Mistakes to avoid when designing a new kitchen
By Shafiya Nawzer
A new kitchen is a big but worthwhile investment, it will always add value to your property, as well as adding a functional space for you and your family to enjoy and work in. But one thing you don’t want to do is forget the finer details. It’s often the most obvious thing that we simply forget when designing a kitchen.
Such as where the bins go or how accessible the fridge is when you’re cooking. There's a lot to consider when undergoing a kitchen renovation or building one from the ground up from kitchen islands, cabinetry, appliances, lighting, and backsplash ideas, and overlooking or neglecting even one seemingly minuscule detail can have lasting consequences.
The primary function of a kitchen is to cook and prepare food, so it has to be highly functional. It’s therefore important to always start the design process by looking at how you use the space when preparing and cooking meals. Below you'll find some tips to help you avoid costly mistakes when designing your new kitchen.
Don’t forget counter space
Planning every inch of useable space is a must. A common mistake in kitchen design is not including enough counter space to work with. Remember to include enough space to prepare meals, display all your appliances, wash up, and potentially space to eat and socialise if that is how you plan on using the kitchen. Planning every inch of useable space is a must.
Never underestimate how much storage you need
Plan accordingly and allocate a space for every single thing, from spice jars to cutlery-separating drawers. Although the temptation to keep adding to the list can be great, a clear initial index will keep you on track. By sticking to a clear plan you also avoid the temptation to overcrowd your brand new kitchen. The key to getting the most storage out of your kitchen is thinking of clever ways to integrate storage solutions into existing kitchen essentials. Don’t forget to utilise floor space by considering a trolley which creates extra space when you’re preparing food, or could even be used as a drinks trolley when entertaining. All worthwhile considerations when it comes to creating a kitchen that works its hardest to cater to all your needs.
Don’t neglect ventilation
Good ventilation is key for any kitchen, especially one in cooking up delicious dishes day in day out. Cooking, especially on the hob, can leave lingering smells that if not ventilated can drift throughout the home. While the smell of homecooked food is delicious at the moment, you don’t want the rest of the house to smell and ruin the atmosphere.
Avoid rubbish piling up
It sounds completely obvious but when it comes to the rubbish because it’s the least glamorous part, bins are often overlooked. Given waste is unavoidable it should be factored in as a priority, even so given we now require separate recycling, food, and general disposal. The best solution is integrated bins, or at least cupboards to conceal freestanding bins. Hiding not only the presence of waste but also helping to contain odours. When the dedicated space isn’t allocated at the planning stage the only viable option is a free-standing bin on display. Thankfully you can buy stylish solutions now, but if this wasn’t part of the plan it won’t please you when you realise waste disposal has been overlooked.
Not planning for a pantry
If you have plenty of vacant overhead space, plan a tall pantry cupboard into your kitchen design. A popular fixture in kitchen storage solutions for dried and preserved foods is a great way to keep your long-term supplies organised. Don't have room for a walk-in space? A pull-out pantry can work just as well.
Planning around the workflow
A good kitchen workflow is essential. If you don’t have one, your kitchen will be inefficient, and you can end up running backward and forwards between the different parts of your kitchen every time you cook, wash, or prep. In the planning stages, carefully consider how you use your kitchen. Increase functionality by including storage for spices and oils near the cooking zone and storing cutlery and dishes near the dishwasher. You’ll find many smart solutions on the market, including wide drawers and tailored inserts that facilitate
Direct traffic through the kitchen
Traffic flow is a key consideration when designing a kitchen. For kid-friendly kitchen design, keep the cooktop out of traffic areas so children don't catch handles and cause spills when passing through. Also, make the refrigerator accessible to both passersby and people working in cooking and cleanup areas.
Determine the island's function
When it comes to kitchen islands, form follows function. Think about how you'd like to use the island within the space before you consider the design. If you want to cook and eat on the kitchen island, for example, plan enough space so the
cooktop is safely separated from the dining area. The island can also house other elements such as a sink or dishwasher for added functionality.
Where to put the rubbish bins
Bins are often overlooked, and it's not until the kitchen has been fitted that people realise they haven't made any space for them. Rubbish should be a priority. Often the best solution is integrated bins or cupboards to conceal freestanding bins. Which helps hide the waste as well as contain odours. If you have a very small kitchen and you don't have the option of putting them in a cupboard there are some rather attractive bins out there, but remember to leave space for them.
Poor lighting placement
If you don’t put the right light fixtures over your countertops, you will end up prepping, cooking, and cleaning up in the shadows. Another common lighting mistake is prioritising aesthetics over functionality. Pretty pendants are beautiful, but if they don’t shine enough light over your work surfaces, they will not be practical; position lighting slightly in front of you rather than overhead or behind you. Installing down lights, pendant lights, and sconces on separate circuits makes it easier to control your lighting levels and atmosphere, she says. And don’t forget to choose bulbs that emit sufficient light, so you can see what you’re doing when you’re chopping and cooking.
Plugs and power
You would think this was obvious, but too many people forget about plugs and how many they will need. You should have enough so you don't have to unplug one thing for another. The power supply also needs to be in the right place. This is where you will need to think hard about how you use the space. Plan where the kettle goes, the coffee machine, toaster, and then large appliances such as fridges, freezers, and washing machines.
The small yet impactful details
Don’t forget that the ceiling can be something unexpected, such as high-gloss paint or even wallpaper. Lastly, skimping on the cabinet hardware is a huge mistake; splurging will elevate the look and feel of the entire kitchen and make it that much more special. Do not centrealign an island sink across from a range. This can cause crowding when someone is cooking while another is using the sink.
Going over budget
Even if you have lots of money to spend on a kitchen, never start a kitchen renovation without a set budget. Otherwise, costs can spiral out of control. It is easy to go over budget when you don't have a clear plan set out from the beginning with an itemised list of each cost.