ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson

Creating open plan kitchen/dining/living spaces with improved indoor-outdoor flow is all the rage, and for good reason. “Most modern Kiwi families want to live in an open-plan home with easy access to the outdoors,” says Jim Gleeson from Refresh Renovations. “Large opening doors allow this while the open-plan arrangement means that families can stay connected.” Not every house is an ideal candidate for this open-plan indoor-outdoor set-up, but most homes really benefit from being opened up a little (or a lot).

Taking a closer look at the kitchen itself, the first thing to note is that homeowners and their families tend to spend a large proportion of their time here. So it’s no surprise that multi-functional spaces are on-trend. The kitchen often caters for the daily cooking routines, offers space for kids and their homework and functions as an entertainment hub. Clearly, some extra careful thought should be given to how the space can and should work.

Considerations include council rules and regulations, workbench ergonomics, task lighting, the families’ needs and requirements, clever storage and much more. In most situations building consents are not required, however, once you move any load-bearing walls or add or change existing windows, you are likely to require a building consent, and architectural designers must be involved.  A team of experienced renovation specialists can work closely with you and pull all this together to ensure the renovation delivers the right kitchen for you.

What are the basic requirements for a kitchen extension?

A kitchen makeover doesn’t have to break the bank, even if you are planning on breaking down a wall or two. The key to keeping costs down is staying within the footprint of your house and reshuffling the layout within. For a basic kitchen makeover where you want to replace your benchtop, the cupboard and the drawer facings, you should earmark somewhere around NZD30,000+* 

Keeping plumbing points in their current location is going to help keep the costs down. This means working around the current layout of your kitchen and keeping your sink where it is, and ideally also the oven. Power sockets and electrical wiring often have to be upgraded to comply with the latest building code. Reusing appliances is another way that will help you keep your expenses lower. However, it’s worth planning ahead and allocating sufficient space for potential new appliances in the future, for example a larger fridge that could be added at a later stage.

Simple but hard-wearing materials are the backbone of a basic kitchen. You might be able to reuse some of the cabinets of your old kitchen, if they are solid, and simply replace the cabinet doors only. However, once you are planning on extending the size of your kitchen chances are you are adding more cabinets and it’s worth spending the money on getting a good set of new cabinets. When it comes to benchtops, by far the most common and cost-effective material used in New Zealand is high-pressure laminate, sometimes referred to as Formica. For splashbacks, consider using tiles or covering a small area only.

Basic kitchen renovation costs

From $30,000+*

See how Refresh helped this Queenstown homeowner revamp his kitchen for $30,000*

When I renovate my kitchen, what can I achieve on a medium budget?

If you are looking to change the floorplan of your kitchen and for example install large sliding doors, new windows and new flooring throughout, you should plan on spending roughly between NZ$50,000 and NZ$85,000. This sort of price range also caters for a bay style window to create more room and mid range kitchen fixtures and finishes, although these would certainly move the price closer to the higher end of the price range.

Apart from quality materials, such as ceramic tiles for flooring and engineered stone for the benchtops, a kitchen island and or breakfast bar should not be missing in a modern kitchen. It’s a great place to host guests and prepare food, and also provides a fantastic visual anchor, especially if paired with a set of designer pendant lights.

Not an immediate showstopper, but definitely part of the backstage wishlist, is smart storage. This includes generous cabinetry with in-built storage systems such as pull-out pantries, clever corner units and more. Soft-closing drawers are more or less a standard these days, and where space permits a scullery is the ideal way of hiding all those messy kitchen tools and utensils.

Mid-range kitchen renovation costs

From $50,000*

Take a look at how Refresh helped this homeowner achieve a bright, open-plan kitchen and living area for $50,000

What can I achieve on a high-end budget?

A complete remodel and extension of the footprint of your kitchen and house will cost you anywhere from NZ$100,000* upward. This would allow you to build a medium to large extension with high-end fixtures and finishes. Same level extensions are generally the most cost-effective way of adding square metres to your house, however, in many cases this is not the most practical way to add liveable space, especially in densely populated urban areas such as Auckland or Wellington.

Extending a loft, adding a second storey or excavating basement space might cost more than a same-level extension, but these extensions offer the benefit of increasing your liveable space while not adding to the footprint of your property. You could consider moving your kitchen area down to the lower ground so that it can open out to the garden, or move it to a new upstairs level to capitalise on views.

High-end appliances and materials are part of the mix when it comes to upmarket kitchen renovations, and it’s ideal to get cabinetry, benchtops and splashbacks custom-made to your specific requirements and preferences. Individually designed splashbacks, for example, can create a unique look.

With a bit of extra cash to spend, you can work on creating a truly amazing indoor-outdoor flow, for example with massive stacking doors that lead to a covered or uncovered outdoor dining area, an outdoor breakfast bar or even a kitchen bench that extends to the outdoors and includes a fireplace or high-end barbeque.

High-end kitchen extension cost

From $100,000+*

See how Refresh helped this homeowner achieve an open plan living space for $200,000*


Get in touch with Refresh to discuss your home renovation project

If you would like to discuss home renovation options for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.

*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.

All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.

Get in touch

Get in touch if you are interested
in a quote or consultation

Renovate Handbook Download