Kitchen Design Styles NZ



The team from Style Plus Renovations North Shore Auckland take a look at key aspects of kitchen design styles and the types of kitchen renovations that Style Plus undertake.

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. Predominantly we want the kitchen to be useful, have all the latest kitchen gadgets and kitchen conveniences, offer a place to meet as a family and reflect the style of our homes.

In this article, we will be covering off areas of a kitchen renovation that includes:

  • Kitchen cabinetry styles.
  • Kitchen benchtops styles.
  • Kitchen waterproofing.
kitchen design


When deciding on a new kitchen or renovating your kitchen, you need to choose the kitchen style early on. There are many different design styles available, however, they broadly fall into three groups;

  • Modern Kitchen Style.
  • Traditional Kitchen Style.
  • Shaker Kitchen Style.
why renovate my kitchen
Which kitchen style should I choose?


The design aspects behind a modern kitchen style are to keep things simple, uncluttered and sleek.

This type of kitchen design works great for large kitchens but it also works well for small kitchens as the basic ideas behind modern kitchens overlap the principles behind a small kitchen.

Whatever space you are working with you can renovate your kitchen into a modern masterpiece.

The appearance of your kitchen cabinets has a lot to do with the overall design of your kitchen. Kitchen cabinets with heaps of detailing, fancy hardware, and standout features are not modern.

For the modern kitchen cabinetry look, you require functional, sleek, and plain cabinet faces.

High-shine white kitchen cabinets that blend almost seamlessly into the walls are going to give you the modern look you are seeking. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with white!

Modern kitchen cabinetry comes in a variety of colours.

Saying that, regardless of colour, the more seamless your cabinets appear, the more you will achieve a modern kitchen design.

kitchen style - modern style
Modern Kitchen Design


There’s much more to traditional design than meets the eye. This type of design does allow for flexibility, however, from first principles it often relies on simple design while making way for a few bold accents.

Traditional kitchens typically incorporate painted cabinets with or without glass front doors, simple granite or laminate countertops, and hardwood floors. The best traditional kitchens lean on classic elements, while still allowing room for family fun or guest entertainment.

Go a step further by mixing in modern or industrial elements, like unique lighting fixtures or boldly painted walls.

An example of a traditional kitchen would incorporate a white kitchen with black granite countertops and may include a standout centrepiece, like a bold red kitchen island. These design choices maintain the overall look of a traditional kitchen while adding a bit of boldness to the design.

Traditional Kitchen style
Traditional Kitchen Design


Ideally suited for villas or older bungalows, Shaker is a design well-known for beautiful craftsmanship and simplicity of style.

A Shaker-style kitchen is a fairly straightforward design; with no frills and stylish simplicity. Don’t be lulled into thinking this is somewhat of a plain-looking design; it’s anything but.

Panelled doors and warm wooden surfaces create a calm atmosphere. Typical of the design is natural wood cabinetry, muted tones and oversized wood or china. Open shelving allows you to display your favourite china or glassware and basket storage can add a country charm.

Freestanding furniture pieces are modest, yet stylish, simple wooden pieces.

Kitchen style - shaker style
Shaker Style Kitchen Design


Once your kitchen layout and style have been decided, it is then time to choose a suitable benchtop to complement your selection. 

When it comes to selecting a kitchen benchtop there is quite a selection to choose from.

With the various materials available it can become difficult to understand it all. 

So, the first step is to think about your lifestyle and likely use of the kitchen when considering what benchtop is likely to work best for you.

For example, one that fits in with the kitchen style and design, but more importantly one that’s functional, suitable for your purposes and which makes preparation in the kitchen easy.

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There are many kitchen benchtop material types available to the New Zealand market. The Style Plus Renovations team reviews the following:

  • Natural Stone.
  • Engineered Stone.
  • Stainless Steel.
  • Polished Concrete.

Engineered stone is typically found in more contemporary styled designed kitchens.


When it comes to stone countertops granite and marble are two popular options. Quartz is another popular stone for countertops, as it is very strong, and relatively scratch resistant.

Granite is one of the hardest materials available for use as a kitchen bench top. It provides durability and character to kitchen surfaces and is traditionally black in colour. It is often found in more classic designed kitchens.

Marble is a stunning addition to any space but the downside is that it needs extra care and maintenance in a kitchen environment. As a stone it is softer and more porous, and has a tendency to stain, scratch and even crack. However, with regular maintenance and sealing, staining can be minimised but may still occur.


Engineered Stone also known as Composite Stone or Quartz Stone has become the material of choice for a kitchen top over the last few years.

The product is a mixture of chipped-up quartz stone and occasionally granite and or glass, mixed with resins to form a combination that is moisture resistant and extremely tough. The product is available in slab form and varies in thickness from approximately 6mm ~ 30mm.

Thinner products are typically built up with a timber base to a finished thickness from 40mm ~ 60mm.

There are a number of different brands of engineered stone, all of which have their sets of available colour ranges:

  • Iquartz.
  • Caesarstone.
  • Silestone.
  • Roxx.

Engineered stone is highly abrasion resistant, and very stain resistant, however on the downside, it is not as heatproof as most natural granites.

When looking for an engineered stone kitchen worktop, you should look for a stone content of no less then 90% as the more resin content used makes for a bench top that is too soft and less durable.


