The kitchen is one of the most frequently used rooms in the house. Even if you aren’t a passionate baker or dedicated chef, you will still use your kitchen to cook up at least one or two quick meals per day. Many people also use their kitchen tables as a workspace for paying bills and doing paperwork or homework, and the room is also frequently used for socializing. This means that it’s essential to keep the room tidy and organized, and pick a functional layout.
Are you making these common mistakes?
1. Lack of Counter Space.
Design your kitchen so that you have as much available counter space as you possibly can. The last thing you want to happen is for a meal to be ruined because you precariously balanced some baking trays over the sink after you ran out of counters to put things on. If you’re cursed with a small kitchen, try to minimize the number of counter-top appliances you use. It’s all too easy for infrequently used appliances to take over your kitchen, leaving you with no room to prepare food.
2. Forgetting the Kitchen Work Triangle.
The “work triangle” is the cornerstone of every kitchen layout. You should design your kitchen so that you have easy access to the stove, fridge and sink. If you have to walk around an island and dodge lots of obstacles to get to one of those things, your design isn’t working. If you run a two chef kitchen, make sure that both chefs can get to the things they need without tripping over each other.
3. Lack of Storage Space
Pots and pans, appliances, cutlery, dinnerware and cleaning solutions take up a lot of space. If your cupboards are overflowing, maybe it’s time to start looking at some more creative storage solutions. Hang pots and pans on the wall; invest in a magnetic knife strip for storing knives, instead of using a bulky counter-top knife block. Get rid of that electric can opener and invest in a smaller handheld device.
If you’ve accumulated several years’ worth of stuff, get rid of some of it. There’s no point having gadgets and cooking accessories if you never use them and they get in the way when you are trying to cook.
4. Bad Lighting Design
Everyone knows the importance of lighting when it comes to living rooms and bedrooms, but it is frequently overlooked in the kitchen – after all, the kitchen doesn’t have to look pretty, does it? In truth, lighting is even more important in the kitchen. If your kitchen is not well-lit, you won’t be able to see if food is cooking properly, and if you choose lighting that has a strong colour to it, that could make your food look unappetizing.
Natural light is the best choice, but you can’t rely on that all year round. Add spot lighting above the stove, sink and your most frequently used counter tops. Choose neutral light sources.
5. Doing Too Much DIY
DIY can be fun, but not every task is a good project for a long weekend. If you’re using DIY as a way to pinch pennies, you could be putting your finances, and your safety, in danger. As a general rule, anything that involves the gas supply, electricity, or plumbing (beyond un-clogging a drain) is not a good DIY project. In fact, you could be breaking the law if you try to take on complex gas or electricity jobs yourself. If a DIY project goes wrong you could flood your kitchen or cause a fire. Do you really want to take that risk?
6. Inadequate Clearances
If you have a kitchen with an island design, you should make sure that there is at least 3 feet of clearance around all sides of the island, at a bare minimum. No matter what layout your kitchen has, make sure that you have enough space to open the fridge door, open any drawers and cupboards, and generally walk around the kitchen. If you can’t get from the sink to the kitchen door without having to dodge something, you don’t have enough space to work safely in the kitchen. Choose a better layout before someone scalds them self or has an accident trying to navigate the kitchen with a pan full of hot food.
7. Poor Ventilation
Ventilation is important from a safety and comfort point of view, and also because it helps to protect your appliances. If you don’t have good ventilation, cooking smells will linger long after they have ceased to be pleasant, and you could end up with a condensation problem. Stale air and smells from last night’s curry are not pleasant, and circulating steam and grease can leave ugly marks on your walls, and damage your appliances. Invest in a good ventilation system that actually pumps hot, dirty air out of your house (instead of circulating it inside the kitchen), and use it regularly to keep your air clean and fresh.
8. Compromising On Quality
Unless you’re celebrating a recent lottery win, you will have a budget for redecorating your kitchen. Fitting all of your desired features into that budget is going to be a challenge. Try not to compromise on quality, especially for items that you use a lot. A no-name freezer or a cheap stove will break down quickly, and you’ll have to spend more money to replace them. The same goes for fitted kitchens – if you skimp on materials, or hire the cheapest firm you can find to do the job you will end up with a half-finished kitchen or one with drawers that come to pieces and rickety cabinets. If you’re on a tight budget, prioritize one or two features, and think about your compromises carefully. Instead of having expensive stone tiles all around the kitchen, why not just use a stone backsplash near the oven? If you can’t afford matching appliances, keep some of your old, still working appliances and make the kitchen “match” by hiding those appliances behind cabinet doors.
9. Not Having a Plan
Remodelling your kitchen means more than simply ripping out the old fitted kitchen and putting new cabinets and counters in place. Before you call in the workmen, figure out exactly what will go where, and choose your floor tiles, wallpaper, backsplash, lighting and blinds. If you don’t pick them out now, there’s a good chance that you’ll run out of time or go over budget, and end up with a half-done kitchen. Those finishing touches are important, so try to do everything right, first time.
10. Extras You Don’t Have the Space For
Appliance creep happens to everyone. Every year there’s a new must-have gadget. First it was the bread maker, and then a rice cooker, now everyone is talking about air fryers. Do you really need all of those things? Appliances are only worth having if they make your life easier. If you only bake bread twice a year or the only rice you eat is from the takeaway, all those gadgets do is cost you money and take up space. Get rid of them.
It’s not just appliances that take up space, though. An island with an extra sink or a cooktop might sound awesome on paper, but if you’re the only person that cooks, why bother? Save that floor space and don’t install the island. Or, use the island for extra counter top space instead.
Title Image Credit: STUDIOAFLO