Kitchen Renovations

Shaynna Blaze on how to add value to your kitchen

Top tips from her own renovation diaries.
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If you’re wondering what are the best things you can do in a kitchen renovation to add value to your home, you’re not alone. We spoke with The Block judge and everyone’s favourite TV interior designer, Shaynna Blaze about where to invest, where to save and how to balance your own lifestyle needs with what the housing market is looking for.

With years of experience in the business and the trials and tribulations of her very own renovation of her Country Home Rescue renovation series behind her, Shaynna knows her way around a worksite. Her own renovation of a historic six-bedroom home in the Victorian country town of Kyneton was not without its challenges and saw the interior designer put her tools where her design tips are and show us all how it’s done. Here are a few of her hard-earned lessons.

Interior designer Shaynna Blaze knows her way around a kitchen renovation. (Image: Nine)

1. Planning your kitchen renovation

How do you work out what style suits your kitchen?

“The actual style has to come from the rest of the house,” says Shaynna. “I like to take the starting point from a couple of areas for the personal touches but I always start with the era and style of the existing building. This itself will tell you whether it needs to have a contemporary, traditional or casual form to it.”

“A sleek, refined industrial look works really well in a 1950s or 1970s style kitchen. When you think you’ve got no style, you can create it – your kitchen can also be the starting point to create the style for the rest of the house.”

Shaynna Blaze Country Home Rescue kitchen
After: A bespoke pendant light from Alex Earl Studio brings the “Wow!” factor to Shaynna’s renovated country kitchen. (Image: Shaynna Blaze via Instagram)

What’s the most important thing you can do to add value to your kitchen?

“The quality of appliances is right up there as this is a main part of the working function of the kitchen,” says Shaynna. “So you want something that will stand the test of time. Then adding a distinct feature – whether that is a marble island bench, beautiful tiles or something I loved doing in my kitchen is a bespoke light that adds a sculptural focal point to the room.”

Shaynna Blaze country home rescue kitchen sink
A fabulous farmhouse sink and striking brass gooseneck mixer from Reece against black cabinetry up the style ante. (Image: Reece)

2. The biggest trends in kitchens right now

Shaynna gives us the low-down on what’s in market and fabulous new concepts to include in our plans.

  1. Contemporary style: A very pared-back look, with high-veined marble benches and splashback
  2. Individuality: Bold colours, veined marble or hand-pressed tiles with a very modern ‘retro’ vibe
  3. Island benches: The real feature in the kitchen, specifically in contrast colours to the wall cabinetry and bench surface
  4. Butler’s pantry: The new wish list item set to become as popular as the master ensuite
  5. Smart technology: Appliances with the ability to program the cooking and work with smartphone apps to operate, even turning on the lights when we arrive in the driveway
Shaynna Blaze country home rescue kitchen
Butler’s pantries are the new must-have, says Shaynna. (Image: Nine)

Is your kitchen likely to lose value if you follow trends?

“Trends are very tricky because they actually define a decade,” says Shaynna. “If you’re going to stay in a house for a good ten years, it’s only going to date by 10 years. And then most people update, anyway.”

“Trend colours like sage green and blush pink will date your kitchen in a year more than anything else”

Shaynna Blaze

“I never go with trends for a kitchen that needs to stand the test of time but we are also governed by the materials and availability at the time when we are designing and building a kitchen,” says Shaynna, adding that if you are following trends the trick is to cherry pick parts you like to avoid a cookie cutter version of a trend that will date it in a couple of years. “If it is of a good design and quality it won’t lose value, but might make people think it needs an update when purchasing,” says Shaynna. “If you want to go with a trend like Hamptons or Art Deco, it’s never going to date or go out of style.”

3. How to make a budget kitchen look expensive

Can you make a flatpack kitchen look high-end?

“Absolutely!” says Shaynna. “There are so many ways you can customise a flatpack kitchen. Look at the profile of the doors, choose handles wisely and include good internal accessories like slow-closing doors and drawers, double internal drawers and good storage solutions. They might add a bit more to the price but if you are doing the labour on the construction of the kitchen, you are really saving.”

“The great thing is that flatpack is all about the carcass and getting the layout right,” says Shaynna. Stone benchtops add luxe but tiles can also elevate the look, along with feature composite stone options. “I’m loving the look of hand-pressed tiles right now because they look imperfect and handcrafted, which I think looks expensive,” says Shaynna.

Shaynna Blaze Country Home rescue kitchen cupboard internals
It’s all in the details. Elevate your kitchen with creature comforts and clever cabinetry. (Image: Shaynna Blaze via Instagram)

Can you suggest a family-friendly benchtop material that looks luxurious?

“Marble is porous and that’s why it’s really high maintenance,” says Shaynna. “Composite stone is more of your friend with families and there are so many designs out there that replicate the marble and stone look that give just a beautiful presence in the kitchen.”

Some benchtops can be fitted directly on top of your existing benchtop, with little or no demolition and drama and, if you love the look of marble but not the price tag or maintenance involved, Shaynna suggests a feature splashback in marble (away from the cooktop) to enjoy its beauty and make an impact in the room.

Shaynna Blaze country home rescue kitchen sink detail brass and farmhouse sink
Engineered stone combines with handmade tiles and show-stopping tapware for a luxe look. (Image: Amelia Ghali for Reece)

Shop the look of Shaynna’s kitchen


Turner Hastings Novi fine fireclay butler sink in Matte Black, The Blue Space


Make a statement in marvellous monochrome with a black butler’s sink.


Calacatta Nuvo benchtop, Caesarstone


All the functionality of marble without the upkeep.


Fienza Eleanor gooseneck basin mixer in Chrome/Ceramic, The Blue Space


Classic styling with a sturdy, hardwearing finish means elegance to the touch countless times every day.


Moran 9 light pendant in Antique Gold and Opal, The Block Shop


Light up the hub of the home with this stunning statement pendant.


Craquel gloss tile in Bone, Beaumont Tiles


A textured take on a subway tile, the narrow profile of this versatile gloss style gives it a contemporary edge.

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