The Ultimate Kitchen Planning Guide for Renovations

kitchen planning guide - kitchen reno guide

Transform Your Home with Custom Cabinets from Cabinet Maker Brisbane

From envisioning your dream space to optimising functionality, our kitchen planning guide will take you step-by-step through the essential considerations, design choices, and expert tips to help you achieve the kitchen of your dreams. Trust in our expertise and let us guide you on this transformative journey, ensuring every detail is meticulously planned for a truly remarkable result.

The different phases of a kitchen renovation

A successful kitchen renovation involves several key phases that come together to transform your space into a culinary haven. At McColl Cabinetmakers, we take pride in guiding you through each step of the process for a seamless and stress-free experience with this kitchen renovation guide.

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1. Planning a kitchen renovation: needs and goals

Determine the reason for renovating.

Before diving into the renovation process, it’s crucial to identify the reasons behind your kitchen renovation. Are you looking to enhance functionality, update the style, increase the home’s value, or create a more inviting space for socializing? Understanding your motivations will help guide your decision-making throughout the project.

Create a rough project schedule.

Developing a project schedule to keep your kitchen renovation on track. Consider factors such as the desired completion date, any upcoming events or occasions that may affect the timeline, and any potential constraints or limitations. Having a rough schedule in place will help you coordinate with contractors, suppliers, and other involved parties.

Research references and styles.

To kickstart your creative process, gather references and conduct thorough research on different kitchen styles and designs. Visit kitchen showrooms to immerse yourself in the latest trends, explore various layouts, and get a feel for different materials and finishes. Collect images, create mood boards, and note down specific elements that resonate with your vision.

List down your practical needs.

Take the time to outline your practical needs and priorities for your new kitchen. Consider factors such as the number of people using the kitchen, cooking habits, storage requirements, and any specific functionalities you desire. Assess your current kitchen’s limitations and areas that need improvement.

2. DIY VS Hiring a professional

Embarking on a kitchen renovation involves a critical decision: whether to tackle the project yourself or enlist the expertise of a professional renovations company like ours. Consider the following factors when making this choice:

Cost Considerations

Here’s a breakdown of ballpark figures:


Budget Kitchen




$10K to $25K

$25K to $40K

$45K to $90K


$20K to $30K

$30K to $45K

$45K and up

While the difference in costs between a DIY kitchen and a professionally done one is obvious, the price is hardly the sole aspect to consider when choosing between the two.

Skill and Expertise

A kitchen renovation requires a diverse set of skills, including carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and design. If you lack confidence or knowledge in any of these areas, it may be wise to hire professionals.

Time and Commitment

Consider your availability and commitment to the project. DIY renovations require dedicating significant time and effort. Hiring professionals allows you to focus on other priorities while the experts handle the renovation efficiently and within a reasonable timeframe.

Stress and Peace of Mind

Undertaking a kitchen renovation can be overwhelming, particularly if you lack experience in construction project management. Coordinating trades, dealing with unexpected issues, and handling permits and inspections can add stress to the process. Hiring professionals alleviates these concerns.

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3. Setting your budget

Below are some key considerations to help you navigate this phase effectively:

  • Determine the maximum amount you are willing to invest in your kitchen renovation while still maintaining a comfortable financial position.
  • Identify your renovation priorities and allocate a portion of your budget to each category. Consider elements such as kitchen cupboards, kitchen drawers, appliances, benchtops, flooring, lighting, and any additional features or upgrades.
  • Conduct thorough research to gain a realistic understanding of the cost. Obtain quotes from multiple suppliers and contractors to compare prices and ensure competitive rates.
  • It’s advisable to set aside 10%-15% of your budget for a contingency fund to account for unexpected costs or changes that may arise during the renovation.
    Consider the long-term value and potential return on investment (ROI) of your kitchen renovation.
  • Throughout the renovation process, maintain a detailed record of your expenses. Keep track of all receipts, invoices, and payments made.

4. Kitchen layout planning

Selecting the right layout is essential for maximising functionality, efficiency, and overall enjoyment of the space. Consider the following practical considerations for storage, task zones, and different pantry, drawer, and kitchen layout options.

Practical Considerations for Kitchen Setup and Storage

Below are factors to consider when planning a kitchen layout:

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Panty Options

Walk-in Pantry: A separate room or dedicated space for storing dry goods, small appliances, and more.

Pull-out Pantry: A tall cabinet with shelves that pull out for easy access and maximize storage space.

Cabinet Pantry: Traditional cabinets with adjustable shelves designed to store food and other pantry items.

