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Visualising a kitchen that doesn’t exist yet is a challenge for most. With the huge range of surface materials available, it’s easy to get confused before you’ve even stepped foot inside a kitchen showroom.

Start by looking at what other people have done in their homes, to get some inspiration. By narrowing down your options early, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed later.

While you’re exploring different styles, here are a some other things to consider:

1. Light, dark, or two tone?

Considering this now will help when the time comes to choosing your actual kitchen colours. It really helps to collect a few images you like from kitchen magazines before you meet with your kitchen designer. This will help them present ideas that you’re more likely to love.

HOT TIP: Black is trendy and looks great but can be more difficult to keep clean if you aren’t having any handles. A satin or matte finish will show more finger marks than a gloss finish will.

2. Polyurethane or laminate?

They each have their pros and cons and can be significantly different in price (poly being the more expensive option). There are other cabinet options available but poly and laminate are the two most widely used kitchen materials.

HOT TIP: Polyurethane is not the best option for rental properties as it’s susceptible to chipping and is expensive to replace if it gets damaged. Laminate is much more forgiving with tenants and small children that don’t always look after things.

3. Handles or no handles?

Seems like a trivial decision but the type of handle will dictate what’s possible in terms of cabinet construction, within your chosen material.  There are more handle-free options to choose from in poly than there are in laminate and they all look different.

HOT TIP: Kitchens with no handles look more sleek and modern but they are harder to keep clean due to finger marks. Some colours and finishes will disguise them more than others but if finger marks make you cringe, handles may be a better option.

4. Cupboards or drawers?

Drawers look fantastic and make the cabinet contents more easily accessible than doors. Just remember that drawer runners are more expensive than door hinges, so if budget is important to you it’s best to limit the total number of drawers you use. Read more about drawers.

HOT TIP: a set of 400mm wide drawers will cost the same as a set twice that width as they still use the same number of runners. A wider set of drawers will give you more bang for your buck as you’re getting more storage space for the same price.

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