Stainless Steel kitchen tops are resistant to water, heat, stains and just about any other nasty. This product has a non-porous surface, which means that no type of liquid or substance can penetrate into the material.

They are sometimes described as bulletproof by chefs. Used in the right environment and with the right design, they can create a stylish finish.

Stainless is sometimes eliminated as a kitchen top choice because it is reflective and tends to show scratches. 

As renovations have become a more open plan, meaning clients are looking for better-finished surfaces, and larger windows, and more commonly request that kitchens are moved from the south-facing side to the sunny living area makes a stainless steel finish becomes problematic.

Also once they are scratched (naturally occurring once they get used) they tend not to look so good in open-plan living spaces.

Over the years the cost of Stainless Steel has increased making them less cost-effective except on commercial premises.

kitchen design - stainless steel top
Stainless Steel Kitchen Top


Concrete is gaining popularity for kitchen benchtops. It can be made and finished in many different ways, both to mimic classic stone-style granite and marble benches or in a way to display the concrete itself.

The sealer is part of the concrete and this, combined with the highly polished surface, provides a heat-resistant finish that will not peel or discolour in UV light.

Stain resistance is achieved from the sealer in the concrete, the highly polished surface and an application of stone polish after manufacture. All of this combined provides a stain-resistant kitchen benchtop.

Bespoke Concrete Design
By Bespoke Concrete Design


Why kitchen waterproofing?

Water escaping from a dishwasher and from around a basin, sink or the like can remain unnoticed for long periods and cause serious damage.

Considering the risk of water damage, there are two types of areas:

  • Those subject to frequent and heavy wetting, such as showers and open shower surrounds, and splash areas around baths and basins.
  • Those subject to regular intermittent wetting, such as floors in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries and the walls behind baths, basins and tubs. Tiled entries also fall into this category when people enter the house during heavy rain.

Current building standard guidelines provide the requirements for timber and wood-based products for particular uses in buildings.  It states that floor coverings for wet areas such as laundries, bathrooms, kitchens, shower rooms, ensuites and toilets are covered in the guidelines.

The New Zealand Building Code clause E3 deals with Internal Moisture. Acceptable Solution E3/AS1.

**Acceptable Solution E3/AS1 provides a means of meeting clause E3 Internal moisture requirements.

Amendment 7 to the Acceptable Solution E3/AS1, for Clause E3 Internal Moisture of the New Zealand Building Code came into force on 3 November 2021.

In Amendment 7 reclassifies dishwashers and washing machines as sanitary appliances and basins and sinks as sanitary fixtures.

There is a requirement for ensuring acceptable flooring solutions must now have a finish that is impervious and easily cleaned,

Also in open plan areas, the type of surface must extend at least 1.5 meters from all sanitary fixtures and appliances.

Therefore, if you are looking at a particular wet area flooring other than, tiles PVC or concrete, for compliance, you will have to have it designed and consented as an Alternative Solution.

kitchen design 04


So, for a kitchen area the building code requires impervious and easily cleaned finishes to floors and walls subject to water splash. This will prevent damage from splashing.

At Style Plus Renovations we will offer the option to use our waterproofing service during a kitchen renovation. Waterproofing behind the kitchen splash back, kitchen cabinetry floor area and behind the kitchen cabinetry would seem to be overkill. However, once completed, there is a piece of mind that this area has some protection from water.


You should always check with a building professional such as Style Plus Renovations, and seek their advice before deciding whether building work requires building consent.

The Building Act is quite clear that it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that they obtain building consent when one is required.


  • What is the timeframe for a kitchen renovation?
    Typically a kitchen renovation duration will be between 3 to 4 weeks. This timeframe will be longer if it involves a building consent.
  • What trades are involved with a full kitchen renovation?
    A full kitchen renovation combines the services of many trades, these include:  builder,  architect,  project manager, plumber,  interior designer,  cabinet maker for bespoke cabinetry, electrician, carpenter,  flooring specialist,  waterproofing specialist and  painter.
  • Who will manage the kitchen renovation?
    At Style Plus Renovations, we like to work as closely as we can with our clients to make sure that we really are renovating  their  kitchen to their specifications. This is achieved by having a dedicated project manager as a single point of contact to manage the renovation.
  • What is the cost of a kitchen renovation?
    The cost depends on a number of factors (size, fixtures fittings, quality of fittings, the scope of the renovation) but generally the average is between $27,000 to $35,000 and $60,000+ for high end kitchen renovation)

If you are considering renovating your kitchen and would like to discuss your requirements with our kitchen designer, use the Contact Us form below. We will then get in touch with you to discuss your kitchen renovation project. 

If you need to know more about planning your kitchen renovation check out our article here.


As an Auckland North Shore family-owned and run business, Style Plus Renovations cares about what we do and we take the time to fully understand your renovation needs. We are also proud to receive some exceptional compliments from our Auckland clients.

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Tel us about your renovation project and we’ll call you back for a no-obligation chat about your ideas.

Alternatively, if you prefer, we can initially set up a meeting using Microsoft Teams or Zoom (and other meeting apps) for a no-obligation chat about your ideas.

We look forward to hearing from you to discuss your project and get you started on your renovation journey.

If you would like to know more about our renovation process, check it out here.

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