Kitchen Layout Design Tips & Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Upscale kitchen interior, farmhouse stools and rustic light fixtures
Photograph by C Woods / Shutterstock

Many of our activities at home (cooking, cleaning, eating, drinking, socializing) take place in the kitchen. That is why a beautiful and functional kitchen is so important. Regardless of your kitchen design style, organization and layout are key components. Take a look at these 10 renovation mistakes to avoid and design tips to try so that you end up with a practical and elegant kitchen design.

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1. Kitchen triangle obstructions

Kitchen design professionals refer to the sink, stove, and refrigerator as the kitchen triangle. It’s the busiest area, so designing a kitchen triangle requires careful planning and unobstructed access. Of the three, the sink usually has the most action, although your triangle should also have easy access to the stove and refrigerator, as well as countertop workstations.

Obviously, your sink should be close to the plumbing. Sometimes due to the location of the plumbing, kitchens are designed with the sinks in a poor location. If this is the case in your kitchen, consider hiring a plumber to relocate the plumbing to accommodate the best location for the sink.

Regardless of the size or layout of your kitchen (L-shaped, kitchen, U-shaped, or island), the sum of all the legs in a work triangle should be no less than 10 feet and no more than 25 feet. If the work triangle is too small, people will trip over each other. If it is too large, food preparation can be a tiring task.

2. Wasted storage space

Kitchens often contain many things. Not only that, but items hidden behind kitchen cabinets can be oddly shaped and require additional space; think of food processors or stand mixers. Finding a home for your appliances and keeping them easily accessible can be tricky.

Because built-in items are expensive and the overall size of the area can be limited, a big design mistake is not including enough storage. Even small kitchens have wasted space, but this can be minimized with smart kitchen renovation planning.

If your kitchen is small, consider installing extra-long top cabinets with trim for additional storage space. Place lighting or greenery along the trim to lift the eyes. Always install cabinets above the refrigerator. Not using this area is a waste of storage space for large or seasonal kitchen items. Finally, install shelves at the back of the lower kitchen cabinet. This could add up to 4 square feet of extra storage space in the kitchen.

Yellow kitchen with yellow furniture and table.
Elliott Kaufman / Getty Images

3. Not enough counter space

One of the biggest complaints about kitchen design is the lack of counter space. Considering all the kitchen activities that require a countertop, as well as the appliances that are permanently located there, you want to put as much open horizontal surface as possible in a kitchen. An easy way to do this is by adding an island or breakfast bar to an L-shaped kitchen.

4. Bad lighting

The kitchen is a room where you cannot afford poor lighting. It is not just a question of good design and good atmosphere. Proper lighting for kitchen tasks is important when it comes to handling sharp knives and other kitchen tools. Also, the more light you have in the room, the better you can display your design elements.

Rooms generally need three types of lighting:

  • General lighting for general lighting
  • Task lighting
  • Accent lighting

For your kitchen, evaluate the work areas and focus on providing each corner with the light it needs. Consider adding lighting directly over all major work areas.

Use pendant lights or a series of mini-pendants to enhance the beauty and functionality of the kitchen. Pendants look great over kitchen sinks, while a series of mini pendants work well over breakfast bars. kitchen islands. Install on pc under cabinet lighting to make sure counters have enough lighting for common kitchen tasks.

5. Skip the splash guard

When budgeting or designing a new kitchen or remodel, the backsplash sometimes slides to the bottom of the list. Or worse yet, it’s off the plan entirely. This may save you money in the short term, but it will cost you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Think of all the steam, water, and grease in your kitchen and you’ll understand why installing a backsplash over your stove and countertops is a smart way to keep your kitchen clean. It is much easier to clean grease from a tile, metal, or plastic backsplash than it is to paint or wallpaper.

Mediterranean-style Kithcen, matching tile backsplash and flooring
Follow the flow / Shutterstock

6. Bad ventilation

The best kitchen design fades in the presence of stinky kitchen odors. If you’ve ever entered someone’s home and smelled the fish from the night before in the air, you understand the importance of good ventilation.

Inexpensive range hoods simply circulate dirty and stale air, while a good ventilation system will improve indoor air quality. It also helps keep your kitchen cleaner and prolongs the life of your appliances.

Although it can be a great investment, a good ventilation system makes cooking and eating more enjoyable, especially if your kitchen opens into a living room or family room.

7. Choosing the wrong kitchen island

When it comes to kitchen islands, we generally think of extra storage, preparation, and serving space in the kitchen. But you might be surprised to learn that kitchen islands can waste a lot of space. Choosing the wrong island or placing it in the wrong place can be a disaster, especially in a work area that is too crowded.

Islands that obstruct the flow of traffic to and from the sink, refrigerator, stove, and primary workstations will create bottlenecks. An island must be at least 4 feet long and 2 feet deep and needs enough space for people to move and work around it. Kitchen renovation experts say that unless your kitchen is at least 8 feet deep and 12 feet long, you shouldn’t even consider an island.

Close-up of kitchen island, luxury kitchen
Bakery / Shutterstock

8. Ignoring your recycling

As recycling becomes even more important, dealing with garbage in kitchen design has gone beyond placing a container under the sink. Make a plan to manage your trash efficiently and responsibly: incorporate sorting bins for recyclables in the design of your kitchen.

9. Getting too fashionable

Although not necessarily a mistake, the latest kitchen trends and high-end equipment may not be the best options. Trendy colors and designs have a short shelf life, and you may never see a return on your large investments in the latest cookware. Look for kitchen innovations and appliances that are timeless.

10. Not working with kitchen design professionals

Starting a kitchen design project to save money is a common mistake; you can actually waste more money, time, and energy if you do it wrong. Professional designers have the latest ideas and information and can help you identify your needs and translate them into an efficient plan that suits your tastes and budget.

kitchen interior taupe cabinets and white island
Neil Podoll / Shutterstock

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