The kitchen is the heart of the home, and arguably the room that sees the most action, from cooking everyday meals, to hosting guests, to prepping for large parties, to a small sit-down over coffee. As such, the kitchen is a place that needs to be both attractive and functional. This raises a whole host of do’s and dont’s when it comes to kitchen design. Experts bring up 10 mistakes you should avoid in order to have a kitchen that not only looks great, but is practical for your needs.
1. Don’t obstruct access to the kitchen triangle.
The “Kitchen Triangle” refers to the paths between the sink, stove, and refrigerator. It’s the area of greatest activity in the kitchen, and requires careful planning and unobstructed access. For example, imagine how frustrating it would be to have a kitchen island between the stove and the sink. In order to do something like draining pasta, you would need to walk all the way around, while carrying a hot and potentially heavy pot.
Regardless of kitchen size or layout, the sum of all the sides of the kitchen triangle should not be larger than 25 feet, but at the same time it should not be less than 10 feet. If the kitchen triangle is too small, people will be tripping over each other and it will be difficult to find prep space, and if the triangle is too large, cooking meals could be a very tiring task.
2. Don’t waste storage space in the kitchen.
Kitchens contain lots of stuff. On top of that, kitchen appliances are often oddly shaped and take up a lot of space, such as coffee makers, stand mixers, or food processors. Finding a home for all your stuff while keeping the kitchen uncluttered can be difficult. Because the overall size of the space you’re working with may be limited, one of the biggest design mistakes you could make is not including enough storage, or not using existing storage space to it’s greatest potential.
Almost every kitchen design has wasted space, however this can be lessened with adequate planning and forethought. If your cabinets have a built-in wine rack, but you don’t see yourself filling it up, consider taking out the grid work and re-purposing the space as an additional cupboard by adding on a cabinet door. Also remember to always install cabinets over the refrigerator. While this area can be difficult to reach, it makes a great potential storage space for large or seasonal kitchen items, such as a roasting pan that may only be used during the holidays.
3. Don’t crowd countertop workspaces.
One of the biggest complaints about kitchen design is a lack of useable countertops. Consider all the basic kitchen activities that require a countertop, as well as appliances that are permanently located there. Some ways to free up additional workspace is to add an island or breakfast bar to an L-shaped kitchen, if the space allows, or to re-arrange the contents of your cabinets to allow for storage of lesser-used appliances that may be taking up valuable space.
4. Don’t deal with poor lighting.
In the kitchen, proper lighting lighting is not only a matter of design, but it’s also a safety matter when it comes to handling sharp utensils or hot kitchenware. Evaluate your work areas and determine if each spot has the light it needs. Another great idea is to install under-cabinet lighting as an additional way to ensure that the counters have sufficient lighting for common kitchen tasks.
5. Don’t make your kitchen design too trendy.
Jumping on the latest trends may not necessarily be a mistake, but you should always take caution when choosing the latest kitchen designs or picking out the latest and greatest high-end equipment. This season’s top color or trendy design may be out-of date within just a few short years, and you may never see a return on investment when buying the latest kitchenware, not to mention the fact that by this time next year, a newer, better gadget will have come out.
6. Don’t avoid professionals.
Attempting to take on a kitchen design project by yourself to save money is a common mistake that can often waste money, time, and energy in the end. There are some jobs where, for safety and quality work, it is worth it to hire a professional so that the job is done right, the first time.
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