WSS Home: Shaynna Blaze’s Kitchen Design Tips


Whether you are designing a kitchen for a new build or renovating an existing home, kitchens can be quite tricky to design and can look dated very quickly if we don’t get the look right. A kitchen needs to be functional and take into account how your kitchen fits into your everyday life.

The kitchen is the single most expensive and complex area when you’re designing, renovating or building a house, so you need to get it right when designing your dream kitchen.

Interior designer and ASKO advocate, Shaynna Blaze (who is most well known for her work as a Judge on ‘The Block’ and Co-host on ‘Selling Houses Australia’) shares with us some very useful tips on kitchen design:

1. The kitchen’s purpose
Shaynna explains that the first step is deciding how the kitchen will be used. “The configuration and space required depends on the different types of functions in the kitchen other than just cooking. Will it be used as a seating area at the bench, a place for kids to do homework and if it’s part of a full open plan living space.” Other considerations include the frequency and style of entertaining, whether you are looking at a pantry with a full butler’s kitchen or to accommodate laundry appliances.
2. Don’t be afraid to push design boundaries
There are so many design and functional options that can be overwhelming when deciding on the kitchen’s design that many homeowners tend to stick with safer options and neutral colours. Shaynna suggests trying to step outside your comfort zone in small stages by incorporating colour in features like the splash back, bespoke handles and a different colour in the island bench to the main cabinetry of the kitchen.
3. Don’t forget functionality and practicality
While it can be fun to pick out design elements like bench tops, splash backs and cupboard doors, one of the most crucial aspects of any kitchen is its functionality. “The kitchen layout must be practical,” says Shaynna. “Allow for the most commonly used appliances – fridge, sink and oven – to be placed in the ‘work triangle’ so that moving between them all is only a couple of steps away.”


4. Location of appliances
Don’t forget to ensure that there are power points, gas and water outlets located where they are needed. Certain appliances also need be properly vented to ensure that enough air is circulating around them, so check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the gaps to leave around each appliance. Shaynna also advises to be sure to account for enough space around fridges and ovens so the doors can open fully.

5. Make room for space and storage
Ensure there is enough space for storing kitchen utensils and crockery. “One of the biggest mistakes you can make when designing a new kitchen is not planning for enough storage space,” says Shaynna. “Install deep drawers for easy access to pots, pans and bowls, and slimmer drawers for all your cutlery, cups and plates, leaving the larger cupboard doors for all your pantry needs.” Don’t forget to make use of the upper wall space to install overhead cupboards and use pull-out corner solutions to provide easy access to items stored in the back corners.


6. Take advantage of natural lighting
Natural lighting adds to the illusion of space and works well with modern, open plan living. If you lack windows you might opt for large skylights with added benefits of ventilation. Maximise natural lighting by keeping window coverings to a minimum and leave blinds and shutters open. If privacy is an issue, Shaynna suggests opting for a translucent window shade that still allows light in.
7. Update appliances
Old appliances can contribute to the kitchen looking out-dated, so consider replacing them with models that suit the new design. “Old appliances in a modern kitchen will turn heads for the wrong reasons,” says Shaynna. “Coloured appliances can add a splash of colour and contrast, while simple design and neutral colours can add to a timeless look that will last.”

8. Bin it
If space allows, plan for a recycling bin in addition to the general waste to make managing rubbish more efficient. “A pull out bin hidden in the cabinetry keeps your kitchen design sleek and keeps the mess out of site,” says Shaynna.

9. Counter island
If there are plans to install an island or bench, try and opt for enough overhang to allow for comfortable seating and, with the addition of power, the island turns the area into an instant work station hub,” says Shaynna.

10. The kitchen sink
Shaynna’s last tip is the type of kitchen sink. “Look at styles that have accessories like chopping boards, drainage trays and stainless covers. These help create extra bench space in small areas and the covers let you hide the mess when you are more interested in entertaining”.
ASKO is holding a two hour workshop with Shaynna Blaze for one lucky person and six friends, followed by a private dining experience prepared by a professional chef. The winner will also receive $10,000 worth of ASKO kitchen appliances.

For more information and to enter the competition, visit or call 1300 002 756.







  • Athina Rodrigues

    I feel Shayna has the smarts for interior design and the common sense of practically.

  • Sue Young

    You influenced me on colour and design which has given me a sense of pride in my home that I haven’t had before.

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