Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

10 of the most common kitchen design mistakes to avoid

Tuesday, 20th July, 2021 // Property Market News

Get your kitchen right the first time. – by Better Homes and Gardens

Updating a kitchen is no mean feat, so the last thing you want is to get to the end of the renovation only to find that it doesn’t live up to your expectations in either form, functionality or both.

There’s a lot to consider when designing a new kitchen, so it makes sense that mistakes happen. But if you want a kitchen that truly deserves the title ‘heart of the home’, it’s important to stay engaged throughout the kitchen design process.

But how do you know what to look out for if you’ve never designed a kitchen before? In addition to watching Tara’s guide to planning a kitchen, it can be very beneficial to learn from other people’s mistakes.

Here are 10 of the most common mistakes people make when renovating, updating and reconfiguring their kitchens.

1. Failing to consider the working triangle

Having your kitchen appliances too far away from each other can interfere with your cooking.

According to Rebecca Poutney, Yellow Letterbox, “One of the things to think about with kitchen layouts, and it’s often talked about, is the working triangle.”

“It’s about the placement of your key appliances. So your cooktop, your fridge and your sink. One of the things that people get wrong is having those things too far away from each other, so you are constantly walking around your kitchen,” Poutney said.

White kitchen budget renovation

It may be compact, but this kitchen has a solid working triangle. Chris L. Jones

2. Not leaving enough room for cabinets to open freely

If you’re installing a new kitchen it’s important to allow enough room between drawers, doors and appliances to cater to handles and knobs, as well as how much space you need to open a fridge or dishwasher drawer.

Ideally, you want enough space that every drawer and door could be open without any one hitting the other.

3. Trying to fit too much in

Getting the most out of your space is important, however, a common mistake is trying to fit too much in.

Daniel Bertuccio, Marketing Manager of Eurolinx says, “You need to be realistic with the space you have available.”

Ignoring this can ruin the flow in your kitchen, leaving the space cramped and unusable.

“There needs to compromise,” says Bertuccio, “sometimes there are things you just can’t have.”

4. Not thinking about the backsplash early

The right backsplash can really make a kitchen pop.

Think about it early on in the design phase so you can decide if you’re going for a statement material, an experimental finish or tiles, and if you want it to be tall, short or cover the entire wall.

5. Choosing the wrong bench top

Marble and natural stone are luxurious and gorgeous options for kitchen bench tops, but let’s be honest, who has time to clean up every spill as soon as it happens to stop it staining a marble bench top?

On top of that, natural stone will quickly show signs of wear and tear if it often has bowls, plates, pots and pans sitting on top of it. Try laminate, granite or engineered quartz materials instead.

Country style kitchen with timber bench

It’s important to choose a bench that suits your lifestyle.Chris L. Jones

6. Installing cabinetry that doesn’t reach the ceiling

Leaving a gap between the top of your cabinetry and the ceiling not only creates a space that gathers dust and dirt, but it can make you ceiling feel lower and the room more cramped.

For a more polished look that won’t create dust-catching nooks, extend your cabinetry all the way to the ceiling.

7. Poor lighting

Kitchens need excellent lighting for cooking and cleaning, so don’t skimp on it. If you’re going for a pendant light, bigger is better.

If your kitchen doesn’t have a window (like some apartments) or is poorly lit, invest in some bright LED downlights or strip task lighting.

Flat pack kitchen renovation with servery window

This kitchen renovation was executed on a budget using stylish pendant lights and flatpack cabinetry.Sue Ferris

8. Not making the most of your island bench

Adding an island bench to your kitchen is a great way to increase space, as long as you keep it free from clutter.

Managing Director for Sub-Zero and Wolf Australia, Andrew Mumford, says adding appliances to the island bench will reduce your workspace.

“Personally I think appliances in the island bench, particularly the sink, can be challenging if you are looking for space because it reduces your preparation area.

“If you are limited in size, it’s all about preparation area and bench space is critical.”

9. Going overboard with open shelving

While open shelving is a wonderful opportunity to showcase a beloved stoneware collection or colour-coordinated teaware, it isn’t particularly practical when it comes to the everyday use of the kitchen.

A good kitchen has an even mix of concealed and open shelving and storage, so all the things that are used often then hastily stuffed back away (often in a mess) can be hidden behind doors, while the things that are used for special occasions and easily kept tidy are left on display.

Green industrial-style kitchen with open shelving

Tara opted for a mix of open and closed shelving when creating this industrial-style kitchen.Chris L. Jones

10. Forgetting to include a place to charge electronic devices

Technology is an essential part of daily modern life, but kitchen design has struggled to keep up. Most standard kitchen setups don’t take into account the sheer amount of electronic devices each family member owns – which inevitably leads to a kitchen bench cluttered with cords and chargers.

If you’re on a budget, consider making a DIY charging station out of a $15 Kmart bread bin. Another great budget option is to invest in a slimline All Dock which can charge up to six devices simultaneously while keeping unsightly cords hidden.

Or, if you’re in the process of renovating your kitchen, check out a more permanent option like the Docker Drawer. It’s essentially a kitchen drawer that has built-in power outlets and USB ports, so you can keep devices out of sight as they charge.

Docker drawer for charging electronic devices

Installing a drawer with hidden power outlets is the ultimate way to prevent chargers cluttering your kitchen. Docker Drawer

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Disclaimer: The opinions posted within this blog are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, others employed by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate or the organisations with which the network is affiliated. The author takes full responsibility for his opinions and does not hold Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate or any third party responsible for anything in the posted content. The author freely admits that his views may not be the same as those of his colleagues, or third parties associated with the Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate network.