There surely are more than 5 mistakes you can make in kitchen design but many are well discussed. Here are 5 of my personal hot buttons! What can you add to this list?

#1 Poor sense of scale

One of my personal design “oh no’s” is a lack of consideration for scale. In any room but particularly the kitchen. I think often the big picture is not considered when the planning is done and then by the time cabinetry is much too late. This begins on the drawing table…soaring ceilings in a cramped space, beams that don’t consider cabinetry layout, islands that are woefully undersized for the space and  the worst: squatty cabinets.

The scale of this island is way off. Too narrow and becomes an impediment to traffic flow.
High ceilings demand attention to scale!
#2 Not enough counterspace

And the rest of the sentence would be…and enough “contiguous” counter space! I get plans across my desk every day from residential designers who draw kitchens circa 1975….and they not even have been born before then! But so true. Chopped up small pieces of counter space is not working space…it is simply a landing spot. And for me, I would like to have decent counter space to work on! Even if a small kitchen, I like to plan at least 36 inches of contiguous space. I do not know what the NKBA currently calls for nor do I care…many of their “rules” are outdated and are made by people who do not work in the “real” world of design. GASP!

Did I just say that out loud???? Guess I did. So shoot me.

I abhor cooktops on islands like this…when it can be avoided. And would be a big mess for me…as not enough room to really use the counters. And note what i call the “pregnant belly” perimeter island. Just say “NO” to this design. IF you want to call it that.


Not planning a space for everything
Like a microwave. Please. Let’s not set out a microwave on the counter in a complete remodel. If you are doing a facelift, then perhaps there is no place for it but the counter…but this is wasting valuable working area! And who wants to look at a microwave anyway? But not just the microwave…but also anything you need to store. I like to refer to it as “targeted storage” meaning having a spot for everything….and making it where you need it. I always ask “WHERE are you in the kitchen and WHAT are you doing?” For any specific task, this can be a clue to what sort of storage you need and where to place it.
YUCC. This is a kitchen where nothing seems to have a place.


A sea of cabinetry is a not a good thing

Everywhere you look…cabinets cabinets cabinets. How nice! If you want lots of storage and no design creativity. For me, kinda like a Stepford kitchen. Want everyone’s space to look the same and function the same. Boring.

Most of us do not need so many wall cabinets especially if you can be more selective in the pieces you use. But even if you are a kitchen gadget junkie, you can house much of these items in other types of storage such as a “dish pantry” a tall, shallower hutch type of piece that can be like several linear feet of upper cabinets stacked on top of each other….but designed to look much better:)! Or consider base drawers that can accommodate plate storage. Much more ergonomic to bend down and lift up than to lift up and bring down anyway. Just do not get so attached to having the status quo upper cabinets wherever there is open space.

There are some things in this kitchen that I like but I just see cabinetry…everywhere. I think mixing it up a bit might have been good. Another thing that bothers me is the sink and window centerline! And, a bit on the beige side.


Thinking the much lauded “triangle” means diddliy squat

Do not buy into the status quo of what others may dictate in terms of style or layout. Much of the “rules” were developed decades ago when we lived very different lives. Such is with the “triangle” of design layout. Well sure, there are some reasons to  consider the “work triangle” but many more reasons to think about zones. Different types of tasks in different areas. Laying out the working aspect of the kitchen to accommodate multiple cooks of multiple ages. Keeping friends or family close by for interaction but not so close that the interfere with producing a meal!

I think that certain aspects of design, in any room, can be personal preference to a good extent.  But in the kitchen area especially, there are many mistakes that simply make the room function poorly as well as sabotage the overall design aesthetic.

I am often amazed at how much you need to know to really design a kitchen with good function and unique style. Dare I say, (and kind of on a roll here) it may even take more skill to do great kitchen and bath design than to do great design in other areas of the home? Bear in mind I am a kitchen and bath designer primarily but also work extensively in all areas of the home.

Weeeeeel I guess I have my idea for the next blog post!

Thanks for reading!