Kitchens are the heart of any home. You will likely spend plenty of time in your kitchen, preparing meals and even eating. During get-togethers you may find your friends and family gravitating towards your kitchen. If you’ve checked out these kitchen tours or have looked at beautiful kitchens in magazines, you may want a gorgeous space for cooking at your house.
Kitchens, can be tricky, though. There are many design mistakes common in this room:
Not putting practicality first
Your kitchen is the hardest-working room in the house. Of course, you want it to look great – but you also need it to function smoothly. When considering how well your kitchen works or when thinking about how to remodel the space, list the three dishes you make most often and the steps needed for each dish. How easily can you make the dishes in your kitchen now? How easily could you make these dishes in the kitchen remodel you are considering?
If you are daydreaming over home fashion magazines and catalogs of gourmet designs, you may be thinking about cute and trendy appliances, counters, and kitchens. While these can be fun to look at, they are not usually very practical. You want a kitchen that can stand the test of time, and that means erring on the side of classic designs.
Ignoring the three most important kitchen areas
The three most important area in the kitchen are the sink, the stove area, and the refrigerator. Not only should you make sure that these areas are highly functional, but they should also be easily accessible and close enough together that moving back and forth between these areas is simple. These three areas are so important that they are sometimes called “The Golden Triangle.” To find out more, check out this great BBC article.
Too little counter space
You need a lot of counter space for food prep, cutting, and preparing meals. This is especially the case if there is more than one person preparing meals and cooking in your kitchen. If your kitchen is too small for lots of counter space, you may want to invest in a fold-away or pull-out butcher block or a kitchen cart that offers storage space underneath and a cutting space on top.
An island that gets in the way
An island seems like a good idea because it allows you to add storage and food prep areas in the center of a larger kitchen. But it can quickly get in the way if you keep crashing into the island or if people sitting and eating at the island get in the way of you getting to your counter area. One solution is to put a stove and sink area in your island area so that you can get prep work and cooking done right in the middle of your kitchen. Another option is to forego the island and instead use a kitchen cart that can easily be wheeled again.
Too little storage space
Kitchens can’t have enough storage space. You need a spot to store food, pots, pans, cutlery, and gadgets. If you have a tiny kitchen, you will need to get creative about storage space. Start by making sure that you are using all your space – including the space near the ceiling. Use organization racks and plastic tubs to keep things organized in drawers and cupboards so that you can fit more in. If you have the room, you can also buy a tall pantry cupboard for your kitchen area.
Bad air circulation and waste solutions
Kitchens can get stinky fast and they can also overheat easily if you cook or bake a lot. Install a vent above your stove so that you can take care of food odors and open your kitchen window often to air out the room. Keep a smaller waste container in the kitchen so that you take out the trash more often and prevent odors. Scented candles in the kitchen and a strict cleaning schedule can also ensure that your kitchen smells great.
You need to see what you are doing in order to whip up great meals for you and your friends. Kitchens need more lighting than most rooms. You will want bright overhead lights as well as track and task lighting to light up your counter, stove, and other food prep areas. Under-the-cabinet lights work well in the kitchen and don’t take up much room.
Cabinets with space on top
It’s a terrible waste of space and just attracts dust (in a spot where you can’t reach easily). Make sure that your cupboards go right up the ceiling or at least don’t have that do-nothing space on top. You can place less-used items in these areas.
Just because your kitchen is hard-working, that doesn’t mean it can’t be gorgeous. If you add cute or trendy items, though, make sure that they are something that you can live with for a while since remodeling a kitchen is usually costly. Or, do the smarter thing and add a little spice with fun and colorful accessories that can be changed up. A fun wine rack, for example, or a new set of bar stools won’t cost much but can add a little fun to the area.
Too many gourmet appliances
It’s easy to watch cooking shows and get over-enthusiastic about all the appliances and little gadgets that TV chefs have. Just remember that it is TV: it is meant to sell you things and is meant to be glamorous. Your own kitchen doesn’t need those things. Worse, if you fill your home kitchen with lots of appliances and items it will be harder for you to find room for it all.
If you want to make any changes in your kitchen, it’s important to compare prices and to work with a strict budget. This is one renovation where price can get away from you.
Have you been making any of these mistakes in your kitchen? Now’s the time to re-do, re-think, and re-imagine your space so that you’ll enjoy spending time in this room rather than reaching for take-out menus every night.