Kitchen accessories are the continuity component in the kitchen’s design. They extend and further highlight the style, and in some cases, can be a feature element. But they also contribute immensely to how well the kitchen functions. Here’s a look at some key accessories and how to choose well.
By the time customers come around to choosing the accessories for their new kitchen, the style has already been defined by the cabinetry. And that’s mostly because of its spatial domination. So, flat cabinetry will be considered modern and/or contemporary, and cabinetry with joinery and panel details will be considered traditional. E.g. the Hamptons style.
So, does that mean that accessories are purely functional? Certainly not. Some accessories like the benchtop, splashback and handles are very important in tying in the overall design, but also in being a statement piece by themselves. These are some key accessories:
- The benchtop and sink
- Drawer handles and tapware
- Drawer systems and waste bin systems,
The benchtop: If there is one component that can elevate the wow factor in the kitchen it is the benchtop. Depending on how it is used, it can be as spatially dominating as the cabinetry. And our customers are absolutely spoilt for choice. From high-pressure laminates to natural and engineered quartz stone and industrial concrete, in a wide array of textures and colours – there’s something for every taste and budget.
With benchtops, you get what you pay for. Having said that, laminate, often dismissed as a cheap finish, has technically evolved to being a really good option. Looks-wise, it comes close to real stone or timber, performs very well, and is reasonably priced. At the top end of the range are natural stone benchtops such as engineered quartz. These are often features in themselves and can lift the level of luxury several notches.
Here is a great example of a benchtop where the material is the hero. The waterfall design of the island helps it dominate the kitchen further. And the seamless, minimalist finish extends the overall styling of the kitchen. Caesarstone’s new rugged concrete range that resembles the industrial look of poured concrete is very popular and can be used to bring in an element of drama into the kitchen.
The sink and tapware: Again, lots of choice – single bowl, double bowl, with drain board or without, steel, granite or ceramic…. the list can go on. A couple of things to consider – style and functionality.
- Style: choose a sink that fits in well with the kitchen’s overall look. For instance,
- a vintage ceramic sink is a great choice for a Shaker style kitchen, but may not be for a modern one.
- a stainless-steel sink is very versatile, but in a modern kitchen consider an under mounted one without the drain board. Under mounting is possible only for solid benchtops like stone or granite, so check your options with your designer.
- Black granite sinks are currently the rage – but consider it only if that’s a part of the colour palette.
- Do you use a lot of large pots and pans? These days pots and pans come with long handles and you could find yourself struggling to get them all into the sink after cooking dinner. Would you therefore be better off with one large bowl than a dual one? Do you like a deep sink and are willing to lose some of the under-sink space for it? Look at your inventory before you decide.
- Do you tend to use the dishwasher a lot? In that case can you dispense with the drain board? But if you hand wash a lot, select one with a drain board even if the styling is very ultra-modern. A kitchen must be highly functional above all else.
Functionality: With the sink, because it’s not usually a focal point, we’d say functionality is more important than style. Consider some of this:
The same holds true for tapware. There’s many beautiful styles in tapware to suit any kind of kitchen. Choose one that best matches the sink and the overall style of the kitchen.
The splashback: It gets the worst of the splashes, splutters and splatters. So, choose a finish that is easy to clean. The most common materials used are glass, stainless steel and tiles. We do recommend that you choose the splash back after choosing the colour of the cabinets and the benchtop as it helps integrate the look better. An experienced splashback or tile company can discuss your choices when they know your kitchen style and colours. This way it is easier to make a decision.
- Glass is extremely popular because:
- it has no grouts or edges and is very easy to clean.
- It also comes in a wide range of colours. Our customers have used glass splashbacks in bright colours to create a visual contrast in a white or pastel kitchen.
- It does not have to be a solid colour. For some serious drama, you could add a digital image behind the glass. The Melbourne skyline or your personal artwork, maybe?
- Glass also has a reflective quality that can add to the light in the kitchen.
- Tiles are a great option if the splashback is intended to be a feature. They can be very effectively used to introduce colour, texture and pattern. Again, our customers have a very wide range of options they can choose from. Drama if you want it and simple if that’s your style – like these two kitchens.
Drawer and door handles: These accessories are very important in carrying the style through the kitchen. For instance:
- More traditional styles like Hamptons and Epicure go well with decorative handles e.g. domed handles in brass or brushed steel, ceramic door knobs, and antique handles.
- Modern kitchens can either be handle-less for the super sleek look, or can have simple, streamlined handles that accentuate a contemporary kitchen. Some components of a kitchen must have a handle, even in a handle-less kitchen, for instance, the heavy pull out pantry.
Drawer systems: The functionality of the kitchen hinges on these, pun unintended. For our kitchens, we use only the best. When a kitchen is built and the family starts to use it, soft close drawers, cupboards that operate smoothly – all contribute to a feeling of a well-functioning kitchen. It is also what makes a kitchen durable. That’s why we use German-made brand, Hettich, whose products come with a lifetime warranty.
Waste systems: The rubbish bin is one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. But just because it’s well used, it doesn’t mean it should remain on the floor in full view. A good way to keep your kitchen waste out of sight is with a pull-out waste bin system. There are a range of sizes and options available – from pull out, swing out or door mount. One of our favourite systems are slide out dual bins because they accommodate both general and recycled waste and maximise cupboard space.
There’s a lot of decision making to do when buying a new kitchen. The best way to bring the design together with all the accessories is to see how it works. Our showrooms are not just displays of our models – they are designed to show how a kitchen can look with a combination of elements. It is built around the need of our customers – so walk in and have a look at what’s there.