Cooking Struggles in Old Kitchens - How to Renovate your Kitchen Successfully

“Old pans are where you learn to cook” That’s all well and good, but it may be far easier said than done when the kitchens you cook in have seen better days! If yours needs a spruce-up - or you want to reinvent it completely - read on. In fact, get kitchen-ready. Our design pro shares insider tips on planning, budgeting and fitting out your dream space. Discover the best materials, top trends and how to make the process fun!”


Finished modern kitchen after guided kitchen planning and kitchen renovation

A sleek fitted space, a kitchen for a country pile or even something retro? Your go-to person when it comes to decisions like these is Stéphanie Keller Mattil, Managing Director and co-owner of Kurt Keller AG. And yes, though design matters, expert planning of space and efficiency in the kitchen is just as crucial. Discover how to achieve your dream kitchen on a budget with her top-notch advice.

Reasons to replace your kitchen

According to our expert, kitchen renovations can be spurred on by a range of personal reasons, from a growing family to homeowners starting to feel their age. One common issue faced by many is a lack of space, which renovating your kitchen can help solve. For example, adding wall cabinets or tall cabinet pull-outs can create extra storage space and help optimise your kitchen layout.

So when is the right time to upgrade? Soaring energy bills are one of the key signals, even if your own needs haven’t changed. They often point to ageing refrigerator seals, which decline over time and start wasting energy in your kitchen. Investing in a new kitchen can help cut the costs of energy, as well as streamlining and modernising your space.

Costs & planning

More often than not, what’s obvious goes out of the window and reinventing your kitchen space is no exception. What you have to remember, though, is the kitchen is a key component, which means you also have to include windows, floors, walls, sanitary connections and so on into the equation. And this applies doubly for older buildings, where getting the right advice from those in the know is non-negotiable. What you can’t see behind the kitchen front can often reveal a nasty surprise, not least water and power connections dating back to pre-Christian times.

All of which makes patience and taking the long view a must when planning your new kitchen! “Many customers underestimate the planning effort that goes into a new kitchen,” says Ms. Keller Mattil. It can take at least two months from the first consultation to putting it all in place.

And before you start knocking the space into shape, nailing down enough budget for the work is another must. Kitchen costs vary dramatically, depending on the size, how much storage you want, the room layout or shape, the materials used and the appliances of choice. But plenty is still possible without spending a fortune, as Keller Mattil explains: “Some of our customers already managed an all-new kitchen within CHF 15,000. Transparency is key and keeping the kitchen planner on the same page when it comes to the budget.

You don’t have to rip up everything and start from scratch either. A partial renovation is another option, but keep in mind the advice of Keller Mattil: “You should carefully consider any partial renovation. More often than not, you save little by renovating only part of the kitchen, rather than all of it.


Having some idea of how you want the end product to look is a must before you go to the kitchen planner. And Keller Mattil agrees with the old saying that a picture paints a thousand words: “First take a look on Instagram and Pinterest to check what’s there and what appeals to you, then bring any visuals you like along with you to the consultation. They will help keep all parties on the same page in terms of what you are looking for and give the consultation a flying start.” You could consider the following aspects in the process:

Shape of the kitchen

The red lines that dictate how you can convert or reshape your kitchen are often the floor plans of your own building. Whether it’s a kitchen unit, an L-, U- or G-shaped kitchen or a kitchen island, the experts will explain to you what is feasible within your own available space.

Colour selection

When it comes to choosing the colour, on the other hand, freedom is the name of the game. These days, kitchens come in all shapes and shades and the only limit is your own imagination. “People still go for white, black, grey and various earth tones most of all though”, advises Keller Mattil.

Well planned and newly renovated kitchen with colourful design

Material selection

The first thing to remember is that a one-size-fits-all material does not exist. Instead, you are best off focusing on the needs and personal preferences of those who will use the kitchen. Would-be master chefs who handle knives frequently and often cook fresh need a different surface layout than the occasional cooks who resort to the microwave more often than not.

And attention all passionate hobby chefs! If a durable and easy- clean cooking surface ticks your boxes, look no further than ceramics or artificial stone. Our expert, Keller Mattil, highly recommends a cast stone-quartz blend due to the vast colour options available. Need the strongest possible solution? Then ceramic is the way to go – just be prepared for a slightly higher price tag.

More of a minimalist, just as keen but like to keep things clean? Then perhaps chrome steel is the answer. It’s a hygienic, visually appealing and low-maintenance option. However, keep in mind that scratches from sharp items like knives show up easily on this surface, so it may not be the best choice for beginner cooks out there. Chrome steel is available at various price points.

Design Trends 2023

What will state-of-the-art kitchens look like in 2023? “What we’re now seeing is people increasingly going ‘back to the roots’: Drawers and doors without handles were long sought-after, but now those with handles are making a comeback,” says Keller Mattil. Worktops of natural stone featuring large-scale patterns and wooden kitchen fronts are also coming back into fashion.

Navigating the deluge of design trends may be fun, but it also complicates the task of kitchen planning. The solution? Stick to timeless monochrome designs and you’ll find selecting furniture, appliances, and gadgets a breeze. Whatever you decide, remember, you’re the one that should be happy with the kitchen at the end of the day. Go with your gut feeling and take professional advice on board before you make a final decision.

Two examples of timeless kitchen design


Get ready to make your kitchen dreams come true! Nowadays, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to refrigerators, hoods, dishwashers, ovens, combi-steamers and taps with added bonuses. Budget and space are all that stand between you and a fully-stocked kitchen, including hot water on tap.

Kitchen appliances come in standard heights and widths, so you may be stymied if your dream dishwasher is just too wide for the corner. You’ll have to either reposition the appliance or choose a more compact alternative, says Keller Mattil. What you can do, though, is have a carpenter customise your kitchen cabinets to fit your appliances. This gives you some wiggle room - like creating space for a second oven by expanding the niche height.

When carpentry solutions don’t cut it, give your creativity free rein, instead! As Keller Mattil shares: “We’ve seen customers put a stylish retro fridge in their living room to free up kitchen space.”

Copyright reference pictures contribution kitchen planning