Drawer Varieties

Slide-Out Bench: a storage solution that combines a countertop surface with hidden storage compartments underneath. It provides an additional surface that can be easily pulled out

Kicker Drawers: an innovative storage that are installed in the kickboard, which is the recessed area at the bottom of the cabinets. Kicker drawers offer hidden storage for items such as baking trays, cutting boards, or rarely used items

Drawer Dividers: inserts or partitions that fit within drawers to create separate compartments. They are designed to help optimise storage within drawers.

Utility Drawers: versatile storage drawers that are deeper than standard drawers, providing ample space for larger utensils, baking sheets, cutting boards, or even small appliances.

Step Drawers: also known as tiered or layered drawers, are multi-level drawers that feature different heights or depths within the same drawer, allowing you to store and organise items of varying sizes. Step drawers are especially useful for

Bin Drawers: also known as trash or recycling drawers, feature built-in bins or containers that can be easily accessed and concealed within the cabinetry.

Task Zones and Workflow

Preparation Zone: includes the countertop space where food is prepped, as well as nearby storage for cutting boards, knives, and other utensils.

Cooking Zone: consists of the cooktop or range, as well as surrounding countertop space for food preparation during cooking.

Cleaning Zone: includes the sink and nearby storage for dishwashing supplies, garbage, and recycling bins.

Storage Zone: encompasses the pantry, cabinets, and drawers where ingredients, cookware, and kitchen tools are stored.

Serving Zone: a space where finished dishes can be plated and prepared for serving, with nearby storage for dishes, glasses, and utensils.

Drawer Varieties

Galley Kitchen: A narrow layout with parallel countertops and workspace on either side, ideal for maximizing efficiency in smaller spaces.

L-Shaped Kitchen: This layout forms an “L” shape and provides ample counter and storage space, allowing for an efficient workflow.

U-Shaped Kitchen: This layout features countertops and cabinetry along three walls, forming a “U” shape, offering extensive storage and workspace.

Island Kitchen: Incorporating an island in the kitchen layout adds additional countertop space, storage, and can serve as a central hub for food preparation and dining.

Open Concept Kitchen: This layout combines the kitchen with the living or dining area, creating a seamless and spacious environment, ideal for entertaining.

5. Selecting kitchen cabinets, appliances, and fixtures

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Here’s a common list of cabinets, appliances, and fixtures that are typically found in a kitchen renovation:


Base Cabinets: Lower cabinets that provide storage space and support the countertops.

Wall Cabinets: Cabinets mounted on the wall above the countertops for additional storage.

Tall Cabinets: Vertical cabinets that offer ample storage space and often house pantry items or appliances.

Corner Cabinets: Specialised cabinets designed to maximize storage in corner areas, such as lazy Susan cabinets or corner drawers.

Specialty Cabinets: Customised cabinets for specific storage needs, such as wine racks, spice racks, or display cabinets.

Cabinet Accessories: These include features like drawer dividers, pull-out shelves, trash/recycling pull-outs, and utensil organizers.


Range or Benchtop: The primary cooking appliance, available in gas, electric, or induction options.

Oven: A separate unit for baking or roasting, available as a single or double oven.

Refrigerator: An appliance for storing perishable food items.

Dishwasher: Used for efficient cleaning of dishes, utensils, and cookware.

Microwave: Provides quick heating and reheating of food.

Range Hood: Installed above the cooking area to remove smoke, grease, and odors.

Sink and Faucet: Essential fixtures for food preparation, dishwashing, and general cleaning.

Fixtures and Hardware:

Benchtops: Surfaces for food preparation, available in materials like granite, quartz, laminate, or solid surface.

Backsplash: Protects the wall from splashes and spills, typically made of tiles, glass, or other materials.

Lighting: Includes task lighting (e.g., under-cabinet lights), ambient lighting (e.g., overhead fixtures), and decorative lighting (e.g., pendant lights).

Cabinet Hardware: Knobs, handles, and pulls for opening and closing cabinets and drawers.

Sink Accessories: Sink strainer, soap dispenser, and other accessories for convenience and functionality.

6. Deciding on kitchen design styles

We have compiled a list of the most sought-after kitchen planning design styles by Australian homeowners along with considerations for choosing colours, materials, and finishes.


Features: Clean lines, minimalist design, and a focus on functionality.

Colours: Neutral colours like white, gray, or beige, often paired with bold accent colours.

Materials and Finishes: Sleek and glossy finishes, such as high-gloss or matte cabinets, quartz or stone countertops, and stainless steel appliances.


