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Top 10 kitchen design mistakes and how to avoid them

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Top 10 kitchen design mistakes and how to avoid them

4th August 2016
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So, you’re ready to start planning your dream kitchen…

You know what you like, what you don’t like and have a few ideas. But what mistakes are typically made during that crucial planning stage?

Get it right and you’ll have the kitchen you always wanted. One that not only looks stunning but also fits in with how you cook and live. Get it wrong and mistakes can be either costly to put right later – or just something you have to live with for a long time.

Here’s our top 10 mistakes that can happen when planning your new kitchen.

1. Not having the right mix of storage units

There’s plenty of different storage options to choose from, so work out exactly what you need to store and plan accordingly. Make a list of items like cutlery, utensils, pots and pans, oils and spices, dry food, plates and dishes, cups and glasses, baking trays, etc. Plus any small appliances and gadgets that need to be stored in your kitchen cupboards.

Your list will help you plan the quantity and types of units you will need. Insufficient storage leads to cluttered worktops and general frustration, so be sure to maximise the storage in your kitchen.

2. Not having an efficient kitchen layout

Think about the key work centres of your kitchen that you use most regularly. Typically this will be the oven / hob, kitchen sink and fridge. Kitchen designers refer to this as the kitchen work triangle.

If these areas are arranged in a triangle so that you can easily move between them, you will enjoy a more efficient workflow when cooking. Also think about which side cabinet doors should hinge on – imagine yourself in your kitchen and how you would naturally use it.

3. Not having enough workspace

It’s easy to focus on maximising storage units, including pull out larders, but forget to leave enough work surfaces. The kitchen worktop is where it all happens, from food preparation to putting down pots and pans.

Make sure your kitchen design incorporates sufficient workspace. Remember that gadgets such as kettles, coffee machines, toasters, breadbins and the obligatory Nutribullet will all eat up valuable real estate on your kitchen countertops.

4. Not having enough light

If you have windows in your kitchen, these are ideal to brighten up your workspace. If not, then try to open out your kitchen layout to make maximum use of natural light from other windows in the room.

You also need to plan out what lighting scheme you will have. Ceiling spotlights create effective general lighting, whilst under-cabinet LED lights or strips can deliver powerful task lighting for your work surfaces. Pendant lights can create nice atmosphere above a breakfast bar or kitchen island.

5. Having a design or colour conflict

You might like the look of an ultra-modern sleek kitchen design, but if you live in a rural cottage it might not be the most appropriate fit. Try to ensure that your chosen kitchen design will work with the rest of your home decor and style.

Bold colours may appeal to you now, but how about in two years’ time? It’s a lot easier to paint walls than change your kitchen design, so the safe bet is to go with a style and colour that’s easy to work with and won’t date.

6. Not thinking about corners

Corners can be awkward. If you are making a detailed plan of your kitchen layout, you need to allow space for corner posts.

A corner also creates a potential access issue, so make use of corner carousels that allow you to make full use of any hard to access corner spaces.

7. Not planning your ventilation

An extractor fan is essential to keep your home free of cooking smells, condensation and steam. The fan itself will be located above your hob (or at the back of the hob for certain kitchen layouts).

Locating your hob and extractor as close to an outside wall as possible minimises the length of ducting required (venting externally is far preferable to recirculating the air). Ask your builder to ensure a wide enough ducting pipe is used (150mm or bigger) as this will be more effective and reduces the noise of the extractor.

8. Forgetting about the bin

Free-standing bins and recycling boxes may not be the neatest option for your brand new kitchen. Integrated bins and recycling units are a neat way to keep a streamlined, clean look.

So don’t forget to add bins to your kitchen unit layout.

9. Forgetting about the walls

A splashback will protect your walls from steam, grease and splatter. It’s essential to have one behind the hob, but why stop there – you can have a made-to-measure splashback covering any low level wall space in your kitchen.

This should also include sufficient electrical sockets for all your kitchen gadgets and small appliances (and possibly phone chargers, etc).

10. Not taking expert advice

OK, as professional kitchen designers we’re bound to say this! But it’s well worth talking through your kitchen plan with a design professional who can point out anything you may have missed or mistakes that can be corrected before it’s too late. We want you to have a kitchen you’ll love, with no regrets or frustrations.


If you want to avoid costly kitchen planning mistakes or have your kitchen plan checked by a professional, one of the experienced kitchen designers at IPS Pronorm in Twickenham would be more than happy to have a chat.

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