12 Most Common Kitchen Layout Mistakes to Avoid
Author: Julia Ellison
For most families, the kitchen is the hearth and hub of the house. Along with its being the place where food is stored, it is also the room where families gather and spend quality time together. Often families will discuss their day with each other while eating dinner or help their children with homework at the kitchen table or counter. Therefore, this space needs to be comfortable, welcoming and attractively designed.
So, it’s not unusual for families to want to update their kitchens as their needs progress. But updating a kitchen takes a lot of planning, and it’s easy to overlook some crucial things. Here’s a list of common kitchen layout mistakes and how to avoid them.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Picking Cabinets That Are Outdated
- 2. Choosing Cabinetry That’s Too Small
- 3. Failing to Install a Backsplash
- 4. Not Picking the Right Countertop Material and Style
- 5. Not Lighting Up the Right Spots
- 6. A Lack of Kitchen Storage Space
- 7. Not Considering the Workflow
- 8. Choosing Appliances Last
- 9. Picking the Wrong Island
- 10. Forgetting About the Budget
- 11. No Landing Space
- 12. Improper Planning
1. Picking Cabinets That Are Outdated
When choosing cabinetry, you may have a style that you prefer, but as with hairstyles, it’s easy to get into the rut of liking something that’s outdated. Unless you live in a very old house, your kitchen shouldn’t look like grandma’s.
Updating usually means modernizing, so go online to find what cabinet styles are trending and which colors, from modern white to espresso, will look great in your home. Simply check out home magazines to look for some inspirations. Magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens always display current home design trends.
However, to ensure that your cabinets are practical, trendy and in style, consult with an interior designer and ask their opinion on which cabinets go best in your kitchen.
2. Choosing Cabinetry That’s Too Small
With cabinetry, you may find it tempting to select small cabinets to add more space to your kitchen; however, that’s a mistake. You need ample storage space for glasses, plates, cookware, food and all your accessories. You don’t want to end up running out of room to store these items in your kitchen and have to put them elsewhere.
Choosing larger cabinets will help ensure that you have an adequate amount of storage space, and they won’t end up making your space appear smaller than it is. Before installing new cabinets, it’s important to determine how you’d like them configured so they flow well with the rest of your kitchen.
3. Failing to Install a Backsplash
A backsplash may seem like a minor aspect of your kitchen design; however, besides being practical for preventing water damage to the walls, it can add a lot of zing and originality to your room. With many different designs to choose from, you should pick a style that coordinates with the rest of your kitchen. You can make it as simple or intricate as you desire, based on your design preferences.
When coming up with an idea for your backsplash, you should have it include colors that are dominant in your kitchen. At the very least, the colors should coordinate with other aspects of the kitchen such as the cabinets or the wall paint. Also, make sure that it matches the design theme of your space, such as modern, vintage, etc. The right style of backsplash can add beauty to your kitchen and act as a focal point.
Many of these makeovers can be done easily and inexpensively, given a little time and effort. Others take a bit more planning and a higher dollar investment, but could be worth it, depending on the condition, style and location of your home.
4. Not Picking the Right Countertop Material and Style
When designing your kitchen, choose a countertop material that’s not only durable but also coordinates well with the rest of your space, such as your floors, cabinets and wall color. Too often people select a countertop material that doesn’t go well with the rest of their kitchen. This gives your space a muddled look.
To avoid this, you should consult with professionals for their design advice. They will let you know which materials and styles match perfectly with your kitchen and will help you with making the countertop stand out as a highlight for your room.
5. Not Lighting Up the Right Spots
Since the kitchen is a very high traffic area where people are constantly cooking, eating, socializing, and doing homework, you need to make sure it’s well lit. A dim or poorly lit room drives people away and makes them less likely to want to enter the space.
In contrast, a functional and decorative kitchen has lighting that brightens up the space but doesn’t make it overbearing. Your kitchen will definitely be more functional and appear more welcoming and inviting with some decorative light fixtures and high hats.
