Kitchens are still the heart of the home

Private Property South Africa

Following the release of results of a survey conducted by Tile Africa, it would appear that the adage ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’ still holds true with many South Africans.

The survey was conducted online with a sample size of 734 respondents. Of those, 597 owned a property, 89% were female, the majority lived in Gauteng and were aged between 31 and 40 years.

According to the survey, 62% of the respondents stated that the kitchen is the most important room in the home that they’ll consider renovating when house hunting and when it doesn’t match their needs. 40% of respondents said that they’ll consider kitchen renovation first before any other room in the house while 26% will renovate their bathroom first to ensure that it meets their personal preferences.

Says Debra Retief, Marketing Manager at Tile Africa: “We may fall in love with the house, but not necessarily the look or functionality of the kitchen and it seems as if South Africans don’t mind re-doing this room to their liking.

“Kitchens are really the heart of the home as this is where families and guests congregate and as such this room needs to be warm and welcoming. Modern kitchens are also functional yet attractive and offer multiple work surfaces, plenty of storage space, seating around a breakfast nook or centre-island and contemporary finishes.

“Families’ needs also vary,” says Retief. “Some may prefer ample cupboards while others favour clean lines or a separate scullery. Careful planning needs to go into renovating this room as you want your investment to last and simultaneously increase the value of your property.”

Interestingly, 35% of respondents spent less than R5 000 on recent renovations while 25% spent between R5000 and R10 000. Only 5% spent more than R70 000 on their most recent home renovation. Linked to these outcomes is the fact that 35% said they did not use a contractor, which may indicate that home owners are doing the renovation themselves.

“Do-it-yourself renovations are common as home owners are still feeling the economic pinch and prefer tackling the job themselves. Bigger renovations such as plumbing and electrical work should really involve reputable contractors who are able to offer expert guidance to ensure that the project is a success.”

In terms of floor finishes, tiles were perceived to be the most affordable floor material (61%) followed by laminate flooring (20%). Tiles and solid wood flooring were considered the most beautiful (38% each) trailed by laminates (20%). In terms of maintenance, tiles are still tops with 76% of those surveyed agreeing that they’re the easiest floor material to clean.

Interestingly, South African home owners believe that renovations increase the value of their property with an overwhelming 86% of those surveyed confirming this statement. That said, 80% of respondents didn’t renovate their homes to increase their value before selling them.

As for researching and planning renovation projects, the Internet was cited as the preferred research method overall. In terms of contractors, the majority of respondents hired contractors based on recommendations provided by friends and family.

Retief says it’s important to keep in mind that that significant renovations are fine if you intend living in the home for a fair amount of time, but if not, rather consider smaller economical updates. She adds that a good guideline amount to collectively invest in the kitchen and bathroom is approximately 5 to 10% of the value of the property. For example, if your property is worth R1m, you should invest up to R100 000 on these rooms to keep them as up to date and attractive as possible. Lastly, she advises creating a contingency budget for unforeseen problems that may crop up.

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