A badly designed kitchen can be a recipe for disaster and usually there are no cheap or easy fixes. Dodgy design elements, a poorly placed fridge or inferior materials are also hard to escape, because this part of the house is used so often.
“Kitchens bring together a myriad functional and aesthetic demands. At their core, they are a tool for life, and an ergonomic, highly-functioning kitchen is a dream to live with — effortless, load bearing and efficient,” says Kylie Forbes, business manager for kitchen designers Cantilever.
And while filling a new kitchen with mod cons feels like a great idea, less can often be more according to Meredith Ong, state manager for Poliform Australia.
“Trying to fit too many features and appliances into the space, at the cost of the aesthetic balance, can be a mistake. A kitchen’s function and form should work in harmony and keeping this fine balance is at the heart of what Poliform kitchens creates,” she says.
Industry experts state these are five common mistakes homeowners make when designing or renovating kitchens, but if these blunders can be avoided then your new kitchen will be a room that’s a winner, not just a place to cook dinner.
1 Choosing the wrong appliances
Appliances are an intrinsic part of every kitchen design because they provide the opportunity for improvement. But they can also create design restrictions, says Kylie.
“Choosing to re-use appliances from an existing kitchen can be a good idea but it’s wise to adapt a design to consider the need to replace the appliance in the future, should it fail,” she says.
Jordan Rogers from Winning Appliances says many people choose poorly when it comes to deciding on a fridge.
“It’s the appliance that we most interact with,” he says.
“Consider which side you’d like the door to open, think how it will fit in with the design and the flow of your kitchen.”
2 Cutting corners
Cutting corners to save money in a kitchen build can sometimes cost you more in the long term.
“Always ensure you’re buying from a trusted brand with a reputation for quality,” Meredith from Poliform says.
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“Your kitchen is the heart of your home and needs to perform under pressure every day.”
To avoid replacing the nuts and bolts (and everything else) in your kitchen after just a few years, Kylie from Cantilever suggests going with a manufacturer who can provide longevity targets.
“Hardware is the hidden workhorse of every kitchen,” she says.
“High quality, load bearing hardware will increase efficiency and decrease your workload when using your kitchen.”
3 Going it alone
Interior designers and other kitchen professionals can give you a holistic view of your potential new kitchen so you don’t fall for costly common errors.
Jordan says people can make the mistake of assuming certain products are out of their reach, or won’t suit their space.
“Ten or 15 years ago integrated products were considered the utmost in luxury and cost, whereas now there is a lot more choice,” he says, adding that integrated appliances like microwaves and Zip taps can free up valuable bench and floor space.
“Kitchen design is highly technical and is more complex than simple cabinetry — to have a truly luxurious kitchen, attention to how it functions is critical,” Meredith says.
4 Falling for fashion
Meredith says it’s a mistake to get swept up in the latest design craze.
“A kitchen is an investment and will last you for years. Avoid being too influenced by trends because these quickly date a kitchen. Choose finishes and designs that are timeless, classic and sophisticated.”
Go for natural materials with a track record of high performance in the kitchen. It is also important to consider the design elements throughout the house.
“For a professionally-designed result, consider the flow of your home and work with finishes that speak the same visual language from room to room,” Meredith adds.
5 Skimping on storage
It sounds obvious but a kitchen is a space for keeping things in. But the space you need now might change in years to come.
“An oft-forgot kitchen requirement is ‘free-appliance’ storage like rice cookers, slow-cookers, or blenders,” says Kylie from Cantilever.
“They’re often bulky, awkward shapes that are used only on occasion, but accrue storage space.
“If not planned for these appliances risk living permanently on your bench, cluttering valuable preparation space.
Plan for tall, deep cabinets, preferably to the ceiling, with adjustable shelving as well as deep drawers for easy access. Open shelving is also useful for things you use every day.