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Our NEFF Guide to Starting a Kitchen Renovation

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A renovation can be the most exciting and exhausting part of transforming your home. But with the kitchen being the heart of your home, it can also be the most rewarding.

After seasons of shouting at the TV while The Block is on, many of us consider ourselves armchair experts in the kitchen renovation process. But there’s a lot that goes into a renovation behind the scenes and getting started can be a daunting process. Do you contact professionals straight away? Can you do it yourself? If so, what are the risks?

To arm you with all you need to get off on the right foot for a killer reno, we’ve outlined a process for getting started.

Budget for your bottom dollar: What can you afford?

After scrolling through renovation hashtags on Instagram and following dream makeovers on Pinterest, you can get ahead of yourself with expectations. Before you start daydreaming, you need to calculate your bottom dollar. A tip here is that you’ll need to budget for things to go wrong — odds are you’ll have a blow-out or a hiccup somewhere along the line so you might as well factor it in now.

‘Average’ renovation costs vary by industry reports, with Houzz 2019 data site a normal spend as $20,000 and the Housing Industry Association having it at over $26,000.

Shopping around for quotes, investigating insurance, finalising your scope of work, and utilising savings hacks are important. For instance, can you sell current appliances to offset new ones? They might not go for much but every dollar counts.

Measure everything and scheme your floor plan

Having exact measurements will help you understand your kitchen much more than relying on your spatial awareness. Get out the measuring tape and size everything up — heights and widths of benches, appliances, splashbacks, walkways, the lot.

Use these measurements to sketch up a floor plan and start plotting it out. Think of things like your ‘work triangle’, which is the three points that you’ll use most and want to flow freely between. For many, this is the countertop, oven/stovetop, and sink. Pro-tip: scan and print out your scaled floor plan so you can do multiple drafts.

Research and be inspired

Here’s where the lofty ideas come in. Once you’ve got a pricing outline, you can work out what you need. Start looking at renovation publications, websites, social accounts — everything you can think of to find inspiration for the look and feel of your kitchen. This research will help you develop a taste for what you like and what you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Settling on a style for your kitchen will help you make all of the hard decisions, from what colour to paint the walls to what types of finishes you’ll need. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite sources of inspiration:

Look and feel of your kitchen appliances

Appliances will take a big chunk of your budget and can revolutionise the space. Luckily the sleek designs of NEFF appliances can suit almost every kitchen style, with unique features designed to help you make the most of this important room. NEFF’s Slide&Hide can be great for tight areas, and vented cooktops can free up an island bench. Book in a product demonstration or phone consultation and our NEFF experts can help guide you. Take in your floor plan and measurements and they’ll give professional advice that can be foundational to your renovation. 

Plan your order of work

Knowing just what order things will be done will go a long way in planning. You’ll start with demolition and removals, likely followed by the plumbing, but then what? Are you going to do doors and windows, or do you need space to bring in large appliances? And does that mean you have to hold off doing the flooring so you don’t scratch it?

Work out your dream sequence and then finalise it with the next step.

Bring in the professionals

Even if you’re doing the work alone, you’ll need to consult a professional first. Give them your plans and budget and work out how just realistic they are. They might even be able to optimise your space with new ideas for toe-kick storage or solutions for corner cupboards. After all, they do this every day.

It’s important to ensure your contractor is licensed. Most states require licensing for renovations over $5000, you can look up tradies to see if they’re licensed on government sites. Victoria’s, for instance, is the Victorian Building Authority. Also beware of contractors who want you to sign on as an ‘owner builder’ when you aren’t doing any DIY work, as it may pass on unneeded liability.

Now, get to work!

Once you’ve dreamed, planned, and consulted the pros, it’s time to get to work. This stage will be different for everyone, but some things are uniform. It’s good to keep track of your budgeting daily, costing work out to ensure you’re on track will save any nasty surprises. Think of things like a mudroom (or mud area) to store tools and work clothes to protect other areas of the house.

It’s also handy to keep a daily diary of the work and costs. You’ll likely go through this process again and having a reference for what worked and what didn’t will make a world of difference for round two.

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About NEFF

NEFF is a German-engineered kitchen appliance brand, with a product range that includes ovens, cooktops, rangehoods, coffee machines and dishwashers designed to make life in the kitchen a daily pleasure. For people who love to cook, NEFF gives you the tools to creative meaningful connections, express your creativity and make memories. Because real life happens in the kitchen.

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