If you’re like most of us, you want to be proud of your kitchen style, not embarrassed by it, but kitchen design mistakes happen all the time. Sometimes they aren’t obvious until the dust has settled and you’re left disappointed.

Here are 10 of the most common kitchen remodeling mistakes to avoid:

1. Dated Designs

Several decades ago, all-wood kitchens were the height of modernity. Not too long ago, many kitchens featured short, 4-inch backsplashes that matched the countertop. (While these can still look great in the right context, trends are now moving towards backsplashes that reach all the way up to cabinets.)

No one can predict the distant future of design trends, but you can avoid kitchen remodel regrets by choosing classic materials and colors that have been kitchen staples for decades. Natural stone and neutral colors are always a good bet. Still, you don’t want a kitchen that’s so “safe” that it has no personality. It’s about balance. For example, this kitchen beautifully blends classic elements with an exciting accent color:

transitional kitchen remodel portland blue

That said, this is your kitchen, so if you want to go all-in on a new trend, follow your heart and go for it! 

2. Ignoring Kitchen Ergonomics 

If you use your kitchen a lot, you definitely want to consider kitchen ergonomics! The goal is to minimize stress on your body while working in the kitchen by designing the space to limit unnecessary movement and activities like:

  • Bending
  • Kneeling
  • Reaching
  • Walking back and forth
  • Twisting your body
  • Opening and closing things

Organize your kitchen so that the things you use most often are easy to reach, and that items you commonly use together are located near each other (like knives and cutting boards). Here are more tips.

3. Awkward Layouts

Similarly, you want the layout of your kitchen to be logical and functional. These are some common kitchen design mistakes to avoid:

Door clashes: Think about which direction every appliance and door will open to make sure they won’t collide.

Sink troubles: Homeowners often regret putting cabinets over the sink, which leaves nowhere for steam to go except into your face.

Trash location: You probably want your garbage to be discrete, but a hard-to-access trash bin creates daily frustrations. Countertop trash chutes and pull-out trash cabinets are great solutions.

Cramped spaces: Will two or more people use your kitchen at once? Make sure walkways allow people to pass each other comfortably.

4. A Kitchen That’s Beautiful…But Doesn’t Work for You 

People often get attached to designs that look great in photos but aren’t truly compatible with their lifestyles.

Even if you absolutely love the look of a marble countertop, it may not be the best option if your cooking style involves setting hot pots down on the counter (granite might be a better choice). Likewise, full-wall open shelving is perfect for some people, but it can end up looking cluttered for people with lots of mismatched dishware they’re not keen on showing off.

5. Wasted Space 

Making your kitchen work for you is largely about storage — not just enough storage, but the right storage.

Storage tips and ideas:

  • Plenty of easy-to-reach storage for your most-used kitchen items
  • Toe-kick storage and storage over the fridge for less frequently used items (like holiday cookie cutters)
  • A pantry (even a small one can make a world of difference)

Kitchen pantry remodel

If you have a small kitchen, a professional designer can help you get the most of every inch of space you have without making the room feel crowded.

6. Color Mishaps 

color samples

While wall paint is often relatively easy to change, other colors, like the finishes on cabinets and appliances, can be more difficult. 

One of the most common kitchen remodeling mistakes is choosing colors in the store instead of at home. If possible, bring samples and swatches home to look at in the light of your actual kitchen.

7. Bad Ventilation

People don’t always prioritize ventilation, but poor airflow can really ruin your experience in the kitchen. It can lead to:

  • A smoky room when you use the oven
  • The fire alarm going off while you cook
  • Bad smells 
  • A stuffy feeling

It’s worth investing in a good range hood and at least one large window you can open, like this kitchen has:

White Kitchen with Red Table

8. Insufficient Lighting

As most designers will tell you, the average kitchen needs three different types of lighting:

  1. Ambient lighting (usually a ceiling light)
  2. Task lighting (like under-cabinet strip lights) to illuminate workspaces
  3. Accent lighting to make the space cozier and highlight your favorite design elements

Also, consider how natural light from windows will affect the room (and how it won’t when it’s dark out).

9. Choosing Materials in the Wrong Order 

Creating a cohesive design takes careful planning, but what a difference it makes when all the elements of your kitchen complement each other! That’s the key to getting a result that truly speaks to you and evokes happiness every time you walk into the room.

Style is always a personal choice, but this is a great example of a cohesive design:

traditional home remodel with wood cabinets and black stone countertops

A professional designer can walk you through the process of picking appliances, fixtures, materials, and colors in the right order, but for now, here are some tips:

  • Choose appliances early so you know their measurements. It’s also easier to match cabinets and countertops to appliances than the other way round.
  • If you have a unique or bold piece (like an antique family heirloom or a bright red stovetop) start with that.
  • Work with your remodeler to order the products you want as early as possible so you know you’ll have them.
  • Work with a designer who can provide you with detailed, professional plan drawings.

10. Not Working with the Right Remodelers

No matter how great your vision is, the result will only be as great as your designer and remodeling team. A good remodeler should:

  • Work to understand your vision, including details
  • Be 100% clear on the plan before installing major components (for example, once plumbing has been installed, mistakes can be expensive to fix)
  • Communicate well and be responsive every step of the way
  • Offer great advice and creative solutions, but always put your vision first

Modern Kitchen Remodel with White Island and backlighting

We handle kitchen remodels from concept to completion

We make sure you start with a beautiful, feasible design and end with a kitchen you love. With both an award-winning designer and knowledgeable contractor, L. Evans Design Group can complete every kitchen remodel in house. Being able to successfully oversee all aspects of your project allows us to communicate clearly with you and make sure you get the best possible result!

Have questions? Call us at (971) 404-1241 or contact us online to get started.