white kitchen renovation

15 costly kitchen design and renovation mistakes that are easy to avoid


uying a kitchen is one of the biggest investments you can make in your home. We recently renovated our kitchen and I remember looking at articles about what to do, what not to do, mistakes to avoid when buying a kitchen, etc. Part of my research was talking to mainly people that had recently renovated their kitchens asking them what they would do different.

Without the research I wouldn’t have been able to make important decisions as to what to look for and what to avoid in the buying and design process.

Having talked with many friends, neighbours, family and having read articles about the kitchen design process, I really knew what I liked and what I wanted to avoid at all costs. I have put together a list of the 15 mistakes that can easily avoided when renovating a kitchen. Talking about renovating a kitchen, you might want to read my post about the before and after of a contemporary kitchen on a budget here.

Kitchen design mistakes can be costly so you might want to continue reading the ultimate list of 15 mistakes to avoid at all costs when designing your kitchen!

Too big kitchen island

Have you even been to a house where the island was really too big? I once saw and island so big that almost occupied the whole of the kitchen. It was maybe made on purpose, don’t know. Why would you want an island that big! Kitchen islands are fantastic but if you can’t get one in your kitchen design don’t try to squish one in as it can be costly mistake to make! I didn’t include an island in my kitchen but I managed to get in a beautiful breakfast bar instead. I am really happy with it by the way and it is the hub of the kitchen. So, I would suggest that if you can’t get in a kitchen island in your design, don’t despair! A breakfast bar could look also the part! 

big kitchen island

Image by Marc McCammon

Not enough electricity sockets

I actually got this tip from a neighbour and she couldn’t stress it enough. Her kitchen design had been poorly done and she was telling me that she didn’t have enough sockets to plug things in her kitchen. Also, she was telling me that she was even missing a socket under the kitchen island. She couldn’t plug anything there and she regretted not having one there.

Not having enough electricity sockets was her most important kitchen design mistake to avoid. I took her advice on board and I ended up with enough sockets in my kitchen!

Not thinking about lighting

Lighting in a kitchen is soooo important! I really mean it! Not only in the cooking area which, for me is a basic requirement, but also in the rest of the kitchen. I really write from experience here as my previous kitchen didn’t have practically any lighting with the exception of three spotlight fitting in the middle of it. So, when you were cooking you basically your body was shadowing all the cooking area! I really didn’t enjoy cooking in that kitchen.

If the lighting in the kitchen is done properly you will not only end up having all the cooking and surfaces lit but also you could end up with some fancy mood lighting.

modern kitchen lighting

Image by kannapoonan

Not enough storage space

Storage is key in a kitchen and one of the easier kitchen design mistakes to make. If you like a minimalistic look like I do it doesn’t mean you have to compromise in storage space. Check out you have enough storage for food, pans, glasses, plates, small appliances and other bits and bobs you need in a kitchen. A kitchen needs to be functional and have enough storage to be able to store all you need.

kitchen with not enough storage space

Image by José Soriano

Wrong worktop size

Measure, measure and measure! Getting the worktop measurements wrong and it can be a very expensive mistake. Measurements are key in a kitchen not only the worktop.  You would be surprised on how many people get the kitchen worktop size wrong. If it is your fault the worktop supplier won’t give you another one for free that’s for sure. Alternatively, if you give the measurements right an you end up with the wrong worktop size, the company that has supplied the worktop should get you another one at no extra cost to you.

Lack of work space

You really need work space in a kitchen and if you end up with too little or lack of it it can make food preparation and cooking a real challenge. If the kitchen is on the small side, make sure you prioritise work space and maybe include a table or small kitchen trolley that can give you that extra work space you need.

kitchen worktop space

Image by Stefarrio 1968

Adding too many trends into the kitchen

The reality with trends is that they can easily come and go. What it is the latest trend this year can be a real no no the next. So make sure you don’t follow trends to the last detail and if you do that they can easily be replaced. Also, kitchens with too many trends tend to get older quicker. The alternative is to not mix too many trends and make sure you have some time prove features in the design.

