Category Archives: Upgrade Ideas

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Kitchen Storage - By Alex

9 ways to get the most out of your kitchen storage

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If there’s one room that absolutely needs to be organised, it’s the kitchen. And yet, so often, kitchen storage solutions elude us. But getting your kitchen back on track is actually pretty simple. Here are some handy hints that’ll transform your kitchen.

1. First, think about how you use your space

Whether you’re planning a kitchen from scratch, or overhauling an existing space, think about how you use your kitchen. Chances are, it’s a room you use at least twice a day, and possibly more. So above all, your kitchen needs to be functional, and storage is a key part of that. Think about your kitchen in terms of zones – a cooking zone (where your stove and oven are), a prep zone (usually your largest open bench space) and a food storage zone (your fridge and pantry).

Think about the way your kitchen is now, and how you could move items around to make it work better for you. Do you store your utensils near your stove, so it’s easy to reach for a whisk when you’re making a sauce? Where are your chopping boards? Ideally, they’ll be right under your largest bench space, so you can grab them easily as you prep food. For many of us, it helps to do a ‘full Kondo‘ and take everything out of our cupboards, and reorganise from here (you may also find items you no longer need – chuck them out for bonus storage space!).

2. Drawers before doors

Ask pretty much any kitchen expert and they’ll tell you: drawers are king when it comes to storage. With drawers, you can easily see what’s in each space, and you can use the entire space (with cupboards, we tend to only use about half to three-quarters of the space – such a waste!). You can re-fit existing cupboards with drawers fairly simply.

3. Make your pantry work

For many of us, the pantry is like the Bermuda Triangle of kitchen storage: if we ignore it, it doesn’t really exist. But organising your pantry and adding a few nifty features to help it work harder for you will make prepping and cooking so much easier – we promise.

There are plenty of products on the market now to help you get your pantry in better working order. Contact us if you’d like some advice in this department. Think about rolling or sliding shelves that draw dry goods right out to you, two- and three-tier shelving units that can double your usable pantry space, over-the-doors hooks and rails, and baskets that clip onto the bottom of shelves to add extra storage and make reaching for that can of chickpeas a little easier.

4. Use every bit of space

Chances are, your kitchen has at least a little space that’s currently going unused (or at least underused). Have you got those odd tilt-down drawers just under your benches? Use them for sponges, spices, and cling wrap and foil. Got space above your cabinets? Place less frequently used items up there, like cookbooks, cake stands and large pots. How about the inside of your cabinet doors – reckon you could find space to hang a magazine file, to ‘file’ away your cling wrap, baking paper and foil there? Or maybe you could mount a magnetic strip for spices, or hang a chopping board.

And if you’ve been ‘blessed’ with awkward corner cupboards, think about using them in different ways. You could install a pull-out cupboard system which brings the entire contents of the unit into view when you open the door. Have a look around and see how much space you’re not using – and then think about ways you can put that space to work.

And don’t forget to make the most of vertical space!  You could hang chopping boards on walls, pot rails (which work for utensils and also small baskets which can hold fruit and veg), shelves for cookbooks, and even a peg board for miscellaneous items.

5. Install lighting inside your cabinets and drawers

Kitchen lighting isn’t just about those downlights you installed. Installing proper lighting in your pantry and other cupboards (or under cupboards) will allow you to see the entire contents of your cabinets at a glance. You can buy inexpensive battery-operated LED sensors lights that emit very little heat and are therefore safe around food.

6. Not everything has to go in the kitchen

If you’re short on space, think about items that don’t necessarily have to live in the kitchen. Barware, for instance, might make more sense living in your bar are. Cookbooks can go on a bookshelf in your living room. Cleaning items, like mops, might be better stored in the laundry. Again, it pays to be thoughtful about how you’re currently using your space, and whether you could put it to better use.

7. Hide clutter (aka the junk drawer…)

There are some things you simply can’t get rid of – your toaster, your kettle, your utensils – but you can hide them away. Banish clutter from the counter top by tucking everyday appliances such as the kettle and toaster behind sliding doors or inside discreet breakfast nooks (providing have enough properly located electrical sockets; if you don’t, these can be added by a qualified electrician). You could also cut down on bench space used by using a folding dish rack, a magnetic knife strip (eliminating the need for a block), or magnetic spice racks on the side of your fridge. And of course, every kitchen has a junk drawer…

8. Use organisers and dividers in your drawers

Save time scrambling through drawers for that elusive utensil by adding drawer organisers and dividers to all your kitchen drawers, not just your cutlery and junk drawers. Look for inserts that are modular and expandable to fit your drawer size and requirements exactly – and don’t forget non-slip drawer inserts that keep the contents of your drawers secure.

9. Get stackable containers and dispensers

Don’t forget to find a home for all the little things that can quickly clutter up your counter top. Clear glass containers allow you to organise and label your dry food and leftovers with ease, as well as keep tabs on how much you’ve got left. Square, stackable containers make the best use of space, and are available practically everywhere.


These are all important points that By Alex bears in mind when designing kitchens. Give us a call on 081 457 6698 You can count on us to innovate the kitchen of your dreams that’s not only beautiful, but functional too.

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Kitchen upgrade ideas - By Alex

Affordable ways to upgrade an outdated kitchen

It’s officially that time of year: the festive season has ended, family and friends have gone, and your home looks likes a war zone. If your house is anything like ours, the kitchen seems to have sustained the bulk of the collateral damage. The worst part of the whole situation? The holidays have left a major dent in your wallet. But now is not the time for despair, because I’ve compiled a list of some of the easiest and most affordable ways to do a kitchen upgrade.

Sometimes remodeling your kitchen in true Fixer Upper style is the only option. But don’t think budget constraints mean that not much is possible. Here are a few simple tricks you can use to make the most of your kitchen upgrade.