Features: Coastal-inspired design with a mix of traditional and contemporary elements.

Colours: Light and airy colours palette with whites, creams, soft blues, and greens.

Materials and Finishes: Shaker-style cabinets, marble or granite countertops, subway tile backsplash, and brushed or antique finishes for fixtures and hardware.


Features: Raw and rugged design with exposed brick, metal accents, and utilitarian elements.

Colours: Earthy tones like grays, blacks, and browns, often with pops of vibrant colours.

Materials and Finishes:Concrete or stainless steel countertops, open shelving, metal or distressed wood cabinets, and industrial-style lighting and fixtures.


Features: Relaxed and breezy design inspired by the seaside.

Colours: Soft and muted colours like whites, blues, greens, and sandy neutrals.

Materials and Finishes: Light-coloursed or weathered wood cabinets, natural stone countertops, glass tile backsplash, and beach-inspired accessories.

Modern Farmhouse

Features: A blend of modern and rustic elements for a cosy and inviting space.

Colours: White or neutral backgrounds with warm accent colours like blues or reds.

Materials and Finishes: Shaker-style cabinets, butcher block or quartz countertops, farmhouse sinks, and vintage-inspired fixtures.


Features: Emphasises a blend of traditional and contemporary elements with a touch of vintage charm.

Colours: Neutral and earthy tones, often with accents of pastel colours or pops of vibrant hues.

Materials and Finishes: Natural and textured materials like timber, including recycled or reclaimed wood for cabinets and countertops. Other common choices include marble or granite countertops and classic ceramic or subway tile backsplash.

What should you consider when selecting colours, materials, and finishes?

Factor in your personal preferences, the overall aesthetic you want to achieve, and how it complements the rest of your home. Here are considerations for selecting colours, materials, and finishes:

1. Ensure the chosen style of your kitchen complements the design of the rest of your home for a harmonious flow.

2. Consider the amount of natural light in your kitchen and choose colours and finishes that enhance brightness and create an open feel.

3. Select colours, materials, and finishes that align with your personal taste and lifestyle. Consider factors such as ease of maintenance and durability.

4. Opt for designs that will stand the test of time and won’t quickly go out of style, ensuring your kitchen remains appealing for years to come.

5. Consider the climate and natural lighting, as certain hues may enhance or detract from the available light and overall ambience.

6. Choose materials and finishes that are durable, easy to clean, and suitable for the demands of your lifestyle. Consider factors such as heat resistance, water resistance, and stain resistance.

7. Shop around for energy-efficient appliances and lighting to reduce environmental impact and energy costs.

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7. Time to build!

A well-defined kitchen design and construction plan in place during your kitchen renovation. We have provided you with an overview of the design and construction process, as well as the services McColl Cabinetmakers offers:

Design Process:

  • Collaborative consultation
  • Conceptual design with 3d renderings
  • Material selection that align with your design Vision and preferences
  • Design refinement so the outcome meets your expectations and requirements.

Construction Process:

  • Planning and scheduling with detailed construction plan
  • Comprehensive renovation services, including the demolition, installation of new cabinets, countertops, appliances, fixtures, and any necessary electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work.
  • Construction management team that oversees the entire construction process
  • Attention to detail to deliver a kitchen that exceeds your expectations
  • Communication and transparency

By offering comprehensive planning, renovation, and construction management services, McColl Cabinetmakers provides a streamlined and hassle-free experience for our clients. We have a team of experienced professionals with almost 30 years of industry experience, attention to detail, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. We can guarantee with confidence that the entire process, from design to construction, is handled efficiently and effectively.

Whether clients are looking to transform their existing kitchen, upgrade outdated features, or create a brand-new space, McColl Cabinetmakers is dedicated to delivering high-quality results that bring their kitchen renovation dreams to life.


Your Project Manager will ensure your Brisbane kitchen or bathroom renovation project is delivered on time and on budget. As a standard inclusion in our renovations, our experienced Project Manager coordinates all suppliers while overseeing the project schedule to ensure the relevant trades are onsite when they are needed to keep the project moving smoothly. They’ll keep you updated about everything throughout your renovation and will handle any issues that arise.

Yes, McColl Cabinetmakers are fully licenced and insured for all types of bathroom and kitchen renovations in south-east Queensland. We are Registered Building Practitioners (QBCC Licence No: 61004) and members of the Housing Industry Association (HIA), which is the major industry association for cabinetmakers and builders in Australia.