Choosing the wrong worktop material

There are so many worktop materials to choose from when designing a kitchen but get the worktop wrong and it can be a costly choice. I wouldn’t recommend very high maintenance worktops or prone to scratches if you have small kids. With some worktops you have to take extra care when handling hot pans as some of them would just not tolerate that much heat, others are prone to getting scratched or dented and other worktops can get stained very easily. So, do your homework and check out the different worktop materials and choose the one that fits your lifestyle. Don’t choose the kitchen worktop only for its looks, it can be an expensive kitchen mistake.

kitchen wooden worktop

Buying without getting samples

When I bought my current kitchen I ended up having so many samples for the kitchen! I recommend getting samples for the kitchen doors, handles, worktop, wall tiles, floor tiles or even the wall paint. Everything needs to blend together and I really wouldn’t recommend getting to the installation stage and not having seen any of the key elements in the kitchen area. What if the tiles and kitchen colour don’t go together? Or the worktop doesn’t look right with the rest of the decor? It is a very easy kitchen design mistake to make! So make sure you avoid it at all costs and don’t buy a kitchen without getting samples for EVERYTHING!

Forgetting about ventilation

You would be surprise at the amount of kitchens there are out there without having a kitchen extractor fan! I am telling you this because that was the case in three of the properties I have lived in. I was renting two of them so I had to put up with it and just open the windows for ventilation! When I bought the property I am currently in it also didn’t have an extractor fan. So, I made sure my new kitchen had one as I was really not happy with opening the windows in the middle of winter. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about ventilation when designing your kitchen.

kitchen without extractor fan ventilation

Image by Rene Asmussen

Not making space for rubbish and recycling

We all have rubbish and recycling and forgetting about some storage in the design can be really inconvenient. If you don’t allow for bin storage chances are that you will end up having to buy a freestanding kitchen bin or several bins for recycling. The best space to include rubbish and recycling bins is under the sink so make sure you include bin storage into your kitchen design.

Forgetting about socialising

Most of us love socialising and the kitchen has become the hub of the household and the space in the house where people socialise the most.

So, I really encourage you not to forget about that important part of the “social kitchen interaction” and make sure you create a kitchen where you can easily cook and socialise at the same time with your guests. My old kitchen didn’t have that at all and I made sure that my new kitchen had that social element to it. I  can really see the difference! It is the hub of the house and socialising has become easier as the guests can gather around the breakfast bar. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about socialising in your kitchen design.

kitchen entertaining

Image by Connoman

Saving too much on the kitchen quality

The quality of the kitchen should be one of the top priorities when thinking about changing it. This was one of my main priorities as I had become tired of seeing the bad quality or our previous kitchen. It had been bought by the previous owners of the house and it was really falling apart. The cabinets were of the cheap side and not sturdy at all and the doors looked also of an inferior quality.

Getting a the lowest quality you can find doesn’t mean you won’t end up replacing all of it of some of it sooner than expected. Sometimes cheap can become expensive in the short run.

Doing a bad DIY installation

If you are good or even great at DIY then really go for it and change or install the kitchen yourself. However, if you are like me and not that good at it, fitting a kitchen can be a real challenge and you could end up getting a really poor job.

It was obvious that my previous kitchen had been installed by amateurs or someone thinking they knew what they were doing at DIY. The fitting was really bad! None of the cabinets were levelled, the doors didn’t hang properly, there were electricity cables showing, etc. In a nutshell it was a horrible fitted kitchen but I had to put up with it for years before we changed it to the one we have now.

I really encourage you not to make this kitchen mistake and if you are not good at DIY then avoid it at all costs!

diy kitchen installation

Image by Dave Simonson

Not asking the experts

If in doubt ask the experts! This can be applied to a lot of things in your life and it also goes for kitchens. A kitchen is a big investment and in my opinion there are so many things that could go wrong in the kitchen design and renovation process. I really encourage you to ask the experts for their opinion on anything you really need to know. Why not get a kitchen designer in and see what they suggest? This is what we did and, although I knew what I really wanted, the kitchen designer confirmed some really valid points. I am really grateful that she did!

socialising space in kitchen

Image by Giovanni_cg

If you are thinking about getting a kitchen renovated then I hope you find this list of things to avoid when designing a kitchen useful. Just think that a kitchen is a huge investment and the most simple mistake can be quite costly to rectify.

Are you in the process of changing your kitchen? You might have other suggestions on what to avoid when renovating a kitchen. I would love to hear about them!

See you in the next post!

Yol xx

Featured image by Naomi Hébert

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