You’re going to put some big money into your kitchen’s renovation, so don’t start cooking in the finished product to realise it’s all sizzle and no sausage! These are five elements that can sometimes slip off the priorities list in favour of the shiny new cooktop.

Bench height
Yes, there is a standard bench height that is 900mm that also factors in under-bench storage for appliances and such. That said, this may not be the right height for you and your family. If you’re working from the kitchen day in, day out, you’ll want to consider the ergonomics so you’re not straining your back or muscles to use the prep areas. While you can usually have your bench somewhere between 850mm and 1050mm, map out your proposed height to make sure you’re comfortable with it.

Isolating the kitchen’s style
“Renovators often disregard thought for the style and colour of the cabinets and its cohesion with the rest of the house,” says interior design Lisa Burdus of Rooms By Design. “Just because there is a trend for white Shaker door cabinets it doesn’t mean it suits the home.  I like to take cues from the rest of the house when designing a kitchen and be brave with colour, i.e. paint the cabinets navy blue if there are other elements of this colour elsewhere in the house, same goes for the hardware. Brass, pewter or stainless steel should also be reflected elsewhere.”

Making the kitchen only for work
It’s fair to say that the kitchen is a work zone, however, the days where the chef was isolated from all the action of the party are over. These day, kitchens are a home’s centrepiece and the shift towards entertaining at home means that designs should now work towards flow between the dining area and the cooking zone. Island benches that incorporate a seating zone mean that the chef can chat with guests while preparing the meal and play nicely towards the open-plan trend.

Lack of task lighting
If you have the opportunity to add lighting underneath your overhead cabinets – do it! Unless you have a glass splashback that doubles as a window to the garden, it’s important to illuminate your work zone wherever possible for practicality (read: safety) and good looks. The trend towards pendant lights in the kitchen has real lasting power, but turn to sneaky light sources such as hidden LED strip lighting where possible to light up your space.

Not enough storage
“Making sure you have enough storage in your kitchen should be your number one priority – there’s no such thing as too much storage.” says interior designer Angela Neylon of Joanne Green. “A great way to start is to do an audit of all your appliances, kitchenware and approx. volume of food and map out how much storage it requires then if possible, double it! Future planning in your kitchen is extremely important. Be clever with tricky spaces, corner cupboards are notoriously under-utilised; Hafele have a great corner pull out cupboard – LeMans II that is perfect place to store odd pots and pans.”

For more kitchen design inspiration, check out these star cooking zones:

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