarly, timber or 2Pack finish cabinets can be subbed for laminated. Consider the functionality of your splash back; stone or glass is easier to clean than tiles, but tiles will enable you to introduce a feature pattern, colour or texture to the space.

Finishing touches

As well as being functional, kitchens can also be the perfect place to introduce character into your home, particularly as it’s one of the most utilised rooms in the home. Inject colour and texture through fixtures, fittings and simple styling touches. Think about complementary artwork, ambient lighting, feature hardware, decorative items and unique pieces of furniture to bring the space full circle. Ultimately, make it your own and have fun with it!

About Porter Davis Porter Davis Homes was awarded the 2019 Housing Institute Association - Australian Professional Major Builder of the Year award, which they have won six times in their twenty-year history. Leaders in design, Porter Davis Homes builds beautiful homes for families and first home buyers across Queensland and Victoria. For more information about Porter Davis Homes displays visit:


WORDS | Koraly Fasone, Porter Davis Homes

IMAGES | Porter Davis Homes



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