Easy fixes

One of the easiest, and cleverest, ways to make your kitchen look like new is to reorganise your drawer, cupboard, and counter space. You’ll be amazed at what a little bit of de-cluttering and stacking can do. The best part? It costs you nothing.

Once you’ve organized your drawers, take your de-cluttering to the next level by tidying away small appliances and thoroughly cleaning work and storage surfaces.

Update your kitchen’s tired walls with inexpensive but bold modern art prints or family photos. Just choose your favorite, add a frame, and hang on the wall for an instant lift.

Next, stage your kitchen with a fresh cut bouquet of flowers, a bowl of fruit, or some homemade cakes or cookies and you’re all set.

Cosmetic changes

For kitchens that need more than a basic face lift, here are a few money saving projects that won’t cost an arm and a leg but will make your kitchen look brand-new.

A coat of paint can do wonders for any room in your house, but this is particularly true in the kitchen. Choose a neutral color that will go well with appliances and cupboards, and make sure your paint is of the highest quality so it will last longer.

Give your range a fresh new look with a shiny new oven hood If you shop smart, you don’t have to spend a lot of money here.

Change out your rusty old kitchen taps for a shiny new model. Bonus points if you choose one with an extendable hose!

It really is amazing what new lighting can do for a room. Switch out your old, outdated lighting fixtures and install something new and exciting over your worktops and dining table — and while you’re at it, make sure to use energy-saving LED bulbs.

If your kitchen cabinets and drawers are looking worse for wear but you can’t afford to replace them entirely, just change out the knobs and handles. These can be purchased at any home improvement store, so choose any style you like.

DIY/remodeling projects

Sometimes home improvement projects are about more than simply updating tired surfaces and fixtures. If you want to really get stuck in to your kitchen remodel, choose a DIY project where you can purchase your own materials and save on labour costs.

With a little extra time and a little bit more cash, you can replace your old cabinet doors with newer models without completely gutting your kitchen. If you don’t have the time, try re-staining the existing doors to give them new life.

Add a moveable island to larger kitchens to increase worktop and storage space. This will also completely change the feel of a room. Either buy one or make your own, if you’re itching for a full-on hands-on project.

Give your backsplashes a new lease on life with new adhesive tiles. Much cheaper than their stone, marble, and glass counterparts. Plus, adhesive tiles are inexpensive and very simple to install. Just make sure you’ve got your level handy.


If for some strange reason you find yourself with a sudden windfall of spending money, your kitchen upgrade would definitely benefit from a few splurges such as new appliances and flooring. While this is not an affordable renovation solution, if you shop around during post holiday sales, you can find reasonable deals on these large but important purchases.

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Bathroom cabinetry - By Alex

Affordable ways to upgrade an outdated bathroom

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You go to take a shower with the bathroom you have — not the bathroom you might want or wish to have at a later time. How happy are you with your current master bathroom? This should be your oasis; an escape from the drudgery of your workday, and a place to sink into soothing bubbles with a glass of wine and mellow tunes pouring from your iPod.

That can’t happen in a bathroom that is dingy, dank and depressing.

Are you ready to upgrade your outdated bathroom? Here are some affordable ways to make your restroom truly restful.

1. Buy used or imperfect

In a perfect world, you could be replacing your basin, countertop, tub, shower and even toilet. That can end up being an expensive proposition if you buy everything brand spanking new. Instead, be smart about your fixture purchases. Start with a secondhand shop; you might just discover a few used items that are in good condition.

As for your granite or marble counter tops, think imperfection. There will be many slabs of stone that are deemed imperfect because of minor discoloration. These slabs are also less expensive than pristine pieces. Suppose those imperfections are actually around the areas you’re going to cut out or place fixtures? You might not even see the problems, but could end up saving a bundle.

2. Bring in the heat

How many times have you gone into a cold bathroom and had your toes nearly encased in frostbite from the tile flooring? Maybe it’s not that severe, but it’s still a discomfort that diminishes your ideal bathroom. If you’re going to replace tiles with affordable options, you might want to consider adding propane heating for the floor. Utilizing propane for heat can actually save on energy bills. You won’t need to blast the whole house with heat when you just want a warm bathroom. Plus, this is an upgrade feature that can add significant value to your home.

3. Grout again

The grout around your tub, shower and basin could be looking a bit grimy. A great and affordable improvement is to scrape it up and lay down a clean line of new caulk. It’s a perfect way to freshen up the bathroom, especially if you’re not going to swap out the tub or basin.

4. Think green

As long as you’re upgrading, you might want to think green with regard to your toilet and shower head. Low-flow is the way to go, and it will help you save money on your water bill. Just remember to also check your water regulator, which is where your water is piped into the house. Lowering the pressure from that point will also not only save you money by reducing water flow, it will also protect your pipes.

5. New cabinetry

Sometimes cabinets in the bathroom can warp and expand due to excess moisture in the air. This can really look ugly! You can opt for brand new ones in a more modern finish, but you can also just replace the doors and handles. Get creative! Use glass or mirror, or a bright accent colour to uplift the spirit of any old bathroom.

6. When in doubt, repaint

Finally, the most affordable way to redo a bathroom is to give it a fresh coat of paint. Two things to avoid:

  • the color white
  • any paint that isn’t a high-quality satin finish

When repainting a bathroom, you want to take extra care to tape off all the areas you’ll need to paint around. That high-quality satin finish will also be a good protection against mold or mildew, as it tends to repel moisture.

As for the color palette, you have a wide world of choices that can provide a splash of personality for your bathroom. White is OK, but it’s also very sterile and, some may say, boring. Express yourself!


Once your bathroom upgrade is complete, make sure you take some time to enjoy it all — because it’s a safe bet that the kitchen will be next!

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