Expert kitchen renovation tips

A good kitchen is well equipped and safe, as well as a great place to be – and designed so that it's easy to keep that way. Here are some expert kitchen renovation tips to keep in mind.

  • When deciding on your kitchen's layout, try to position the main food preparation area, the stove and the refrigerator in a triangle, spaced equally apart. This 'working triangle' formation makes your kitchen easy and efficient to use.
  • Conventional drawers are not always the best storage solution, depending on the layout of your kitchen. If there are two base units fitted around a corner, it may be better to install 180° or 270° revolving shelves, known as carousels. These shelves or wire trays glide around a central pivot, allowing you to reach whatever is stored in them without having to reach deep into dark corners.
  • Update kitchen cabinets with new door handles. Slimline pull handles look good and don't come loose as readily as knobs. To install these handles, drill an extra hole that's in line with the existing one. If the machine screws that come with the new handles are too long, measure the door's thickness plus 3 millimetres (1/8 inch), clamp the screw in a vice, and cut it to the required length using a hacksaw.
  • In a tall, deep cupboard, a door-operated switch is the ultimate convenience. This way, a light comes on automatically when the door is opened. Best of all, when your hands are full, the closing door hits the button and automatically switches off the light.
  • When fitting cabinet doors, ensure the top and base are level and leave a small gap between the door and the end panel to avoid future problems in alignment.
  • If a cabinet is under a bench, leave a 3 millimetre (1/8 inch) gap between the top of the door and the bench. Consider outfitting the door with concealed cabinet hinges – these allow you to realign the cabinet door more easily than is possible with other hinges if problems do arise.
  • Concealed cabinet or "cup" hinges look complex, but they're actually the simplest hinges around. Although designs vary, most allow for three-directional adjustment just by turning screws. Baseplate screws let you move the entire door up or down. The back screw lets you move the hinged edge of the door closer to or further from the cabinet. The centre screw lets you move the door sideways to adjust the spacing between a pair of doors.
Expert kitchen renovation tips

How to replace runners

Most kitchen drawers slide in and out on plastic or metal runners with built-in rollers. Here's how to replace runners that are rough or sticky or that have broken rollers.

1. Measure the runners

  • Remove the trouble drawer from the cabinet.
  • Use a screwdriver to take off the existing runners and measure their length so you'll know what size you need to buy.
  • If the existing runners are shorter than the drawer, buy new ones that reach the full length.

2. Attach the runners

  • Install the runners on the sides of the drawer at the base.
  • Make sure the runners are flush against the front of the drawers and that the rollers are at the rear, then secure the new runners with the screws provided.
  • If the existing holes don't align, drill pilot holes through the runners.

3. Position cabinet runners

  • Align therunners on the cabinet's sides with your drawer's runners, marking the centreline with a pencil.
  • Set the cabinet's runners 2 millimetres back so the drawer closes flush, with the rollers at the front.
  • Secure your new runners with the screws provided.
  • If the existing holes don't align, drill pilot holes through the runners.

Keep these expert kitchen renovation tips in mind and you'll be able to design a kitchen that's well equipped, safe, and easy to maintain.

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