When designing a new kitchen there are several common mistakes people make through inexperience or a lack of research. Your kitchen as one of the most important rooms of the house, where you feed yourself, family and guests, where the people in the house can gather together to talk and eat or cook together. It gets possibly the most traffic compared to other rooms and for these reasons you need to design your kitchen with care and forethought so that you get the kitchen that meets your needs and expectations. A well-designed kitchen should make the most of the space it has, be clean and uncluttered, have a clear work triangle, good storage, and be optimal in both form and function. So that you can better avoid common errors that can occur here is an outline of common kitchen design mistakes.
Avoid the common pitfalls faced when designing the kitchen
- Lack of storage – This is a very common mistake people make when they design their own kitchens. Often people think too much about style and form and not enough about function. But a kitchen is a workplace and it needs a lot of storage space. Even if you think you have planned for enough you may find it quickly gets used up and you still need more. You have to store cookware, small appliances, glasses, cutlery, mugs, cups, plates, bowls, food, everyday items and good items you use for dinner parties or holidays, dishtowels, cleaning items, pots and pans and so on! Have a plan in mind for is you need more storage room in the future.
- Lack of adequate lighting – Some people do not really think about the lighting in the kitchen apart from having an overhead light. It is a good idea though to plan your lighting in more detail. You have work areas that would benefit from having task lighting put in over it so you can see clearly as you prepare food. You may have some china on display that would look better with some accent lighting or spotlights. If you plan on having a table or eating counter you may want to be able to create mood lighting by putting lights on a dimmer and having lighting over the table as well as over the work areas.
Allow ample sunlight into the kitchen
- Not planning for the flow of people walking through – An important part of a well designed kitchen is that the designer planned for where and how people would walk through the room and made sure there were not obstructions that impeded that flow. The last thing you want is for yourself, your family and visitors to get bumps and bruises from knocking into corners, chairs or having to weave in and out of furniture to get in and out of the room. How you lay out the room will be a big part of that. Make sure the traffic flow is not through the work triangle so that whoever is cooking is not constantly being interrupted. The work triangle is the sink, fridge and cooker. Whether your kitchen is an L shape, U shape, open plan or something else, make sure you have thought about how to make the traffic flow smoothly.
- Overcrowding with appliances – Too many poorly planned kitchens have counter-tops taken up with smaller appliances that are not even used daily. These not only use up space that could be used for something else, or for food preparation, they also make the kitchen look cluttered. Store the things you do not use every day. The kettle, the toaster probably get used every day. Your electric can opener probably does not. If you make yourself a smoothie each morning with your blender then that can stay out, if you only use your coffee machine at the weekend, put it away.
Stow away appliances that are hardly used.
- Getting too tied up with looks – Of course you want a beautiful kitchen in a style that reflects your personality and suits the rest of the house. But as important as design is in a room like the kitchen function is even more so. Everything should be considered from a practical stand before a design stand. That back-splash you have chosen may look great but is it easy to clean? Is it efficient?
- Not having an effective work triangle – As mentioned the work triangle is the refrigerator, the sink and the cooker. These are the three things you move from or towards as you prep your food. Make sure it is clear of traffic as already mentioned, but also ensure each leg of the triangle is around four to nine feet in length so that you can work more efficiently.
- Spending too much – Far too many home owners create a budget for the renovation and then ignore it, spending more on items because they like the look of them, or coming across costs they had not planned for. Make sure you have everything planned and that you follow the plan if you want to come in on budget for this project.
Beautiful yet expensive design – Is it worth it?
- Getting caught up in the latest trends – Sometimes it is easy to get too wrapped up in what the latest kitchen styles are, or what the celebs are having done. Keep in mind that trends come and go and two years from now your kitchen may be out of style and looking rather out of place. Try to choose a design that will last you 5 to 10 years.
- Thinking you can do more than you can – There are so many kitchen renovations that have been started out there by people thinking they can handle it themselves only to find they can’t or they do not have the time for it. Then there is extra money to spend on hiring people to fix what you got wrong before they can get started on the kitchen itself. Know your limits, it is perfectly acceptable to hire professionals.
- Vetting the contractor – If you do hire people to do the work for you make sure you get references and have vetted them. Talk to them about your budget and what you expect in terms of work each day, mess, and so on. Many people hire someone thinking they are getting someone with training and experience only to end up with a cowboy operation that do the work poorly at best, go over budget and are not always in to work.
- Poor ventilation – A kitchen with poor ventilation affects the whole house. The last thing you need is for last night’s fish supper to be making its way to the bedrooms and still there when you wake up in the morning! Make sure there is good air circulation, windows, and an exhaust fan that is placed in the right location to work efficiently.
Proper ventilation is important
- Door or drawer handle collisions – Make sure your handles do not keep bumping into something each time a cupboard or drawer is opened as over time this will cause permanent damage to the other surface.
- Placing the refrigerator incorrectly – Sometimes when people place there refrigerator so that it is up against a wall they soon realize there fridge door will only open to 90 degrees which is not wide enough to get the vegetable drawers open properly.
- Not being able to reach the microwave – A lot of kitchen designs now have microwaves in wall units rather than sitting on counters. While that is fine in theory you do need to think about all the members of the household and whether they are tall enough to reach the new position. Also think about the fact you will be pulling out something very hot from the microwave at a high angle and that may be a safety concern.
- Poor measuring – It sounds simple to measure the length of your walls and units and all of that accurately, but so many people get their measurements wrong and then end up with cabinets they do not fit, appliances that stick out and so on.