For many of us, the kitchen is the heart and soul of the home. It’s the epitome of practicality and functionality: we cook, we eat, we clean. But this room is so much more than that. It’s where we gather, laugh, help with homework, make memories – and these days, often take a Zoom meeting or two. Convenience is paramount, but comfort and style never need to take a backseat. Unfortunately, some common kitchen layout mistakes can cause chaos! Let’s avoid the mess, confusion, and clutter by learning what not to do when designing this essential space. 

Top Kitchen Design Mistakes 

When your kitchen is well-designed and the layout works for your lifestyle and needs… well, it’s magic. Imagine the family gatherings; the game nights; the fun evening with friends; the intimate nights with your loved ones. It’s all possible with the right layout and design. 

So, what are the five deadly sins of kitchen design? (Note: There are more than five! But these big kitchen design mistakes can clog the arteries of your home’s heart before you know it.) 

  1. Prioritizing Form Over Function

Do you want a kitchen that stuns? That makes you proud each time you walk in? That elicits a little gasp of delight (and perhaps a little envy) when guests enter? Of course you do! The style and aesthetic of this space is crucial to our enjoyment. But beware of the trap of prioritizing how it looks over how it works.  

The kitchen is, first and foremost, a room meant for doing. It’s a workspace. When designing your layout, think about: 

  • Space and Circulation. Consider the space you have allocated to your kitchen in a new build or the space you have in your existing home. How will you maximize it? For example, you may love the look of an island. But if you install one, will it impede movement? Will it dominate the room? Will it drown out other elements? Can more than one person operate efficiently and comfortably? Do you have room to open the fridge and dishwasher without bumping into someone? A great designer and build team can help you make optimal use of each square inch. 
  • Outlets. Your major appliances need appropriate and safe outlets, but also think about the myriad appliances you use on a regular basis. Without careful consideration of your outlets, your countertops can become cluttered with cords. If you do not have a sufficient number and/or they are not placed appropriately, you may have to unplug, replug, and maneuver your go-to’s (e.g. coffee maker, blender, mixers, etc.) around constantly. It’s an unattractive hassle, and one that you can easily avoid. 
  • Ventilation. Ventilation is one of the areas where it is wise not to scrimp. A full dedicated range vent hood is a must; it diverts hot air from your kitchen, pushing it outside. Not only does this make the environment more comfortable, it helps prolong the life of your appliances and helps keep grease and grime from spreading to your surfaces. Another benefit: ventilation removes the smell of last night’s creamy garlic seafood pasta. The odor was mouthwatering as you were serving – but the next day? You want it gone!The vent hood should be at least as long as your cooktop. If you have a cooking surface on your island, ideally, the vent hood extends six inches past. 
  • Lighting. Sometimes, homeowners value the look of their lighting versus the practicality. It’s important that you have the light you need to properly prep, cook, and clean up. Installing fixtures over your countertops is important, as is ensuring fixtures are strong enough to cast the light you need on your workspace.Using downlights, sconces, and pendant lights on separate circuits allows you to adjust lighting levels so you can be nice and bright while you’re cooking or helping with homework and intimate and cozy while enjoying dinner or a cup of tea. 
  1. Underestimating Storage Needs

Clean countertops make your kitchen far more inviting – and if you’re not fighting clutter, it makes it more likely you’ll prepare a home cooked meal! Too often, homeowners underestimate the amount of storage they will need. You took major appliances into account when designing your kitchen, but what about those smaller items that you pull out as needed? From mixers and bread machines to Instant Pots and pans, you have a lot of gear to think about. Where will you store them when they are not in use? How about your dishes and cutlery? Your stemware?  

Be sure to integrate plenty of cabinet and cupboard space. As you can see in our 2020 Home-A-Rama kitchen there are spacious cabinets on either side of the range for convenient storage. There are also ample drawers built into the island as well as in the dining area. 

Another effective storage solution is a butler’s pantry. Your kitchen stays guest-ready and you have the space you need to store items, do prep work, arrange platters, etc. And, as you can see from the photos below, a butler’s pantry needn’t take an exorbitant amount of room. This streamlined pantry fits nicely into the overall kitchen/dining area and utilizes space like a master of efficiency. 

  1. Choosing Design Elements That Will Date Your Kitchen

We all loved Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year: the vibrant, energetic Living Coral. But is it a look you want to live with for years to come? Choosing design elements that are tied to a specific period or chasing fads can backfire. For example, that “vibrant, energetic” tone can start to feel oppressive if it’s splashed all over your kitchen cabinets.  

A more effective way to incorporate new colors or trends is to start with a neutral approach to your major elements, such as your cabinetry and appliances. Don’t worry: there is a whole wide world of intriguing neutrals out there! (Such as Pantone’s 2021 Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray. Start with a terrific, timeless foundation on which you can build and that will evolve with your style.  

  1. Not Going Far Enough

We’re talking about not going far enough vertically. Cabinets often stop several inches to a foot below the ceiling. This does two things: reduces the storage space available and gives you perfect (read: extremely hard-to-reach) surfaces for grease, grime, grit, and dirt to accumulate. Extend them up to the ceiling for a clean, streamlined look that is also the height of practicality.  

  1. Going the DIY-Route

We love do-it-yourself projects; there’s nothing better than the sense of pride and satisfaction at a job well done. That said, designing a kitchen is not a DIY job. As mentioned, there are a myriad of considerations to keep in mind, from the number and placement of outlets to clever and stylish storage solutions. Connect with an experienced designer and team. You’ll avoid kitchen layout mistakes and bring your vision of the perfect space to life.  

Creating the best layout for the kitchen of your dreams in your new custom home starts with a conversation, contact G&G Custom Homes to learn more.  

Contact G&G today to get started on your forever home.