6. A Lack of Kitchen Storage Space
Carefully figure out how much storage space you’ll need for food, cookware, plates, glassware, table linens and small appliances. Instead of finding out after the fact that you’re short on storage space, you need to plan ahead. Think about how much space you’ll need to adequately store all the important items in your kitchen. Plan on having an adequate pantry and enough shelving.
7. Not Considering the Workflow
Most good kitchens are designed based on a person’s workflow and how they move through the space while working. The ends of the triangle are the cooktop, refrigerator and sink. For the most optimal workflow, make sure that the space between each of these work spots remains close enough and unobstructed.
When the kitchen has a complicated workflow, it’s difficult for everyone to navigate the room. To avoid this from happening, you should plan out your work triangle and discuss with a design expert how you feel your kitchen should be structured for optimal use.
If you set your goals and do the work in phases, you won’t get as overwhelmed. It’s nice to see progress, and each item you cross off your list motivates you to do the next.
8. Choosing Appliances Last
It’s easy to get caught up in planning which material to select for the countertop, cabinets and flooring, while ignoring the appliances. It’s essential that you select the right size dimensions for your appliances and pick brands that are decent in quality. And don’t forget about the colors!
Also, be sure that they’re placed in areas of the room that make sense and are easy for you to access. Appliances such as your refrigerator, freezer, microwave and oven should be in locations that are very accessible. You’ll be using them daily, and they should flow well with your room. This way you can avoid mistakes like having your refrigerator so close to another appliance that you can barely open the door to access food.
9. Picking the Wrong Island
An island allows you to have extra space for cooking or socializing with guests. Also, an island can provide more storage area, depending on how it’s designed. However, when choosing an island, you should make sure that it’s not an obstruction but is positioned so that people can freely walk around it. You don’t want to have a stunning island that ends up ruining your workflow.
The design solution with an island is to get one that fits into your space. The great thing about islands is that they can be customized to fit the size and shape of your kitchen. You can also install a stovetop or a sink in your island if doing so creates a more efficient work triangle. This will still give you enough countertop space.
10. Forgetting About the Budget
It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of redecorating your kitchen that you completely neglect your budget. You should style your kitchen so it’s decorative but also affordable. You may have your heart set on a high-end appliance or an expensive brand of cabinets; however, it’s not worth going in lots of debt and having to pay it off for many years. Accept that you may need some time to save up enough money to update and redesign your kitchen to your heart’s desire.
11. No Landing Space
A kitchen needs landing areas next to the sink, stovetop and refrigerator. When redesigning the space, make sure that you have a place to set things down. It is a practical feature, one that lets you free your hands from something that you’re holding.
Without a landing space, you’ll end up reaching too far for the things you need to cook. You’ll also wind up holding onto things that are heavy, cold or hot for a longer time than necessary.
Resolve the issue of no landing space by making sure that you have 12 inches to 15 inches available next to the stove and refrigerator in addition to 18 inches to 24 inches of empty space next to the sink.
If you understand the factors that affect the market value of your house, your are often better equipped to deal with the reality.
12. Improper Planning
For most families, the kitchen is one of the most popular rooms since it’s where they eat their meals and entertain family and friends. Before redecorating your kitchen, you should carefully think about your goals as well as how you envision your kitchen to look after the project is completed.
By spending the extra time planning your kitchen ahead of time and making sure it meets your needs and budget, you’ll avoid wasting any unnecessary time and will be pleased with your new space.
On a final note, some homeowners will try to save money by planning and remodeling their kitchen themselves. However, this could end up costing you more money in the long run since you probably don’t have the experience or qualifications to properly redesign your kitchen. A professional knows how to best plan for your kitchen remodel and understands the dimensions of each part of your space as well as the proper way to install every item in the room.
Professionals usually have many years of experience in the home design field and know which styles are popular as well as how to ensure the whole process flows smoothly and meets your expectations. You’ll end up much more impressed by the results if you hire a professional to plan and handle all the key aspects of your kitchen design.
Conclusion: By spending the extra time planning your kitchen ahead of time and making sure it meets your needs and budget, you’ll avoid wasting any unnecessary time and will be pleased with your new space. Or, you could actually save yourself time and money by hiring a professional to help you plan your remodel.