What are the top 5 mistakes to avoid when renovating a kitchen? Today, I’m going to talk about them and how not to blow the budget on what is traditionally the most expensive room in the house to renovate.

Photo by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash

Renovating your home always seems like an exciting idea, but often the reality is much less fun and more stressful. On the plus side, you have the opportunity to create your dream home. The planning component is usually the easiest and most exciting part. This is when you get to research styles and play around with designs, colours, textures and the aesthetics of the project. Choosing new colours, new appliances and bringing a little bit of your personality through in the design.

But remember, it’s only when you start pulling the room apart that you uncover things that can cause time and budget blowouts.

Kitchens can quickly become outdated as choices in tiles and colours change with every season.  And if you or the previous owner selected items that were “trendy” rather than timeless, you could find yourself with a kitchen that you no longer love.  Whether it’s a full new design or simply a coat of paint and a few new appliances I’ve got the top 5 mistakes to avoid when renovating your kitchen.

Kitchen renovations can be very stressful because you will most likely be without a kitchen for at least a few days, and sometimes weeks! If you have a young family that you are trying to feed, this can be a challenge. So planning the renovation upfront will reduce the number of issues you face, and will also reduce the time you are without it.

1. Form over function

Dall Designer homes kitchenPhoto by Real Property Photography on www.HOUZZ.com.au – Design by Dall Designer Homes

For me, the most important thing when renovating your kitchen is to make sure it’s functional. Making sure you have room for the important things like oven, fridge, sink and dishwasher can be a challenge in smaller kitchens. And the placement of the key items is critical to the success of the kitchen renovation.

This is a common error that many people make. They look at the finishes of the kitchen, the aesthetics and how they want everything to look by putting together a colour scheme. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important for it to look good. However, it is more important for the kitchen to be functional. There is no point having a beautiful looking kitchen if it’s not practical and you are constantly frustrated when working in the space.

When designing your kitchen, it is important to look past the pretty colours and first focus on how you use your kitchen. Are going to be able to use it comfortably and productively? Some questions to answer when planning your space are:

  1. Are you a budding chef who cooks all your meals from scratch and needs a certain amount of bench space to create your masterpieces?
  2. Are you someone who just does basic meat and 3 veg every night?
  3. Do you entertain a lot, and want a social kitchen where you can interact with your guests while you’re cooking for them?

The answers will all be really important to understand what you need when designing the space.

2. Trying to fit too much into a small space

With so many new and innovative appliances on the market, a common mistake is trying to fit too much into a small space. When creating your kitchen, first look at the space that you have available and work out the necessities. If you have a smaller area to work with, you may need to skip the built-in coffee machine, or the 900mm wide oven you’ve been coveting. A dishwasher, while not very cool, will be something you use every day and will save you hours of time every week.

Use your space wisely and let go of the things that are not a necessity.

3. Not using the magic work triangle

Have you heard of the magic work triangle? It involves the placement of the fridge, oven and sink. These three items should be placed close enough together that you can move between them without too much effort. This makes your time in the kitchen more productive and helps with the flow when cooking or baking.

A common mistake that people make is placing these items too far apart from each other. When designing your new kitchen – think about these three items and how you can place them close enough to be productive when working.

4. Leaving the lighting layout until the end

Lighting is another important part of the design that is frequently an afterthought when renovating a kitchen.

Adequate lighting is very important to the functionality of the kitchen. It not only helps you see what you are doing when prepping food, but also highlights the features of the kitchen. If done well, lighting can deceive the eye into making the space feel larger and brighter.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

As an example, in most renovation shows these days you will notice they are placing skylights above kitchens to allow more light to enter the space. When kitchens are in the middle of the house or have low light, putting a skylight in draws the eye upward. The extra light makes it feel like there is more space by letting more natural light into the room.

When creating the new kitchen, it is important to look at the lighting placement. Do you need to make any alterations to the current lighting points? The lighting that was there previously may have been suitable before the changes, but if you are changing the layout you may need to add extra lighting to account for the change in space.

Underbench lighting is something I usually recommend to clients as well. It eliminates dark shadow areas where ceiling lights can’t reach.

And if you’ve got the budget, I would also recommend lighting around the kickboards. This highlights the floorspace, gives a fantastic profile and is great at night if you want mood lighting.

5. Not seeking professional advice

Many people try to do renovations on a budget, which is fine, however, it can become rather costly. Especially if you make mistakes or changes partway through the renovations due to poor planning, or lack of experience in designing and installing kitchens.

Seeking the assistance of a professional upfront, even just to sort out the design can save you a lot of money in the long run. In addition, they will advise you on which things can be done yourself and what needs a professional.

A professional can tell you if your plans and designs are OK, and what you may need to change.

Once a kitchen renovation is complete it can transform the look and feel of the house. And if done well, it can add thousands to the value of the home. There is something about a new kitchen that makes us all feel a little bit warm and fuzzy.

So, before you go off with all that unbridled enthusiasm to create the kitchen of your dreams. We recommend spending the time and even a bit of extra money to go over your plans with an expert. This will ensure you are ready for anything unexpected that may pop up. And trust me, there is always something that does!


If you would like advice on your kitchen renovation project, call our experienced team or send us a request here.

Happy renovating!

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