When choosing a custom cabinet maker, it’s important to look for a company with a track record of high-quality workmanship and customer satisfaction. Make sure they have experience working with the materials and style you’re interested in, and that they offer a detailed design process to ensure your cabinets are exactly what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and check online reviews to get a sense of their reputation.

Check out our glowing online reviews from our satisfied customers here.

You can expect your average kitchen or bathroom renovation project to be completed in two to four weeks. The completion timeframe does depend on how big and complicated the renovation is, the time of year you book in and any lead time required on custom or imported finishes. Book a consultation with us to find out our current lead times and how long your specific project idea will likely take to complete.

Yes! We’ve seen it all in our 28 years of cabinet making in Brisbane and with our tried and tested techniques we know how to design the perfect solution for your home. We specialise in custom-designs because we understand your home should be as individual as you while lasting the test of time for style and function. Whatever you need for your renovation, we have the expertise and experience in Brisbane to help you accomplish your renovation dreams.

We can do any type of cabinetry you need! Our skilled craftsmen have experience designing and building custom solutions for bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and more. Basically, if you can dream it, we can build it.

Of course! We have a portfolio of previous projects that we’d be happy to show you. We’ve built everything from sleek, modern kitchens to cossy, rustic bedrooms. Our custom cabinetry work is our pride and joy, so we’d be thrilled to share it with you. Head over to our Showroom page and book an appointment with us. We look forward to meeting with you! Our appointment hours are 8:00AM-3:00PM on Mondays through Thursdays, and 8:00AM-12:00PM on Fridays.

We use only the highest quality materials for our custom cabinetry projects. We have a range of options available, including solid wood, laminate, and high-end composite materials. We’ll work with you to find the perfect fit for your project, taking into account your budget, aesthetic preferences, and durability requirements.

Getting started on a custom cabinetry project is easy! Just give us a call at (07) 3288 0711 or send us an email at Alternatively, you can visit our kitchen showroom Brisbane at 3 Monique Court, Raceview QLD 4305.

Our Testimonials

“Absolutely delighted with our new kitchen!! 

We couldn’t go past using McColl Cabinetmakers after seeing what they created in mums new kitchen. 

Billy is amazing, from designing the kitchen exactly how we wanted to having every aspect of the renovations so well organised, nothing was too much trouble. 

The whole team where professional and the quality of workmanship is astounding. 

We will definitely be recommending anyone needing a new kitchen or bathroom to McColl Cabinetmakers. 10/10” 

 Ironbark, QLD 

Darren & Shannon

Geoff and I would like to thank you so much for our beautiful new kitchen and laundry. We truly are over the moon! Installing a new kitchen is always daunting with so many things to decide on and we really just put our trust in you to manage it all.  The project ran so smoothly and the constant communication ensured that we were aware of what was happening at all stages.  Even a trade running slightly late ensured we received a text direct with an update. None of my last-minute changes (love my waterfall) were a problem and each of your contractors were polite, professional and most importantly respectful of the new social distancing requirements and hygiene measures. We will be looking forward to 'showing off' our new kitchen when we are allowed visitors again. Please pass on our thanks to each of your team.

Geoff & Sandra

Could not have asked for anything more with my new kitchen. Corey and the team made the whole process from start to finish so easy. All trades used throughout the renovation were friendly and professional. I would highly recommend McColl Cabinets to anyone wanting professional and prompt service and an outstanding result.

Tony and Gai, Beenleigh

We have used McColl Cabinetmakers on many of our projects now and have found them to be very easy to deal with. Corey is very knowledgeable and very helpful in designing the right kitchen layouts to suit our needs. We have also used McColl Cabinetmakers to build kitchens, wardrobes and vanities, they are always willing to help. The products are always of good quality and the installers are always happy to help adjust their schedules in case we run behind. Nothing is too much for these guys!! Price is fantastic, quality is awesome and communication is over and beyond my expectations. I highly recommend them!

Jodie Lamborne

Quite undoubtedly the best service we have ever received. Our new Kitchen and WIP looks amazing and is a dream to be in and has received many jaw dropping "WOWs" from friends and family. Corey was absolutely fantastic from initial consultations to project managing the entire job. Communication was exceptional. We loved that McColls took care of all the required tradies and found them all to be professional, friendly, polite and exceptionally tidy. We were provided with a timeline for all works to be completed and it was spot on! We are still in awe that our renovation has been completely stress free and couldn't be happier with the end result. We highly recommend McColl Cabinets to anyone needing a kitchen, bathroom or cabinetry. Great team, great work, it's a big thumbs up from us. Sincere thanks to you all.

Dave and Steph

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