Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Hannah Fester
It’s a tale as old as time - a renovation is underway and somehow mistakes are made. It’s become so common, almost too common for mishaps, missteps, and miscalculations to be made that we’re even watching reality TV shows all about it! But behind every reno pitfall comes memorable reno lessons; ones in which we all can learn greatly from. We’ve unearthed for you the most common renovation mistakes so you know what not to do if you’re looking to re-do that kitchen of yours. Kitchens are costly to refurbish, so it’s best to get the space you want first time ‘round, preferably mistake free! So, what are the top 10 kitchen renovation mistakes?
Let’s start off with one of the bigger mistakes - not enough storage space. When planning your kitchen layout, storage space should be at the forefront of the mind. Kitchens house a range of items, from knicks-knicks and appliances like tableware, cutlery, and cooking utensils, to bigger ticket items like pots and pans, and an organised, stress-free kitchen should be designed for each and every item to have its very own place. That’s why it’s imperative in the planning phase to think realistically about how much space different items will occupy, and therefore, how much storage space you require. Even small kitchens can maximise its space with well-planned cupboard positioning, smart storage solutions, like hidden cupboards, and be making use of the available space between the floor and ceiling.
Along similar lines to stingy storage solutions come cookie cutter drawers. Drawers are becoming increasingly popular compared to the once budding trend of cupboards in kitchens, but it’s important to remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Drawers are now used to stow pots and pans but are of course still the primary solution for holding eating utensils. The issue here is the varying size of these items yet the lack of variation in the drawer size themselves. Consider the different size drawers you will need for different items and plan the width and depth of your drawers from there.
Feng-shui aside, a kitchen layout has its own thing going on! Kitchen layouts are important to ensure workflow throughout the kitchen is easy and fluid. The biggest three hubs in your kitchen are the fridge, sink and oven - where these are placed in relation to each other (and in relation to the rest of the kitchen itself) should be the main consideration. Spread them apart from each other to dispel a high traffic area, but also keep them as the three main points - so relatively central - throughout the kitchen itself as they will each be used daily.
We’re not talking about baseball here, but the same concept applies - if the bench is free you have space to sit, if the kitchen bench is free you have space to cook. Your kitchen bench is the only area where you can prepare your meals and house some frequently used appliances, so if space is lacking then you’ve got yourself one flustered kitchen space. Bench space is just as important as bench positioning - ample space in the prime location is therefore key. Next to the fridge or near the oven, for instance, are wise places to have plenty of bench room, as these are high traffic, highly used areas of the kitchen.
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Your kitchen is full of appliances operating at different temperatures, serving different functions all for kinds of uses. There is a fine art to knowing what goes where. The height of appliances, the way in which doors swing open and the accessibility to regularly used items are all paramount considerations. Get yourself off on the right foot by drawing up a quick plan of what items you’d like at an arm’s length, what can be stowed up high, what way certain doors open and if object A should be placed next to object B.
While your bin may not want to be your first consideration when thinking of a kitchen renovation, it should still be scrutinised just the same. Commonly bins are housed in small drawers or cupboards for aesthetic reason, but also to contain the smell. The common pitfall here though is a lack of space for rubbish, meaning more trips to the bin outside. The thought of a compartmentalised rubbish and recycle bin is also often overlooked, even though it’s a great addition to any kitchen. So, think dirty - allow enough space for rubbish and give recycling a home too.
Who wouldn’t think to have lighting in their kitchen? No one. But who wouldn’t think to have the appropriate task lighting in their kitchen? A lot of people. Task lighting is strategically placed lighting in highly used areas of the kitchen for particularly focused tasks, where, well, lighting is needed. Task lighting can be in the form of small downlights from above head cabinets or spotlights that can be maneuvered to shine on different areas of the kitchen. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself for task lighting when you’re busily chopping up ingredients for dinner and you can see perfectly clear!
Your kitchen is one place you do not want a shortcoming in sockets. Powerpoints are one part of your kitchen that needs to be ironed out pretty early on. You need to choose where you want outlets and how many of them you will need. There’s a fine line between powerpoint overload and a lack of sockets, so be sure to think it through. Ask yourself what items will need a powerpoint every day - kettle, toaster? And also what items will be making cameo appearances in the kitchen that may need a little juice - a phone or iPad for recipes perhaps?
A poorly designed pantry can be a rabbit warren at the best of times. Looking into your pantry and not being able to easily find what you’re after can be stressful, time consuming and make you feel a little disorganised. Taking the time to consider the design of your pantry will make trips to the cupboard a breeze. A good kitchen cabinet maker will be able to give you some advice on how to maximise space in your pantry to make it an organisational dream. You’ll be surprised at what a little shelving and lighting can do!
Looking back on old photos of ourselves usually leads to a good knee slap, mainly because we reflect on our choice of fashion. Well, this same effect could happen with your choice of kitchen design. What’s on trend today may not be in style tomorrow let alone in years to come. When deciding on colour, patterns and the overall aesthetics of your kitchen, steer clear of fads and instead opt for a style that is classic and timeless. It’s an expensive exercise to change the entire look of your kitchen simply because it doesn’t reflect the latest craze anymore!