Renovating your kitchen can be a frightening process – especially when you start adding up the costs. in fact, a major kitchen remodel is one of the most expensive projects a homeowner can undertake. So there is plenty of pressure to get it right.
Luckily, most common kitchen mistakes can be easily fixed. But it’s far, far easier (and cheaper) to plan correctly from the start. Before you smash a sledgehammer through your kitchen walls, make sure you’ve considered these often forgotten issues.
While we obsess over which lamps and sconces will add the right ambiance in our living rooms, we often forget about properly lighting the kitchen. Weird, right? Because the kitchen is where the bulk of the household work gets done – and this is a place where working in the dark is truly not a great idea.
Your kitchen needs three levels of light: counter, ceiling, and focal point lighting. You need to make sure all your tasks are illuminated, from counter lighting when prepping a meal to focal lights pointed at your stove.
Trash Can Placement
Here’s a kitchen nightmare that keeps designers up at night: you’ve spent thousands of dollars transforming your outdated, impractical kitchen into a sleek, beautiful machine – complete with new cabinets, new fixtures, and a brand-new gas stove.
However, you forgot completely about where to put the trash, so your overflowing garbage sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s important to determine whether your garbage can will go inside a cabinet or will be freestanding. Tucking your garbage can into your cabinetry is much easier when it’s planned before installation; otherwise, you’ll have to retrofit an existing space.
A Proper Kitchen Work Triangle
The kitchen work triangle is a design element that’s crucial to making most kitchens work. Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked during renovations. The concept is simple: make sure nothing blocks movement between the range, the sink, and the refrigerator. If you don’t, you risk many mishaps. The triangle ensures that your kitchen layout is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Making your kitchen accessible isn’t just about making sure you can reach your dishes, it’s about reaching your dishes and making sure nothing falls off the shelf and onto your head in the process. Homeowners forget that reaching will cause accidents.
When organizing your cabinets or arranging appliances, consider how high you can stretch and how much the item weighs.
So much of good kitchen design comes down to careful, mathematical planning: How much space does the refrigerator need? How much room should we leave between the stove and the island?
With all the in mind, you would think homeowners would be eager to tackle the fun stuff, like choosing the backsplash. However, believe it or not, people can get so focused on the cabinets, countertops, appliances, and flooring that they forget to plan for a backsplash. Of course, you can always add it in after the project is complete, but it’s nice to select a cohesive tile design and color when you are picking out the rest of your materials.
Your kitchen needs landing space. In other words, the countertops surrounding your appliances. The National Kitchen & Bath Association recommends 12 to 15 inches of landing space around your range and 18 to 24 around your sink. These numbers aren’t arbitrary; it’s actually a safety issue.
Not enough landing space can cause accidents to happen and cause dangerous scenarios when taking hot pots off ranges, food out of refrigerators, and hot casseroles out of ovens.
Some building codes even outline specific landing-space guidelines. When your local building code doesn’t specify, consider following the NKBA’s recommendations to ensure that your kitchen is both safe and spacious.
Glass-front cabinet doors can look gorgeous but think carefully about what you plan to store inside before you install them. A vintage collection of patterned Pyrex casserole dishes? Or do you only have a mismatched assortment of plates and cups?
Glass doors work well when you want to show off a conversation piece, but it makes the room look messy if you are using the cabinets for everyday storage.
Room For a Kitchen Table
Many homeowners these days are swapping out their dining spaces for an oversized island. But before you renovate, ask yourself which setup truly works best for you.
Is it practical for your family to eat on barstools for everyday meals? If so, great. If not, be sure to make room for a kitchen table and chairs.
If you share your life with a furry friend or two, consider accommodating them in your kitchen design by accounting for the placement of their food and water bowls, along with food storage.
Storage can be integrated into your cabinet design, or you might want to add a stand-alone unit. Either way, thinking ahead when designing your kitchen prevents shoehorning in an ugly or unwieldy solution later.