10 Common Renovating Mistakes

February 14, 2017

An attractive and functional kitchen is the heart of the home and the space in which you may find yourself spending the majority of your time. If you’re diving into a renovation project to realize the kitchen of your dreams, you’ll need to take extra care in planning the layout and organization of the space. To achieve both a stunning look and optimal functionality, avoid these ten common kitchen design pitfalls:

(image: One Kin Design)

1. Inefficient Prep Space Design

The best “kitchen triangle” will maximize efficient workflow, but some layouts neglect or obstruct this arrangement of the refrigerator, range, and sink. As the most frequently used element, the sink should be considered first when renovating an awkward layout. The original plumbing may have your sink too far from the main prep area. You may opt to redo the plumbing to bring it back into the triangle. Otherwise, when planning the location of your large appliances, keep in mind that the total of all the legs in this triangle should not be less than 10 feet or greater than 25 feet. If the triangle area is too small, it becomes frustratingly crowded; if it’s too big, meal prep becomes a marathon.
(image: John B. Murray, Architect)

2. Skimping On Storage

Everyone has their favorite culinary gadgets, but keeping them accessible without cluttering up space becomes an elusive art in a poorly-designed kitchen. Take the time to plan your layout with minimizing wasted space in mind. Getting creative with cabinetry is a great start, and the taller the cabinets, the better. Cabinets over the fridge make great use of otherwise unusable space. Be sure to explore storage solutions to make the most of every inch, such as drawer dividers and Lazy Susans.

(image: This And That)

3. Cutting Counter Space

As the home of most of your small appliances and the center of activity in the kitchen, the countertop deserves particular attention in the planning stage. Aside from incorporating as much countertop area as possible in your design, consider solutions like an island, or even extending existing counter space with shelving supports.

(image: Subway Tile Outlet)

4. Skipping the Backsplash

It’s not uncommon for an essential element like a backsplash to be considered more of a splurge item due to its intimidating price tag. Weigh the upfront cost against the huge savings on cleaning and possible repair of grease-stained or water-damaged areas above sinks and cooktops before passing on the backsplash.

(image: Jackson Built Custom Homes)

5. Insufficient Lighting

Having just the right kind of lighting not only makes for a Pinterest-perfect kitchen; it can also make the difference between a safe and unsafe workspace. Utilize different solutions for general lighting and task lighting with the needs of each zone of the kitchen in mind. Pendants and mini-pendants are perfect for breakfast bars and islands. Under-cabinet lighting makes prep work safer. Recessed lights give you high output without substantially affecting the overall style–or breaking your budget.

(image: IKEA)

6. Weak Ventilation

Your kitchen’s place in the home’s overall floorplan is a crucial factor in the decision to invest in a good ventilation system, especially if an entryway or living space is nearby. No one wants to smell last night’s seafood when they kick back with a book in the family room. Opting for a good ventilation system will not only improve the air quality of the kitchen, but it can also even improve the life expectancy of large appliances.

(image:houzz)

7. Picking The Wrong Kitchen Island

Islands are an incredibly valuable asset for their contribution to storage, prep, and serving space, but only when they really fit the layout of the kitchen. An island that is too big or in the wrong place can interrupt a busy cook’s natural workflow. Choose an island that is too small and it simply becomes an obstacle with minimal usefulness. Stick with an island that is at least 4 feet long and 2 feet deep. For kitchens smaller than 12 feet by 8 feet, skip the island altogether.

(image: Domino)

8. Falling For Design Fads

Interior design trends come and go. Going with a trendy look isn’t inherently a bad thing, but think more about your personal needs and style preferences before committing to permanent elements or novel appliances that may go out of vogue.

(image: Schrock Cabinetry)

9. Forgetting The Trash

A beautiful kitchen is useless if it doesn’t meet the needs of your lifestyle. Built-in solutions for kitchen waste are a must, especially if you are diligent about recycling or want a clean way to save scraps for composting.

(image: Visual Resistance)

10. Not Hiring Contractor or Designer

It can be tempting to overestimate your design sense or handyman skills and pass on hiring a pro, but this is a disastrous mistake for the average homeowner. Be realistic about which jobs, if any, you can do yourself. Failing to do so can ultimately mean spending more time and money than enlisting professional help in the first place.

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