Top 5 Kitchen Design Mistakes to Avoid

Remodeling your kitchen is not a small project. A lot of loose ends have to come together, to avoid unexpected costs or delays.  I think the best way to prevent a mistake is to know what mistakes are most commonly made. Here are my top 5 design mistakes to watch for and avoid.

Top 5 Kitchen Design Mistakes to Avoid

1. Whoops! I Forgot to Double-Check All My Measurements.

Always measure twice ... design once! When it comes to kitchen design, every inch counts.  In fact, every 1/16" of an inch counts.

Inaccurate measurements are one of the most common design mistakes.  If you don't double check your measurements, it's possible that your cabinets, countertops, appliances or even the sink will not fit when you're ready to install!

Kitchen Design Tip. The Rule of Accuracy, If it doesn't fit ... don't force it! Always measure twice and design once.

Designing a kitchen is like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle with different shapes and sizes that must fit together perfectly in order to complete the picture.  Inaccurate measurements can cause delays to the project, unforeseen expenses as well as a lot of additional stress in your household.

2. Ignoring Standard Clearance Recommendations & Requirements

Continuing on the subject of measurements ... take note of the different items in your design that need space to function and ensure that there are proper clearances within the kitchen.  For a kitchen to be functional, allow ample space for cabinet and appliance doors to open fully without hitting each other or any obstacles. 

Kitchen and Planning Guidelines, NKBA Kitchen Clearances Illustration.

In addition, it's also important to pay attention to potential collisions with items that are placed at a 90-degree angle to one another.  In the example below, the designer allowed additional space between the cabinet and the corner to allow for the drawer to open fully without interfering with the handle of the dishwasher, which was placed on the adjacent wall.

A kitchen design great example of leaving additional space next to the cabinet to allow the cabinet drawer to open fully without interfering with the kitchen appliance handle.

3. Not Paying Attention to Architecture and Structural Elements.

Always make sure to plan and design around the architectural details of your space.  The architectural details consist of windows, doors, and trim as well as any additional details such as ceiling beams or crown molding.

Remember to leave room between the cabinetry and architectural details such as the door casing to the right of the oven cabinet.

When designing around doors and windows, it's important to remember to leave space between the cabinetry and any door/window trim (or casing).  At least 3" of space between the cabinets and any trim work is ideal although this can vary depending on your space.  This allows room for the wall to be painted or tiled depending on your design.  Your Dura Supreme kitchen designer can work with you to determine the appropriate amount of space for your project. 

Example of a Kitchen Design Mistake: In addition to the light rail molding and the countertop extending over the door casing on the left, the countertop extends beyond the wall on the right.

Another common mistake is forgetting to leave room for the crown molding to be installed on top of the cabinets.  Not planning for the crown molding installation makes the molding look like an afterthought as illustrated in the example below.

Notice how the molding has been notched during the installation to fit the space.

4. Created a Kitchen Island that Doesn't Fit or Function with the Kitchen Design

The idea of installing a kitchen island offers the promise of additional storage and countertop space, but ... choosing the wrong kitchen island and/or placing it in the wrong spot can be a disaster.  Remember that the kitchen is a work area and anything that gets in the way of your working efficiently is going to be a problem and cause headaches down the road. 

Let's take a closer look at the example below; here we have an unusually shaped kitchen island that is just too big for the space.  And that's not all, the space between the range and the sink (hidden behind the kitchen island) is also too small making this kitchen feel cramped and difficult to work in.

Bad Kitchen Design Example with a kitchen island that is too big and takes over the space.

The kitchen island should be large enough to be functional but not take over the space.  Kitchen islands that are too narrow or too small will also have an impact on the overall functionality of the kitchen layouts.

The Worlds smallest kitchen island! Photo courtesy of:

5. Where did the Counter Space Go? I Forgot to Account for My Small Appliance Storage.

One of the biggest complaints homeowners have about their kitchens is the lack of countertop space.  The countertops, just like the cabinetry need to be functional within a kitchen.  The amount of space and where you need the space should be specificified based on how you plan to use your kitchen.

The most common countertop space mistake is having an overabundance of appliances. We all have and/or want lots of fun gadgets in our new kitchen, but it's important to consider what you lose when you add more. For example, remember that a separate cooktop with a separate oven will take up more space than one free-standing or slide-in-range.

A kitchen that lost countertop space due to having too many appliances. Photo courtesy of:

Not to mention all the small countertop appliances that we have today ... toasters, coffee makers, can openers, mixers, food processors, etc. When designing a new kitchen it's important to consider where these small appliances will be stored and used to better control appliance creep, which is the tendency for appliances to accumulate on our countertops, taking up this precious workspace. Adding storage solutions near your workspace can help keep them from taking over your counter space.

A Kitchenaid mixer or other heavy kitchen appliance can be lifted with ease to countertop level than conveniently stored in its own cabinet without straining your back! There's room for accessories and misc storage in the roll-out shelf below.

Understanding these classic design mistakes will help you know how to overcome and avoid them in your kitchen renovation.


Mandi Juskiewicz's picture

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