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Whether you have a kitchen that only fits one cook or there’s enough square footage to fit your entire family, your kitchen’s design could be working against you. Here are four kitchen design mistakes you definitely want to avoid.

1. Counters dominated by space hungry appliances

The key to an organized kitchen space is one that avoids clutter, and supports the most common activities that happen there, as well as making the tools associated with them the most accessible. So, smaller appliances you rarely use shouldn’t get the lion’s share of your counterspace. Blenders, food processors, toasters, and everything in between are countertop space eaters when not in use. As for the almighty microwave, mounted above the range can work well, but hidden in an accessible cabinet is even better if  that’s an option.

Then, there’s always the idea that some appliances that tradition dictates should be in a kitchen will serve you better somewhere else in your home.  Remember; this is your kitchen. You get to decide which appliances have a prime place in it. And maybe when you’re through thinking about that, you’ll find that one of your small appliances works better somewhere else completely.

2. Higgledy piggledy kitchen storage

Kitchen storage plans are more easily realized when you’re storing items and objects that have practical use for your household, rather than trying to wrangle a lot of containers and food items that “should” be a part of kitchen. But once you come up with a plan that is geared to what’s important to you and your space, it’s a breeze.

When it comes to kitchen cabinet and pantry storage, if you don’t use an item on a regular basis, then don’t give it the prime “within easy reach” space when it comes to storage. This frees up that space  for the items you do use regularly. And sometimes deciding on whether you use certain items often at all is the greater discussion to consider here. Gear your space for the kinds of meals  you like to cook most often. And for those items, containers, and gadgets that don’t play into that, think about people in your life that might adopt them for use in their own kitchens. Once you think this through, it’s a lot easier to get a sense of order, which is the whole point of good kitchen storage.

3. Kitchen traffic jams and long commutes

Kitchens typically have a traffic pattern that consists of the path between the refrigerator, to stove, to sink, and back again. That’s called the kitchen triangle. If you put obstacles in the way of this path like trash containers, recycling boxes, seating, or pet water and food bowls, it’ll make your food prep and cooking experience unnecessarily challenging.  What’s needed is to preserve that  main artery of traffic to get you from one major center of activity to another without interruptions.

Of course, too much space can be a problem, too. When it comes to good kitchen design, make sure you don’t have to walk a mile to get from one major kitchen hotspot to the next without allowing for a payoff along the way that aids in the efficiency of making a meal. This includes having plenty of access to counter space and storage between your main centers of kitchen activity. In this, planning your routes in your kitchen by matching it with common tasks associated with making a meal is a lot like thinking about the most effective way to plan traffic in a city.

kitchen layout plan

Try mapping things out on a grid and rock it like a city planner. Plan a few variations and see what works best as far as logical flow. And when you’ve done that, put your plan for your kitchen into play. When it comes to your space and how to rethink it if necessary, you know best.

4. The island of misfit, er … islands

A kitchen island sounds like a good idea in theory.  But if you don’t have the space for one, it could turn into a huge mistake for your kitchen. Yes, islands can provide more countertop space, and they are often just the thing when it comes to life in some kitchens. But in others, they can also obstruct and cramp the traffic plans we talked about earlier, making moving around the kitchen more difficult. So the first question to ask is whether or not an island will help or hinder your movement.

When you’re looking to include an island in a kitchen renovation, then it’s time to think about your grid again.  Measure the width of your established traffic routes with a tape measure and figure out how much space you’ll need to open cabinets, the oven, and the refrigerator once the island is in place.  And for even more options, there is always the non-fixed kitchen island to consider. Kitchen islands on wheels can be stored elsewhere or repositioned easily when not in use. So, they can be lifesavers when you need more counterspace for bigger meals, as well as when you need to restore order once the prep is over.

Your kitchen – better, stronger, faster

When it comes to style in your kitchen, you’ve got that covered. And by now, you’ve also figured out that practicality should play into that design in order to serve you when you’re busy in your kitchen. The way to get there is often just down to good planning, and also to question what’s already in place and changing things if you need to change them. By keeping in mind the tips above, you’ll have a low hassle, high performing kitchen that’s ready for any recipe you throw its way.

But, in the meantime, what kinds of challenges have some of you faced in the past when it comes to planning kitchen layouts?

What plans have you had to drastically change due to some practical barrier?

How did you make that change?

Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.

 

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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.